In Whitman's Hand

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About this Item

Title: Amos T. Akerman to Edwards Pierrepont, 29 November 1870

Date: November 29, 1870

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01500

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Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger

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Washington, November 29, 1870.

Hon. Edwards Pierrepont,

No. 16 Wall street,

New York City.


Your letter of the 21st inst. to the Secretary of the Interior, has been by him referred to this Office.

I enclose a copy of the will of James Smithson, taken from the Congressional Documents for the year 1853. This will was a subject of litigation in Great Britain; but I cannot find that the case has been reported. There is an impression upon my mind that it was decided at the Rolls that the United States has legal capacity to take as a Legatee—but I am unable to verify the accuracy of my recollection by a reference to any statement of the case upon that point. In Whicker, vs. Hume, 7 Clarke's House of Lords Reports, p. 124, the case was cited as in MS. by counsel, and by Lord Chelmsford in delivering his opinion, (pp. 141.155,)—The name of the case is, The President of the United States of America, vs. Drummond.

Very respectfully, &c,

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General


the Smithson legacy to U. S.


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