In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to George S. Boutwell, 17 January 1871

Date: January 17, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01641

Source: National Archives and Records Administration. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger

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January 17, 1871.

Hon. Geo. S. Boutwell,

Secretary of the Treasury.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant, enclosing a communication to you from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, urging the employment of special counsel in certain prosecutions in the Eastern District of Texas, ag't Frank W. Glenn and T. E. Tullis.

In view of the manifest intention of Congress, expressed in the Act to establish the Department of Justice, that the regular professional force of the United States should as a general rule conduct the business of the Government in the Federal courts, and of the fact that there are no funds under the control of this Department out of which special counsel can be paid, except the Judiciary fund, which is based upon estimates not including the cost of special retainers, I do not feel at liberty to employ assistant counsel in new cases unless they be of extraordinary emergency. In this instance the only reason suggested by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the employment of special counsel is, that the cases are important, and that eminent legal talent has been employed for the defence. These conditions occur so frequently when the Government is party, that the custom of employing special counsel in such cases would impose a heavy expense upon the Government, and reduce the services of District Attorneys to a subordinate part of the representation of the Government in Courts.

I think that the District Attorney ought to be adequate to all the ordinary demands upon them—and having no reason to suppose that this is not the case in the Eastern District of Texas I do not feel authorized to make the special engagement that is requested.

As a further reason for declining I would suggest that I have no information that counsel in that District suitable for such an employment, could be readily found, who are able to take the oath required of District Attorneys, and their assistants.

Very respectfully, &c.

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

employing special counsel for The U. S. in Texas cases (employment declined)


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