In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to Thomas J. Durant, 13 May 1871

Date: May 13, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01866

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

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May 13, 1871

Thomas J. Durant, Esq.

Washington, D. C.


I have received your letter of the 9th instant, on the subject of the claim of the widow of the late Edmund Randolph, Esq., of California, for professional services rendered to the United States in the cases of The United States, vs. Andres Castilleros, etc., and enclosing what purports to be a copy of a contract between Messrs. Della Torre and Stanton, on the part of the United States, and Mr. Randolph.

For the services rendered by Mr. Randolph in those cases, you now ask for his family the sum of Thirty five thousand dollars.

I do not feel at liberty to pay this or any other sum to Mrs. Randolph on this account, for the following reasons:

1. I am not advised that any fund now under my control is applicable to this purpose.

2. The amount claimed is extraordinary, and such as no officer having discretion in the matter could allow, without much fuller information that I possess, concerning the nature and value of Mr. Randolph's services.

3. The great lapse of time since the services were rendered—a circumstance which raises a presumption that the present claim is an afterthought. No reason has been shown for not presenting it to former Attorneys General, seven of whom have been in office since Mr. Randolph was retained, and two of whom, Messrs. Black and Stanton, must have had great familiarity with the subject.

I certainly have every disposition to do justice to this lady, of who I know nothing, except the commendatory fact that you take an interest in her claim;— but as at present advised, I am unable to allow it.

Very respectfully, &c.

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

question of former services of E. Randolph in Cal.


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