In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to John A. Minnis, 26 December 1871

Date: December 26, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.02294

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, Anthony Dreesen, John Schwaninger, and Nima Najafi Kianfar

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Dec. 26, 1871.

John A. Minnis, Esq.

U. S. Attorney

Montgomery, Ala.


Your letters of the 17th and of the 19th instants have been received.

The sum which you indicate as the probable expense of Associate Counsel in the Ku Klux cases, ($10,000,) in the Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama, is so much beyond the means of this Department, in view of the claims of other Districts, that I am under the necessity of declining to employ assistant counsel on those terms. When you consider that the sum appropriated for all the expenses of all the courts of the U. S. and Territories, embracing the pay of witnesses and jurors, rent of buildings, compensation of Marshals, etc. is only Two million dollars, ($2,000,000,) you will perceive that ten thousand dollars, ($10,000) of extra expense in one class of cases in a part of Alabama, and similar expenses at the same time in other Districts similarly situated, would make a very serious encroachment on that fund.

It should also be remembered that the execution of the Enforcement Laws must be entirely free from any plausible suspicion that they are used for the purpose of advancing any private pecuniary interests.

Being very desirous, however, that these prosecutions should be energetic, and should be successful when against parties really guilty, I feel willing to go to this extent—to pay $2500 for assistance in the Middle District, and the same amount in the Northern District. And if you will indicate the gentleman whom you prefer in each District, I will promptly commission him.

I think it better to employ Republican than Democratic lawyers. The former are more likely to have their hearts in the work. From all my information I incline to think that Mr. Lewis is the best man in the Northern District; but I desire to consult your wishes.

Although the letter of appointment always reserves to this Department the right of determining what compensation will be reasonable, yet in order to avoid any misunderstanding I desire to limit the expectations of the appointees to such a maximum as the means of the Department will allow.

Please answer definitely, stating whether, in your opinion, qualified gentlemen will engage to assist with an expectation of pay not exceeding the above amount, and indicating the individual whom you prefer in each District.

Very respectfully,

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

cost of extra counsel No. and Middle Ala.


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