In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to William W. Belknap, 13 December 1871

Date: December 13, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.03529

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Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, Melanie Krupa, and Kenneth M. Price

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Dec. 13, 1871.

Hon. Wm. W. Belknap,

Secretary of War.


Mr. James R. Beckwith, District Attorney for Louisiana, has presented to this Department two certificates of the Circuit Court for Louisiana, (one in the case of E. B. Bishop vs. Garret J. Lydecker and others; the other in the case of Lewis Wolfley, vs. A. A. Humphries and others,) to the effect that $3000 would be a suitable compensation to Mr. Beckwith for his services in each case.

Formal accounts, conforming to these certificates have not been presented by Mr. Beckwith, but I suppose it is his intention that the certificates shall be taken here for the accounts. This informality can be readily corrected, but before addressing him on the subject I have thought proper to submit the accounts to you.

In the instructions from this office dated August 3d, 1869, to the District Attorney to appear in the case of Bishop, vs. Lydecker and others, it was stated that the amount of compensation to be paid to counsel in this case is to be determined by the Secretary of War, and to be paid by the War Department.

In the other case, the direction to appear was given in pursuance of the request in your letter of December 1st, 1870, and no reference was made to the Department by which the compensation should be paid.

As the latter direction was after the Act establishing the Department of Justice took effect, I suppose that the compensation should be paid by this Department out of the Judiciary fund. It occurs to me, however, that the obligation which I understand to have been assumed by the War Department in the case of Bishop, vs. Lydecker is still in force, notwithstanding that Act.

If you concur in these views, the compensation in the case of Bishop will be paid by the War Department, and in the case of Wolfley by this Department. But I have no means of judging of the reasonableness of the compensation claimed in the latter case, except the certificate of the Court, and will be obliged to you for any information which may be in the possession of the War Department, concerning the amount really involved in the litigation, the seriousness of the plaintiff's case, or any other circumstance proper to be considered in determining the compensation.

Mr. Beckwith in his letter informs me that in each case the defence was successful.

I will thank you to return the enclosures.

Very respectfully, &c.

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

certificates of am'ts charged by Mr. Beckwith, N. O.


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