National Archives | Record Group 60 | Entries 1-50

Entries 1-50

Entries 1 - 50 | Entries 51-100 | Entries 301-350


GENERAL RECORDS

Opinions, 1790-1870. 

 

OPINIONS ON LEGAL QUESTIONS. 1790-1870.

Arranged chronologically by date of opinion.  Originals, copies, and drafts of opinions on legal questions fumlshed to the President and heads of executive departments by the Attorney General. Some of these documents are reproduced in NARS Microfilm Publication T326,

Letten From and Opinions of the Attorneys General,  1791·1811 (I roll). 

 

OPINION BOOKS. 1817-70. 17 vols. 3 ft.

For opinions for certain periods from 1845 to 1853 that are not included in these volumes, see entry I. For opinions after 1870, see entry 50. 

Arranged chronologically by date of opinion.  Fair copies of opinions on legal question given by the Attorney General to the President and heads of executive departmenta. Pllrtly reproduced in NARS Microfilm Publication T412, Opinions of the Attorney General, 1817-32 (3 rolls).
 

TITLE OPINIONS. 1842-68. 5 in.

Arranged chronologically by date of opinion.

Drafts of opinions sent by the Attorney General to heads of executive departments concerning whether proposed conveyances of land to the United States would give the United States a valid title to the land.

 
 

TITLE OPINION BOOKS, 1841-70. 2 vols. 5 in.

Entries arranged chronologically by date of opinion.  The first volume is indexed at the front by addressee of opinion or location of land.

Fair copies of opinions on titles to lands or sites for Federal public works, buildings, and other purposes under a joint resolution of Congress of September 11, 1841.  There is a gap in this series from 1842 to 1853.

For title opinions after 1870, see entry 52. 

 Letters Received, 1809·70.

 

 REGISTERS OF LETTERS RECEIVED, 1809-63, 3 vols. 7 in.

Entries arranged by source (Federal departments, the President, and Federal field officials, State officials, and private citizens entered alphabetically by surname of writer) and thereunder chronologically by date of letter.  In the first volume, beginning on page 39, there is entered chronologically a miscellaneous group of 150 entries from various sources, numbered 1-150 in red ink rather than the black ink used to number the regular series of more than 6500 entries.

Entries show date of letter, surname of writer, date received, action taken, number of letter, subject, and remarks.  The documents listed consist chiefly of letters received but also include other documents found among the Attorney General's Papers.

 

REGISTERS OF LETTERS RECEIVED, March 2, 1861-Dec. 31, 1870. 3 vols. 6 in.

Entries arranged chronologically by time of receipt of letter.

Entries show date of letter, writer, subject, action on letter, and occasional remarks; volumes 2 and 3, in addition, show date of receipt, date of reply, and a synopsis of reply. 

 

LISTS ("Tabular Statement") OF CERTAIN LETTERS RECEIVED. July 7, 1862-Jan. 28, 1864. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically by date of list and thereunder by date of letter.

Weekly lists of "Letters from Judges, District Attorneys, and Marshals, with some other incidental matters, for the consideration of the Attorney General," showing dates, surname of writer, and subject of letter. 

 

LETTERS RECEIVED, 1809-70 60 ft.

Arranged by source of letter and thereunder chronologically.

Letters received by the Attorney General from the President, heads of executive departments, other Federal officials in Washington and in the field, State officials, and private citizens concerning such subjects as the following: the War of 1812; the powers and duties of the Attorney General and other executive officers; interpretations of treaties, including Indian treaties; courts, including courts-martial; claims against the United States; public land problems, including the validity of Spanish and French land grants in the Louisiana Territor and Flordia; Territorial government; banks and banking; violations of the neutrality of the United States during the Napoleonic Wars, the Latin American wars for independence, the Crimean War, and the Fenian disturbances; customs laws violations; piracy; slavery and the slave trade; and the Civil War and Reconstruction.  There are comparatively few letters dated before 1818.

For letters concerning California land claims, see entries 27 and 30.  For letters received by the Solicitor of the Court of Claims, see entry 32.  For letters received after 1870, see entries 49, 56, 58, 72, 74, 112-116, 123-126, the records of officials and organizational units beginning with entry 132, personnel records beginning with entry 310, and in records of special investigations and surveys beginning with entry 376. 

GENERAL LETTER BOOKS, 1818-70. 14 vols. 3 ft.

Arranged chronologically by date of letter.

Fair copies of letters from the Attorney General to the President, heads of departments, U.S. attorneys and marshals, judges, clerks of courts, State officials, and private citizens.  The subject matter is similar to that in entry 9, letters received.  The letters sent prior to 1870 were copied into the general letter books except for (1) certain gaps, including a large one from October 1, 1850, to May 25, 1857, (2) the letters to the Solicitor of the Treasury, 1840-42 (entry 11), and (3) the letters of instruction, 1867-1970 (entry 12).  Some of the missing letters may be found among the drafts of letters sent (see entry 14) that are reproduced in NARS Microfilm Publication M699, Letters Sent by the Department of Justice: General and Miscellaneous, 1818-1904 (81 rolls)

For letters sent concerning California land claims, see entries 27 and 30.  For letters sent by the Solicitor of the Court of Claims, see entry 33.  For letters sent after 1870, see entries 76-91, 112-114, and 123-126; records of officials and organizational units beginning with entry 129; personnel records beginning with entry 307; and records of special investigations and surveys beginning with entry 376.

LETTERS SENT, 1793-1839·70. 2 ft .

Arranged chronologically by date of letter .

Drafts and copies of letters sent by the Attorney General.

For fair copies of

most of these letters from 1839 to l 870 , see entry 10; for letters concerning California land claims, see entries 27 and 30.

SUPREME COURT CASE PAPERS. Ca. 1809-ca. 1870 5 ft.

Arranged alphabetically by surname of party opposed to the United States.

Papers relating to cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the United States was a party or had an interest, consisting of transcripts of record of cases in the lower courts, briefs, memorandums, opinions, and other papers.

ACCOUNTING RECORDS, 1833-70, 1.6 ft.

Arranged chronologically by date of document.

Vouchers for goods and services furnished to the Attorney General's Office, payrolls showing names, salaries, and signatures of employees to acknowledge receipt of pay; copies of abstracts of expenditures sent to the Treasury Department; statements of salary accounts of the Disbursing Clerk; and other papers relating to expenses of the Attorney General's Office.

"DAY BOOK" Mar. 1864-June 30, 1870. 1 vol. 1 in.

Entries arranged by type of account and chronologically by date of entry thereunder.  The volume is indexed by type of appropriation.

OATHS OF OFFICE . 1860-68. Neg.

Arranged chrono logically by date of oath.

Official oaths of office signed by the Attorney General and his staff.

CONTRACTS-
EMPLOYING ATTORNEYS. 1861-M. Neg.

Arranged chronologically by date of contract.

Contracts between the Attorney General and certain lawyers relating to their employment as special attorneys for the Attorney General's Office

UNIDENTIFIED PAPERS. 1795-1870 1 FT,

Arranged in rough chronological order by date of document , with undated documents at the end.

 

Contain chiefly enclosures that became separated from the letters received that transmitted the enclosures to the Department of Jus tice. Some of the earliest papers are copies.

RECORDS RELATING TO CALIFORNIA LAND CLAIMS

By the territorial cession to the United States by Mexico under the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo at the close of the Mexican War, title to all public land in California passed to the United States.  The extent of this land depended upon the validity of land claims antedating the treaty.  On March 3, 1851, Congress authorized the establishment of a three-member Board of Commissioners "for the purpose of ascertaining and settling every private claim to land within California based upon right or title derived from the Spanish or Mexican Government" (9 Stat. 631).

This Land Commissioner's decisions were to be reported to the U.S. attorney of the district concerned.  Within 6 months the United States or any claimant could appeal first to the Federal district court and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In 1852 Congress provided that the Attorney General should be responsible for the appeals to the district courts as well as the Supreme Court.  Two certified transcripts of the record in each case were to be prepared.  One was to be filed with the clerk of the proper Federal district court in California; the other was to be forwarded to the Attorney General, whose duty it was to examine the records in cases decided adversely to the United States and notify the court in California within 6 months after the receipt of each transcript whether the Government would prosecute an appeal.

The Commission acted on 813 claims to more than 12 million acres of land, including much of the most valuable land in the State.  It completed its work in March 1856.  Litigation then began in the courts, the decisions being contested by the Government and settlers on the land or by the claimants.  From 1856 to 1880 the claims constituted a major problem of the Attorney General.  In 1880, 612 of the claims stood confirmed, 178 rejected, 19 discontinued, and 4 still pending.  The records of the Board of Commissioners relating to these claims are in Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management.

 

CASES FILED. 1853-70. .5 inches

Arranged numerically by Land Board file number.

Consist of reports to the Attorney General by law assistants concerning whether appeals from the decisions of the Board of Land Commissioners and the district courts should be taken by the United States, instructions by the Attorney General to U.S. attorneys concerning whether appeals should be dismissed or prosecuted, press clippings, and miscellaneous related papers. 

 

CORRESPONDENCE ON LAND CLAIMS. 1853-70 3 ft.

Arranged by source or addressee of letter and thereunder chronologically by date of letter.

 

Letters relating to the land claims received from and sent to Government officials, Members of Congress, claimants, and others by the Attorney General's Office.
 

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITS. 1861 1 vol.

1 in.

 

There is a table of contents at the front of the volume.

Photographs of documents in the Mexican archives relating to certain land claims. 

Photographs arranged by status of case involved with miscellaneous material at the end.
 

ACCOUNTING RECORDS. 1855·70. 5 in.

Arranged in the following groups:
1) general material,
2) accounts of Auguste Jouan, and
3) accounts of Isaac Hartman; thereunder chronologically by date of document within each group.

 

 
Bills, statements of accounts, and other documents relating to expenses of handling land claims.  Jouan and Hartman were claimants for services in connection with the land claims.
 

 REFERENCE MATERIAL. Ca. 1813-62 . l in .as listed below. cases; notes, memorandums, and lists; and Spanish and Mexican laws and other documents collected by the Attorney General's Office in dealing with the land claims.

 

Arranged

 

Newspaper clippings relating to claims

RECORDS OF THE SOLICITOR OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS

The office of Solicitor of the Court of Claims was created when the court was established by an act of Congress of February 24, 1855.  It was abolished in 1868, and its functions were transferred to the Attorney General.  The responsibility for representing the Government before the Court of Claims more recently has been exercised by a separate unit of the Department of Justice know as the Court of Claims Section of the Claims Division.  Its records are in Record Group 205, Records of the Court of Claims Section (Justice).

 

 LETTERS RECEIVED, June 7, 1855-May 29, 1868.  10 in.

Arranged chronologically by date of letter.

Letters to the Solicitor or the Attorney General from attorneys, Government officials, commissioners of the Court of Claims, and private citizens concerning the conduct of cases before the court involving claims against the United States and the taking of testimony in those cases.

 

 DRAFTS OF LETTERS SENT.  June 22, 1857-April 29, 1862. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically by date of letter.

Drafts of letters from the Solicitor to the Deputy Solicitor, private attorneys, and Government officials concerning the conduct of cases before the court.

 

 CASE FILES.  1855-70.  6 ft.

Arranged alphabetically by surname of party opposed to the United States.

Copies of papers filed in cases before the court.

Personal Papers of the Attorney General

 

LETTERS RECEIVED.  1832-68. 4 ft.

Arranged chronologically by date of letter.

Consist largely of letters relating to private law cases in which the Attorney General and his assistant were involved as counsel and of letters of applicants requesting the aid of the Attorney General in securing employment with the Government.  Most of the letters were written to Reverdy Johnson(Attorney General, 1849-50) in 1848 and 1849. 

 

 CASE PAPERS, 1819-69. 10 in.

Arranged chronologically by date of case.

Copies of transcripts of records, briefs, "notes of argument," and other papers in private legal cases in which the Attorney General or his assistant were involved as counsel.

   

Entries 1 - 50 | Entries 51-100 | Entries 301-350

National Archives | Record Group 60 | Entries 1-50

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