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ROBERT S. HALE, Esq.,
AGENT AND COUNSEL OF
THE UNITED STATES
COMMISSION ON CLAIMS OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST
STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN.
LETTER OF MR. HALE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
OFFICE OF THE AGENT OF THE
ON AMERICAN AND BRITISH CLAIMS,
Washington, D. C., November 30, 1873. SIR: In submitting the accompanying report of the proceedings and results of the mixed commission under the twelfth article of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain of May 8, 1871, I beg to express my profound sense of obligation to yourself for the uniform kindness and consideration I have experienced from you during the whole existence of the commission.
The two years and more of my connection with the commission were years of severe and unremitting labor. The nearly five hundred claims presented to and passed on by tbe commission involved an immense range of investigation, proofs, and arguments. The transactions out of which they grew extended through four years of time, and involved not only inquiries into the whole history of the late war in its operations on land, but also a large extent of maritime operations, warlike and com: mercial, and extensive inquiries into the transactions between the late so-called Confederate States and subjects of the neutral nations of Europe.
The proofs on the part of the claimants and of the defence, respectively, were sought through the archives of all the Departments of our own Government, as well as those of the late confederate government in our bands. Testimony of witnesses was taken on notice, and either on written interrogatories or on oral examinations by counsel attending in person, in almost every State and Territory of the United States, in all the British provinces of North America, in Mexico, in several of the West India Islands, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and in Egypt This testimony was taken, in all the cases of British claims against the United States, either by special counsel sent under my instructions from Washington, or by local counsel employed in the vicinity where testi. mony was to be taken. In each of these cases counsel acted under written instructions from myself, as full and specific as a careful exam. ination of each case could enable me to give.
The few cases of American claims against Great Britain were managed in regard to testimony and arguments, by the private counsel of the claimants, I rendering only a general aid and supervision, but not assuming the responsibility either of taking the proofs or preparing the arguments.