Fifth Auditor in the Treasury Department, Stephen Pleasonton writes to Justice Jacob Livingston Sutherland about Liens

Date Written

June 24, 1822

Stephen Pleasonton was 46 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Jacob Livingston Sutherland, was 35 when it was received.

Stephen Pleasonton died 32 years, 7 months, 7 days after writing this.
It was written 201 years, 2 months, 30 days ago.
It was a Monday.

Treasury Department
Fifth Auditor’s Office
June 24, 1822


I have received your letter of the 8th inst. You can have no difficulty, I apprehend, in establishing our lien of Sheldon’s and Gale’s property anterior to the date of the Judgement bond which the latter gave to his brother. By the 6th section of the act of Congress of August 2nd , 1813, it is provided “that the amount of all debts due to the United States by nay collector of internal duties, whether secured by bond or otherwise, shall, and is hereby declared to be a lien upon the lands and real estate of such collector and his securities, if he should have given bond, from the time when suit shall be instituted for the recovery of the same.” Now in the case of Sheldon Suit was directed to be instituted against Josiah Sheldon and John Gale his surety on 2nd April 1819, and if the District Attorney chose to take a judgement on a cognovit in lien of issuing the usual process and obtaining judgement thereon, I cannot believe that any Court will consider that step as defeating our right of lien, particularly as the bond of Gale to his brother, appears to have been given after he had a knowledge of the instructions of the attorney to institute suit, and with the unfair view of placing his property beyond our reach. Mr. Skinner, the former attorney, could probably afford you useful information on the subject.

If you should find that Gale’s property is no otherwise embarrassed by the collusive transfer of it under the bond given by him to his brother, you will cause the sale to take place at the suit of the United States; assuring the purchaser of indemnity in the amount paid by him, in ease the prior lien of the United States should not ultimately be established.

I have the honor to be,
Respectfully, Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
S. Pleasonton
Agent of the Treasury

Jacob Sutherland, Esqr.

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