Folio leaf, folded to  pp. The Letter on the first page, followed by two blank pages. Addressed to Donnell on the final page, and docketed with Wirt's signature, "Wm. Wirt Atto. Genl. U.S." Folded for mailing. Broken wax seal obscures two words [which are easily identified]. Very Good.
Wirt was U.S. Attorney General at the time of this Letter, having been appointed such in 1818. The job was important-- the representation of the United States before the U.S. Supreme Court. This was not deemed a full-time responsibility. "Because the duties of the office were much narrower than those of other cabinet officials, the attorney general received lower pay. Congress expected attorneys general to supplement their incomes by maintaining private law practices" [Klepper, 'The Elite Federal Bar in Baltimore 1818-1834,' in 'The Federal Lawyer' July 2011, page 32].
Wirt writes in his capacity as a private practitioner, representing the Bank of the United States. Maryland's hostility to the BUS had manifested itself a few years earlier, when it attempted to tax the Bank out of existence. Chief Justice Marshall and the Supreme Court thwarted its efforts in the landmark case of McCulloch vs. Maryland . Despite the defeat, Marylanders were not deterred: Wirt's case involved the Bank's efforts to recoup loans made to speculators, whose losses rendered them unable to repay. The trial was moved from Baltimore, where hostility to the Bank was most intense, to the hamlet of Bel Air, about thirty miles northeast. See, Hammond, BANKS AND POLITICS IN AMERICA FROM THE REVOLUTION TO THE CIVIL WAR 268-272 [Princeton U. Press: 1991].
Having established his practice in Baltimore, Wirt felt inconvenienced by the trial's removal. He therefore seeks additional compensation for travel expenses. In its entirety, this Letter explains, "My engagements have been of such a character as to disable me from answering your letter of the 28th ulto. till now. I saw and conversed with General Harper last evening as to the probable time of trial at Belle Air and the fee. He thinks that the trial will take place about the 15th of this month: the fee he states at $1000-- $200 in hand and $800 at the time of trial. I take it for granted that the Supreme court will rise in time to allow me to meet the trial on the 15th. The fee I do not object to- but as Belle Air is out of my range, and the detention there may be very considerable, I presume you will have no objection to add, as has been usual between us, the travelling expenses-- please give me your answer on this head-- I remain very respectfully | your obedt serv. | Wm Wirt." Item #35345