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Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) [Presidential pardon of Benjamin Wood, who had been convicted in December 1857 in the District of Columbia of manslaughter].

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02789 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Document signed Date: 8 June 1861 Pagination: 2 p. 41 x 27 cm

Summary of Content: Wood was pardoned by Lincoln because it is believed that he was insane at the time of the offense, because it was his first offense, and because the jurors at his trial and others had petitioned for his release. Countersigned by Secretary of State William Seward.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States of America.
To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greetings:

Whereas, it appears that at the August Term, 1857, of the Criminal Court ...of the District of Columbia, Benjamin Wood was indicted and convicted of manslaughter, and was by the said Court sentenced to be imprisoned in the Penitentiary of said District for the term of eight years from and after the 28th day of January, 1858;-
And whereas, the District attorney of the United States for the said District of Columbia, has reported to me that the said Benjamin Wood was pure in morals and amiable in disposition, and was in all probability laboring under temporary insanity when he committed this offence;-
And whereas, the said Benjamin Wood has now served out more than three years of his said term of imprisonment, and it appears that this was his first offence, and that previous to its commission he had born an unexceptionable character;
And whereas, the jurors who tried the said Benjamin Wood, together with a large number of other highly respectable citizens of the said the District of Columbia, have earnestly besought me to extend the Executive clemency;-
Now therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, have granted, and do hereby grant into him, the said Benjamin Wood, a full and unconditional pardon.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this
Twenty-seventh day of September, A.D
1861, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-sixth.

Abraham Lincoln
By the President

William Seward.
Secretary of State
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People: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: PresidentCrimeCriminals and OutlawsGovernment and CivicsLawPardonMental Health

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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