Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) [Respite of execution for slaver Nathaniel Gordon]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00182 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Document signed Date: 4 February 1862 Pagination: 3 p. ; 41 x 27 cm.

Summary of Content: Countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward. Convicted of engaging in the slave trade, respite granted to allow Gordon to prepare for execution. He was the only slave trader in U.S. history to be executed for that crime and was executed on 21 February 1862 in New York. See story in Harpers Weekly, 8 March 1862, p.150 (ill. p.157).

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

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Death Penalty, Slavery, Criminals and Outlaws, Law, President African American History

Sub Era: The American Civil War African Americans and Emancipation