President Works on Pardons

May 27, 1863

The president has been dealing with pardons. He writes Connecticut Governor William A. Buckingham: “The execution of Warren Whitmarch is hereby respited or suspended, until further order from me, he to be held in safe custody meanwhile. On receiving this, notify me.”  President Lincoln writes General Robert C. Schenck: “Let the execution of William B. Compton be respited or suspended till further order from me, holding him in safe custody meanwhile. On receiving this, notify me.”

President Lincoln also deals with a patronage vacancy opened up at the Treasury Department by the death of the father-in-law of the late Senator Stephen A. Douglas.  Lincoln writes Secretary Salmon P. Chase: “The office of second comptroller is vacant by the death of Mr. Cutts. Of course I wish your concurrence whenever I shall fill it. I believe the only applicants—whose papers are now before me—are Augustin Chester, late of Connecticut, now of Chicago, and John M. Broadhead, of this city. I herewith inclose their papers to you. I believe they are both competent and worthy gentlemen.”

Responding to the continuing crisis in Missouri, President Lincoln writes General  John M. Schofield, whose appointment to replace General Samuel Curtis, has generated considerable opposition. President Lincoln urges Schofield to take a middle course between the competing political factions in the border state: “Having relieved Gen. Curtis and assigned you to the command of the Department of the Missouri – I think it may be of some advantage for me to state to you why I did it. I did not relieve Gen. Curtis because of any full conviction that he had done wrong by commission or omission. I did it because of a conviction in my mind that the Union men of Missouri, constituting, when united, a vast majority of the whole people, have entered into a pestilent factional quarrel among themselves, Gen. Curtis, perhaps not of choice, being the head of one faction, and Gov. Gamble that of the other. After months of labor to reconcile the difficulty, it seemed to grow worse and worse until I felt it my duty to break it up some how; and as I could not remove Gov. Gamble, I had to remove Gen. Curtis. Now that you are in the position, I wish you to undo nothing merely because Gen. Curtis or Gov. Gamble did it; but to exercise your own judgment, and do right for the public interest. Let your military measures be strong enough to repel the invader and keep the peace, and not so strong as to unnecessarily harrass and persecute the people. It is a difficult role, and so much greater will be the honor if you perform it well. If both factions, or neither, shall abuse you, you will probably be about right. Beware of being assailed by one, and praised by the other.”

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Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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