President Write Amnesty for Sister-in-law Emilie Hardin

December 14, 1863

President Lincoln writes out an amnesty for his sister-in-law, Emilie T. Helm: “Mrs. Emily T. Helm, not being excepted from the benefits of the proclamation by the President of the United States issued on the 8th. day of December. 1863, and having on this day taken and subscribed the oath according to said proclamation, she is fully relieved of all penalties and forfeitures, and remitted to all her rights, all according to said proclamation, and not otherwise; and, in regard to said restored rights of person and property, she is to be protected and afforded facilities as a loyal person.”  He added a postscript: “Mrs. Helm claims to on some cotten at Jackson, Mississippi, and also some in Georgia; and I shall be glad, upon either place being brought within our lines, for her to be afforded the proper facilities to show her ownership, and take her property.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes: “This morning early Edward came into the President’s office and announced that Mr. [Fernando] Wood was here to see him.  ‘I am sorry he is here,’ said the President.  ‘I would rather he should not come about here so much.  Tell Mr. Wood that I have nothing as yet to tell him, on the subject we conversed about when he was last here.’  Edward went out to deliver his message.

“‘I can tell you what Wood (F.) Wants,’ said the President to me.  ‘He came here one day last week to urge me to publish some sort of amnesty for the northern sympathizers and abettors of the rebellion, which would include Vallandigham, and permit him to return; and promised that if I would do so, they would have two Democratic candidates in the field at the next Presidential election.”

Former Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes in his diary: “Up early and went to Willard’s Hotel to breakfast with Dr L W Brown.  After breakfast went with him to the Presidents to try and get Henry Warfield, a lad of 18 years old, a rebel Prisoner at Camp Douglas, and a brother in law of Dr Brown, committed to the custody of the Dr — Got a proliminary order which was finally completed after passing thro several offices to the Commissary of prisoners.  The President told me his sister in law, Mrs. Helm was in the house, but he did not wish it known.  She wished an order for the protection of some Cotton she had at Jackson, Mississippi.  He thought she ought to have it, but he was afraid he would be censured if he did so.”

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “The President’s Message, and the accompanying Proclamation [of Amnesty], are universally applauded here, and I am sorry to se that some professedly loyal prints at the North extend to it s chilling and suspicious a greeting.  One would think, to read their viciously penned leaders, that the ‘old gentleman at the White House,’ as they civilly call h8im, had suddenly become metamorphosed into the deepest and most designing of intriguers for personal popularity.” Stoddard said if critics “will examine with due care the reports of the condition of affairs, political and military, in large portions of Louisiana and Arkansas, and in almost the whole of Tennessee, they will be apt to discover a very considerable degree of preparation for the efficient action of such a plan of reconstruction and pardon as the President has promulgated.”

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Published in: on December 14, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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