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Orville Hickman Browning to Benjamin F. Wade, 13 June 1868

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June 13, 1868. The Honorable B. F. Wade, President protempore of the Senate. Sir: I have the honor herewith to lay before Congress, through you, the petition of Gabriel M. Thomas, of Pickens District, South Carolina, for such pardon and relief as shall remove his political disabilities, so as to enable him to enjoy all privileges of any other citizen of the United States, in holding any office of profit and trust, or exercising any other privilege allowed citizens of the United States, who never did participate in the rebellion; and also a paper which accompanied the petition, consisting of an official statement of F. A. Hoke, Assistant Assessor of the Third Internal Revenue District of South Carolina, in support of the petition: both being addressed to the President. Mr. Hoke, the Revenue Officer, states that Thomas is a good citizen, a farmer,— that he has acted in the capacity of Deputy Sheriff for the District; has served for a time as a volunteer in the rebel forces; that he is an ordinary man in point of education, and has never been in any public situation except that of deputy sheriff.— He does not state what was the military rank of Thomas, but it was probably not above the rank of Brigadier General—most probably that of a private. It is improbable also that this petitioner is among the few classes of persons excepted from the benefits of the President's Proclamation of Amnesty, of the 7th September, 1867. It is not stated in these papers that Thomas has at any time, or under any of the several proclamations, by the present or the late President, availed himself of the pardon and amnesty offered therein, on condition of taking a prescribed oath of allegiance, though such is doubtless the fact. If so, he has already, so far as Executive agency could work that result, been restored to the plenary status of a loyal citizen of the United States. The Assessor states that Mr. Thomas's knowledge of that part of the country, and his experience as Deputy Sheriff, render him well-suited to the office of Deputy Marshal of the United States, a position which, he says, has been tendered Thomas, who could not accept it in consequence of the oath required by law of all United States officers. The Assessor declares that he has been anxious for Thomas to have the position of Deputy Marshal in order to aid him in suppressing illicit distillation in that country, and feels satisfied that Thomas would make an efficient officer of that kind. And with a view to these objects, he asks the President to remove Thomas's disabilities, so that he may accept the office. I have no information touching the matter or the pardon beyond the papers herewith. But as the public object sought by the petitioners, which seems to be worthy of attention, canot​ be promoted by the Executive, as they have erroneously supposed, I have thought it due them to give their Memorial a proper direction. Respectfully, your obedient servant, OH Browning,​ Attorney General adinterim.
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