In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Orville Hickman Browning to Stevenson Archer, 22 June 1868

Date: June 22, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: nar.00572

Source: National Archives and Records Administration. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger

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June 22, 1868.

Hon. Stevenson Archer,

House of Representatives.


In response to your oral request, I have to say that the application of Charles M. Swagar for a special pardon has been examined in this office. Mr. Swagar represents on oath that he participated in the predatory expedition known as the St. Alban's raid, in October, 1864, while in the military service of the so-called Confederate States; and his object is, to procure a pardon for that offence.

I find that among the persons excepted from the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation of 29th May, 1865, are "all persons who have made raids into the United States, from Canada." If that exception still exists, the present applicant has not yet received a full pardon for participating in the rebellion, and stands in need of a special warrant. But the later proclamation, issued on the 7th September, 1867, is therein declared to be for the purpose of opening and further extending the "full and beneficent pardon" conceded by previous proclamations, and declares that "the following persons, and no others, are excluded from the benefits of this proclamation, and of the said proclamation of the 29th of May, 1865, namely"— these words being followed by sundry specific exceptions, among which the exception above quoted from the Proclamation of May, 1865, is not found. It is therefore revoked, and there is no doubt that Mr. Swagar has been already pardoned for any offence embraced in the words, "all persons who have made raids into the United States from Canada," if he has complied with that condition of the amnesty which requires him to take the proper oath, and conform to the regulations prescribed by the Department of State.

Mr. Swagar, being thus in contemplation of law an innocent man, there is no proper occasion for exercising the pardoning power, and I therefore decline to recommend Executive action in the premises.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Attorney General adinterim


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