In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to Hamilton Fish, 8 November 1871

Date: November 8, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.03456

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, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Melanie Krupa

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Nov. 8, 1871.

Hon. Hamilton Fish,

Secretary of State.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st inst. in relation to the action of Mr. Henry Weller, Acting Governor of New Mexico, in reprieving William Knorr, convicted of "removing from postage stamps the canceling or defacing marks thereon, with intent to use the same a second time."

Under the 3d section of the Act organizing said Territory, the Governor may grant reprieves for offences against the laws of the United States, until the decision of the President can be made known thereon. (9th U.S. Stat. p. 447-8.) Mr. Weller has exercised this power in the case of Knorr.

Applications to the President for the pardon of Knorr, and remonstrances against the pardon, are in this office.

Upon examination of the evidence, I do not feel at liberty to recommend to the President that he grant a pardon. But, in view of the facts that the reprieve was asked by one hundred and six citizens of New Mexico, by Col. Gordon Granger, and seven other officers of the Army, in which Knorr was a Sergeant, and that the case was so doubtful that the jury deliberated ten hours before coming to a verdict, I cannot see that it was in the least censurable in Mr. Weller to grant the reprieve. The sentence was, to imprisonment for one year in the penitentiary at Jefferson City, Missouri, and to pay a fine of Five hundred dollars. The distance of the place of confinement from New Mexico is a good reason why the execution of the sentence should have been temporarily suspended, if there were any reason to anticipate a pardon.

Very respectfully, &c.

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

case of William Knorr
New Mex.
p. 453


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