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Abraham Lincoln Signed Pardon, November 1864.Go Back
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Abraham Lincoln Signed Pardon, November 1864.
Presidential pardons and writs of clemency date to our early republic. They often make good reading, but they invariably ignite an uproar of celebration or equally, sullen indignation. In our recent history, such notables as Caspar Weinberger and Tokyo Rose have been pardoned (Bush and Ford respectively). One of our favorites was Reagan’s executive forgiveness granted to moonshine runner, Junior Johnson. One of the more prolific in exercising judicial reversals was Abraham Lincoln. Admittedly, his tenure coincided with our tragic domestic war, yet his many pardons were often sharply criticized. It’s said that the tears of a grieving woman would put Lincoln’s pen to the paper. On November 19, 1864 – coincidentally, the first anniversary of his address in Gettysburg – he signed this order pardoning one James Walsh. Now, we don’t know who this Walsh guy was – maybe he was a contractor who bilked the government, or maybe he was simply a sentry who dozed off in Chancellorsville. Whoever he may have been, it was by this stroke of Lincoln’s hand that neutralized all that adjudication that got Walsh in hot water to begin with. This is a sensational piece as most Lincoln signatures are signed “A. Lincoln”, but this one projects the conscientious and immediately legible “Abraham Lincoln.” The document is a single-sheet form providing lined space for the unique details to be entered by hand and, in turn, signed and dated by the Chief Executive. The instrument is neatly, but multi-folded, with virtually no disruption to the script or signature – fully worthy of 10 in quality and intensity. The pardon is embellished by a plaqued portrait of the 16th President, and together, they are gloriously matted and framed to 18 1/2″ x 27″. This is a marvelous piece; one abundantly suitable for the harshest collecting critic.