New Ark—New Jersey July 24th 1806
My friend and Neighbour Col Thomas Ward being about to go to the City of Washington and being yet in Difficulty in consequence of having employed a Man to Drive his Mail Stage who was Disqualified by Law—I have taken the liberty of addressing a few lines to you respecting his situation.
You will no doubt recollect his having presented a Petition for a pardon of the above offence last Spring—that Mr. Fletcher and myself in company with Col Ward waited on you a day or two before Congress was on the Subject—but Col Ward not having been Convicted no relief could then be granted—Since that he has been Convicted, and fined & now wishes to renew his Application for a Pardon—I understand the Law respecting mail drivers is Construed Differently—some Lawyers are of opinion that Col Ward is only liable to as many prosecutions as he has Employed unlawful Drivers, and Under this Opinion and Construction of the Law, he has been prosecuted—but others Seem to think he may be prosecuted for every day the Mail was Driven by such Driver, if not for every Post Office from which he took the Mail—If the latter Opinion should be correct, it may be that the Judgment already Obtained against Col Ward, will not prove a sufficient Bar against others—His Counsel is however (I understand) of Opinion, that the latter Construction of the Law cannot prevail. But as there are different Opinions, seems to think, in case relief shall be granted, that the Pardon may with propriety be so worded, as to prevent further prosecution, (should Any person be so unprincipled as to Attempt it)—This Idea is however barely Suggested and respectfully submitted to your better Opinion—As to the Respectability of Col Wards Character, and Standing in Society, I will only refer you to the Certificate of Mr. Aaron Fletcher and myself which you will find (If my Memory serves me) on the back of the pitition he presented last Spring—Having made particular Enquiry and being fully convincd that neither the public nor any Individual have received the least Injury from the Law having been thus Broken, I feel Desirous that Col Ward should receive as much relief as the Nature Circumstances, and Justice of his case will permit
You will please to excuse the liberty I have taken, and Accept my best wishes for your Health and happiness, and believe me to be with the greatest respect your Obt. Servt.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.