Monticello Aug. 12. 06.
Your favor of the 3d. is recieved on the subject of a pardon to the Poulsons & Shad. it has been an invariable rule with me never to pardon but on the recommendation of the judges who sat on the trial or of one of them & the Attorney of the district. from this I have never departed in a single instance; and were it to be departed from, it would let loose the power of pardon to be exercised without rule or compass. I therefore now return you the petition in order that the judges & district attorney may have an opportunity of giving their opinion on it. I find the less difficulty in making this apology to you because I know that no one will more approve of it. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of constant esteem & respect.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.