James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel C. Brent, 11 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Daniel C. Brent

11 January 1805. “Enclosed is a reccommendation of the Court in favor of Jesse Howard.1 May I request, if the President shou’d grant the pardon, that it may be forwarded as soon [as] convenient—the poor fellow has a family who depend upon his exertions for support; & he will be kept in Jail untill the determination of the President is known.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, Petitions for Pardon, no. 80). RC 1 p. Dated 11 Dec. 1804; date assigned here based on the date of the enclosure (see n. 1).

1Brent enclosed a statement from Judges William Cranch and Nicholas Fitzhugh to Jefferson, 11 Jan. 1805 (1 p.), written on the verso of Jesse Howard’s 11 Jan. petition (see n. 2) and marked “Let a pardon issue” by Jefferson on 12 Jan. 1805, recommending that the portion of Howard’s sentence directing corporal punishment be remitted.

2According to Howard’s 11 Jan. 1804 petition to Jefferson (1 p.), signed with his mark, at his trial Howard confessed to taking a wagon wheel belonging to George French from the Anacostia River where it had lain “for a Considerable time,” stating that it “was of little or no value,” and that he had believed his action was not criminal. He was sentenced to a ten-dollar fine and three lashes after a jury found him guilty. Howard asked for a pardon based on his lack of criminal intent and because “his conduct thro’ Life, the above offence excepted, has been marked with no crime or fault.” Also filed with the RC is a 10 Jan. 1804 [1805] certification by District of Columbia circuit court clerk Uriah Forrest (1 p.) that Howard had been indicted, convicted, and sentenced on 24 Dec. 1804. Jefferson’s pardon is dated 12 Jan. 1805 (DNA: RG 59, PPR).

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