Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Berry, [on or before 1 June 1802]

From John Berry

[on or before 1 June 1802]

The Petition John Berry of Georgetown District of Columbia Respectfully Sheweth

That he has been indited and fined in two Cases as it will appear by the Annexed transcripts, and by Virtue thereof confined in the Goal of the City and County of Washington District of Columbia, Since the twenty sixth day of March Last past, is unable to pay the fine or Costs accruing thereon or any part thereof—

That he has subsisted ever since partly on what the Unfortunate Debtors confined in the Debtors Appartement of said Gaol thought Proper to spare him

That he has an aged mother that has been theis six years past and now is depending for House rent fire wood and other support from what can be spared from his hard earings—

To add to both their missfortunes about fourteen days Since he met with the Missfortune as to Break his Leg—is unable to move without help and may be considered at Present as an object of Charity,

Therefore he trusts and hopes that your Excellency will be pleased to take the Premises into your consideration and grant him relief by remiting said fines and your Petitioner will as in duty bound ever pray—

John Berry
his × mark

RC (DNA: RG 59, GPR); undated; in an unidentified hand, signed by Berry with his mark; at head of text: “To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esquire President of the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 June and so recorded in SJL with notation “petn for remitmt. of fines, viz 10.01 D for trespasses”; also endorsed by TJ: “petn for pardon”; with notations by John Thomson Mason, Uriah Forrest, Dr. John Bullus, and Daniel Carroll Brent relinquishing their fees in the case, with Brent adding that “the Jailor must be consulted to know whether he will relinquish his.” Enclosures: (1) Statement of Henry Dunlap, Thomas Davis, and Everard Gary, undated, citizens and residents of Washington, D.C., declaring that they have known John Berry “for some years past” and believe him to be the only source of support for his mother (MS in same; in an unknown hand, signed by Dunlap, Davis, and Gary; written on verso of Berry’s petition). (2) Summary of fines and costs incurred by two indictments by the U.S. Circuit Court against Berry; the first of which was for a breach of the peace, carrying a fine 1 cent plus costs of $10 for attorney fees, $5 for marshal’s fees, and “562 ½” for costs of the Mayor’s Court; the second indictment was for a breach of the peace on Samuel Gardner with a fine of $10 plus costs of $10 for attorney fees, $4.50 for marshal’s fees, and $26.25 for witnesses (MS in same; in Uriah Forrest’s hand; attested by Forrest as clerk of court).

On 2 June, TJ issued a remission of Berry’s fines (FC in Lb in same).

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