Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Jacob Coleman, 20 August 1806

Philadelphia Gaol August 20th 1806

The petition of Jacob Coleman most respectfully represents

That your petitioner was convicted on his own confession at the last Circuit Court of the United States holden for the District of Pennsylvania April Sessions 1806 of having taken from the Mail of the United States the sum of one hundred and thirty dollars, and was sentenced to receive publickly twenty stripes and to be imprisoned for the space of five years, in conformity to the laws of the United States—

That your Excellency was pleased to remit and pardon that part of the sentence which ordered the public whipping—

Your petitioner begs leave again to call your Excellency’s attention to his unhappy situation and to implore the further extension of the prerogative of mercy lodged by the Constitution in the hands of the President of the United States. Your Petitioner omits to mention his deep repentance for the crime he has committed, sensible that pretensions of that kind are easily made and often insincere; for satisfaction on this head he can only refer to his former course of life and his conduct in confinement—

He hopes that it may not be considered impertinent in him to represent to your Excellency, that deprived by his confinement of the means as well as opportunity to earn a subsistence, he unwillingly adds, by their contribution to his maintenance, to the labour of his aged Parents who are already struggling under difficulties to support themselves and their other children. It is with the most poignant grief he adds that the health of his mother has been effected, and her life continues in danger from the misconduct and consequent punishment of Your Petitioner

In conclusion, he earnestly intreats your Excellency’s consideration of the matters he has thus briefly stated; he does not attempt to excuse his offence; he feels and acknowledges it’s enormity. it will however be recollected that he has suffered an imprisonment of several months in the hot season of the year: he hopes that his course of life previous to the perpetration of the deed for which he now suffers, the respectable example of his parents, and the recollection of his own sufferings, will induce your Excellency to beleive that his enlargement will be attended by a reformation in his future life and conversation—And as in duty bound your Petitioner shall ever pray &c

Jacob Coleman

DNA: RG 59—GPR—General Pardon Records.

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