James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Mark and Thomas Winslow, 7 July 1812 (Abstract)

§ From Mark and Thomas Winslow

7 July 1812. “The Petition of Mark Winslow Thomas Winslow and James Stewart respectfully sheweth that they have been severally indicted and your said petitioners Mark and Thomas Winslow convicted (they having pleaded Guilty) of forging bank notes as by the annexed Certificate will appear.… Your petitioners … have acknowledged their guilt & made all the reparation in their power by disclosing every circumstance within their knowledge which could tend to stop the evils resulting from this crime & a powerful combination to carry it on with success.” Claim to be “desirous to atone for their vices by the honest industry of their future lives,” and request that JM “grant them a pardon as they have already severely suffered for their offences.”1

RC and enclosure (DLC). 1 p. Undated; date assigned here on the basis of an enclosed copy of Mark and Thomas Winslow’s 7 July 1812 court record.

1The Winslows and their unconvicted associate, James Stewart, had evidently garnered the support of a number of powerful individuals by the time their cases went to court. On 9 June, John Mason, president of the Bank of Columbia, wrote a letter on their behalf. Addressing Walter Jones, an attorney for the District of Columbia who appears to have defended the accused counterfeiters, Mason explained that the prisoners had been “very useful in enabling us to detect a number of counterfeiters, as well as to get hold of much false money and Plates.” Mason was “authorized to say on the part of the Banks concerned and of the Magistrates who apprehended them here, we should very gladly see their punishment, if any, made as light as possible” (DLC). On 7 July, Jones reiterated Mason’s views for the court, requesting that “all the mitigating circumstances” be taken into consideration when sentence was determined (DLC). These letters were probably read by JM, who granted the Winslows a pardon on 19 Dec. 1812. By that time they had served their entire six-month sentence, but they were spared the payment of fines amounting to one hundred dollars and court costs (DNA: RG 59, PPR).

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