1½ pages, folio, the text boldly penned by a clerk, on page two, a large papered seal over wax with crisp impression of the Great Seal of the United States, one fold expertly repaired, soiling along folds, small puncture in blank portion. | Christie's" /> LINCOLN, Abraham, <I>President</I>. Document signed ("Abraham Lincoln") as President, countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward ("Wm. H. Seward"), Washington, D.C., 10 May 1864. <I>1½ pages, folio, the text boldly penned by a clerk, on page two, a large papered seal over wax with crisp impression of the Great Seal of the United States, one fold expertly repaired, soiling along folds, small puncture in blank portion</I>. | Christie's
  • Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1922

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    3 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 154

    LINCOLN, Abraham, President. Document signed ("Abraham Lincoln") as President, countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward ("Wm. H. Seward"), Washington, D.C., 10 May 1864. 1½ pages, folio, the text boldly penned by a clerk, on page two, a large papered seal over wax with crisp impression of the Great Seal of the United States, one fold expertly repaired, soiling along folds, small puncture in blank portion.

    Price Realised  

    LINCOLN, Abraham, President. Document signed ("Abraham Lincoln") as President, countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward ("Wm. H. Seward"), Washington, D.C., 10 May 1864. 1½ pages, folio, the text boldly penned by a clerk, on page two, a large papered seal over wax with crisp impression of the Great Seal of the United States, one fold expertly repaired, soiling along folds, small puncture in blank portion.

    "A FULL AND UNCONDITIONAL PARDON" FOR A MUTINEER. This type of document has become noticeably scarce in recent years. "Whereas..., one Alfred Ryder was convicted of Mutiny and sentenced to imprisonment for seven years; And whereas, the said Ryder has now suffered nearly four years of his sentence, and his conduct in confinement has been uniformly exemplary...Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States...in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons...; have granted and do hereby grant unto him..., a full and unconditional pardon...."

    Little is known of Ryder, his act of mutiny or his subsequent life. As President, Lincoln granted clemency to some 331 prisoners convicted in the civil courts, and denied only 81. Lincoln issued twice as many pardons as his predecessor, James Buchanan, and was famously generous with the applications from Union army soldiers convicted of capital offenses. He denied every application to execute a sentry for sleeping at his post, and in 1864 (an election year), issued a blanket order revoking the execution orders for over 60 troops. Several of his generals thought the President's mercy undermined discipline and encouraged desertion. Sherman reportedly boasted that he made sure his prisoners got shot before Lincoln had a chance to pardon them. On the civil side, Attorney General Bates lamented that "in nine cases out of ten," a woman's tears "if nothing else," were "sure to prevail in winning clemency" (Current, 168-169).


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    Pre-Lot Text

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