War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0856 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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duties of my place but the memorandum (understood as an application for a pardon) is too informal and too barren of facts on that foundation alone to advise the President to issue the warrant. And if the application were intended to be addressed to this office requesting the exercise of its discretionary powers to stay the prosecution or to enter a nolle prosequi the same necessity exists for some statement of the defensive or mitigating facts. In ignorance of them I should not be warranted in giving the desired instruction to the district attorney. Doubtless if the case be one proper for a pardon the needful facts can be easily supplied.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,



DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, April 3, 1862.

Honorable EDWARD BATES, Attorney-General.

SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of yesterday relative to the case of Gilchrist.

This person was arrested last summer for political reasons and especially for supplying the insurgents with munitions of war. He has been a long time confined in Fort Lafayette, and consequently may under existing circumstances be considered to have been sufficiently punished for his offense, a repetition of which there is now no danger. As there is reason to believe that his discharge would be acceptable to the British Government good policy would seem to indicate that this wish should be gratified.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,



Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

SIR: My absence for a few days and the pressure of certain official matters accumulated in my absence prevented my giving a more prompt attention to your letter of the 3rd of April touching the case of Gilchrist. I now have from the U. S. attorney at Philadelphia a more full statement of the case than is contained in your letters or the memorandum sent you by Lord Lyons, and upon this fuller view I have no objection to the discharge of the prisoner now in Moyamensing jail, moved thereto by the express desire of the British Government sustained by your recommendation. Still there is a question upon which I crave your advice: Shall the discharge be by pardon or by nolle prosequi? The man is in judicial custody under indictment. The pardon will operate upon delivery. The nolle prosequi I believe can only be entered in open court and I do not know when the court sits.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Since writing this letter I have ascertained that the court is in session so I will direct a nolle prosequi.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, April 10, 1862.

Mr. Seward presents his compliments to Lord Lyons and has the honor to inform him that the Attorney-General, to whom his lordship's