Friday, July 5, 2013

Friend of Friends Friday: Reprieves and Pardons

Alexandria Gazette – December 28, 1857

LOCAL ITEMS. REPRIEVES AND PARDONS.--Among the cases of Reprieves and Pardons granted by Gov. Wise, we find the following cases, as given in his Message to the Legislature, on the 7th inst.

… “Two slaves, Elias and Ellen, condemned to be hung by the county court of Prince William for the crime of murder [of George Green], were reprieved by me on the sixth of February last, and the execution of the sentence was ordered to be postponed until the 22d day of May, to enable me to consider deliberately what punishment should be imposed. In this case five slaves were implicated in the murder of their master. All were members of the same family; grand mother, mother, brother, and the two children, Elias and Ellen. They are twins, about 14 years old, and were supposed to be acting under the influence and instigation of the older slaves. The three oldest were executed, which I deemed sufficient for public justice and example; and in consideration of the youth and feeble intellects of the prisoners, I ordered their punishment to be commuted to sale land transportation beyond the limit of the U. States.”

Alexandria Gazette – February 21, 1857

… on page 106 of the Code of Virginia that the 19th section thereof reads thus: “In the case of a slave under sentence of death, the Governor may order a commutation of the punishment, by directing that such slave be sold, to be transported beyond the limits of the United States. The Governor shall cause him to be sold, and the purchaser, before delivery to him of the slave, shall pay into the Treasury the price agreed, and enter into bond, approved by the Governor, in the penalty of one thousand dollars, conditioned that the slave shall within three months be transported beyond the limits of the United States, and shall never afterwards return to the State.”

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