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Petition for Mr. Davis' release. [from the Richmond times, July 12, 1896.]

To the Editor of the Times.
Sir,—Every incident connected with President Davis is of great interest. I accidentally found this item a few days ago:

The ladies of Petersburg petition for the pardon of Jefferson Davis.

The following petition, signed by over six hundred ladies of Petersburg, has been forwarded to his Excellency, President Johnson, praying for the pardon of Jefferson Davis. This method of reaching the President, has been adopted in other States and cities, and the appeal for clemency in behalf of the great state prisoner, bids fair to become universal throughout the land over which he lately ruled. Will the President disregard the earnest prayers of so large a portion of the nation?

Petersburg, October, 1865.
President Johnson:
Honored Sir,—We, the ladies of the Cockade City of Virginia, approach your Excellency requesting executive clemency for our beloved captive head, late President Jefferson Davis, who is [241] bound to each one of our section of the land by the indissoluble ties of friendship, love, and veneration. Called by the unanimous voice of the people of the South to lead them (as Joshua of old), he accepted the honor of being enshrined in the history of the nation as its chief, forced there by the free suffrage of a united people. From the moment of his coercion up to the hour of his capture, he commanded the respect, not only of the people of the late Confederate States, but of the world at large, and especially of the United States Government. His opinions were received everywhere as the will of the people, whose mouthpiece he was. He has our love for every virtue which adorned the Christian, the gentleman, and the patriot, shown forth in every act with the brilliancy of the morning sun, reflecting honor upon his country, dignity upon his government, and purity upon the social circle. Our veneration—for called by eight millions of freemen to rule, every creed and political party gave in immediate and unrestrained obedience, followed where he pointed the way, obeyed without a murmur the law promulgated by his council, and cheerfully gave up every comfort for the public good at his suggestion. Now we lie powerless at the feet of a victorious government. Our brave brothers sleep in their honored graves, or walk beside bearing on their persons marks of the fierce conflict which has tried their courage and manliness, with every comfort buried in the general wreck of war. With naught but their energies and honor remaining, having given in their adhesion to the laws of the land, and taken the oaths of fidelity to the government, they have become quiet citizens of the same, only asking to be permitted to remove the numerous vestiges of the conflict, which you, sir, seem, not only willing, but determined to accord to us. With your hand upon the helm (Constitutional Right), you are giving a sublime picture to the world of heroic fortitude. The tempest, though subsiding, still causes the ship of state to plunge and reel, yet, upheld by justice and patriots of the land, she may be anchored in the safe haven of the ‘Constitutional Rights’ as laid down by our noble sires.

The ark was borne upon the waters of wrath, yet lifted to the summit of a mountain, it there remained a monument of God's mercy, and from it a dove was sent, which returned with an olive branch. Will you not send out the dove (hope), to him whose only fault was, ‘He did not reject the dangerous honor with more stability?’ Will you not permit the Government to the ark, now borne above the waters of strife, and its chief banner the olive [242] branch? Grant this, sir, so that the prayers of wives, mothers, and children may ascend to the Throne of Grace from the deepest recesses of their hearts, not only for the welfare of the country, but also for your long life and prosperity.

You would feel that you had not only committed an act of justice, but mercy, to release one whose days are numbered, whose feet are already chilled by the breeze from that unseen, undiscovered country, and to hear in your dreams (as in your waking moments), borne upon the wings of the howling winter tempests, the whispered zephyrs of spring, the hum of the summer's life and the soft, dewy airs of autumn, the prayers from millions of hearts-“ God bless him in time and eternity, for his mercy endureth forever.”

your Petitioners. V. E. Davidson, Petersburg, Va., July 4, 1896.

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