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LINCOLN, Abraham Manuscript document signed ("Abraham Lincol...

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Estimate: US$10,000 - US$15,000
Price realised:  US$10,625
Lot number 240, Views: 64

LINCOLN, Abraham. Manuscript document signed ("Abraham Lincoln"), as President, and counter-signed by Secretary of State William Seward ("William H. Seward"), Washington, 26 March 1863. 2 pages, folio, large paper Seal of the United States, slight closed tear at fold, pasted paper slip over the words "of rape" .
LINCOLN, Abraham. Manuscript document signed ("Abraham Lincoln"), as President, and counter-signed by Secretary of State William Seward ("William H. Seward"), Washington, 26 March 1863. 2 pages, folio, large paper Seal of the United States, slight closed tear at fold, pasted paper slip over the words "of rape" . LINCOLN PARDONS A CONVICTED RAPIST BECAUSE OF THE "DISORDERLY AND VICIOUS CONDUCT" OF HIS ACCUSER An exceptional rarity, as Lincoln acts at the behest of Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Edgar Cowan, to pardon a man convicted and imprisoned for the crime of rape. A District of Columbia jury in March 1860 convicted John Eberling and three other men of rape, and sentenced Eberling to 10 years imprisonment. But "whereas it is shewn that [Eberling] was convicted of the aforesaid offense solely on the testimony of an abandoned woman, who was afterwards herself imprisoned for disorderly and vicious conduct;...and whereas the Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, the Hon. Edgar Cowan, and other highly respectable citizens have petitioned me in his behalf," Lincoln grants Eberling "a full and unconditional pardon." In the text of the pardon, the words "of rape" are primly concealed beneath a pasted slip of paper, but nevertheless still clearly discernible. There is only one other instance recorded in auction records for the last 35 years of Lincoln pardoning a man for rape, a 26 March 1863 pardon for John Doherty (sold Sotheby's, 26 October 1988, lot 117, $2,500), presumably one of Eberling's co-defendants.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana
Date of the auction: 4 Dec 2009
Address: Christie's
4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Center