The President Orders the Release of Jefferson Davis

June 16, 1866

Summary

President Johnson intends to release Davis on parole, but understands Republicans want him admitted to bail. This request for bail is denied, and the trial has been put off even longer- Johnson no longer wants to be responsible for holding Davis as prisoner.

Transcription

I believe I am safe in saying that the President has written the order for the release of Jefferson Davison parole, and that it will be immediately sent to General Miles. The President announced his intention to do this to the Cabinet on the 8th instant. But he was aware at the time that there was an effort being made, not by the counsel of Mr. Davis, but by Horace Greeley and several other influential members of the Republican party, to get the prisoner admitted to bail. He knew that this application would be referred by "Judge" Underwood to Chief Justice Chase, if, indeed, it would not be made directly to the latter. He desired to wait, therefore, to see what action the Chief Justice would take in the matter. But now that the application to admit the prisoner to bail has been refused; and now that the trial has been postponed nominally till October, really till December, the President is not willing to take the responsibility of keeping Jefferson Davis in prison any longer. It is no secret to those who are behind the scenes, that there never has been any purpose on the part of the Radicals who control matters here, or on the part of the Chief Justice, or on the part of the Attorney-General, to have Mr. Davis tried in the civil courts. They know too well that the result of such a trial would be a full and honorable acquittal. Hence the various obstacles which have been thrown in the way of a trial for many months past. Hence the recent postponement of the trial, under the most flimsy pretexts, till October.- Washington Correspondence New York News. We give the above for what it is worth. We have little faith in the truth of the statement that Mr. Davis is to be released at once.
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Contributed By

Brooke Beam

Identifier

BeamBrooke-18660616-ThePresidentOrderstheRelease.pdf

Citation

“The President Orders the Release of Jefferson Davis,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 18, 2017, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/220.