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Pardon granted to a man who ran an illegal card game in Washington, D.C.
Manuscript LS: "James Buchanan" as President and "J.S. Black" as Secretary of State, 3p, 10¼x16½. Washington, D.C., 1861 January 3. In part: "Whereas it appears that at the June Term, 1860, of the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, William H. Marquis was convicted on an indictment charging him with keeping a faro bank in the City of Washington, and on the tenth day of August 1860, was sentenced to suffer imprisonment and labor in the Penitentiary of the District of Columbia for the term of three years, the execution of which sentence was ordered to be postponed until and commence on the Monday first...And whereas, the conviction of the said Marquis is the first conviction under a statute which has been in force nearly thirty years, but had remained unexecuted on account of the severity of its penalties; And whereas, the said Marquis has already been confined in the common jail for the District of Columbia for nearly five months, and has been recommended for Executive clemency by many members of the bar of the Criminal Court for said District, by many highly respectable citizens of Washington and by the Attorney of the United States who prosecuted him; Now therefore, be it known, that I, James Buchanan, President of the United States of America...have commuted and by these presents do commute the sentence of imprisonment in the Penitentiary of the District of Columbia for the term of three years into imprisonment in the common jail of the District of Columbia for the period of one year; that is to say, I have granted and do hereby grant unto him the said William H. Marquis a pardon...." The game called a faro bank is played with a pack of cards displayed on the table so the face of each card may be seen by the spectators. The man who keeps the bank (in this case it was William H. Marquis) sits by the table with another pack of cards and a bag of money or chips. Suppose a player wishes to bet $5. He puts $5 on a card. The banker shuffles his pack and places his cards alternately into two piles, one on the right, the other on the left, until he reaches the same card on which the player bet his money. If that card is on the right, the banker, Marquis, picks up the $5. If on the other on the left, Marquis pays the player $5. Several people are usually playing at the same time. By Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President has the "Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States". Docketed on verso. 2¼-inch paper seal affixed at left with red wax. Folds. The mid-vertical and horizontal folds had separated, and have been repaired with plastic tape. Vertical, shaded fold touches the "c" in Buchanan and the "B" in Black. Transfer of seal touches some words on first page. Some ink blots. The "na" in Buchanan is smudged. 1x¼-inch paper loss at top edge of p.2.

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Born: April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Born: January 10, 1810 in Stony Creek, Pennsylvania
Died: August 19, 1883 in York, Pennsylvania

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