Letter from J. F. Boulden to Governor Ames

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Letter from Jesse Freeman Boulden to Governor Ames, requesting the commutation of a death sentence for a prisoner named Green Henry.



Document at the Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project. Original held at the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.

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Columbus Miss Jan 8th/75

To his excellency.
Gov A Ames.

Dear sir it may be possible that the subject upon which I open correspondince may be an undue interferance with the juditial, & executive departements, & if so I hope I may be pardoned for the liberty I take, for I am sure I do not intend anything of the kind; but I act from feelings of pure humanity, unsolicite, & even without consultation. Known to your honour, doubtless, there are those prisoners in our Jail under the sentence of death, & since their conviction they have had but little spiritual advice outside of what I have have gave, & I am free to confess I have not gave them as much as I might. But be that as it may, I want to call your special attention to Green Williams, who the Hon W Bliss says is a poor Devil without any friends. For the other two their Attornies are filing bills of exception. But poor Green no one appears to care for his soul, & I do not know that I ought to you either about pardon or commutation, but after visiting him today & conversing with on the circumstances leading to his crime, & remembering what Lawyer Bliss said but a few days ago I thought I might without doing any violence venture to say a word to you. He acknowledges his crime, & says he done it because he was actuelly afraid of the man he killed, who threttend to kill him & as he understood it was going to get his gun apast whose house he had to go to get home, & as he had been positive about what he was going to doo, thought he would stop him before he got it. Green manifests great sorrow for his act. I have talked & prayed with all those men, but have never questioned any of them upon the circumstances leading to their crime untill today, & after conversing soariously with Green, knowing according the sentence he only had a week from today to live, I felt it to be my duty to lay his case before you as I understand it. It might be proper for me to state just here I know nothing of Green's antisedants. I only know him as a prisoner, & now it is with greate hesitancey that I ask for anything. For pardon I would not dare to ask. But might you not find a place in your clomoncy, where his sentence might be changed from hanging to solitarry confinement, for a number of years. Green is quite young, scarce arrived to his majority: & he declairs he would never do the like again. Moste excellent sir I fear I have troubled you with a too volluminess a letter, & if so I hope you will pardon me for that or any other inovation on my part. In doing this I feel I feel have discharged a grave duty, as the boy appears to be without friends as Mr Bliss says, & now if he hangs I shall feel I have done my duty, & if his sentence is commuted I shall feel I have rendered him some very important service.

I am Sir your Obediant Servant.
J F. Boulden




Boulden, Jesse Freeman, 1820-1899, “Letter from J. F. Boulden to Governor Ames,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed October 3, 2023, http://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/2246.

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