Front Page Titles (by Subject) a bill granting free pardon to certain offenders 1 - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
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a bill granting free pardon to certain offenders 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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a bill granting free pardon to certain offenders1
v. s. a.
[May 14, 1778.]
Whereas the American Congress by their resolution passed on the 23d day of April last past, reciting that persuasion & influence, the example of the deluded or wicked, the fear of danger or the calamities of war, may have induced some of the subjects of these states to join, aid, or abet the British forces in America, and who, tho’ now desirous of returning to their country, may be deterred by the fear of punishment: and that the people of these states are ever more ready to reclaim than to abandon, to mitigate than to increase the horrors of war, to pardon than to punish offenders: did recommend to the legislatures of the several states to pass laws, or to the executive authority of each state, if invested with sufficient power, to issue proclamations, offering pardon, with such exceptions, and under such limitations and restrictions, as they shall think expedient, to such of their inhabitants or subjects, as have levied war against any of these states, or adhered to, aided or abetted the enemy, and shall surrender themselves to any civil or military officer of any of these states, & shall return to the state to which they may belong before the 10th day of June next: and did further recommend to the good & faithful citizens of these states to receive such returning penitents with compassion and mercy, & to forgive & bury in oblivion their past failings and transgressions.
Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that full and free pardon is hereby granted to all such persons without any exception who shall surrender themselves as aforesaid, and shall take the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth within one month after their return thereto.
[1 ]On May 13th, leave was given to Jefferson, Page, Lawson, and Meriwether Smith to prepare this bill, which was introduced by Jefferson, and read for the first and second times on May 14th. It was read for the third time and passed by the House of Delegates on May 18th, but was thrown out in the Senate. It is printed from the draft in Jefferson’s handwriting.