“A full pardon and amnesty”

“A full pardon and amnesty”

Like many other former Confederates, Thomas Clemson asked for and received a presidential pardon after the Civil War.  The pardon is one of the documents on display in the exhibit “The Founding of Clemson University: A Confluence of People, Ideas, Time and Place” in the Special Collections Library exhibit area. 

 “Whereas Thos. G. Clemson of Anderson District, South Carolina, by taking part in the late rebellion against the Government of the United States, has made himself liable to heavy pains and penalties; And whereas the circumstances of his case render him a proper object of Executive clemency;  Now therefore let it be known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, diverse other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant to the said Thos. G. Clemson a full pardon and amnesty for all offences by him committed and arising from participation, direct or implied, in the said rebellion, conditioned as follows:

1st. This pardon to be of no effect until the said Thos. G. Clemson shall take the oath prescribed in the Proclamation of the President dated May 29th, 1865

2d. To be void and of no effect if the said Thos. G. Clemson shall hereafter, at any time, acquire any property whatever in slaves, or make use of slave labor.

3d. That the said Thos. G. Clemson first pay all costs which may have accrued in any proceedings instituted or pending against his person or property, before the date of the acceptance of this warrant.

4th. That the said Thos. G. Clemson shall not, by virtue of this warrant, claim any property or the proceeds of any property that has been sold by the order, judgment, or decree of a court under the confiscation laws of the United States.

5th That the said Thos. G. Clemson shall notify the Secretary of State, in writing, that he has received and accepted the foregoing pardon.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, the Eighteenth day of May A.D. 1866, and of the Independence of the United States the Ninetieth.

By the President: Andrew Johnson

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

TGC pardon page 1


Clemson’s letter of application for the pardon, which is housed with military records in the National  Archives in Washington D.C., includes his signature on an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

TGC pardon application oath

image from Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.