Are Such Men Fit to Be at Liberty?

May 18, 1865 (Thursday)

On this date, another letter was sent to President Andrew Johnson. Like the previous one, it was filled with violent threats. This one, however, streamed from the North rather than the South.

Dear President

Johnson pardoning Rebels in October 1865.
Johnson pardoning Rebels in October 1865.

I do feel unworthy to write to you, but because the trouble We have out North here, with the copperheds, I can not live without letter you know about it. They rejoice in Lincoln’s death & you know that they would like to see your downfall & they talk hard against the Government, but they talk verry soft words about old Jeff & Lee & McLelan & all of the traitors & leading rebells of the cursed South.

Now Mr President are such men fit to live with us at the north. We have tared & fethered som of them & if they are not carfull I am afraid som of them will be hung. Now Mr President are such men fit to bee at liberty? I think they ought to have som punishment or put in prison or confisicate there property, & now Mr President I wish if there could bee some bill or act passed to som affect to punish those copperheds or Southern Simpthisers. I am willing to do all in my power to asist to put them down So the name of C.h will Sink to oblivion.

I feel verry glad that you are eusing the rebells rough. They deserve it. I hope you will get old Jeff & all of which you ahve offered such big rewards, & hang all of them 500 ft high & all of the rebells officers & Slave holders. N.B. If I could leve I would go & try to aketch some of them that you offer rewards for. I wouldent want better funn.

Well Dear President I must close those few lines. Hoping that the Lord will keep you from all harm & give you Wisdom & Bless you, is my furvant prayer.

Yours with much Respect
Your Unworthy Servant E.A. Thomas

It is likely that this letter was sent by Elias A. Thomas from McHenry County, Ill. He was a farmer, living, as he said, fifty-five miles northwest of Chicago. In and around that county, there had been reports of recent Copperhead activity.1

  1. As printed in The Papers of Andrew Johnson: May – August of 1865. []


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