Gov. Oates Did Not Abuse the Pardoning Power

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Tuskegee News
Place of publication: Tuskegee, Alabama
Date of publication: 7/25/1895

Gov. Oates Did Not Abuse The Pardoning Power. The Tuskegee News criticised Gov. Oates pretty severely for his pardon of hte man Edwards, one of the white-cappers over in Elmore County. The News had the facts as given by the Governor in his letter to that paper along with the pardon and a little card would have obviated the necessity of the Governor’s letter and change of opinion on hte part of hte editor– Adverstiser. From the above we infer that the Advertiser had habits virtuous indignation so thoroughtly arounsed and its loyal sensibilities so wrought up by our wild little exhortion to the governor that it couldnt see straight and consequently did not give the facts clearly. As our severe criticism of Gog Oates has called forth the “empest in a tea-pot” we again print it that it may speak for itself. “Governor Oates has pardoned Alonzo Edwards of Elmore County who was convisted of white capping and sentenced to ten years in the peniterntiary. No convict should be pardoned unless for excellent reasons. A man pardoned by Gov Jones was recenlty engaged in a murderous assault upon two aged ladies for the purpose of robberyand that is only one instance of many in which executive clemency has been abused.” Now we have turned this little paragraph upside down and inside out and can find in it nothing that could be constructed as either severe or offensie to a governor conscious of having done his duty. As to the facts of the case as stated by Gov Oates in his letter to The News they were not generally known and certainly had escpaed us otherwise the governor would hardly have had cause to state that our article been generally published by the state press. No charge was made against Gov Oates either this case or any other. We simply gave our opinion on the subject of pardoning criminals in general and used as an illustration the case of the ex-convict who had been pardoned Gov Jones and who abused executive clemency by shortly retunring to his trade of robbert making two helpless hard working old women the sufferers and leading astray as his companion a man who had before been considered a good citizen. Nor did we condemn Gov Jones action for we knew not upon what evidence he hasd acted in hte matter. We simply gave a fact as stated in hte press and let it speak for itseld. The Advertiser says there is no such thing possible as an abuse of the pardoning power. There certainly is and it has been often done we say not where nor by whom. The Advertiser will doubtless deny in its zeal and deotion to the bosses that a most egregious blunder was committed by Gov Oates in the very outset of his administration by which the State has suffered severely. What was it bu the executive clemency of two administrations that enabled Randolph the defaulter to leave his county with his pockets full of poeples money. But we had not that Randolph case in mind when out famous paragraph was pened. There had not recently occured in this section a case of white capping or black masking in which two lawa abiding if not extremly influential citizens had been shot down in the presence of their families. That act was a disgace not only to Macon County but to the civilization of the State of Alabama and as yet no notive whatever has been taken of it by any official. In view of the growing spirit of lawlessness in this and other sections of hte State we say again that no convict should be pardoned unless for excellent reasons.


“Gov Oates Did Not Abuse the Pardoning Power.” The Tuskegee News (Tuskegee, Alabama), July 25, 1895.