Jane Addams et al. to Friend William Richardson, November 3, 1925

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↑For Your information↓

105 East 22nd Street
New York City, November 3, 1925.
Honorable Friend W. Richardson
Governor of California
The Capitol
Sacramento, California.

Your Excellency:

The undersigned citizens beg to submit that in their opinion considerations of public policy as well as of generosity and essential justice should induce you to grant the pardon that has been requested for Charlotte Anita Whitney.

Five years have elapsed since the offense was committed for which Miss Whitney was convicted. As we understand it, no illegal act was ever proved against her except membership in a proscribed organization which has since ceased to exist. The criminal syndicalism statute of California resulted from war-time emotions which have since passed away. Pardon for Miss Whitney would therefore be in the nature of a public avowal of the return of a great commonwealth to the normal conditions which preceded the war.

If our understanding is correct, you have insisted hitherto that Miss Whitney herself must sign the appeal for pardon before you will give it consideration. Permit us to remind you that Presidents Harding and Coolidge both waived this requirement when they signed general [page 2] amnesties for war-time offenders. So also did Governor Len Small of Illinois and Governor Smith of New York, when they granted pardon to the communists who were convicted under laws similar to the California statute. We earnestly suggest that those examples furnish a strong precedent for the exercise of untrammeled Executive discretion in this case.

Miss Whitney's long record of public service to the community and the obvious fact that no practical good can be achieved by jailing such a citizen for a purely political offense five years after its commission will, we trust, weigh heavily with you in considering this action for which we appeal.

Yours respectfully,

EDITH [ABBOTT]
JANE ADDAMS
FELIX ADLER
ZECHARIAH CHAFEE, JR.
IRVING FISHER
FELIX FRANKFURTER
CAROLINE HAZARD
GEORGE W. KIRCHWEY
HENRY NOBLE MACCRACKEN
FRANCIS JOHN MCCONNELL
WILLIAM [ALLAN] NEILSON
ELLEN FITZ PENDLETON
EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS
STEPHEN S. WISE

(The above names are signed by request.)