Mr. Seward to Mr. Ford
Sir: Among the citizens of the United States who were tried and convicted in Canada in 1866 for participation in the forcible raid across the frontier, was Robert B. Lynch. The sentence of capital punishment in his, as in other cases, was commuted to penal imprisonment for a term of years. It was insisted, in the case of Mr. Lynch, that he was not one of the aggressive party, but was present merely in the character of a newspaper correspondent. Upon an examination of the case, I was fully satisfied that the conviction of Mr. Lynch was unjust, and I represented the subject in that manner to Sir Frederick Bruce. It is known to me that it was his attention to recommend a full pardon of the prisoner at some convenient time after the political excitement which attended the trials in Canada should have subsided, and in case the aggressive movements of the Fenians upon that frontier should not be renewed. I think that Sir Frederick Bruce made my opinions and views upon the subject known at the time to his excellency the governor general of Canada, and transmitted to him testimony furnished by this department to prove the innocence of Mr. Lynch. My attention has been recently recalled to the matter by a sister as well as many friends of the prisoner. I will esteem it a favor if you will recur to the correspondence of the legation, and communicate on the subject with the governor general of Canada, in such manner as shall seem to be convenient and proper. Perhaps you may think it not objectionable to transmit to his excellency the inclosed copy of a letter.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your obedient servant,
Francis Clare Ford, Esq., &c., &c., &c.