"Let truth, the light of my heart, speak to me, and not my own darkness!"
Augustine, Confessions, Book XII, Chapter 11
In 1830, two men were arrested for mail theft, George Wilson and James Porter. The penalty for this crime was hanging. James Porter was tried and hanged. George Wilson was also tried and sentenced, but some influential friends of his contacted the president, President Andrew Jackson, and pleaded on his behalf for mercy. President Jackson issued George Wilson a pardon, but he refused to accept it! The question to be decided was: should George Wilson be freed or hanged?
They case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Chief Justice, John Marshall, handed down this decision (United States v. Wilson, 1833):
A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed… A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.