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[293] States has, by public and official declarations, signified not only his approval of the effort to excite servile war within the Confederacy, but his intentions to give aid and encouragement thereto, if these independent States shall continue to refuse submission to a foreign power after the first day of January next, and has thus made known that all appeal to the law of nations, the dictates of reason, and the instincts of humanity would be addressed in vain to our enemies, and that they can be deterred from the commission of these crimes only by the terrors of just retribution.

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, and acting by their authority, appealing to the Divine Judge in attestation that their conduct is not guided by the passion of revenge, but that they reluctantly yield to the solemn duty of redressing, by necessary severity, crimes of which their citizens are the victims, do issue this my proclamation, and by virtue of my authority as commander-in-chief of the armies of the confederate States, do order:

First. That all commissioned officers in the command of said Benjamin F. Butler be declared not entitled to be considered as soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and criminals deserving death! and that they, and each of them be, whenever captured, reserved for execution.

Second. That the private soldiers and noncommissioned officers in the army of said Butler be considered as only the instruments used for the commission of crimes perpetrated by his orders, and not as free agents ; that they, therefore, be treated when captured as prisoners of war, with kindness and humanity, and be sent home on the usual parole that they will in no manner aid or serve the United States in any capacity during the continuance of this war, unless duly exchanged.

Third. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the laws of said States.

Fourth. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with said slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy.

In testimony whereof I have signed these presents and caused the seal of the confederate States of America to be affixed thereto, at the city of Richmond, on this twenty-third day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.

By the President,

Jefferson Davis. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.

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