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Doc. 32.-Amnesty proclamation. By the President of the United States of America.


Proclamation.

Washington, December 8, 1863.
whereas, in and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President shall “have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases for impeachment;” and

Whereas a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal State governments of several States have, for a long time, been subverted, and many persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against the United States; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property, and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated, and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions, and at such times, and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare; and

Whereas, the Congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion the President of the United States has issued several proclamations, with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and

Whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion, to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State governments within and for their respective States; therefore,

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, [296] and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:

I,--------, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.

The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called confederate government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are or shall have been military or naval officers of said so-called confederate government above the rank of colonel in the army, or of lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United States, and afterward aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity.

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South-Carolina, and North-Carolina, a number of persons not less than one tenth in number of the votes cast in such State at the Presidential election of the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, each having taken the oath aforesaid and not having since violated it, and being a qualified voter by the election law of the State existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and excluding all others, shall reestablish a State government which shall be republican, and in nowise contravening said oath, such shall be recognized as the true government of the State, and the State shall receive thereunder the benefits of the Constitutional provision which declares that the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and, on application of the legislature, or the executive, (when the legislature cannot be convened,) against domestic violence.

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State, which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the national Executive. And it is suggested as not improper, that, in constructing a loyal State government in any State, the name of the State, the boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution, and the general code of laws, as before the rebellion, be maintained, subject only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions heretofore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening the said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new State government.

To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say that this proclamation, so far as it relates to State governments, has no reference to States wherein loyal State governments have all the while been maintained. And, for the same reason, it maybe proper further to say, that whether members sent to Congress from any State shall be admitted to seats, constitutionally rests exclusively with the respective Houses, and not to any extent with the Executive. And still further, that this proclamation is intended to present the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended, and loyal State governments have been subverted, a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be reestablished within said States, or in any of them; and, while the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington,

[seal.]
the eighth day of December, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln. By the President: William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Correspondence between Generals Longstreet and Foster.

headquarters confederate forces, East-Tennessee, January 3, 1864.
To the Commanding General U. S. Forces East-Tennessee:
sir: I find the proclamation of President Lincoln of the eighth of December last in circulation in handbills among our soldiers. The immediate object of this circulation appears to be to induce our soldiers to quit our ranks and to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. I presume, however, that the great object and end in view is to hasten the day of peace.

I respectfully suggest, for your consideration, the propriety of communicating any views that your Government may have upon this subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated among our soldiers. The few men who may desert under the promise held out in the proclamation cannot be men of character or standing. [297] If they desert their cause they degrade themselves in the eyes of God and of man. They can do your cause no good, nor can they injure ours.

As a great nation, you can accept none but an honorable peace; as a noble people, you can have us accept nothing less. I submit, therefore, whether the mode that I suggest would not be more likely to lead to an honorable end than such a circulation of a partial promise of freedom.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. Longstreet, Lieutenant-General Commanding.

headquarters Department of the Ohio, Knoxville, E. T., January 7, 1864.
Lieutenant-General Commanding Forces in East-Tennessee:
sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January third, 1864; you are correct in the supposition that the great object in view in the circulation of the President's proclamation is to induce those now in rebellion against the Government to lay aside their arms and return to their allegiance as citizens of the United States, thus securing the reunion of States now arrayed in hostility against one another and restoration of peace. The immediate effect of the circulation may be to cause many men to leave your ranks, to return home or come within our lines, and, in view of this latter course, it has been thought proper to issue an order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received.

I accept, however, your suggestion that it would have been more courteous to have sent these documents to you for circulation, and I embrace with pleasure the opportunity thus afforded to inclose to you twenty (20) copies of each of these documents, and rely upon your generosity and desire for peace to give publicity to the same among your officers and men.

I have the honor to be General, very respectfully,

J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.

headquarters Department of the Ohio, January 17, 1864.
Lieutenant-General Longstreet, Commanding Confederate Forces East-Tennessee:
General: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your letter of the eleventh inst. The admonition which you gave me against trifling over the events of this great war does not carry with it the weight of authority with which you seek to impress me.

I am, nevertheless, ready to respond, in plain terms, to the suggestions conveyed in your first letter, and which you quote in your second despatch, that I communicate through you any views which the United States Government may entertain, having for their object the speedy restoration of peace throughout the land.

These views, so far as they can be interpreted, from the policy of the Government, and sustained by the people at their elections, are as follows:

First, the restoration of the rights of citizenship to all now in rebellion against the Government who may lay down their arms and return to their allegiance.

Second, the prosecution of the war until every attempt at armed resistance to the Government shall have been overcome.

I avail myself of the opportunity to forward an order publishing proceedings, finding, and sentence in the case of private E. S. Dodd, Eighth Texas confederate cavalry, who was tried, condemned, and executed as a spy.

I also inclose the copy of an order which I have found it necessary to issue in regard to the wearing of the United States uniforms by confederate soldiers.

I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.

headquarters Department of the Ohio, Knoxville, Tenn., January 8, 1864.
General orders, No. 7.

Our outposts and pickets posted in isolated places having in many instances been surprised and captured by the enemy's troops disguised as Union soldiers, the Commanding General is obliged to issue the following order for the protection of his command and to prevent a continuance of the violation of the rules of civilized warfare:

Corps commanders are hereby directed to cause to be shot dead all rebel officers and soldiers wearing the uniform of the United States army captured in future within our lines.

By command of Major-General Foster.

Henry Curtis, Jr., Assistant Adjutant-General.
Official: Ed. N. Strong, Major and A. D. C.

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