Doc. 47.-proclamation of General Banks, ordering an election in Louisiana.
President of the United States, and upon consultation with many representative men of different interests, being fully assured that more than a tenth of the population desire the earliest possible restoration of Louisiana to the Union, I invite the loyal citizens of the State, qualified to vote in public affairs, as hereinafter prescribed, to assemble in the election precincts designated by law, or at such places as may hereafter be established, on the twenty-second day of February, 1864, to cast their votes for the election of State officers herein named, namely, Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Atttorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Auditor of Public Accounts, who shall,  when elected, for the time being, and until others are appointed by competent authority, constitute the civil government of the State, under the constitution and laws of Louisiana, except so much of the said constitution and laws as recognize, regulate, or relate to slavery, which being inconsistent with the present condition of public affairs, and plainly inapplicable to any class of persons now existing within its limits, must be suspended, and they are therefore and hereby declared to be inoperative and void. This proceeding is not intended to ignore the right of property, existing prior to the rebellion, nor to preclude the claim for compensation of loyal citizens for losses sustained by enlistments or other authorized acts of the Government. II. The oath of allegiance prescribed by the President's proclamation, with the condition affixed to the elective franchise by the constitution of Louisiana, will constitute the qualification of voters in this election. Officers elected by them will be duly installed in their offices on the fourth day of March, 1864. III. The registration of voters, effected under the direction of the Military Governor and the several Union associations, not inconsistent with the proclamation or other orders of the President, are confirmed and approved. IV. In order that the organic law of the State may be made to conform to the will of the people and harmonize with the spirit of the age, as well as to maintain and preserve the ancient land-marks of civil and religious liberty, an election of delegates to a convention for the revision of the constitution will be held on the first Monday of April, 1864. The basis of representation, the number of delegates, and the details of election will be announced in subsequent orders. V. Arrangements will be made for the early election of members of Congress for the State. VI. The fundamental law of the State is martial law. It is competent and just for the Government to surrender to the people, at the earliest possible moment, so much of military power as may be consistent with the success of military operations; to prepare the way, by prompt and wise measures, for the full restoration of the State to the Union and its power to the people; to restore their ancient and unsurpassed prosperity; to enlarge the scope of agricultural and commercial industry, and to extend and confirm the dominion of rational liberty. It is not within human power to accomplish these results without some sacrifice of individual prejudices and interests. Problems of state, too complicated for the human mind, have been solved by the national cannon. In great civil convulsions the agony of strife enters the souls of the innocent as well as the guilty. The government is subject to the law of necessity, and must consult the condition of things rather than the preferences of men, and if so be that its purposes are just and its measures wise, it has the right to demand that questions of personal interest and opinion shall be subordinate to the public good. When the national existence is at stake, and the liberties of the people in peril, faction is treason. The methods herein proposed submit the whole question of government directly to the people--first, by the election of executive officers faithful to the Uuion, to be followed by a loyal representation in both houses of Congress; and then by a convention which will confirm the action of the people, and recognize the principles of freedom in the organic law. This is a wish of the President. The anniversary of Washington's birth is a fit day for the commencement of so grand a work. The immortal Father of his Country was never guided by a more just and benignant spirit than that of his successor in office, the President of the United States. In the hour of our trial, let us heed his admonitions! Louisiana, in the opening of her history, sealed the integrity of the Union by conferring upon its government the valley of the Mississippi. In the war for independence upon the sea, she crowned a glorious struggle against the first maritime power of the world by a victory unsurpassed in the annals of war. Let her people now announce to the world the coming restoration of the Union, in which the ages that follow us have a deeper interest than our own, by the organization of a free government, and her fame will be immortal!
N. P. Banks, Major-General Commanding.