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Doc. 257.-General Lyon's proclamation.

St. Louis, Mo., June 17.
To the Citizens of Missouri:
Prior to the proclamation issued by Gov. Jackson, of date of June 12, it is well known to you that the Governor and Legislature sympathized with the rebellion movements now in progress in the country, and had adopted every means in their power to effect a separation of this State from the General Government. For this purpose, parties of avowed secessionists have been organized into military companies throughout the State, with the full knowledge and approval of the Governor. The establishment of encampments in the State at an unusual period of the year, and authorized for an indefinite period, could have had no other object than the concentration of a large military force, to be subjected to the provisions of the military law then in contemplation, and subsequently passed — a bill so offensive to all peaceable inhabitants, and so palpably unconstitutional, that it could be accepted by those only who were to conform to its extraordinary provisions for the purpose of effecting their cherished object — the disruption of the Federal Government. That bill provides for an obligation to the State on the part of all persons enrolled under its provisions irrespective of any obligation to the United States, when the Constitution requires all State officers to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. This of itself is a repudiation of all authority of the Federal Government, whose Constitution is the supreme law, on the part of the State Government, its officers, and such citizens as might choose to adopt the provisions of the bill, and, coupled as it was, on the part of the Legislature and the Governor, with declarations hostile to its authority and in sympathy with those who were arrayed in a condition of actual hostility against it, could leave no doubt of its object to carry out the provisions of this extraordinary bill, having in direct view hostilities to the Federal Government. It was so denounced by Gen. Barney, who characterized it as a secession ordinance in his proclamation of 14th May last, That proclamation, doubtless, gave rise to an interview between Gen. Harney and Gen. Price, that resulted in an agreement which it was hoped would lead to a restoration of tranquillity and good order in your State. That a repudiation of the military bill, and all efforts of the militia of the State under its provisions was the basis of the agreement, was shown as well by this proclamation of Gen. Harney immediately preceding it, as by a paper submitted to Gen. Price, containing the preliminary conditions to an interview with him.

This agreement failed to define specifically the terms of the peace, or how far a suspension of the provisions of the military bill should form a part of it, though from the express declaration of General Barney at the time of the conference, as well as from the foregoing paper, a suspension of any action under the bill until there could be a judicial termination of its character by some competent tribunal, must in good faith be regarded as a fundamental basis of the negotiation.

Nevertheless, immediately after this arrangement, and up to the time of Gov. Jackson's proclamation inaugurating complaints of attempts to execute the provisions of this bill, by which most exasperating hardships have been imposed upon peaceful loyal citizens, coupled with persecutions and proscriptions of those opposed to its provisions, have been made to me as commander of the United States forces here, and have been carried to the authorities at Washington, with appeals for relief, from the Union men of all parties of the State who have been abused, insulted, and, in some instances, driven from their homes.

That relief I conceive it to be the duty of a just government to use every exertion in its power to give. Upon this point the policy of the Government is set forth in the following communication from the department at Washington:

Adjutant-General's office, Washington, May 27, 1861.
Brig.-Gen. W. S. Harney, Commanding Department West St. Louis:
Sir: The President observes with concern that, notwithstanding the pledge of the State authorities to co-operate in preserving the peace of Missouri, loyal citizens in great numbers continue to be driven from their homes. It is immaterial whether these outrages continue from inactivity or indisposition on the part of the State authorities to prevent them. It is enough that they continue, and it will devolve on you the duty of putting a stop to them summarily by the force under your command, to be aided by such troops as you may require from Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. The professions of loyalty to the Union by the State authorities of Missouri are not to be relied upon. They have already falsified their professions too often, and [405] are too far committed to secession to be admitted to your confidence, and you can only be sure of their desisting from their wicked purposes when it is not in their power to prosecute them. You will, therefore, be unceasingly watchful of their movements, and not permit the clamors of the partisans and opponents of the measures already taken to prevent you from checking every movement against the Government, however disguised, under the pretended State authority. The authority of the United States is paramount, and whenever it is apparent that a movement, whether by order of State authority or not, is hostile, you will not hesitate to put it down.

L. Thomas, Adjutant-General.

It is my design to carry out these instructions in their letter and spirit. Their justice and propriety will be appreciated by whoever takes an enlightened view of the relations of the citizens of Missouri to the General Government. Nor can such policy be construed as at all disparaging to the rights or dignity of the State of Missouri, or as infringing in any sense upon the individual liberty of its citizens. The recent proclamation of Gov. Jackson, by which he has set at defiance the authorities of the United States, and urged you to make war upon them, is but a consummation of his treasonable purposes, long indicated by his acts and expressed opinions, and now made manifest. If, in suppressing these treasonable projects, carrying out the policy of the Government and maintaining its dignity as above indicated, hostilities should unfortunately occur, and unhappy consequences should follow, I would hope that all aggravation of those events may be avoided, and that they may be diverted from the innocent, and may fall only on the heads of those by whom they have been provoked.

In the discharge of these plain but onerous duties, I shall look for the countenance and active co-operation of all good citizens, and I shall expect them to discountenance all illegal combinations or organizations, and support and uphold, by every lawful means, the Federal Government, upon the maintenance of which depend their liberties and the perfect enjoyment of all their rights.

N. Lyon, Brig.-General United States Vols., Commanding.

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