Doc. 260.-General Lyon's proclamation.
St. Louis, in consequence of war made by the Governor of this State against the Government of the United States, because I would not assume on its behalf to relinquish its duties, and abdicate its rights of protecting loyal citizens from the oppression and cruelty of the secessionists in this State, I published an address to the people, in which I declared my intention to use the force under my command for no other purpose than the maintenance of the authority of the General Government, and the protection of the rights and property of all law-abiding citizens. The State authorities, in violation of an agreement with Gen. Harney on the 2d of May last, had drawn together and organized upon a large scale the means of warfare, and, having made a declaration of war, they abandoned the Capital, issued orders for the destruction of the railroad and telegraph lines, and proceeded to this point to put into execution their hostile purposes toward the General Government. This devolved upon me the necessity of meeting this issue to the best of my ability, and accordingly I moved to this point with a portion of the force under my command, attacked and dispersed the hostile forces gathered here by the Governor, and took possession of the camp-equipage left, and a considerable number of prisoners, most of them young and of immature age, and who represent that they have been misled by frauds, ingeniously devised and industriously inculcated by designing leaders, who seek to devolve upon unreflecting and deluded followers the task of securing the object of their own false ambition. Out of compassion for these misguided youths, and to correct the impressions created by unscrupulous calumniators, I liberated them upon the condition that they will not serve in the impending hostilities against the United States Government. I have done this in spite of the well-known facts that the leaders in the present rebellion, having long experienced the mildness of the General Government, still feel confident that this mildness cannot be overtaxed even by factious hostilities, having in view its overthrow; but lest, as in the case of the late Camp Jackson affair, this clemency shall still be misconstrued, it is proper to give warning that the Government cannot always be expected to indulge in it to the compromise of its evident welfare. Hearing that those plotting against the Government have falsely represented that the Government troops intended a forcible and violent invasion of Missouri for purposes of military despotism and tyranny, I hereby give notice to the people of this State that I shall scrupulously avoid all interference with the business, right, and property of every description recognized by the laws of the State, and belonging to law-abiding citizens. But it is equally my duty to maintain the paramount authority of the United States with such force as I have at my command, which will be retained only so long as opposition makes it necessary, and that it is my wish, and shall be my purpose, to visit any unavoidable rigor arising in this issue upon those only who provoke it. All persons, who, under the misapprehensions above mentioned have taken up arms, or who are preparing to do so, are invited to return to their homes and relinquish their hostilities towards the Federal Government, and are assured that they may do so without being molested for past occurrences.
N. Lyon, Brigadier U. S. Army, Commanding