Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 35. Proclamation of Amnesty December 8, 1863

THE proclamation of December 8, 1863, offering amnesty on conditions, was issued under authority of the so-called Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862 [No. 24]. In his annual message of the same date, Lincoln urged the propriety of the proclamation, and expressed the opinion "that nothing is attempted beyond what is amply justified by the Constitution." A supplementary proclamation of March 26, 1864, explained that the previous proclamation did not apply to prisoners of war.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XIII, Appendix, vii-ix. A circular to United States district attorneys is in McPherson, Rebellion, 148, 149. See also Cox, Three Decades, chap. 33; Johnston in Lalor's Cyclopædia, I, 89, 90; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, IX, chap. 19; Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, I, chap. 21; McCall, Thaddeus Stevens, chap. 13.

[THE proclamation begins with a statement of the constitutional right of the President to grant pardons, of the existence of rebellion in certain States, of the authorization of pardon by proclamation under the Confiscation Act, and of the previous issuance of proclamations "in regard to the liberation of slaves," and continues:] 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, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit: --

-85-

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