1865 June 3: Johnson’s Amnesty Proclamation
Following is President Andrew Johnson’s Proclamation of Amnesty as it appeared in the June 3, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press. This also appeared in the June 10, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.
The Classes Excepted from its Benefits.
PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
WHEREAS, The President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, 1863, and on the 26th [sic] day of March, 1864, did, with the object to suppress the existence of rebellion, and induce all persons to return to their loyalty, and to restore the authority of the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to certain persons who had directly or by implication participated in the said rebellion ; and,
WHEREAS many persons who had so engaged in said rebellion, have, since the issuance of said proclamations, failed or neglected to take the benefits thus offered thereby ; and
WHEREAS, many persons who have been justly deprived of all claim to amnesty and pardon thereunder by reason of their participation, directly or by implication in said rebellion and continned [sic] hostility to the Government of the United States, since the date of said proclamation, now desire to apply for and obtain amnesty and pardon ; To the end, therefore, that the authority of the Government of the United States may be restored, and that peace, order and freedom may be established, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do proclaim and declare that I hereby grant and assure to all persons who have directly, or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion (except as hereinafter excepted) amnesty and pardon, with restoration to all rights and property, except as to slaves, and, and except in cases where legal proceedings under the civil laws of the United States providing for the confiscation of property of persons engaged in rebellion have been instituted.
But on the condition nevertheless that every such person shall take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation, and thenceforth 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 :
“I do solemnly sear or affirm in presence of Almighty God that I will henceforth faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States there under [sic], and that I will, in like manner abide by, and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves, so help me God.”
The following classes of persons are excepted from the benefits of this proclamation :
First. All who are, or shall have been pretended civil or diplomatic officers, or otherwise domestic or foreign agents of the pretended Confederate government.
Second. All who left judicial positions under the United States to aid the rebellion.
Third. All who shall have been military or naval officers of said pretended Confederate government above the rank of Colonel in the army or Lieutenant in the navy.
Fourth. All who left seats in the Congress of the United States to aid the rebellion.
Fifth. All who resigned, or tendered resignations of their commissions in the army or navy of the United States to evade duty in resisting the rebellion.
Sixth. All who have engaged in any way in treating otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war persons found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in other capacities.
Seventh. All persons who have been or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion.
Eighth. All military and naval officers in the rebel service who were educated by the United States in the Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy.
Ninth. All persons who held the pretended offices of Governors of the States in insurrection against the United States.
Tenth. All persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction and protection of the United States, and passed beyond the Federal Military lines, into the so-called Confederate States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion.
Eleventh. All persons who have been engaged in the destruction of the commerce of the United States, upon the high seas and all persons who have made raids into the United States from Canada, and been engaged in destroying the commerce of the United States.
Twelfth. All persons who at this late day, seek to obtain the benefits hereof, by taking the oath herein prescribed, who are in military, naval or civil confinement or custody, or under the hands of military authorities, or agents of the United States as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any kind, either before or after conviction.
Thirteenth. All persons who have actively participated in said rebellion, and the estimated value of whose taxable property is over $20,000.
Fourteenth. All persons who have taken the oath of amnesty as prescribed in the President’s proclamation of December 8th, 1864, or an oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States, since the date of said proclamation, and who have thereafter kept and maintained the same inviolate.
Provided, that special application may be made to the President for pardon, by any person belonging to the excepted classes, and such, if any, will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case, and the peace and dignity of the United States. The Secretary of State will establish rules and regulations for administering and recording the said amnesty oath so as to insure its benefit to the people, and guard the Government against fraud.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
|Done at the city of Washington|
|…the 29th day of May, in the year|
|…of our Lord one thousand eight|
|[L. S.]||…hundred and sixty-five, in the|
|…independence of the United|
|…States the eighty-ninth.|
By the President :
. .WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.