VOL. LVII -- NO. 12 BALTIMORE, TUESDAY MORNING, MAY 30, 1865 [PRICE TWO CENTS.]
By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas the President of the United States on the eighth day of December A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty-three, and on the twenty-sixth day of March A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty-four, did, with the object to suppress the existing rebellion, to 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 proclamation failed or neglected to take the benefits 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 continued hostility to the Government of the United States since the date of said proclamations, now desire to apply for and obtain amnesty and pardon.
To the end therefore that 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 to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves; and except in cases where legal proceedings under the laws of the United States providing for the confiscation of property of persons engaged in rebellion have been instituted. But upon the condition, nevertheless, that every such person shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, 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:
I, _____, do solemnly swear, or affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States thereunder, 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 are excepted from the benefits of this proclamation:
1st. All who are or shall have been pretended civil or diplomatic officers, otherwise domestic or foreign agents of the pretended Confederate government.
2d. All who left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion.
3d. 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.
4th. All who left seats in the Congress of the United States to aid the rebellion.
5th. 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.
6th. All who have engaged in any way in treating otherwise than lawfully, as prisoners of war, persons found in the United States service as officers, soldiers, seamen, or in other capacities.
7th. All persons who have been or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion.
8th. All military or naval officers in the rebel service who were educated by the Government in the Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy.
9th. All persons who held the pretended offices of Governors of States in insurrection against the United States.
10th. All persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction of 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.
11th. 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 upon the lakes and rivers that separate the British provinces from the United States.
12th. All persons who at the time when they seek to obtain the benefits herein by taking the oath prescribed are in military, naval or civil confinement or custody, or under bonds of the civil, military or naval authorities, or agents of the United States, as prisoners of war, or persons declared for offenses of any kind, either before or after conviction.
13th. All persons who have voluntarily participated in said rebellion, and the estimated value of whose taxable property is over twenty thousand dollars.
14th. All persons who have taken the oath of amnesty, as prescribed in the President's proclamation of December 8th, A.D. 1863, or an oath of allegiance to the government of the United States since the date of said proclamation, and who have not thenceforward 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 clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the cases 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 twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
By the President:
Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.
THE SUN, WEDNESDAY MORNING, MAY 31, 1865
THE AMNESTY PROCLAMATION.
The provisions of President Johnson's amnesty proclamation very generally engage attention, with the view of determining their exact bearing, scope and effect. The proclamation, it appears, is issued on the basis of an opinion of Attorney General Speed, which appears in the Washington Chronicle of yesterday, to the effect that the amnesty proclamation of President Lincoln, issued December 8, 1863, has ceased to be applicable, now that all armed resistance to the Government has been abandoned. The ground is taken that the rebellion being at length suppressed, there is obviously no obligation upon the Government to extend the same terms to those who held out against it to the last moment, and yielded, not to the force of reason and awakened conscience, but to superior force. The Chronicle says:
The proclamation therefore limits the scope of that issued in December, 1863; and excludes from its benefits certain classes who willfully rejected or declined to accept them while there was a hope or a possibility of success on the part of the revolt. But the additional exceptions are not numerous; and, on the other hand, the State officers heretofore excluded have been admitted to amnesty, excepting the governors.
An important proviso is annexed to this general proclamation, which declares that "special application may be made to the President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted classes; And such clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case, and the peace and dignity of the United States."
As showing the differences between President Johnson's and Mr. Lincoln's terms of amnesty, we annex the following:
President Lincoln excepted --1st, civil and diplomatic officers of the rebel government; 2d, persons who left judicial positions under the United States to take part with the rebellion; 3d, military officers in the rebel service above the rank of Colonel, and naval officers above the rank of Lieutenant; 4th, United States Congressmen who left their seats to assist in the rebellion; 5th, officers of the United States army and navy who resigned their commissions to enter the rebels service; 6th, all who treated colored United States soldiers, or their white officers other than as lawful prisoners of war. The first of these is re-established and extended to "domestic and foreign agents" of the rebel government. The second, third and fourth are re-established. The fifth is re-established and extended to all "officers who tendered resignations" to evade duty "in suppressing the rebellion." The sixth is extended to all who maltreated prisoners of any color taken in the United States service.
To these are added the following as now excepted from the benefit of the amnesty: 7th, all absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion; 8th, all officers of the rebels service, educated at West Point, or the United States Naval Academy; 9th, all the Governors of rebel States; 10th, all persons (as blockade runners, spies and sympathisers) who left their homes in the loyal States to aid in the rebellion; 11th, all persons engaged in the destruction of our commerce on the high seas or on the lakes and those making raids from Canada; 12th, all persons who are in the custody of, or in bonds to the military, naval or civil authorities for offenses of any kind, and all prisoners of war; 13th, all persons who voluntarily took part in the rebellion, whose taxable property is worth more than $20,000; 14th, all who have taken the amnesty oath, or oath of allegiance, and broken it.
Another marked feature of the proclamation, indicating in part, the fundamental principles by which Mr. Johnson is guided, is the oath to be administered to those to whom amnesty is granted. Its first requirement is to "faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the union of the States thereunder."
There is nothing said about State laws, ordinances, &c;, and the only additional requirement (on the hypothesis, of course, that slavery has been abolished by the practical operation of the war upon the institution) is to "abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves."
What may be the views of the leading press on the subject of the proclamation is of more or less interest.
The New York Tribune says:
President Johnson's new proclamation of amnesty will probably enable about half those who have been rebels, but no wise conspicuous in the rebellion, to take the prescribed oath of amnesty and become again recognized citizens of the United States entitled to vote in all future elections. The other half, including all who have been generals in the armies or ambassadors, Congressmen, judges, governors, &c.;, &c.;, under the rebel sway, must stand back awhile and give the lead to the masses, by which, we presume, loyal State governments are to be organized; but the magnates will generally be allowed also to take the oath and return to citizenship on special application, where no reason appears for refusing. This is but a step, and is taken with evident caution; we doubt not that other steps will soon follow if this works to the President's satisfaction.
The New York World remarks:
There are two or three of the enumerated classes which will naturally excite attention, and perhaps surprise. One of these includes all persons whose property exceeds in value twenty thousand dollars. This looks as if the President intended to break up the great landed estates of the South. All officers educated at West Point are also excepted. But this certainly includes many who were surrendered with Lee's and Johnston's forces, and have received a distinct pledge that they shall be no further molested, provided they keep their parole and obey the laws. It is inconceivable that President Johnson does not intend to recognize this pledge, whatever may be his opinion of the legal status of paroled prisoners of war. It will be observed that rebel soldiers under parole are denied the privilege of taking the oath. This, we suppose, is because they are, for the present, sufficiently protected by the government pledge. The officers may make a special application for pardon; and after the courts have passed upon the legal points involved, a supplementary proclamation may be issued, releasing the soldiers from their parole and admitting them to the benefits of a full amnesty.
The New York Herald says: The amnesty proclamation is very sweeping. The masses of the Southern people are pardoned; but while they are relieved from all punishment for their complicity in treason, there is nothing in the document which restores them to the right of suffrage. ... The punishment for the crime of treason, on conviction, is death; but the President does not threaten to hang anybody. It is apparent that the terms have been extended to certain classes and ranks in order to exclude from pardon many notorious and vile men. Large numbers of those who are excluded will find little difficulty in obtaining the executive pardon, which is to be had by proper application, and only the more desperate characters will be made an example of.
The New York Times thinks the chief interest of the proclamation, as it now stands, is in the reservation of the special pardoning power, Which President Johnson will, unquestionably, exercise with judicious and, at the same time, liberal regard, both to the character of individual offender and to the welfare and peace of the nation at large.