THE CONSTITUTION OF 1865

ENABLING INSTRUMENTS


PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION

APPOINTING

LEWIS E. PARSONS PROVISIONAL GOVERNOR

JUNE 21, 1865

Whereas, The fourth section of the fourth article of the constitution of the United States declares that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion and domestic violence; and whereas, the President of the United States is, by the Constitution, made Commander-in-chief of the army and navy, as well as chief of civil executive officer of the United States, and is bound by solemn oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and whereas, the rebellion which has been waged by a portion of the people of the United States against the properly constituted authorities of the Government thereof in the most violent and revolting form, but whose organized and armed forces have now been almost entirely overcome, has, in its revolutionary progress, deprived the people of the State of Alabama of all civil government; and whereas, it becomes necessary and proper to carry out and enforce the obligations of the United States to the people of Alabama in securing them in the enjoyment of a republican form of government:

Now, therefore, in obedience to the high and solemn duties imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States, and for the purpose of enabling the loyal people of said State to organize a State government, whereby justice may be established, domestic tranquillity restored, and loyal citizens protected in all their rights of life, liberty, and property, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and Commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, do hereby appoint Lewis E. Parsons, of Alabama, Provisional Governor of the State of Alabama, whose duty it shall be, at the earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening a convention composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion of the people of said State who are loyal to the United States, and no others, for the purpose of altering and amending the Constitution thereof; and with authority to exercise within the limits of said State, all the powers necessary and proper to enable such loyal people of the State of Alabama to restore said State to its constitutional relations to the Federal Government, and to present such a republican form of State government as will entitle the State to the guarantee of the United States therefor, and its people to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic violence; Provided, That in any election that may be held hereafter for choosing delegates to any State Convention, as aforesaid, no person shall be qualified as an elector or shall be eligible as member of such convention, unless he shall have previously taken and subsribed the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the President's proclamation of May 29, A. D. 1865, and is a voter qualified as prescribed by the Constitution and laws of the State of Alabama, in force immediately before the 11th of January, A. D. 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of secession. And the said convention, when convened, or the legislature that may be thereafter assembled, will prescribe the qualification of electors and the eligibility of persons to hold office under the Constitution and laws of the State - a power the people of the several States composing the Federal Union have rightfully exercised from the origin of the Government to the present time. And I do hereby direct:

First. That the military commander of the department, and all officers and persons in the military and naval service, aid and assist the said Provisional Government in carrying into effect this proclamation; and they are enjoined to abstain from in any way hindering, impeding, or discouraging loyal people from the organization of a State Government as herein authorized.

Second. That the Secretary of State proceed to put in force all laws of the United States, the administration whereof belongs to the State department, applicable to the geographical limits of aforesaid.

Third. That the Secretary of the Treasury proceed to nominate for appointment assessors of taxes and collectors of customs and of internal revenue, and such other officers of the Treasury Department as are authorized by law, and put in execution the revenue laws of the United States within the geographical limits aforesaid. In making appointments the preference shall be given to qualified loyal persons residing within the districts where their respective duties are to be performed. But if suitable residents of districts shall not be found, then persons residing in other States or districts shall be appointed.

Fourth. That the Postmaster-General proceed to establish post-offices and post-routes, and put into execution the postal laws of the United States within said State, giving to loyal residents the preference of appointment; but if suitable residents are not found, then to appoint agents, etc., from other States.

Fifth. That the district judge for the judicial district in which Alabama is included, proceed to hold courts within said State, in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress, and the Attorney-General will instruct the proper officers to libel and bring to judgment, confiscation and sale, property subject to confiscation, and enforce the administration of justice within said State, in all matters within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the Federal courts.

Sixth. That the Secretary of the Navy take possession of all public property belonging to the Navy Department within said geographical limits, and put in operation all acts of Congress in relation to naval affairs having application to said State.

Seventh. That the Secretary of the Interior put in force the laws relating to the Interior Department applicable to the geographical limits aforesaid.

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, this 21st day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.


ANDREW JOHNSON



By the President:

WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.






PROCLAMATION OF GOV. L. E. PARSONS

JULY 21,1865

To the People of Alabama:

The appeal to arms has been made and decided against us, but not until our sons and brothers had exhibited a degree of courage and endurance which commands the respect and admiration of the world.

Alabama was admitted to the Union on the 2d day of March, 1819. What her population and resources were at that time, I have not the means at hand to state; but the census of 1860 enables us to see what her condition was when the convention passed the ordinance of secession, on the 11th day of January, 1861.

Our State then had a population of 964,201 souls, of which 526,431 were whites, 2,690 were free colored, and 435,080 were slaves. We had 6,462,987 acres of improved lands, the greater part of which was in actual cultivation, producing 32,761,194 bushels of corn; 1,222,487 bushels of wheat; 73,942 bushels of rye; 716,435 bushels of oats; 499,559 pounds of rice; 221,284 pounds of tobacco; 1,483,609 bushels of peas and beans; 397,566 bushels of Irish potatoes; 5,420,987 bushels of sweet potatoes; and 997,978 bales of cotton. We had 108,701 mules; 127,205 horses; 234,045 milch cows; 92,495 working oxen; 452,643 head of other cattle; 369,061 sheep, yielding 681,404 pounds of wool; and 1,736,559 swine.

We had 743 miles of rail road in operation, which cost us $17,591,188. We had $4,901,000 invested in bank stock, $2,747,174 in specie, and $4,851,153 on deposit in different banks of the State, and $8,260,000 invested in manufactures, the value of whose annual product was $9,400,000.

The value of our real estate and personal property, exclusive of the value of negroes, was $495,277,078.

The State owed a sterling bond debt, payable in London, of $1,336,000, and a decimal bond debt, payable in New York, of $2,109,000. It also owed what is called the funded debt of the State, consisting of the sixteenth section and the university fund, on which the interest can only be paid, the State having assumed this in perpetuity, amounting to $120,000. To meet this the State had $1,200,000 in North Carolina and Virginia six per cent. bonds, worth, at that time, a premium in the market, and an annual revenue which exceeded all its expenses about $_______________.

In the prosecution of the war, for the last four years, into which Alabama was precipitated, about 122,000 of her sons have been carried to the field of battle, 35,000 of whom will never return; and it is probable an equal or larger number are permanently injured by wounds or disease while in the service. A very large proportion of our material wealth has been exhausted. Our fields are laid waste, our towns and cities, our rail roads and bridges, our schools and colleges, many of our private dwellings and public edifices are in ruins; silence and desolation reign where once stood the comfortable home which resounded with the joyous laugh of childhood and innocence.

The State has contracted a large war debt during this period, and has on hand as near as can be ascertained about $_________ in Confederate treasury notes, which are utterly worthless, and about $___________ in good funds.

Untold sufferings have been, and are still endured by thousands of our women and children and the aged and helpless of our land.

There is no longer a slave in Alabama. It is thus made manifest to the world that the right of secession for the purpose of establishing a separate confederacy, based on the idea of African slavery, has been fully and effectually tried, and is a failure.

Yet, amid all the ruin, suffering and death which have resulted from it, every political right which the State possessed under the federal constitution, is hers to-day, with the single exception relating to slavery.

The life-boat of the Union is still within our reach. The flag which our fathers established, with their life blood, among the nations of the earth, still floats at her mast-head. On her quarter deck, despite the bullet and dagger of the assassin, still stands a helmsman at his post, surrounded by a crew, who, for the most part, with outstretched hands and in cordial tones invite us to come on board and share equally with them the prosperity, the danger, and the glory which may fall to the lot of those whose fortunes are united with her.

Friends and fellow-citizens, shall we not do it? There is no other sail in sight. England and France often seemed to be bearing down to our relief, but they have tacked - nay, they have put square about, and are now hull down on the distant verge of the ocean. But the ship which our fathers built has backed her engines and her sails and is lying to, ready to receive us. Her commander says come. It is your right. Her crew are looking over her sides ready to lend us a hand. And if they who fell at Lexington and Bunker Hill, at the Cowpens and Yorktown, could speak to us, would they not say "go on board the ship we have built and launched for all of you; brethren, be at peace and dwell together in unity; you have fallen out; you have had a dreadful family quarrel, as children too often have, after the parents are dead and gone who acquired the estate; but be thankful to God that the great principles of civil and religious liberty, of free government and man's capacity to govern himself still survive amid the ruin which you have wrought. You will all be once more integral parts of an empire which contains within itself the elements necessary to secure all of peace, prosperity and happiness which falls to the lot of men and nations. There is not a friend to the principles of government which we bequeathed you, among the kings and despots of the earth. You have had, during all this death-struggle, but one real friend in Europe, the Emperor of Russia."

Shall we not heed their advice? In the hope, the belief that we will, it has pleased his excellency, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, to appoint the undersigned Provisional Governor of Alabama, "for the purpose of enabling the loyal people of said State to organize a State government, whereby justice may be established, domestic tranquillity insured, and loyal citizens protected in all their rights of life, liberty and property"; and the President has made it my duty "to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening a Convention composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion of the people of said State who are loyal to the United States, and no others, for the purpose of altering or amending the constitution thereof; and with authority to exercise within the limits of said State, all the powers necessary and proper to enable such loyal people of the State of Alabama to restore said State to its constitutional relations to the federal government, and to present such a republican form of State government as will entitle the State to the guarantee of the United States therefor, and its people to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection and domestic violence."

Now, for the purpose of carrying into execution the commands of the President, and to enable the loyal people of Alabama to secure to themselves the benefits of civil government, I do hereby declare and ordain -

  1. That the justices of the peace and constables in each county of this State, the members of the commissioners court (except the judges of probate), the county treasurer, the tax collector and assessor, the coroner, and the several municipal officers of each incorporated city or town in this State, who were respectively in office and ready to discharge the duties thereof, on the 22nd of May, 1865, are hereby appointed to fill those offices during the continuance of this provisional government. And as it is necessary that the persons who fill these several offices should be loyal to the United States, the power is hereby reserved to remove any person for disloyalty, or for improper conduct in office, or for neglect of its duties; and I earnestly request all loyal citizens to give me prompt information in regard to any officer who is objectionable on any of these grounds.

  2. Each of these persons thus appointed to office must take and subscribe the oath of Amnesty, as presribed by the President's Proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, and immediately transmit the same to this office. At the end of said oath, and after the word "slaves", he must add these words, "and I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office to the best of my ability." Each of these officers must also give bond and security payable to the State of Alabama, as required by the laws of Alabama on the 11th day of January, 1861. If any person acts in the discharge of the duties of any of the aforesaid offices without having complied with the foregoing regulations on his part, he will be punished. This oath of amnesty and of office may be taken before any commissioned officeer in the civil, military or naval service of the United States; and the judge of probate in each county in this State, on the 22nd of May, 1865, may also administer it, unless another judge of probate shall have been appointed by me in the meantime, and approve and file the bond which is hereby required to be given. But no one can hold any of these offices who is exempted by the Proclamation of the President from the benefit of amnesty, unless he has been specially pardoned.

  3. The appointment of judge of probate and sheriff in each county will be made specially, as soon as suitable persons are properly recommended, and when appointed they will take the oath of amnesty prescribed in the foregoing section, and give bond and security as required by the law of Alabama on the 11th of January, 1861. And vacancies in any of the county offices will be promptly filled when it is made known, and a proper person recommended. The judges of probate will and sheriffs, who were in office on the 22nd of May, 1865, will take the oath as herein required of other officers, and continue to discharge the duties of their respective offices until others are appointed.

  4. If the loyal citizens of the State find it necessary to have other officers appointed, viz: clerks of the circuit court, solicitors, judges of the circuit courts, chancellors, and judges of the supreme court, when that necessity is satisfactorily established, the appointments will be made.

  5. An election for delegates to a convention of loyal citizens of Alabama will be held in each county in the State on Thursday, the 31st day of August next, in the manner provided by the laws of Alabama on the 11th day of January, 1861; but no person can vote in said election, or be a candidate for election, who is not a legal voter as the law was on that day; and if he is excepted from the benefit of amnesty under the President's Proclamation of the 29th of May, 1865, he must have obtained a pardon.

  6. Every person must vote in the county of his residence, and before he is allowed to do so, must take and subscribe the oath of amnesty prescribed in the President's Proclamation of the 29th of May, 1865, before some one of the officers hereafter appointed for that purpose in the county where he offers to vote, and any person offering to vote in violation of these rules or the laws of Alabama on the 11th of January, 1861, will be punished.

  7. There will be elected in each county of the State on said day, as many delegates to said Convention as said county was entitled to representation in the House of Representatives on the 11th day of January, 1861; and the delegates so elected will receive a certificate of election from the sheriff of the county, and will assemble in convention at the capitol in Montgomery, on the 12th day of September, 1865, at 12 M.

  8. From and after this date, the civil and criminal laws of Alabama, as they stood on the 11th day of January, 1861, except that portion which relates to slaves, are hereby declared to be in full force and operation; and all proceedings for the punishment of offenses against them will be turned over to the proper civil officers, together with the custody of the person charged, and the civil authorities will proceed in all cases according to law. Suits in civil cases now pending, whether an original, mesne, or final process, before any officer acting under military authority, will also be turned over to the proper civil officer, and he will be governed in all things by the laws of the State aforesaid.

  9. All unlawful means to punish offenders are hereby strictly prohibited. No "vigilance committee" or other organization, for the punishment of supposed offenders, not authorized by the laws of the State, will be permitted, and if any such are attempted, the person or persons so offending will be promptly arrested and punished. The lovers of law and order throughout the State are appealed to and solemnly urged to aid, by all lawful means, in sustaining the cause of law and order. If the people of the State will do this willingly and promptly, we shall be able to restore peace and security to every home in our beloved State; but if offenders become too strong, the military power of the United States will aid us. Henceforth, that power will act in aid of and in subordination to the civil authority of the State.

  10. The oath which is required to be taken by those who desire to vote for delegates to the convention, may be administered by the judge of probate of the county where the voter lives, or by any justice of the peace in said county, and by officers specially thereunto appointed. Blanks will be furnished these officers by the judge of probate, to whom they will be sent, on application, where they cannot be printed. One copy of said oath will be given the voter, and another will be kept by the officer before whom it is taken, which must be filed with the judge of probate and endorsed by the judge of probate, with affiant's name, and numbered from one up, and preserved by him as part of the records of this office. The judge of probate must make out a certified list of names numbered to correspond with the affidavits, and transmit it to this office by some one of the delegates to the convention. It is important the lists should all be here on the 12th day of September next, when the convention meets. The several officers will also transmit their accounts for these services at the same time, and if the list of voters made in a proper manner, accompanies them, the accounts will be promptly laid before the convention for adjustment.

  11. There are no slaves now in Alabama. The slave code is a dead letter. They who were once slaves are now free, and must be governed by the laws of Alabama as free men. It is the dictate of wisdom, and we owe it to ourselves and them, to produce the best possible results for both races from the new order of things.

  12. All good citizens are respectfully and earnestly urged to set the example of engaging cheerfully, hopefully, and energetically in the prosecution of industrial pursuits. In so doing, they will exert a good influence upon those who are despondent and cast down by the calamities which have befallen us.

  13. The idle, the evil-disposed and the vicious, if any such there be within the limits of our State, must distinctly understand that all violations of law will be promptly punished. The sheriffs of the several counties are hereby required to keep in readiness a sufficient force of deputies or assistants, well armed, to enable them to execute all legal process and arrest all offenders promptly, and they will be held strictly accountable for any neglect of duty in this respect. Rights of persons and property must be respected; law and order must be preserved. If seriously impeded in the execution of these orders, sheriffs will immediately report the fact to me, that prompt and effectual measures may be taken to repress violence and assert the supremacy of the laws.

Done at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 20th day of July, A. D. 1865.


LEWIS E. PARSONS
Provisional Governor of Alabama

 


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