[Washington? 1863]. 20pp. Original printed wrappers. Light toning. A near fine copy, in wonderful condition. In a cloth chemise and green half morocco and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM55251
The rare pamphlet printing of Lincoln's December 8, 1863 proclamation, read before Congress the next day, offering amnesty to citizens of the Confederacy providing they take an oath that they "will abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves" (i.e. the Emancipation Proclamation). The Amnesty Proclamation was issued with President Lincoln's third Annual Message to Congress (i.e., State of the Union Address) on December 8, 1863; the State of the Union Address follows the Amnesty Proclamation here. Toward the close of 1863, with the Confederate Army in full retreat, discussions in Congress centered on how to restore the Southern states to the Union. "The crisis which threatened to divide the friends of the Union is past," announced Lincoln. Now it was the duty of Congress to ensure that all citizens in the South, regardless of race, were guaranteed the equal protection of the law. A number of competing proposals emerged from deliberations, but in the end, during his message to Congress on Dec. 8, 1863, Lincoln declared reconstruction of the South a wholly executive responsibility and "offered 'full pardon...with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves,' to all rebels who would take an oath of future loyalty to the Constitution and pledge to obey acts of Congress and presidential proclamations relating to slavery" (Donald, p.471). Those excluded from taking the oath were the highest ranking members of the Confederacy - government officials, judges, military and naval officers above the rank of army colonel or navy lieutenant, former congressmen, and "all who have engaged in treating colored persons or white persons otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war." Lincoln further encouraged the southern states to make provisions "in relation to the freed people of such State, which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class." "Lincoln indicated that this was only one plan for reconstructing the rebel South, and while it was the best he could think of for now, he would gladly consider others and possibly adopt them. He might even modify his own classes of pardons, if that seemed warrantable....Afterward almost everybody but die-hard Democrats seemed happy with the plan" (Oates, p.371). A lovely copy of Lincoln's hugely important Amnesty Proclamation. MONAGHAN 191. SABIN 41162 (note). David Herbert Donald, LINCOLN (New York. ), p.471. Stephen B. Oates, WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE: A LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (New York. ), p.371.