[N.p., perhaps Virginia. Late 1863 or early 1864]. 3pp., on a single folded sheet. [with:] OATH OF ALLEGIANCE. [N.p., perhaps Harper's Ferry, Va., 1864]. Single sheet, 3 x 7 3/4 inches. The OATH affixed to a partial manuscript ledger report recording lost military stores for an unidentified unit in 1863, which is itself glued to the verso of the last blank page of the Amnesty Proclamation. Minor toning, light foxing, some wrinkling. Overall very good. In a cloth chemise and green half morocco and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM55254
An exceedingly rare separate printing - perhaps by a military field press - of President Abraham Lincoln's December 1863 presidential proclamation 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. It was appended (per the language in the title here) to the official printing of that address, but also printed separately. The present printing, almost certainly executed in the weeks after Lincoln's State of the Union, was likely hastily composed from the text of the official printing of the proclamation. The work carries no imprint information of any kind and bears the hallmarks of a military field press printing. 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). The proclamation is accompanied by a partially-printed OATH OF ALLEGIANCE dated 1864 and datelined Harper's Ferry, Virginia. The oath requires the taker to "solemnly swear, that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States against all enemies...." It is signed in type by Henry A. Urban, Lieutenant and A.D.C. [Aide-de-Camp]. The oath is printed with a blank space for the name of the person taking the oath and the date. There is also a space for people who know the oath-taker and "certify on honor that we know Mr. [blank] to be a true and loyal man to the Federal Government." The OATH is affixed to a partial manuscript ledger report recording lost military stores for an unidentified unit in 1863 This printing of the Amnesty Proclamation is just as interesting as the government broadside printing or the first pamphlet printing, as this edition would have also been used in the field by Union troops encountering Confederate rebels. The composition of the beginning of the seventh paragraph is consistent with the first pamphlet printing of the Amnesty Proclamation (Monaghan 191), and not the broadside printing. The text here begins "Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln..."; in the broadside printing, the "Therefore" is present at the end of the preceding paragraph. The simple and somewhat loose execution of the composition seen here is consistent with field press printings, as is the lack of an imprint of any kind. Perhaps this simple production was intended for Union troops to literally hand to Confederate soldiers to read. The presence of the portion of the ledger and the Oath of Allegiance lends credence to the notion that this edition of the Amnesty Proclamation was produced for use by the military. This printing of the Amnesty Proclamation is not in Monaghan, OCLC, nor in any reference work we could find. In fact, we could find no other three-page editions of the Amnesty Proclamation at all. Surely printed in small numbers to begin with, it is perhaps a unique surviving example. MONAGHAN 191 (ref). 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.