HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS,
Jacksonville, Fla., March 20, 1862.
To the People of East Florida:
The troops of the United States have come amongst you to protect loyal citizens and their property from further molestation by the creatures of a rebel and usurped authority, and to enable you to resuscitate a Government which they have ruthlessly endeavored to destroy.
All loyal people who return to or remain at their homes in the quiet pursuit of their lawful avocations shall be protected in all their rights within the meaning and spirit of the Constitution of the United States. The lose desire and intention of the Government is to maintain the integrity of the Constitution and the laws and reclaim States which have revolted from their national allegiance to their former prosperous and happy condition.
There is great satisfaction in the fact, now become patent to all, that a large portion of you still cling in your hearts to that mother who first liberated you from the thraldom of a despotic government; who next rescued you from the deathly grasp of the wily savage at a frightful cost of life and treasure, and who afterwards elevated you from the condition of territorial dependence to that of a proud and independent State.
I earnestly recommend that in every city, town, and precinct you assemble in your primary and sovereign capacity; that you there throw off that sham government which has been forced upon you; swear true fidelity, and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and organize your government and elect your officers in the good old way of the past. When this is done then will you see the return of prosperous and happy days, in the enjoyment of that trade and industry to which your extensive coast is so well adapted, and in the immunity from that want and suffering to which you have, been so wickedly subjected by the traitorous acts of a few ambitions and unprincipled men; then will you enjoy the fruits of your honest labor, the sweets of happy homes, and the consolation of living under those wise and salutary laws that are due only to an industrious and law-abiding people.
T. W. SHERMAN,
At a meeting of the loyal citizens of the "United States of America," held at Jacksonville, East Florida, March 20, A. D. 1862, at 10.30 a.m., C. L. Robinson, chairman; O. L. Keene, secretary; Colonel John S. Sannius, S. F. Halliday, Paran Moody, John W. Price, and Philip Fraser, esqs., were appointed a committee to draught resolutions to lay before said meeting. The following is a true copy of said resolutions, which were received and adopted unanimously:
We, the people of the city of Jacksonville and its vicinity, in the county of Duval and the state of Florida, embraced within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States of America, do hereby set forth our declaration of rights and our solemn protest against the abrogation of the same by any pretended State or other authority.
First. We hold that government is a contract, in which protection is the price of allegiance; that when protection is denied, through weakness or design, allegiance is no longer due.
Second. We hold that an established form of government cannot be changed or abrogated except by the will of the people, intelligently and willingly expressed and fairly ratified.