States, which was made on the eight day of December, 1863, and the manner in which they shall proceed to avail themselves of those benefits:
And whereas, the objects of that Proclamation were to suppress the insurrection and to restore the authority of the United States; and whereas, the amnesty therein proposed by the President was offered with reference to these objects alone:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the said Proclamation does not apply to the cases of persons who, at the time when they seek to obtain the benefits thereof by taking the oath thereby prescribed, are in military, naval, or civil confinement or custody, or under bounds, or on parole of the civil, military, or naval authorities, or agents of the United States, as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any kind, either before or after conviction; and that, on the contrary, it does apply only to those persons who, being yet at large and free from any arrest, confinement, or duress, shall voluntarily come forward and take the said oath, with the purpose, of restoring peace and establishing the national authority. Prisoners excluded from the amnesty offered in the said Proclamation may apply to the President for clemency, like all other offenders, and their applications will receive due consideration.
I do further declare and proclaim that the oath prescribed in the aforesaid Proclamation of the eighth of December, 1863, may be taken and subscribed before any commissioned officer, civil, military or naval, in the service of the United States or Territory not in insurrection, who, by the laws thereof, may be qualified for oaths. All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give certificates thereon to the persons respectively by whom they are made. And such officers are hereby required to transmit the original records of such oaths, at s early a day as may be convenient, to the Department of State, where they will be deposited and remain in the archives of the Government. The Secretary of State will keep a register thereof, and will, on application in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.
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-sixth day of March, in the year of [L. S.] our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Fortress Monroe, March 30, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: Upon a personal conference with Mr. Ould, the Confederate agent of exchange, he complained to me that there were several persons confined in the penitentiary at Alton, Ill., upon judgments of military commanders for breaches of their paroles, and conduct made to appear criminal because of obligations undertaken while in confinement by the military authorities of the United States. But Mr. Ould assured me that by an agreement with the agent of exchange for our Government dated May 8, 1863, many of these men had been declared exchanged, and released from their paroles and other military obligations, and are now suffering because of supposed breaches thereof.
While I cannot admit for a moment that this may be the fact, yet complaint being officially made, I think it is due to this Government that it should be examined and the matter be investigated.