War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0097 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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which he offers to vote, who is a citizen of the United States, and who shall have taken the oath prescribed by the President in his proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, shall have the right to vote in the election of State officers on the 22nd day of February, 1864.

II. Citizens of the State who have been expelled from their homes by the public enemy on account of their devotion to the Union, and who would be qualified voters in the parishes to which they belong, will be allowed to vote for State officers only in the election precincts in which, for the time being, they may reside.

III. Citizens of the State who have volunteered for the defense of the country in the Army or Navy, and who are otherwise qualified voters, will be allowed to vote in the election precincts in which they may be found on the day of election; and if the exigencies of the public service be such as to prevent their attendance at any established precinct, then commissioners, fairly representing the interests involved in the election, will be appointed to receive their votes, wherever they may be stationed on that day, and to make due returns thereof, as well as of their own votes, to the Military Governor of the State, as provided for other commissioners of election.

IV. The commissioners of election at any election precinct are authorized to administer the oath of allegiance, as prescribed by the President, to any person otherwise qualified to vote, and to register the name of such voter in New Orleans, where a register is required, or to receive it in other parishes where no register is required, at any time before the polls are closed on the day of election.

V. The commissioners of election in the several parishes will make prompt returns of the votes given to the sheriff of the parish, as provided by law, or in his absence to the provost- marshal, who will immediately return the same to the Military Governor of the State. VI. The sheriffs of the several parishes, and in their absence the provost-marshals, will take especial care that the polls are properly opened and that suitable judges of election and other officers are appointed. It is desirable that all persons properly qualified shall vote, but it is more important that illegal or fraudulent votes shall not vitiate the election.

VII. The situation of Louisiana is not identical with that of other States designated by the President, but the test of loyalty required by him as a basis for the restoration of government is unequivocal. Full opportunity has been given to the people for the suggestion of any obligation more in accordance, if possible, with the condition of this State; but no general unity of sentiment appears to exist as to the test of fealty which should be demanded. The inference is irresistible that all parties prefer the form prescribed by the President to any other than their own.

The oath prescribed by him offers amnesty and pardon only to those who have committed treason. To all others it is a simple pledge of continued fealty to the Government. The oath of allegiance cannot be materially strengthened or impaired by the language in which it is clothed, but it may be accompanied by such explanations as to make known to the public the sense in which it is administered and received. Allegiance cannot be more or less than unreserved, unconditional loyalty.

The repetition of an oath once taken, or when unnecessarily clothed in unusual language, may well cause hesitation; but if it be identified with the restoration of a government at a time when secret evasions

7 R R - SERIES III, VOL IV