The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908 Page: 279
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Presidential Reconstruction in Texas. 279
he was welcomed by a delegation of Unionists. From here he
sent a cheerful letter to the President, expressing the conviction
that all classes, except certain of the ex-slaveholders, were friends
of the Government and were rapidly availing themselves of the
President's amnesty proclamation. He deprecated a tendency on
the part of the planters to keep the negro in some sort of bondage
and to talk of "gradual emancipation" even after having sub-
scribed to emancipation in their oath of amnesty.1 On the 25th
he issued from Galveston a proclamation "to the people of the
State of Texas," reciting the manner and purpose of his appoint-
ment and indicating in a general way the course he expected to
take with respect to the election of a convention and the appoint-
ment of civil officers. Suitable persons were to be appointed in
each county to administer the oath of amnesty2 and register the
loyal voters. Civil officers for the State, districts, and counties
were to be appointed provisionally. The general laws and stat-
utes in force in the State immediately prior to the ordinance of
secession, except in so far as they had been modified by the emanci-
pation of the slaves and by acts of Congress for the suppression of
the rebellion, were declared in force for the direction of courts
and civil officers; all pretended State laws passed since secession
were inoperative, null, and void. There was to be "amnesty for
the past, security for the future," but the people must accept the
fact that slavery was wholly dead and that the negroes would be
protected in their freedom by the United States. Finally, loyal
men from every part were invited to visit the capital and confer
with the Governor upon the conditions of the State.
1MS. in Johnson Papers.
2General pardon and amnesty had been proclaimed by President Johnson
for all who had taken arms against the United States, except certain
specified classes, provided they would first subscribe to the following
oath: "I............, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of
Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and de-
fend the Constitution of the United States and the union of the States
thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support
all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing
rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God."
The classes, fourteen in number, excepted from the privileges of the gen-
eral amnesty were, chiefly, high officials under the 'Confederacy, or those
who had left the service o'f the United States to take service with the
Confederacy, or those who owned property to the value of over $20,000.
It was necessary for these to secure a special pardon from the President.
-Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. VI, pp. 310-312.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908, periodical, 1908; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101045/m1/283/: accessed November 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.