Harper's Weekly 09/14/1861


GENERAL FREMONT'S PROCLAMATION.

The following Proclamation was issued on 31st ult., at
St. Louis:


“Head-quarters of the Western Department,
“St. Louis, August 31, 1861.


“Circumstances, in my judgment of sufficient urgency,
render it necessary that the Commanding General of this
Department should assume the administrative powers of
the State. Its disorganized condition, the helplessness of
the civil authority, the total insecurity of life, and the de-
vastation of property by bands of murderers and marauders
who infest nearly every county in the State and avail them-
selves of the public misfortunes and the vicinity of a hos-
tile force to gratify private and neighborhood vengeance,
and who find an enemy wherever they find plunder, finally
demand the severest measure to repress the daily increas-
ing crimes and outrages which are driving off the inhabit-
ants and ruining the State. In this condition the public
safety and the success of our arms require unity of pur-
pose, without let or hindrance, to the prompt administra-
tion of affairs.


“In order, therefore, to suppress disorders, to maintain
as far as now practicable the public peace, and to give se-
curity and protection to the persons and property of loyal
citizens, I do hereby extend, and declare established, mar-
tial law throughout the State of Missouri. The lines of
the army of occupation in this State are for the present de-
clared to extend from Leavenworth by way of the posts of
Jefferson City, Rolla, and Ironton, to Cape Giradeau on the
Mississippi River.


“All persons who shall be taken with arms in their
hands within these lines shall be tried by court-martial,
and, if found guilty, will be shot. The property, real and
personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri who shall
take up arms against the United States, and who shall be
directly proven to have taken active part with their en-
emies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the pub-
lic use; and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby
declared free.


“All persons who shall be proven to have destroyed,
after the publication of this order, railroad tracks, bridges,
or telegraphs, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.


“All persons engaged in treasonable correspondence, in
giving or procuring aid to the enemies of the United States,
in disturbing the public tranquility by creating and circu-
lating false reports or incendiary documents, are in their
own interest warned that they are exposing themselves.


“All persons who have been led away from their al-
legiance are required to return to their homes forthwith;
any such absence without sufficient cause will be held to
be presumptive evidence against them.


“The object of this declaration is to place in the hands
of the military authorities the power to give instantaneous
effect to existing laws, and to supply such deficiencies as
the conditions of war demand. But it is not intended to
suspend the ordinary tribunals of the country, where the
law will be administered by the civil officers in the usual
manner and with their customary authority, while the
same can be peaceably exercised.


“The Commanding General will labor vigilantly for the
public welfare, and in his efforts for their safety hopes to
obtain not only the acquiescence, but the active support
of the people of the country.

J. C. Fremont,
“Major-General Commanding.”

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