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on that day, it was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, that during the present insurrection the President of the United States, whenever, in his judgment, the public safety may require, is authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in any case throughout the United States, or any part thereof; and, whereas, in the judgment of the President the public safety does require that the privilege of the said writ shall now be suspended throughout the United States in cases where, by the authority of the President of the United States, military, naval, and civil officers of the United States, or any of them, hold persons under their command or in their custody, either as prisoners of war, spies, or aiders or abettors of the enemy, or officers, soldiers, or seamen enrolled, drafted, or mustered, or enlisted in, or belonging to the land or naval forces of the United States, or as deserters therefrom, or otherwise amenable to military law, or to the rules and articles of war, or the rules and regulations prescribed for the military or naval services by the authority of the President of the United States, or for resisting the draft, or for any other offence against the military or naval service: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and make known to all whom it may concern, that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended throughout the United States in the several cases before mentioned, and that this suspension will continue throughout the duration of the said rebellion, or until this Proclamation shall, by a subsequent one, to be issued by the President of the United States, be modified and revoked. And I do hereby require all magistrates, attorneys, and other civil officers within the United States, and all officers and others in the military and naval services of the United States, to take distinct notice of this suspension and give it full effect, and all citizens of the United States to conduct and govern themselves accordingly, and in conformity with the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Congress in such cases made and provided.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed, this fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President:
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
The act passed by Congress "for enrolling and calling out the national forces," commonly called the Conscription Act, provided that all able-bodied male citizens, and persons of foreign birth who had declared their intention to become citizens, between the ages of twenty and fortyfive, were liable to be called into service. The strenuous
efforts made by the enemies of the Administration to arouse the hostility of the people against its general policy, had proved so far successful as greatly to discourage volunteer enlistments; and the Government was thus compelled to resort to the extraordinary powers conferred upon it by this act. Questions had been raised as to the liability of foreigners to be drafted under this law; and in order to settle this point, the President, on the 8th of May, issued the following proclamation.
WASHINGTON, May 8, 1868.
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas, the Congress of the United States, at its last session, enacted a law, entitled "An Act for enrolling and calling out the national forces, and for other purposes," which was approved on the 3d day of March last; and
Whereas, it is recited in the said act that there now exists in the United States an insurrection and rebellion against the authority thereof, and it is, under the Constitution of the United States, the duty of the Government to suppress insubordination and rebellion, to guarantee to each State a republican form of government, and to preserve the public tranquillity; and
Whereas, for these high purposes, a military force is indispensable, to raise and support which all persons ought willingly to contribute; and
Whereas, no service can be more praiseworthy and honorable than that which is rendered for the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union, and the consequent preservation of free government; and
Whereas, for the reasons thus recited it was enacted by the said statute that all able-bodied male citizens of the United States, and persons of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath their intentions to become citizens under and in pursuance of the laws thereof, between the ages of twenty and forty-five years, with certain exemptions not necessary to be here mentioned, are declared to constitute the National forces, and shall be liable to perform military duty in the service of the United States, when called out by the President for that purpose; and
Whereas, it is claimed, on and in behalf of persons of foreign birth, within the ages specified in said act, who have heretofore declared on oath their intentions to become citizens under and in pursuance to the laws of the United States, and who have not exercised the right of suffrage, or any other political franchise under the laws of the United States, or of any of the States thereof, that they are not absolutely precluded by their aforesaid declaration of intention from renouncing their purpose to become citizens; and that, on the contrary, such persons, under treaties and the
law of nations, retain a right to renounce that purpose, and to forego the privilege of citizenship and residence within the United States, under the obligations imposed by the aforesaid act of Congress :
Now, therefore, to avoid all misapprehensions concerning the liability of persons concerned to perform the service required by such enactment, and to give it full effect, I do hereby order and proclaim that no plea of alienage will be received, or allowed to exempt from the obligations imposed by the aforesaid act of Congress any person of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath his intention to become a citizen of the United States, under the laws thereof, and who shall be found within the United States at any time during the continuance of the present insurrection and rebellion, at or after the expiration of the period of sixty-five days from the date of this proclamation; nor shall any such plea of alienage be allowed in favor of any such person who has so, as aforesaid, declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and shall have exercised at any time the right of suffrage, or any other political franchise within the United States, under the laws thereof, or under the laws of any of the several States.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this 8th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the in[L. 8.] dependence of the United States the eighty-seventh. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
It was subsequently ordered that the draft should take place in July, and public proclamation was made of the number which each State would be required to furnish. Enrolling officers had been appointed for the several districts of all the States, and, all the names being placed in a wheel, the number required were to be publicly drawn, under such regulations as were considered necessary to insure equal and exact justice. Very great pains had been taken by the opponents of the Administration to excite odium against that clause of the law which fixed the price of exemption from service under the draft at three hundred dollars. It was represented that this clause was for the special benefit of the rich, who could easily pay the sum required; while poor men who could not pay it would be compelled, at whatever hardships to themselves and their families, to enter the army. The draft was commenced in
the City of New York on Saturday, July 11th, and was conducted quietly and successfully during that day. On Sunday plots were formed and combinations entered into to resist it; and no sooner was it resumed on Monday morning, July 13, than a sudden and formidable attack was made by an armed mob upon the office in one of the districts; the wheel was destroyed, the lists scattered, and the building set on fire. The excitement spread through the city. Crowds gathered everywhere, with no apparent common object; but during the day the movement seemed to be controlled by leaders in two general directions. The first was an attack upon the negroes; the second an assault upon every one who was supposed to be in any way concerned in the draft, or prominently identified, officially or otherwise, with the Administration or the Republican party. Unfortunately, the militia regiments of the city had been sent to Pennsylvania to withstand the rebel invasion; and the only guardians left for the public peace were the regular police and a few hundred soldiers who garrisoned the forts. Both behaved with the greatest vigor and fidelity, but they were too few to protect the dozen miles between the extremities of the city. The mob, dispersed in one quarter, would reassemble at another, and for four days the city seemed given up to their control. The outrages committed during this time were numerous and aggravated. Negroes were assaulted, beaten to death, mutilated, and hung; building after building was sacked and burned; gangs of desperadoes patrolled the streets, levying contributions, and ordering places of business to be closed. A Colored Orphan Asylum, sheltering some hundreds of children, was sacked and burned. After the first day, the riot, which was at first directed against the draft, took a new turn. The entire mass of scoundrelism in the city seemed to have been let loose for indiscriminate plunder. Women, half-grown boys, and children, were foremost in the work of robbery, and no man felt safe from attack. The police force did their duty manfully, aided at first by the few troops at the disposal of the authorities, and subsequently by the regiments who
began to return from Pennsylvania. In the street-fights which occurred, many of the defenders of law and order lost their lives, while a far larger number of the rioters were killed. The bands of rioters were finally dispersed, and the peace of the city was restored.
During these occurrences the draft was necessarily suspended; and on the 3d of August, Governor Seymour addressed a long letter to the President, asking that further proceedings under the draft might be postponed until it should be seen whether the number required from the State of New York could not be raised by volunteering, and also until the constitutionality of the law could be tested in the judicial tribunals of the country. The Governor pointed out an alleged injustice in the application of the law, by which, in four districts of the State of New York, a far higher quota in proportion to the popu lation was required than in the other districts of the State; and this was urged as an additional reason for postponing the further execution of the law.
To this appeal the President, on the 7th of August, made the following reply:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, August 7, 1808.
His Excellency HORATIO SEYMOUR,
Governor of New York, Albany, N. Y.:
Your communication of the 3d inst. has been received and attentively considered. I cannot consent to suspend the draft in New York, as you request, because, among other reasons, TIME is too important. By the figures you send, which I presume are correct, the twelve districts represented fall in two classes of eight and four respectively.
The disparity of the quotas for the draft in these two classes is certainly very striking, being the difference between an average of 2,200 in one class, and 4,864 in the other. Assuming that the districts are equal, one to another, in entire population, as required by the plan on which they were made, this disparity is such as to require attention. Much of it, however, I suppose will be accounted for by the fact that so many more persons fit for soldiers are in the city than are in the country, who have too recently arrived from other parts of the United States and from Europe to be either included in the census of 1860, or to have voted in 1862. Still, making due allowance for this, I am yet unwilling to stand upon it as an entirely sufficient explanation of the great disparity. I shall direct