To the People of Georgia:
Whereas, By the proclamation of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, dated 17th of June, A. D. 1865, I have been appointed Provisional Governor of the State of Georgia, with instructions to prescribe, at the earliest practicable period, such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening a Convention of the people, composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion of the people who are loyal to the United States, and no others, and also with all the power necessary and proper to enable such loyal people of said State to restore it to its constitutional relation to the Federal Government, and to present such a republican form of government as will entitle the State to the guarantee of the United States therefor, and its people to the protection of the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic violence.
Now, therefore, I, James Johnson, Provisional Governor of the State of Georgia, as aforesaid, do, by virtue of the power in me vested as aforesaid, proclaim and declare:
1. That an election for delegates to a Convention will be held on the first Wednesday in October, A. D. 1865, at the different precincts at which elections are directed and authorized by law to be held for members of the Legislature.
2. That the thirty-seven counties in the State which, by law in force prior to the first of January, 1861, were entitled to two members of the House of Representatives, shall be authorized and entitled to elect each three delegates, and that the remaining counties shall each be authorized and entitled to elect two delegates to said Convention.
3. That no person, at such election, shall be qualified as an elector, or shall be eligible as a member of such Convention, unless he shall have previously thereto taken and subscribed to the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the President's proclamation of May 29th, A. D. 1865, and is a voter qualified, as prescribed by the Constitution and laws of the State of Georgia, in force immediately before the 19th of January, A. D. 1861, the date of the so-called Ordinance of Secession.
4. That any two freeholders, qualified to vote at such election as aforesaid, may act as managers of the election at each of the precincts as aforesaid; and that in managing and superintending sucb election, they shall be governed by, and proceed under the laws of the State regulating and prescribing the election of members of the Legislature, prior to the 1st of January, 1861: Provided, That each of said managers, before entering on the duties prescribed, shall swear truly and faithfully to superintend and make return of said election, according to law as aforesaid, and the requirements of this proclamation.
5. That the delegates who shall be elected as aforesaid, shall assemble in Convention at the city of Milledgeville, at 12 o'clock, M., on the fourth Wednesday of October, A. D. 1865.
And whereas, The rebellion which has been waged by a portion of the people against the Government of the United States has, in its revolutionary progress, deprived the people of the State of all civil government;
And whereas, Thev must remain, without civil officers, and the administration of civil law, until a State Government shall have been organized by the Convention called at aforesaid;
And whereas, It is necessary, in the mean time, that domestic tranquillity be insured, and that the loyal people be protected in all their rights of person and property, I do further proclaim and declare:
1. That no individual, by virtue of his own authority, shall indict corporal punishment on any person, for any real or supposed injury, whether such injury relate to person or property, and that in all such cases redress must be sought from, and given by, such military authority as may be invested with the jurisdiction over the cases.
2. That slavery is extinct, and involuntary servitude no longer exists. Hence no person shall have control of the labor of another, other than such control as may lawfully result from indenture, the relation of parent and child, guardian and ward, and the contract of hiring, freely and fairly made; and that for a breach of duty, on the part of any one standing in these relations, the military authority will administer, in a summary manner, adequate and proper relief under the laws of the land.
8. That all riotous or tumultuous assemblages of people, and also all assemblages for unlawful purposes and unlawful objects, will be dispersed; and to this end, if necessary, the military power of the United States will be invoked.
4. That the idea, if any such is entertained, that private property will be distributed or parcelled out, is not only delusive, but dangerous and mischievous; and if any attempt should be made by any person or persons to effect such an object by violence or unlawful means, it will only secure to him or them speedy and merited punishment.
5. To the end that the people may qualify themselves as voters, it will, doubtless, be the pleasure of the commissioned officers in the service of the United States, to have the oath of amnesty administered under the rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of State of the United States; and, in this work, I most earnestly desire and solicit the cheerful cooperation of the people, so that Georgia may speedily be delivered of military rule that she may once again regulate her own domestic affairs: again enjoy the blessings of civil government, and be heard and felt by her Senators and Representatives in the councils of the nation.
Done at Milledgeville, the capital of the State, on this, the 18th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1865, and the eighty-ninth year of American Independence.
Provisional Governor of Georgia.
By the Governor:
L. H. Briscoe, Secretary.