Whereas, by the proclamation of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, dated 13th of July, A. D. 1865, I have been appointed Provisional Governor of the State of Florida, 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, William Marvin, Provisional Governor of the State of Florida, 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 Tuesday, the 10th day of 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-nine counties in this State shall be authorized and entitled to elect delegates to the said convention severally as follows, to wit: Escambia two, Santa Rosa two, Walton two, Holmes one, Washington one, Jackson three, Calhoun one. Franklin one, Liberty one, Gadsden three, Wakulla one, Leon four, Jefferson three, Madison two, Taylor one, Lafayette one, Hamilton two, Suwanee one, Columbia two, Baker one, Bradford one, Nassau one, St. John's one, Duval one, Clay one, Putnam one, Alachua two, Marion two, Levy one, Hernando one, Hillsborough one, Manatee one, Polk one, Orange one, Volusia one, Brevard one, Sumter one, Monroe one, and Dade one.'
3. Every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, and who shall Be, at the time of offering to vote, a citizen of the United States, and who shall have resided and had his home in this State for one year next preceding the election, and for six months in the county in which he may offer to vote, and who shall have taken and subscribed the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the President's proclamation of amnesty, of the 29th day of May, 1865, and if he comes within the exceptions contained in said proclamation, shall have taken said oath, and have been specially pardoned by the President, shall be entitled to vote in the county where he resides, and shall he eligible as a member of said convention, and none others. Where the person offering to vote comes within the exceptions contained in the amnesty proclamation, and shall have taken the amnesty oath, and shall have made application to the President for a special pardon, through the Provisional Governor, and shall have been recommended by him for such pardon, the inspectors or judges of the election may, in most instances, properly presume that such pardon has been granted, though owing to the want of mail facilities it may not have been received by the party at the time of the election.
Free white soldiers, seamen, and marines, in the army or navy of the United States, who were qualified, by their residence, to vote in said State, at the time of their respective enlistments, and who shall have taken and subscribed the amnesty oath, shall be entitled to vote in the county where they respectively reside; but no soldier, seaman, or marine, not a resident in the State at the time of his enlistment, shall be allowed to vote.
4. The amnesty oath may be taken and subscribed before any commissioned officer—civil, military, or naval—in the service of the United States, or any civil or military officer of a loyal State or Territory, who, by the laws thereof, is qualified to administer oaths. The officer administering the oath is authorized and required, on request, to give to the person taking it certified copies thereof. It is administered to all persons applying at the different military posts in this State, without fee. The taking of the oath does not, of itself, operate as a pardon in cases where the party is excepted from the general amnesty and needs a special pardon.
5. That the Judges of Probate in the several counties, provided they shall have respectively taken the amnesty oath, or in case of the inability or absence of any judge in any county, or his neglect or refusal to act, then the Clerk of the Circuit Court, provided he shall have taken the amnesty oath, shall distribute the poll books and appoint, for the different election precincts in their several counties, three inspectors or judges of the election, who shall have taken the amnesty oath, to hold said election, who shall conduct the same, as near as may be, in conformity with the laws of this State as they existed prior to January 10, 1861. The inspectors of the different precincts shall, as soon as possible after the election, count the votes and make and sign a certificate of the result of the election at said precinct, and one of them, to be determined by lot, if not otherwise agreed upon, shall convey and deliver, without unnecessary delay, the said certificate, the poll book and ballots, to the Judge of Probate of the county or to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, whichever of them may have appointed said inspectors. The judge or clerk receiving said certificates, poll books, and ballots shall, thereupon, without unnecessary delay, call to his assistance two respectable inhabitants, having tho qualification of voters, and shall publicly count the votes and compare with the poll books. They shall make and sign certificates or the result of the election in their county, and furnish to each person elected one of said certificates. The judge or clerk shall also transmit by mail, prepaying the postage, properly enveloped and addressed to the Provisional Governor, at Tallahassee, one of said certificates, together with the ballots and poll books of the several precincts, or he shall convey the said certificate, poll books, and ballots, properly enveloped and addressed as aforesaid, to the nearest military post, and deliver the same to the commander to be forwarded to this office.
The counties in which there is neither a qualified Judge of Probate nor a qualified Clerk of the Circuit Court, or in which they may neglect or refuse to act, the qualified voters are hereby authorized to assemble at the county site, and in Dade County, at Indian Key, and elect the judges of election, who shall have taken the amnesty oath, and who shall hold the election, count the votes, and give to the person elected a certificate of his election. One or them, to be agreed on or determined by lot, shall also send by mail, or convey to the nearest military post as aforesaid, a duplicate certificate of the election and the poll books and ballots, to be forwarded to this office as aforesaid.
No person shall act as an inspector or judge of the election who shall not have previously taken the amnesty oath, and no other oath shall be exacted of said judges or inspectors, but their personal honor will be col sidered as pledged for the faithful and honest performance of their duties.
6. The commander of the Military Department of the State has, in the absence of mail facilities, generously ordered the officers and soldiers under his command to aid and assist in the distribution of the poll books and this proclamation, and in receiving the returns of the election and forwarding them to this office.
7. That the delegates who shall be elected as aforesaid shall assemble in convention, at the city of Tallahassee at twelve o'clock, on Wednesday, the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865, and elect a President and other necessary officers, and proceed to the discharge of their duties. The convention will be the judge of the election of their respective members.
The commandant of the Military Department of the State has issued a general order directing that a United States transport steamer shall leave Key West on Wednesday, the 18th of October, and touch at Tampa, Manatee, and Cedar Keys, on her way to St. Mark's; and that another steamer shall leave Pensacola on Saturday, the 21st, bound for the same port, touching at Appalachicola; and another shall leave Enterprise, on the St. John's River, on Friday, the 20th, bound to Jacksonville, touching at the various points on the river; and another shall leave Fernandina on Friday, the 20th, and St. Augustine on Saturday, the 21st, bound to Jacksonville. These steamers will convey tho delegates elected free of charge, except for their lodging and meals.
8. A constitution, republican in form, having been made, altered, or amended, and adapted to the new order of things, the convention will provide, by a schedule, for the election of a Governor and General Assembly, and for the reorganization of a permanent State government.
9. By the operations and results of the war slavery has ceased to exist in the State. It cannot be revived. Every voter for delegates to the convention, in taking the amnesty oath, takes a solemn oath to support the freedom of the former slave. The freedom intended is the full, ample, and complete freedom of a citizen of the United States. This does not necessarily include the privilege of voting; but it does include the idea of full constitutional guarantees of future possession and quiet enjoyment. The question of his voting is an open question—a proper subect for discission—and is to be decided as a quesion of sound policy by the convention to be called.
10. Upon the establishment of a republican form of State government, under a constitution which guarantees and secures liberty to all the inhabitants alike, without distinction of color, there will no longer exist any impediment in the way of restoring the State to its proper constitutional relations to the Government of the United States, whereby its people will be entitled to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic violence.
Given at Tallahassee, Florida, this 23d day of August, 1865.
WILLIAM MARVIN, Provisional Governor.
Samuel J. Douglas, Private Secretary.