General Order No. 83

September 10, 1867.

[Proclamation Issued by President Johnson Warning Against Obstructing or Hindering the Execution of the Constitution and Laws of the United States]

A proclamation issued by the President on the third day of September, 1867, is, by his direction, herewith transmitted, warning all persons against obstructing or hindering, in any manner, the faithful execution of the constitution and the laws, and enjoining and commanding all officers of the Government, civil and military, to render due submission to the laws and to the judgments and decrees of the courts of the United States, and to give all the aid in their power necessary to the prompt enforcement of such laws, decrees, judgments, and processes; and especially enjoining upon the officers of the Amry and Navy to assist and maintain the courts, and other civil authorities of the United States, in a faithful administration of the laws.

The orders and requirements of the proclamation, and the exhortation of the President to all well-disposed citizens to testify their devotion to their country, their pride in its prosperity and greatness, and their determination to uphold its free institutions by a hearty co-operation in the efforts of the Government to sustain the authority of the law, to maintain the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, and to preserve unimpaired the integrity of the National Union, will, the Department feels confident, command the earnest support and receive a willing and hearty response from every one connected with the Department and the naval service.

GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

A PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS, by the Constitution of the United States, the executive power is vested in a President of the United States of America, who is bound by solemn oath faithfully to execute the office of President, and to the best of his ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; and is by the same instrument made Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and is required to take care that the laws be faithfully executed;

AND WHEREAS, by the same constitution, it is provided that the said constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby;

AND WHEREAS in and by the same constitution the judicial power of the United States is vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as COngress may from time to time ordain and establish, and the aforesaid judicial power is declared to extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution, the laws of the United States, and all the treaties which shall be made under their authority;

AND WHEREAS all officers, civil and military, are bound by oath that they will support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

AND WHEREAS all officers of the Army and Navy of the United States, in accepting their commissions under the laws of COngress and the rules and articles of war, incur an obligation to observe, obey, and follow such directions as they shall from time to time receive from the President or the General, or other superior officers set over them, according to the rules and discipline of war;

AND WHEREAS it is provided by law that whenever, by reason of unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages of persons, or rebellion against the authority of the Government of the United States, it shall become impracticable in the judgment of the President of the United States to enforce, by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, the laws of the United States within any State or Territory, the Executive in that case is authorized and required to secure their faithful execution by the employment of the land and naval forces;

AND WHEREAS impediments and obstructions, serious in their character, have recently been interposed in the States of North Carolina and South Carolina, hindering and preventing for a time a proper enforcement there of the laws of the United States, and of the judgments and decrees of a lawful court thereof, in disregard of the command of the President of the United States;

AND WHEREAS reasonable and well-founded apprehensions exist that such ill-advised and unlawful proceedings may be again attempted there and elsewhere:

Now, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW JOHNSON, President of the United States, do hereby warn all persons against obstructing or hindering in any manner whatsoever the faithful execution of the constitution and the laws; and I do solemnly enjoin and command all officers of the Government, civil and military, to render due submission and obedience to said laws, and to the judgements and decrees of the courts of the United States, and to give all the aid in their power necessary to the prompt enforcement and execution of such laws, decrees, judgements, and processes.

And I do hereby enjoin upon the officers of the Army and Navy to assist and sustain the courts and other civil authorities of the United States in a faithful administration of the laws thereof, and in the judgements, decrees, mandates, and processes of the courts of the United States; and I call upon all good and well-disposed citizens of the United States to remember that upon the said constitution and laws, and upon the judgment, decrees, and processes of the courts made in accordance with the same, depend the protection of the lives, liberty, property, and happiness of the people[.] And I exhort them everywhere to testify their devotion to their country, their pride in its prosperity and greatness, and their determination to uphold its free institutions by a hearty co-operation in the efforts of the Government to sustain the authority of the law, to maintain the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, and to preserve unimpaired the integrity of the National Union.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be affixed to these presents, and sign the same with my hand.

Done at the city of Washington the third day of September, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven.

[L. S.]

ANDREW JOHNSON.

BY THE PRESIDENT:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.

GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy.