[New Orleans]: January 12, 1864. Broadside, 10.5 x 13.5 inches. Old folds. Repaired with tape on verso at central fold and once on either edge. Good plus. Item #213
Printed loyalty oath certificate, completed in manuscript, from the Clerk’s Office of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. It reads, with the manuscript portions in brackets: “This is to certify that [John P. Van Bergen] did, on the [12th day of Jany. 1864] take and subscribe the oath prescribed by the President’s Proclamation of December 8th, 1863, and that the same is registered in this office for permanent preservation, bearing the number .” It is signed by K. Loew, the Deputy Clerk of the Court. The Proclamation mentioned in the certificate is the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction issued by Abraham Lincoln on December 8, 1863, which decreed that once ten percent of a Southern state’s population had taken the loyalty oath, that state could reenter the Union and reform a state government -- the first step toward Reconstruction. New Orleans fell to the Union in May 1862, and its inhabitants were therefore able to take the oath of loyalty as mandated by Lincoln's proclamation soon after its promulgation. The present example, numbered the thirtieth such certificate in manuscript, was signed just over one month after the proclamation was issued. Nevertheless, we are unable to locate other copies in OCLC, auction records, or in the online catalog of Historic New Orleans.