Proclamation
Made by Jefferson Davis about Acting Master Bennett Burley CSN

 

 

A PROCLAMATION.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES
.

Whereas it has been made known to me that Bennett G. Burley, an acting master in the Navy of the Confederate States, is now under arrest in one of the British North American Provinces on an application made by the Government of the United States for the delivery to that Government of the said Bennett G. Burley, under the treaty known as the extradition treaty, now in force between the United States and Great Britain;
And whereas it has been represented to me that the said demand for the extradition of said Bennett G. Burley is based on the charge that the said Burley is a fugitive from justice, accused of having committed the crimes of robbery and piracy within the jurisdiction of the United States;
And whereas it has further been made known to me that the accusations and charges made against the said Bennett G. Burley are based solely on the acts and conduct of said Burley in an enterprise or expedition made or attempted in the month of September last (1864) for the capture of the steamer Michigan, an armed vessel of the United States, navigating the Lakes on the boundary line between the United States and the said British North American Provinces, and for the release of numerous citizens of the Confederate States, held as prisoners of war by the United States, at a certain Island called Johnson's Island;
And whereas the said enterprise or expedition for the capture of said armed steamer Michigan and for the release of the said prisoners on. Johnson's Island was a proper, and legitimate belligerent operation, undertaken during the pending public war between the two Confederacies known, respectively, as the Confederate States of America and the United States of America, which operation was ordered, directed, and sustained by the authority of the Government of the Confederate States, and confided to its commissioned officers for execution, among which officers is the said Bennett G. Burley: Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do hereby declare and make known to all whom it may concern that the expedition aforesaid, undertaken in the month of September last, for the capture of the armed steamer Michigan, a vessel of war of the United States, and for the release of the prisoners of war, citizens of the Confederate States of America, held captive by the United States of America at Johnson's Island, was a belligerent expedition ordered and undertaken under the authority of the Confederate States of America, against the United States of America, and that the Government of the Confederate States of America assumes the responsibility of answering for the acts and conduct of any of its officers engaged in said expedition, and especially of the said Bennett G. Burley, an acting master in the Navy of the Confederate States.
And I do further make known to all whom it may concern that in the orders and instructions given to the officers engaged in said expedition they were specially directed and enjoined to "abstain from violating any of the laws and regulations of the Canadian or British authorities in relation to neutrality," and that the combination necessary to effect the purpose of said expedition "must be made by Confederate soldiers and such assistance as they might (you may) draw from the enemy's country."
In testimony whereof, I have signed this manifesto and directed the same to be sealed with the seal of the Department of State of the Confederate States of America, and to be made public.

Done at the city of Richmond on this 24th day of December, 1864.

[SEAL.]

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

By the President:
J.P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of State.