Order Concerning Subjects of Foreign Powers

July 21, 1862

Representations have been made to the President by the Ministers of various foreign powers in amity with the United States, that subjects of such powers have, during the present insurrection, been obliged or required by military authorities to take an oath of general or qualified allegiance to this Government. It is the duty of all aliens residing in the United States to submit to and obey the laws, and respect the authority of the Government. For any proceeding or conduct inconsistent with this obligation, and subversive of that authority, they may rightfully be subjected to military restraints when this may be necessary. But they cannot be required to take an oath of allegiance to this Government, because it conflicts with the duty they owe to their own sovereigns. All such obligations heretofore taken are, therefore, remitted and annulled. Military Commanders will abstain from imposing similar obligations in future, and will, in lieu thereof, adopt such other restraints of the character indicated as they shall find necessary, convenient, and effectual, for the public safety. It is further directed that whenever any order shall be made affecting the personal liberty of an alien, reports of the same, and of the causes thereof, shall be made to the War Department, for the consideration of the Department of State.

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