Proclamation of Governor Lewis E. Parsons to the People of Alabama - July 20,1865
The appeal to arms has been made and decided against us, but not until our sons and brothers had exhibited a degree of courage and endurance which commands the respect and admiration of the world.
Alabama was admitted to the Union on the 2nd day of March, 1819. What her population and resources were at that time I have not the means at hand to state; but the census of 1860 enables us to see what her condition was when the convention passed the ordinance of secession, on the 11th day of January, 1861.
Our state then had a population of 964,201 souls, of which 526,431 were whites, 2,690 were free colored, and 435,080 were slaves. We had 6,462,987 acres of improved lands, the greater part of which was in actual cultivation, producing 32,761,194 bushels of corn; 1,222,487 bushels of wheat; 73,942 bushels of oats; 499,599 pounds of rice; 221,284 pounds of tobacco; 1,483,609 bushels of peas and beans; 397,566 bushels of Irish potatoes; 5,420,987 bushels of sweet potatoes; and 997,978 bales of cotton. We had 108,701 mules; 127,205 horses; 234,045 milk cows; 92,495 working oxen; 452,643 head of other cattle; 369,061 sheep, yielding 681,404 pounds of wool; and 1,736,559 swine.
We had 743 miles of railroad in operation which had cost us $17,591,188. We had $4,901,000 invested in bank stock, $2,747,174 in specie, and $4,851,153 on deposit in the different banks of the State, and $8,260,000 invested in manufactures, the value of whose annual product was $9,400,000 (???).
The value of our real estate and personal property, exclusive of the value of negroes, was $495,277,078.
In the prosecution of the war, for the last four years, into which Alabama was precipitated, about 122,000 of her sons have been carried to the field of battle, 35,000 of whom will never return; and it is probable an equal of larger number are permanently injured by wounds or disease while in the service.
There is no longer a slave in Alabama. It is thus made manifest to the world that the right of secession for the purpose of establishing a separate Confederacy, based on the idea of African slavery, has been fully and effectually tried and is a failure.
Yet amid all the rain suffering and death which have resulted from it, every political right which the state possessed under the Federal Constitution, is here today, with the single exception relating to slavery.
There are no slaves now in Alabama. The slave code is a dead letter. They who were once slaves are now free, and must be governed by the laws of Alabama as free men. It is the dictate of wisdom, and we owe it to ourselves and them to produce the best possible results for both races, from the new order of things.
20th day of July A.D. 1865
Lewis E. Parsons
Provisional Governor of Alabama
(Reprinted from Freedmen Bureau Records. Submitted by Valencia King Nelson, researcher/genealogist, Anniston, Alabama.)