Proclamations for 1875

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EMPEROR NORTON PROJECT:

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January 2, 1875

Proclamation.

Norton I, Dei Gratia Emperor U. S. and Protector of Mexico, demands from all concerned a proper organization of his Empire, so that the Emperor can have a suitable residence and attendants, and a good observance of his decrees and authority, by which means the National affairs and finances can be got and kept in proper shape.

Wishing all a prosperous and happy New Year,

Norton I.


January 9, 1875

Proclamation.

The Emperor congratulates Spain on the prospects of peace in electing Alphonso Murphy as King. In case of any opposition or trouble Norton I will use his influence to allay it.

Norton I.

Signed at the City of San Francisco, State of California, United States of America, on the 5th day of January, A.D. 1875.

———-

Gas and Water Companies take warning. The Emperor will have his decrees obeyed.

Norton I.


January 16, 1875

Proclamation.

The way to settle the difficulties in Louisiana is to legalize our Imperial decrees.

Norton I.


January 23, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, it is our intention to take an Empress, and in consideration of the visits by the Royalty abroad we, Norton I, “Dei Gratia” Emperor of the U. S. and protector of Mexico, do hereby command the builders of the Palace Hotel to fit up a portion of their building for our Imperial Residence, becoming the dignity of a great and hopeful nation.

Norton I.

———-

Know all whom it may concern that we, Norton I, Dei gratia Emperor, &c., do hereby warn the mining companies on tho Comstock lode that they must respect the private rights of the Empire and get their titles sealed and acknowledged by us; otherwise, we shall order the army to take possession.

Norton I.


January 30, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, we are desirous of forthwith quieting the Louisiana troubles; and whereas, we have repeatedly ordered the dissolution of the State Constitutions; now, therefore, we Norton I, Dei gratia Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, do hereby command the army to close up the Louisiana Legislature at the point of the bayonet, if necessary, pending the calling of a national convention to ratify our decrees.

Norton I.


February 6, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, we are anxious to guard against the intentional destruction of ships and steamers employed in the Chinese trade by unscrupulous persons; now, therefore, we, Norton I, Dei gratia Emperor, do hereby command the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to take care that the officers, sailors, and others, on the “City of Peking,” and other steamers, are not prejudiced against the immigration of Chinese.

Norton I.


February 13, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, The frauds committed upon the public by the money brokers renders it necessary that some safeguard should be adopted, Now, therefore, we, Norton I., Dei Gratia, Emperor, do hereby command that it is unlawful and a penal offence for any mine to be offered for sale, or any mine to be sold to the public, unless competent officers appointed by the government shall first have examined and recommended the mine as a proper and good mine.

Norton I.


February 20, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, We decreed some time back, in order to prevent fraud, that the stock brokers in all the different cities throughout our dominions should give security to the government, in good and ample bonds, for the honest administration of their trusts; and, whereas, the present Board of Brokers of the City of San Francisco have not complied with our said decree : Now, therefore, we, Norton I., Dei Gratia Emperor, etc., do hereby order the dissolution of the present board, aud that a new board be organized, which shall comply with the terms of our said decree.

Norton I.

———–

The Emperor cordially favors the celebration in honor of Washington’s Birthday. At the same time he desires to remind his subjects not to fail in their recognition of one who is the preserver of that which Washington gave them—their National Independence.

Norton I.

———–

Religious Liberty. — Methodist Church North ; Methodist Church South — during the war. Don’t have the Lord’s Prayer in the schools. Catholicism and Spiritualism ; communion of the people. The Emperor wants but one church in all his dominions.

Norton I.


February 27, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, We cannot be expected to protect the nation and the rights of our people if the people themselves disrespect the rights and ignore the privileges of the Emperor; and, whereas, on the recent celebration of Washington’s Birthday, the general commanding neglected to provide us with an escort to the military parade, suitable to our rank and dignity, therefore, We, Norton I, Dei Gratia Emperor, etc., do hereby order that those officers who were instrumental in ignoring us on that occasion be declared guilty of treason, and cashiered.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, We have now been over twenty-two years Emperor of the United States, and, whereas, the United States has never paid us for our services as Emperor of said States, during all this long period having depended solely on friends outside and in, and finding, also, that the State of California through her representative officers have collected a large sum on our account, and fraudulently withheld the said sums from us, the general government is warned that the nation is held responsible, and commanded to see that they are not defrauded by corrupt officials out of this money.

Norton I.


“Ratified,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 5 no. 314 (May 31, 1875): 3.


March 6, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, a certain Committee, styling itself the “Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors,” is investigating the accounts of Alexander Austin, Tax Collector of said City and County: Now, therefore, it is hereby ordered that said Finance Committee do cease their inquiry into what concerns them not, and the said Austin is hereby commanded to pay into our treasury the sums lie has defrauded us of forthwith, or incur our direst displeasure, in comparison to which the enmity of the said committee is as the dew from heaven.

Norton I.

———-

Proclamation.

Whereas, the frauds committed by the Directors of mining and banking companies requires that there should be proper safeguards against it, Now, therefore, we, Norton I, Emperor, etc., do hereby command that the Directors of all such companies shall deposit with the government, before they can obtain their charters, full and ample security for the honest administration of their trust; and, also, that those companies already established shall comply with this, our Imperial Decree.

Given under our hand, etc.

Norton I.


March 13, 1875

Proclamation.

Take three little ropes, red, white and blue, And they will hang Catholic, Protestant or Jew.

But, unravel the ropes and weave them, and you have the colors which make a beautiful Flag—one that blesses and protects all who live under it. This is an allegory the Emperor commends to Rev. Mr. Hammond as a subject to preach to children about, instead of slandering God and sowing the seeds of bigotry and imbecility in the minds of his little subjects.

Norton I.


March 20, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, a Spaniard, purporting to be the agent of the Las Arokanos, a powerful tribe of Indians in Chili, South America, has applied for a grant of 5,000 acres of land belonging to our private estate, this is to give notice to said agent that he must apply to the Emperor’s London agents, and file with them good and sufficient security that they will hold them in trust for us, and, in case of war, to furnish the imperial army with 3,000 well equipped braves, upon which said grant will be confirmed.

Norton I.

———-

On account of the recent disgraceful disclosure in the Board of Education, said Board is hereby dissolved, and a new election ordered. Also, that the ladies who lost their situations for testifying in the public interest, be reinstated.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, the Lyceum of Self Culture in this city is intended for the earnest seekers after truth, and not for political purposes, and as the present President has been using his office for his own purposes, the said Lyceum is hereby commanded to depose their present President, and elect a new one.

Norton I.


March 27, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, Our subjects on the Pacific Coast are suffering from the recent depreciation in government currency and securities, the Emperor orders the immediate resumption of specie payments by the government, and that, hereafter every dollar of greenbacks be declared equal to its equivalent in gold.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, The land policy of the Washington authorities is detrimental to the interests of the Emperor and his subjects in California, it is ordered that all lands held under so-called Mexican grants be placed in the hands of our English and German agents, to be disposed of in small lots at low prices, the money therefor to be placed to our credit with our London bankers.

Norton I.


March 29, 1875


April 3, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, although we approve of the bequests of Mr. Lick, yet as the title to the estate is vested in us, and cannot be transfered except by us, we hereby order his Trustees to yield up their trust, and a new sale to be had, in which Mr. Lick be permitted to join with the Emperor in conferring titles. The proceeds of said sale to be divided ourselves and aforesaid Lick.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas we are always anxious to maintain the dignity of tho Supreme Court, and have, therefore, refrained from interfering the Pickett case in the vain hope that he would apologise, now, therefore, considering his contumacy the result of dethroned reason, we, in virtue of our supreme prerogative of mercy hereby order the release of the said Pickett.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, the fluctuations in gold are detrimental to the commercial interests of the country, and tend to depreciate the value of tho National currency, it is hereby declared a penal offence to demand more than par value for gold.

Norton I.


April 17, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, A frightful disaster has occured here owing to the careless habit of storing giant powder and nitro glycerine in this city, all persons having such combustibles in their warehouses are ordered to have them removed to at least three miles from the city limits, or they will be criminally prosecuted.

Norton I.

———-

Proclamation.

Whereas, The State and others have wrongfully acquired and illegally hold large tracts of the lands of the Emperor Norton I; and, whereas, said State and others are endeavoring to dispose of them to immigrants now arriving, and who are not cognizant of paid Emperor’s rights; therefore, it is ordered, that nil parties desiring to purchase said lands must apply to the Emperor in person or to his private secretary. Purchasers of Norton Script will receive liberal grants.

Norton I.


April 19, 1875

Proclamations.

Whereas, The accident on the Union Pacific Railroad renders it necessary that the Emperor should be thoroughly posted as to the safe conditions and permanency of the said road. Now, therefore, we, Norton I., Dei Gratia Emperor, do hereby command Gov. Pacheco to order a special train for the Emporer to go over the road with competent surveyors and examine the track.

Whereas, Is is necessary to give every encouragement and assistance to the coming immigration, it is hereby ordered that the Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco form a committee of citizens to take such action as may be necessary for that object.

Norton I.


April 24, 1875

Proclamation.

In view of the large number of emigrants arriving in this city, and being desirous that they should be assisted and protected, We, Norton I, Emperor, etc,, do hereby order that the Mechanics’ Pavilion building be immediately prepared for their reception, and for transacting their business, in order that they may not be fleeced through the rapacity of landlords. The State Treasurer is also directed to see that the emigrants are provided with sufficient money to proceed to their respective destinations, and charge the same to the emigration fund, and take bonds from said emigrants for the repayment of such moneys when able to do so. Done at our City of San Francisco, this 21st day of April, 1875.

Norton I.


May 8, 1875

Proclamation.

The Emperor hereby orders the proper authorities to collect the fine imposed on Buckingham &. Hecht for refusing to furnish the Emperor with boots, and to hand the same over to the Emigrant Aid Society.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, the unlawful detention of the Emperor’s sword, or the stealing or detention of his majesty’s stick, a defensive weapon, according to the new political code, is high treason, and punishable by death or line and imprisonment, or both, at the pleasure of the Emperor, all persons harboring the thief or detainer or detainers of said property that they will be dealt with according to law. All interested are notified to beware how they provoke Imperial wrath, as their blood will be on their own heads. Selah!

Norton I.

———-

The banks who contributed to the “Rosener Corruption Fund” are ordered to send $1000 each to the Emperor, and “ask no questions.” By promptly complying they will “keep in his good graces.”

Norton I.


May 15, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, Fears are entertained that the complications between Mexico and the United States, will result in a declaration of war; Now, therefore, in order to allay the fears of the good and peaceful people of both nations, His Majesty, Norton I, notifies them that while he is Emperor of the United States he is also Protector of Mexico, he is determined, like his Imperial Brother, the Czar of Russia, to maintain peace, and will have justice done between the two nations without bloodshed.

Norton I.

[Mexican and Spanish papers copy.]


May 22, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, the telegraph company is reported to receive dispatches addressed to the Emperor, which are never delivered, but made use of by other parties to our personal injury, this is to give notice that such crime is high treason, and the penalty death, and further, that the President of the company is liable to be removed for permitting such treasonable acts.

Norton I.

———-

The Emperor commands that Mr. Rosener be disfranchised, and he is here condemned to ten years’ imprisonment in the State prison.

Norton I.

———-

Whereas, the Emperor cannot afford to be contraband all the time and understanding that the State militia are encamped at San Rafael, this is is to give notice to the general commanding to forthwith send an orderly and report to us their proceedings and take our wishes as to paying them a visit.

Norton I.


The long run of Emperor Norton’s proclamations came to an end when the Pacific Appeal was sued for libel by the target of one of the Emperor’s blasts. On May 8, 1875, a proclamation was published without signature or the usual “Proclamation” headline, although it was clearly the work of Emperor Norton or one of his imitators:

Whereas, A person styling himself Charles R. Peters was at the time of the drawing of the Mercantile Library lottery accused of appropriating the capital prize, which was won by Norton I., and intended by the Emperor for charitable distribution; and, whereas, the said Peters is now attempting by misrepresentation and false assertions to induce emigrants to purchase worthless land at a “town” which he calls Newark (but which has neither local habitation nor name outside of the imagination of said Peters); now, therefore, this is to caution all persons against being misled or deceived by the said Peters, and the Grand Jury is hereby instructed to inquire into said matters, and to bring said Peters to trial.

The style and content aren’t much different from the Emperor’s other productions, but when the target decided to pursue a legal response, naming the editor of the Pacific Appeal, the paper’s relationship with Emperor Norton was quickly severed. Reading the rather effusive thanks to the community for not making more of this minor scandal, it is probably important to remember that the Pacific Appeal was an African-American paper and, as such, naturally vulnerable in ways that some other publications might not have been. 


May 29, 1875

A Retraction.

An article appeared in the APPEAL some two or three weeks ago, written by “Emperor Norton,” or “Norton I,” reflecting on the excursion made to Newark under the proprietorship of Mr. Charles R. Peters, the eminent and enterprising Real Estate Broker.

The article being put in the paper by a compositor in the establishment where we get our paper printed, against our express orders. The said journeyman printer also took the “Emperor’s” nom de plume from the bottom of the article, thus leaving the article without signature. As we have been imposed upon by the journeyman compositor, as also an offence has been given to. Mr. Peters against our wishes or will, we take this occasion to retract the said article by Emperor Norton, and forbid him hereafter bringing any thing to our office for publication; and will say to Mr. Peters that we have not been a party to, or the writer of that article, and none regrets more than we do of the imposition which Emperor Norton and a journeyman printer has practiced on both ourself and Mr. Peters, and by strict vigilance we promise that the like will not occur again. We believe Mr. Peters to be an honorable, upright and enterprising citizen and gentleman. And we also urge every one who is at the head of a family to buy his Newark lots.

Peter Anderson.


June 5, 1875

Libel Case Dismissed.

The following item we clip from the Morning Call of Thursday last:

“On motion of the attorney representing the People, Judge Louderback yesterday dismissed the complaint charging Peter Anderson, of the Pacific Appeal, with libel. In one issue of that paper there was published one of Emperor Norton’s Proclamations reflecting upon Mr. C. R. Peters. In the following issue Mr. Anderson made the amende honorable, and Mr. Peters, being satisfied, did not desire to prosecute.”

We will take this occasion to further add that the dilemma in which we were inadvertently placed in last week, in consequence of the idiotic paragraph or scrap by “Emperor Norton,” which was the cause of our trouble, that after our explanation of the facts in the case in our last week’s issue, none were more prompt than Mr. Charles R. Peters and Col. Wm. H. L. Barnes, his attorney, in ceasing any further prosecution in the case, for which they hare our. thanks.

Messrs. Caddy & Hughes, proprietors of the extensive printing establishment in which our paper is printed, also have oar thanks for their promptness in coming to our aid, and rendering all the assistance in their power in order to relieve us, if possible, of the difficulty.

The entire press of the city and State also have our thanks, as none were disposed to lay a straw in our way, and all rather implied sympathy in our case; than a desire to censure before an explanation was given. We also thank our citizens at large for the many tokens of sympathy and confidence in our past course and integrity, in not descending to such topics as would mar the standing of the Pacific Appeal in responsibility, at least, as a first-class journal.


The aftermath was documented in the Oakland Tribune. There, the Emperor addressed the suit with the sort of response that we might expect:


May 31, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, We, Norton I, Dei Gratia, Emperor of North America, &C., are answerable for any Proclamation signed by Norton I. and warn Mr. C. R. Peters and all others from persecuting or interfering with any of our adherents, and command the Courts to have him arraigned for high treason and committed to Fort Alcatraz if he does not withdraw all such proceedings.

Norton I.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, in the wake of the libel case that they precipitated, Emperor Norton seems to have had fewer outlets for his proclamations in the last few years of his life. While some papers, such as the Oakland Tribune, remained faithful to the Emperor, the volume of published proclamations seems to have declined significantly.


June 3, 1875

Proclamation.

Whereas, It is our firm determination to bring this nation out of its present deplorable condition and endeavor to established confidence in its future stability and integrity; now, therefore, we, Norton I, Dei Gratia Emperor, do hereby command that no person be elected to office unless they take the oath of allegiance to Norton I., and thereby make themselves and all others true to the Empire.

Norton I.


Sources:

  1. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 20 (January 2, 1875): 1.
  2. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 21 (January 9, 1875): 2.
  3. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 21 (January 9, 1875): 2.
  4. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 21 (January 16, 1875): 1.
  5. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 22 (January 16, 1875): 1.
  6. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 23 (January 23, 1875): 1.
  7. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 23 (January 23, 1875): 1.
  8. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 24 (January 30, 1875): 1.
  9. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 25 (February 6, 1875): 1.
  10. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 26 (February 13, 1875): 2.
  11. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 27 (February 20, 1875): 1.
  12. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 27 (February 20, 1875): 1.
  13. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 27 (February 20, 1875): 1.
  14. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 28 (February 27, 1875): 1.
  15. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 28 (February 27, 1875): 1.
  16. “Ratified,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 5 no. 314 (March 2, 1875): 3.
  17. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 29 (March 6, 1875): 1.
  18. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 29 (March 6, 1875): 2.
  19. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 30 (March 13, 1875): 1.
  20. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 31 (March 20, 1875): 1.
  21. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 31 (March 20, 1875): 1.
  22. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 31 (March 20, 1875): 1.
  23. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 32 (March 27, 1875): 1.
  24. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 32 (March 27, 1875): 1.
  25. “Proclamation,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 5 no. 327 (March 29, 1875): 3. [Lick estate]
  26. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 33 (April 3, 1875): 1.
  27. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 33 (April 3, 1875): 1.
  28. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 33 (April 3, 1875): 1.
  29. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 35 (April 17, 1875): 1.
  30. “Proclamations,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 5 no. 345 (April 19, 1875): 3.
  31. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 36 (April 24, 1875): 1.
  32. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 38 (May 8, 1875): 1.
  33. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 38 (May 8, 1875): 1.
  34. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 38 (May 8, 1875): 1.
  35. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 39 (May 15, 1875): 1.
  36. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 40 (May 22, 1875): 1.
  37. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 40 (May 22, 1875): 1.
  38. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 40 (May 22, 1875): 1.
  39. “Proclamation,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 38 (May 8, 1875): 2.
  40. “Proclamation,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 6 no. 380 (May 31, 1875): 3.
  41. “Proclamation,” Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 6 no. 383 (June 3, 1875): 3.
  • Peter Anderson, “A Retraction,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 41 (May 29, 1875): 2.
  • “Libel Case Dismissed,” Pacific Appeal, 11 no. 42 (June 5, 1875): 2.
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About Shawn P. Wilbur 2096 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.