Proclamations for 1860

January 4, 1860


Whereas, a body of men calling themselves the National Congress, are now in session in Washington city, in violation of our Imperial edict of the 12th of October last, declaring the said Congress abolished:

Whereas, it is necessary for the repose of our Empire that the said decree should be strictly complied with:

Now, therefore, we do hereby Order and Direct Major General Scott, the Commander-in-Chief of our Armies, immediately on receipt of this our Decree, to proceed with a suitable force and clear the Halls of Congress.

Norton I.,
Emperor of the U. S. America.

Dated from Headquarters,
San Francisco, Cal., January 4, 1860.

January 13, 1860



Whereas, by Proclamation of the 17th day of September last, we duly informed all parties of our election as Emperor of the United States of America, by the national will:

And Whereas, Govern Latham has so far failed to fulfill his duty in properly installing us into office, by which mean he tranquillity, interest and honor of our Empire are neglected:

Now, Therefore, We do hereby Order and Direct that the Empire shall be forthwith proclaimed by the proper legally constituted authorities, or we shall Resign, and demand the tribute due to us. In the vernacular, “Nuf ced.”

Norton I.,
Emperor of the United States of North America.

San Francisco, Cal., January 13, 1860.

January 17, 1860


Whereas, it is an undoubted truth that Mexico is entirely unfit to manage her own affairs, the country being in a constant state of internal distraction, anarchy and civil war; And whereas, His Imperial Majesty Napoleon III. is throwing his protecting arm around unfortunate Italy, we consider it our duty to shield and protect bleeding Mexico.

Now, Therefore, We do hereby order and direct that a Convention of the Nation shall assemble, in the Hall of the Montezumas, on the 5th day of July next—then and there to adopt such measures as will effectively protect her from future internal dissensions and give security for her future stability, and protection to the great foreign interest: And We also do hereby order and direct 10,000 troops of our army to assemble in the said city of Mexico, on the said 5th day of July next, to enforce a proper and firm government adapted to the wants of the nation, to be composed of the proper men for such an object.

Norton I.,
Emperor of the U. S. Of North America.

Dated from the Headquarters, San Francisco, California.
January 17, 1860.

January 28, 1860


In consequence of the destruction by fire of the Musical Hall, the National Convention, ordered to assemble on the 1st day of February next, is hereby ordered to meet on the 5th day of February next, in Assembly Hall, on Kearny street, of this city.

Norton I.,
Emperor of the United States Of America.

Dated from the Headquarters, at San Francisco, January 28, 1860.

February 1, 1860


Whereas, there are undoubtedly lying and deceitful spirits as well as truthful one; And whereas, through the instrumentality of those who are enlightening others on this matter, the inmates of our Insane Asylums throughout our several provinces in our Empire have become greatly increased in number:

Now, therefore, to prevent, so far as possible, the increase of insanity throughout our Dominions, we do hereby Order and Direct, that all preachers of Spiritualism, without distinction, shall be sent to our Insane Asylums and there kept on short allowance, until their minds can cool down from heavenly to earthly subjects.

Norton I.,
Emperor of the U. S. America.

February 4, 1860



Emperor Norton—The Approaching Convention—The Imperial Address.

His Imperial Majesty, Norton I., will take not denial, but alternately demands, bullies, wheedles and entreats that the Bulletin shall publish the Address which he proposes to submit to the great National Convention about to be held at Assembly Hall in this city. What can a poor editor do? If his Majesty should get the upper hand, some time hereafter, it might fare ill with us that we attempted to throw a stumbling-block in his way. He urges that we should not be faint-hearted in the cause, nor led away by some “weak invention of the enemy;” but come boldly out, and advocate his imperial pretensions. It can certainly do no harm, he maintains, and in all probability will be productive of an immensity of good, not only to the people of these United States, but to humanity at large. There is no use to discuss the matter any more. Here is the Imperial Document:

Representatives of the Nation:—At the request of a large majority of the citizens of the Republic, you have been directed to assemble here, this day, to ratify, alter or reject, a proposed alteration of the form of your government. an alteration is demanded and insisted upon, or We should not have been entrusted with the authority to have called a Convention of the Nation for that object, and with the power to abolish the National Congress, which was done by our Proclamation date the 12th day of October last. The principal complaints under the Republican form of Government are set forth in our Proclamation abolishing Congress, of which the following is a copy:

“It is represented to us that the universal suffrage, as now existing through the Union, is abused. That fraud and corruption prevent a fair and proper expression of the public voice. That open violation of the laws are constantly occurring—caused by mobs, parties, factions and undue influence of political sects, and that, consequently, the citizen has not that protection of person and property which he is entitled to by paying his pro rata of the expenses of Government.”

the same influences which prevent a proper protection for person and property, have directly and indirectly interfered with the foreign relations of the nation, and have excited the national feelings of vast empires and kingdoms against the American citizens.

You are too intelligent for me to enlarge on the effects upon your property, its depreciation and high rates of interest; also, the stoppage of immigration resulting from such a state of things; as, also, the difficulties with your commercial and other treaties in your intercourse with foreign nations.

It is also maintained, and with a great deal of truth, that such a great number of States cannot hold together under a National Congress with such a diversity of nationality and interest as exists in the United States under the existing National Constitution, and 33 state Constitutions clashing against each other; and that a dissolution is inevitably necessary, under any circumstances. Take, for instance, the General Revenue Laws. That which would be good and beneficial on the Atlantic side, is injurious and unjust to the States of the Pacific. Laws relating to Immigration which would be beneficial to the States on the Pacific, would be injurious to the Foreign relations of the States on the Atlantic. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, and the internal dissensions on Slavery and other questions, We are certain that nothing will save the nation from utter ruin and falling to pieces, except an absolute Monarchy, under the supervision and authority of an Independent Emperor and Supreme Council, assimulating to the Russian form of Government, with such alteration as may be adapted to the American Nation.

Norton I.
Emperor of the United States of North America.

We are requested by the Emperor to announce to the public, that in consequence of the 5th of February—the day fixed for holding the National Convention—falling upon Sunday, his Majesty has postponed the time of meeting to Wednesday next, the 8th instant, when the Convention will positively be held at Assembly Hall, at the northwest corner of Kearny and Post streets. His Majesty omitted to inform us of the hour when the doors would be open. As there will doubtless be a great “rush” on the occasion, parties intending to be present should take a position early, on the street, so as to secure a choice seat which the Hall may be entered. Perhaps it would be advisable to take a chair, a blanket or two, an umbrella, (if need be,) a pile of sandwiches, a bottle of something, and just make a night of it, as close to the doors as possible, so as to be ready, when the time comes, for the squeeze. Wednesday is going to be a great day for California, as the Emperor says.

April 19, 1860

New Proclamation by the Emperor Norton.

We, Norton I., Emperor of the United States of North America, to my subjects in the city of San Francisco, State of California, Greeting:

Whereas, We, having the highest opinion of Governor Downey, of this State, on the Bulkhead question, and fully approving of his course: And Whereas, We being in want of one million dollars, for the purpose of enabling us to make a suitable appearance in Europe, and thereby be enabled to form a suitable alliance,* previous to our return to Washington to take upon us the duties of our office:

Now, therefore, We do authorize our High Sheriff of this city to raise and collect the said amount on our own scrip, bearing interest, for the purpose aforesaid.

Norton I.,
Emperor of the U. S., North America.

[*Understood to be the Princess Alice of England.—Ed. Bulletin.]

May 26, 1860

A Hint to Note Shavers.

To the Editor of the Bulletin:—Understanding that certain promissory notes, obtained from “Joshua Norton,” with his individual signature, under false pretences, and also that forged promissory notes, to a large amount, have been offered on the market under the signature of “Norton,” you will greatly oblige me by cautioning the public in your paper, at the earliest convenience, against negotiating any such paper, and oblige yours respectfully,

Norton I.

July 27, 1860


Whereas, it is necessary for our Peace, Prosperity and Happiness, as also to the National Advancement of the people of the United States, that they should dissolve the Republican form of government and establish in its stead an Absolute Monarchy;

Now, therefore, We, Norton I, by the Grace of God Emperor of the Thirty-three states and the multitude of Territories of the United States of America, do hereby dissolve the Republic of the United States, and it is hereby dissolved; And all laws made from and after this date, either by the National Congress or any State Legislature, shall be null and of no effect.

All Governors, and all other persons in authority, shall maintain order by enforcing the heretofore existing laws and regulations until the necessary alterations can be effected.

Given under our hand and seal, at Headquarters, San Francisco, this 26th day of July, 1860.

[i. s.] Norton I.


  • “Proclamation,” Evening Bulletin (San Francisco) 9 no. 73 (Wednesday, January 4, 1860): 3. [009]
  • “Proclamation,” Evening Bulletin (San Francisco) 9 no. 81 (Friday, January 13, 1860): 3. [007]
  • “Proclamation,” Evening Bulletin (San Francisco) 9 no. 85 (Wednesday, January 18, 1860): 3. [015]
  • “Proclamation,” Evening Bulletin (San Francisco) 9 no. 94 (Saturday, January 28, 1860): 3. [008]
  • “Proclamation,” Evening Bulletin (San Francisco) 9 no. 97 (Saturday, February 1, 1860): 3. [010]
  • “Local Matters. Emperor Norton—the Approaching Convention—the Imperial Address,” San Francisco Bulletin 9 no. 100 (Saturday, February 4, 1860): 3. [002]
  • “New Proclamation by the Emperor Norton” San Francisco Bulletin 10 no. 10 (Thursday, April 19, 1860): 3.
  • “A Hint to Note Shavers,” San Francisco Bulletin 10 no. 94 (Saturday, May 26, 1860 ): 3.
  • “Proclamation,” San Francisco Bulletin 10 no. 94 (Friday, July 27, 1860 ): 3.


About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.