« PreviousContinue »
christians, have promoted tranquillity and good order at this dangerous period; therefore we promise to pay all their salaries and pensions to clergymens' widows, and also to improve their present situation as much as possible.
8. That the country shall be set in a proper state of defence, without additional taxes on the nation.
9. That a person shall be invested with full power to conclude a peace with his Majesty, the King of Great Britain.
10. That all British subjects shall have full permission to trade and reside in this country, in case they do not offend against its laws; and all who shall unprovokedly assault a British subject, shall be punished.
11. That none but natives can hold either civil or clerical offices.
12. That we declare and promise to lay down our offices the moment that the representatives shall be assembled. The time appointed for the convocation of the assembly is the 1st of July, 1810; and we will then resign when a proper and suitable constitution shall be fixed on; and it is declared that the poor and the common people shall have an equal share in the government with the rich and powerful.
13. That all Danish property on the island shall be confiscated for public use; and if any one shall conceal money, or other Danish goods or merchandize, he shall be punished.
14. That the Amptmend, whether they remain in office or not, shall see these our orders duly executed, and shut up and put seals on all Danish storehouses in their ampts, and receive all confiscated monies.
15. That several officers, from fear of the Danish government, wish to be forced to retain their offices, though they fully approve of our late proceedings, and therefore do we declare, as we have nothing in view but the real good of the country, that all such people, as are not animated by sufficient patriot
VOL. II. G
ism to serve their own country, are permitted to leave the island and go to Copenhagen.
16. The situation we now are in requires that we should not suffer the least disrespect to our person, neither that any one should transgress the least article of this our proclamation, which has solely in view the welfare of the inhabitants of this island. We therefore solemnly declare, that the first who shall attempt to disturb the prosperity or common tranquillity of the country shall instantly suffer death, without benefit of the civil law.
17. In all other respects the ancient laws and regulations shall remain in full force till such time as the constitution is settled, with the exception that every Icelander is permitted to proceed uninterruptedly from place to place, and to trade wherever and in whatever manner he pleases, without having passports from Amptmend or other authorities; yet all sentences and acts of condemnation must be signed by us before they can be executed.
Mr. Jorgensen's seal (J. J.) is affixed to the original of all these five proclamations.
Mr. Jorgensen, in his own narrative, remarks as follows: "Many have found fault with different articles in my proclamations, and alledge, that they were written with a great deal too much severity: but this proceeded from a perfect knowledge of the people I had to deal with. Even if there had been some inconsistency in them, such could not be wondered at, for we are not to look for the same regularity, during the period of a revolution, as when a country is perfectly tranquil. But expressions of severity were absolutely necessary on my part, thereby to keep the unruly in check 3 for I knew my own temper so well, that, had the success of my undertaking depended upon the shedding the blood of one single of my fellow creatures, I should have been obliged to desist entirely; so that, by appearing what I really was not, I managed the whole island with ease. Although it was said in the proclamations, that all officers who did not remain in their situations should be transported to Westman's Isles, such a thing was never attempted to be put in force, neither was a single individual who resigned, driven out of his habitation, which might have been done in those houses belonging to government; but, on the contrary, I ordered that such persons and their families should be supplied gratis with every necessary from the public stores, till an opportunity offered for them to be sent to Denmark. Moreover, though it was publicly proclaimed, that any one, who should disturb the public tranquillity and not deliver up their arms, should be severely punished, the people so offending were only slightly reprimanded. John Bergman, with a drawn cutlass, ran about Reikevig, threatening destruction to us all, for which he was only confined for two hours. Mr. Finboge, who had concealed two thousand six hundred rix-dollars, belonging to Adzer Knutzen, received no manner of chastisement. Sigurd Thorgrimsen suffered no punishment for propagating reports about the country that the streets of Reikevig were stained with the blood of Danes and Icelanders. Assessor Einersen was arrested and confined for a few days, upon the information of the Etatsroed Stephensen, that he was at the head of a conspiracy raised to attack the English.—So much for my cruelty and severity."