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Office Assistant Commissioner 
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen
and Abandoned Lands
Montgomery Ala August 4th 1865

General order}
        No. 7}
The President of the United States, on the second day of June 1865, approved and signed the following order, issued by Major General O.O. Howard, Commissioner of this Bureau,
"Circular No. 5.

"Section 7. In all places where there is an interruption of civil law or in which local courts by reason of old codes, in violation of the freedom guaranteed by the proclamation of the President, and the laws of Congress, disregard the negro's right to justice before the laws, in not allowing him to give testimony, the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen being committed to this Bureau, the Assistant Commissioners will adjudicate either themselves or through officers of their appointment, all difficulties arising between negroes themselves or between negroes and whites or Indians except those in military service, as far as recognizable by military authority, and not taken cognizance of by the other tribunals Civil or military. of the United States."

The code under which the local courts of the State are at present acting excludes the testimony of the persons contemplated in this order. Exclusive jurisdiction, therefore, in the cases above consummated within this State, is vested in the Assistant Commissioner of this Bureau. 

That officer is unwilling to establish throughout Alabamas, courts conducted by persons foreign to her citizenship and strangers to 

her laws, provided a full and fair administration of justice can be otherwise secured. 

Therefore, until further orders, the judicial officers and magistrates holding office by appointment of the Provisional Governor of Alabama are hereby designated as the agents of this Bureau for the administration of justice in the [[strikethrough]] above [[/strikethrough]] cases above mentioned. They will take for this method of procedure the laws now in force in this State, except as far as those laws make a distinction on account of color.
The Counties adjoining the Tennessee River being temporarily attached to another jurisdiction, are exempt from the operation of this order. Each officer on assuming jurisdiction. will signify to the Assistant Commissioner his acceptance of the same. He will receive the support of the military authorities whenever needful. Process will be in the same name and form as under the existing Provisional Government. In addition to the usual costs, they will assess in civil cases, a proper charge for adjudication, and in criminal cases which are not flagrant, fines. From this fund they will be re-imbursed in proportion to their salaries. They will allow to juries and executive officers the same fees as in other cases. Further instructions will be sent them from this office.
Failure to signify acceptance, or evident denial of justice will be followed by revocation of the appointment herein conferred and the substitution of martial law - in the district where it shall occur. 
All good citizens are invited to give to this order the prevalence and support that is indispensable to the public peace, and to the security of property and life. 

By order of
Brig. Gen. Wager Swayne