Who pleads the Constitution against our proposed action?
Congress of the United States, July, 1861. This subject is further considered in subsequent chapters on the measures of emancipation adopted by the United States government.
It is to be remembered in this connection that pillage and the wanton destruction of private property are not permitted by the laws of war among civilized nations.
When prosecuting the war with Mexico, we respected private property of the enemy; when in 1781 Great Britain, attempting to reduce her revolted American colonies, took possession of the country around and about Point Comfort (Fortress Monroe), the homes quietly occupied by the rebellious people were spared by the armies of the self-asserting ruler of the land.
At a later date, war existed between Great Britain and the independent states of the Union, during which Great Britain got possession of various points within the states.
At the Treaty of Ghent, 1815, by which peace was restore
renounced their new Union, they have proved their indestructibility by resuming their former places in the old one, where, by the organic law, they could only be admitted as republican, equal, and sovereign states of the Union.
And, although the Confederacy as an organization may have ceased to exist as unquestionably as though it had never been formed, the fundamental principles, the eternal truths, uttered when our colonies in 1776 declared their independence, on which the Confederation of 1781 and the Union of 1788 were formed, and which animated and guided in the organization of the Confederacy of 1861, yet live, and will survive, however crushed they may be by despotic force, however deep they may be buried under the debris of crumbling states, however they may be disavowed by the time-serving and the faint-hearted; yet I believe they have the eternity of truth, and that in God's appointed time and place they will prevail.
The contest is not over, the strife is not ended.