the Union to aid them or act on the subject, so long I will consent never to interfere. I have said this; and I repeat it: but, if they come to the Free States and say to them, “You must help us to keep down our slaves; you must aid us in an insurrection and a civil war;” then I say that, with that call, comes a full and plenary power to this House and to the Senate over the whole subject. It is a War power. I say it is a War power; and when your country is actually in war, whether it be a war of invasion or a war of insurrection, Congress has power to carry on the war, and must carry it on according to the laws of war; and, by the laws of war, an invaded country las all its laws and municipal institutions swept by the board, and martial law takes the palace of them. This power in Congress has, perhaps, never been called into exercise under the present Constitution of the United States. But, when the laws of war are in force, what, I ask, is one of those laws? It is this: that when a country is invaded, and two hostile armies are set in martial array, the commanders of both armies have power to emancipate all the slaves in the invaded territory. Nor is this a mere theoretic statement. The history of South America shows that the doctrine has been carried into practical execution within the last thirty years. Slavery was abolished in: Colombia, first by the Spanish General Murillo; and, secondly, by the American General Bolivar. It was abolished by virtue of a military command, given at the head of the army; and its abolition continues to be law to this day. It was abolished by the laws of war, and not by municipal enactments. The power was exercised by military commanders, under instructions, of course, from their respective Governments. And here I recur again to the example of Gen. Jackson. What are you now about in Congress? You are about passing a grant to refund to Gen. Jackson the amount of a certain line imposed upon him by a judge under the laws of the State of Louisiana. You are going to refund him the money, with interest; and this you are going to do, because the imposition of the fine was unjust. And wily was it unjust? Because Gen. Jackson was acting under the laws of war; and because, the moment you place a military commander in a district which is the theater of war, the laws of war apply to that district. * * * I might furnish a thousand proofs to show that the pretensions of gentlemen to the sanctity of their municipal institutions, under a state of actual invasion and of actual war, whether servile, civil, or foreign, is wholly unfounded; and that the laws of war do, in all such cases, take precedence. I lay this down as the law of nations. I say that the military authority takes, for the time, the place of all municipal institutions, and of Slavery among the rest; and that, under that state of things, so fair from its being true that the States where Slavery exists have the exclusive management of the subject, not only the President of the United States, but the commander of the army, has power to order the universal emancipation of the slaves. I have given here more in detail a principle which I have asserted on this floor before now, and of which I have no more doubt than that you, Sir, occupy that chair. I give it in its development, in order that any gentleman from any part of the Union may, if he think proper, deny the truth of the position, and may maintain his denial — not by indignation, not by passion and fury, but by sound and sober reasoning from the laws of nations and the laws of war. And, if my position can be answered, and refuted, shall receive the refatation with pleasure ; I shall be glad to listen to reason, aside, as I say, from indignation and passion. And if, by the force of reasoning, my understanding can be convinced, I here pledge myself to recant what I have asserted. Let my position be answered ; let me be told, let my constituents be told, let the people of my State be told — a State whose soil tolerates not the foot of a slave — that they are bound by the Constitution to a long and toilsome march under burning: Summer suns and a deadly Southern clime, for the suppression of a servile war ; that they are bound to leave their bodies to rot upon the sands of Carolina — to leave their wives widows and their children orphans — that those who can not march are bound to pour out their treasure, while their sons or brothers are pouring out their blood, to suppress a servile, combined with a civil or a foreign war; and yet that there exists no power, beyond the limits of the Slave State where such war is raging, to emancipate the slaves! I say, let this be proved — I am open to conviction; but, till that conviction comes, I put it forth not as a dictate of feeling, but as a settled maxim of the laws of nations, that in such a case the military supersedes the civil power; and on this account I should have been obliged to vote, as I have said, against one of the resolutions of my excellent friend from Ohio [Mr. Giddings], or should at least have required that it be amended in conformity with the Constitution of the United States.Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, while a member of the House of Representatives, thirteen years prior to the appearance of Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation
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