other military measures, must, in a great degree, be left to be determined by particular exigencies.
The disposition of other property belonging to the Rebels that becomes subject to our arms is governed by the circumstances of the case.
The Government has no power to hold slaves, none to restrain a slave of his liberty, or to exact his service.
It has a right, however, to use the voluntary service of slaves liberated by war from their Rebel masters, like any other property of the Rebels, in whatever made may be most efficient for the, defense of the Government, the prosecution of the war, and the suppression of rebellion.
It is as clearly a right of the Government to arm slaves when it may become necessary as it is to take gunpowder from the enemy.
Whether it is expedient to do so, is purely a military question.
The right is unquestionable by the laws of war. The expediency must be determined by circumstances, keeping in view the great object of overcoming the Rebels, reestablishing the laws, and restoring peace to the nation.
It is vain and idle for the Government to carry on this war, or hope to maintain its existence against rebellions force, without employing all the rights and powers of war. As has been said, the right to deprive the Rebels of their property in slaves and slave labor is as clear and absolute as the right to take forage from the field, or cotton from the warehouse, or powder and arms from the magazine.
To leave the enemy in the possession of such proeprty as forage, and cotton, and military stores, and the means of constantly reproducing them, would be madness.
It is, therefore, equal madness to leave them in peaceful and secure possession of slave property, more valuable and efficient to them for war than forage, cotton, and military stores.
Such policy would be national suicide.
What to do with that species of property is a question that time and circumstances will solve, and need not be anticipated, farther than to repeat that they can not be held by the Government as slaves.
It would be useless to keep them as prisoners of war; and self-preservation, the highest duty of a Government, or of individuals, demands that they should be disposed of or employed in the most effective manner that will tend most speedily to suppress the insurrection and restore the authority of the Government.
If it shall be found that the men who have been held by the Rebels as slaves are capable of bearing arms and performing efficient military service, it is the right, and may become the duty, of this Government to arm and equip them, and employ their services against the Rebels, under proper military regulations, discipline, and command.
But, in whatever manner they may be used by the Government, it is plain that, once liberated by the rebellious act of their masters, they should never again be restored to bondage.
By the master's treason and rebellion, he forfeits all right to the labor and service of his slave; and the slave of the rebellious master, by his service to the Government, becomes justly entitled to freedom and protection.
The disposition to be made of the slaves of Rebels, after the close of the war, can be safely left to the wisdom and patriotism of Congress.
The representatives of the people will unquestionably secure to the loyal slaveholders every right to which they are entitled under the Constitution of the country.
struck out and suppressed this portion of Gen. Cameron
's Report, inserting in its stead the following:
The abuse of negroes who had escaped from Rebel masters in Virginia
and taken shelter within the lines of the Army of the Potomac, elicited the following: