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[523] fight the consequence through the cause, was esteemed an immeasurable stretch of presumption. The following dispatch aptly embodies the prevailing sentiment:--

Has the bill for the execution of Abolition prisoners, after January next, been passed?Do it; and England will be stirred into action. It is high time to proclaim the black flag after that period. Let the execution be with the garrote.


Prior to the issue1 of President Lincoln's later, unconditional edict of emancipation, Jefferson Davis had, in proclaiming2 the outlawry of Gen. Butler and his officers,3 decreed that all slaves captured in arms be turned over to the Executives of their several States, to be dealt with according to law, and that a similar disposition be made of their White officers. So, in his third Annual Message,4 he dealt, of course, very harshly with President Lincoln's final Proclamation of Freedom, then recently promulgated, which he stigmatized as a violation of a solemn assurance embodied in the author's Inaugural Address, and in the resolve of the Chicago Convention therein quoted.5 Mr. Davis hailed the proclamation as an admission that the Union could never be restored, and as a guaranty that such restoration was impossible. Says the Confederate chief:

It has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three possible consequences — the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole White population of the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States. This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the South by force of arms, and, as such, must be accepted by neutral nations, which can no longer find any justification in withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also, in effect, an intimation to the people of the North that they must prepare to submit to a separation, now become come inevitable; for that people are too acute not to understand that a restitution of the Union has been rendered forever impossible by the adoption of a measure which, from its very nature, neither admits of retraction nor can coexist with union.

But the passage which more especially concerns Negro Soldiership is the following:

We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race — peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere — are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense. Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measures recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall — unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient — deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these crimes, and shall direct their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual parole.

The Confederate Congress took up the subject soon afterward, and, after protracted consideration, ultimately disposed of it by passing the following:

Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, In response to the message of the President, transmitted to Congress at the commencement of the present session, That, in the opinion of

1 Jan. 1, 1863.

2 Dec. 23, 1862.

3 See p. 106.

4 Jan. 12, 1863.

5 See Vol. I., p. 422.

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