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[12] institutions of federation fulfilled, and a new Union might have been formed and held together with a bond of fraternity and not by the sword, as under the above revolutionary theory.

By the exchange of prisoners, nothing was conceded except what was evident to the world that actual war existed, and that a Christian people should at least conduct it according to the usages of civilized nations. But sectional hate and the vain conceit of newly acquired power led to the idle prophecy of our speedy subjection, and hence the government of the United States refused to act as required by humanity and the usages of civilized warfare. At length, moved by the clamors of the relatives and friends of the prisoners we held, and by fears of retaliation, it covertly submitted to abandon its declared purpose, and to shut its eyes while the exchanges were made by various commanders under flags of truce. Thus some were exchanged in New York, Washington, Cairo, and Columbus, Kentucky, and by General McClellan in western Virginia and elsewhere. On the whole, the partial exchanges were inconsiderable and inconclusive as to the main question. The condition at the close of the year 1861, summarily stated, was that soldiers captured in battle were not protected by the usage of ‘exchange,’ and citizens were arrested without due process of law, deported to distant states, and incarcerated without assigned cause. All this by persons acting under authority of the United States government, but in disregard of the United States Constitution, which provides that ‘no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or an indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.’1 ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.’2 These provisions were of no avail to protect the citizens from the outrages, because those who derived their authority from the Constitution used that authority to violate its guarantees. It has been stated that the rule upon which the United States government was conducting affairs was entirely revolutionary. Its efforts to clothe the government of the Union with absolute power involved the destruction of the rights of the states and the subversion of the Constitution. Hence on every occasion the provisions of the Constitution afforded no protection to the citizens: their rights were spurned; their persons were seized and imprisoned beyond the reach of friends; their houses were sacked and burned. If they pleaded the Constitution, the government of the Constitution was deaf to them, unsheathed its sword,

1 Constitution of the United States, Article V.

2 Ibid., Article IV.

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George B. McClellan (1)
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