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[138] of slavery in all places under the exclusive control of the government of the United States; emancipation with compensation in the border states and in the District of Columbia; practical emancipation to follow the progress of the armies; all restraints to be removed from the slaves, so that they could go free wherever they pleased, and be fed and clothed, when destitute, at the expense of the United States, literally to become a ‘ward of the government.’

The emancipation of slaves through confiscation in states where the United States government had, under the Constitution, no authority to interfere with slavery, was a problem which the usurpers found it difficult legally or logically to solve, but these obstacles were less regarded than the practical difficulty in states where the government had no physical power to enforce its edicts. The limited powers granted in the Constitution to the government of the United States were not at all applicable to such designs, or commensurate with their execution. Now, let us see the little possibility there was for constitutional liberties and rights to survive, when entrusted to such unscrupulous hands.

In Article I, section 8, the Constitution says:

The Congress shall have power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water; to raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces. . . .

This is the grant of power under which the government of the United States makes war upon a foreign nation. If it had not been given in the Constitution, there would not have been any power under which to conduct a foreign war, such as that of 1812 against Great Britain or that of 1846 against Mexico. In such conflicts the nations engaged recognize each other as separate sovereignties and as public enemies, and use against each other all the powers granted by the law of nations. One of these powers is the confiscation of the property of the enemy. Under the law of nations of modern days this confiscation is limited in extent, made under a certain form, and for a defined object.

For the modern laws of war one must look to the usages of civilized states and to the publicists who had explained and enforced them. These usages constitute themselves the laws of war.

In relation to the capture and confiscation of private property on land, in addition to what has been said in previous pages, it may be added that the whole matter has never been better stated than by our great American publicist, Wheaton, in these words:

By the modern usages of nations, which have now acquired the force of law, temples of religion, public edifices devoted to civil purposes only, monuments of

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