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[716] Richmond government was greatly enraged, and on the 1st of August, 1862, General Lee was instructed to inform his adversaries that if Pope, Von Steinwehr and the officers who followed their directions were captured, they should be detained in view of possible reprisals. Von Steinwehr's orders were neither revoked nor again enforced, the hostages who had been seized by the Federals were promptly released, and the regular exchange of prisoners suffered no delay.

We have stated that private property was generally respected by the armies of both parties. If this was the case on the part of the military, and if the latter did not often abuse the prerogatives of war in this respect, it was far otherwise with the political authorities of the two belligerents. The Congress at Washington, as well as that of Richmond, enacted laws which seriously affected such property. The Federal Congress pleaded, it is true, that the first of these monstrous confiscation laws which disgraced its legislation afforded the only means at that time for aiming an indirect blow at slavery, by striking, through their human property, the enemies of the Constitution, who had taken up arms to protect and extend the servile institution. But it did wrong in not limiting confiscation to this odious description of property, and in violating, to reach that institution, rights which should be considered most sacred by all legislators. We propose now to say a few words concerning these laws, reserving to ourselves the privilege of returning to the subject when we shall have occasion to speak of emancipation and the measures which prepared the way for it in a constitutional point of view.

The first of these laws was passed by the Republican majority in Congress on the 6th of August, 1861. It limited itself to the stipulation that everything employed in aiding and supporting the rebellion in any way whatever should be considered a legitimate object of seizure, and be confiscated by the government of the United States. This clause, which was sufficiently vague to give rise to dangerous interpretations, was evidently applicable to slaves subjected by their masters to services or labors useful to the Confederate armies. In the course of the debate the abolitionists managed to introduce an amendment which defined the meaning of the law, declaring that all slaves thus employed

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