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[717] should by that fact be freed from the authority of their masters, and that the latter should have no further right to reclaim them.

The Confederate Congress decided to reply to the confiscation projects submitted to its rival at Washington, by a law called the sequestration act, and by a strange coincidence it was also passed on the 6th of August. The provisions of this law seemed to have no other object than to indemnify at the expense of Northern proprietors such citizens of the Confederate States as should be made to suffer by the measure we have just described. In reality it also organized a system of confiscation, to be enforced by the most despotic process. It provided that all property, personal or real, belonging to the enemies of the Confederacy should be seized and sold under the direction of the Confederate authorities, the latter to use the proceeds to indemnify citizens of the South for all the damages caused by the Federals. This term enemies comprised all the inhabitants of the free States, the slave States that had remained loyal to the Union being considered by the Southern rebels as constituting part, legally, if not de facto, of the power which they sought to establish. This law, then, directed the seizure and sale of all property, under whatever form, belonging to citizens of the hostile nation, or even to strangers simply residing on its territory. It would be difficult to imagine a more general confiscation. The law was aggravated by the means resorted to for the purpose of enforcing its execution. All transfer of property from an enemy to a citizen of the Confederacy after the 21st of May, 1861, was declared null, and the object of transfer confiscated. In order to find out everywhere what personal and real estate was subject to confiscation, an extraordinary mode of proceeding was devised, which, despite the danger there was in disputing any orders emanating from Richmond, gave rise to strong opposition, and which, even in the courts of Charleston, was justly designated as a new inquisition. In fact, all the lawyers, the attorneys, the bank-directors, all the agents of corporations or of mercantile houses, exchange brokers, executors or administrators, and generally all persons supposed even by their occupation to have knowledge of the affairs of other people, were obliged to reveal under oath all property attached by the

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