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[719] with it, by conferring upon the President unlimited power in the matter of amnesty—a power of which he was to make ample use to secure the pacification of the South.

The second object of the law of July 17th was the confiscation of the property of all those who had participated in the rebellion. It was an aggravation of the preceding measures, striking at all the officers of the Southern army, all employs or functionaries of the Confederacy, all those in the insurgent States who had received their appointments after the secession of those States, and, finally, all the inhabitants of the loyal States who had in any way aided the enemy. This penalty was unrighteous in principle, and the power to grant amnesty, reserved to the President, only rendered its application the more arbitrary in this case. Fortunately for the honor of the United States, their Constitution contains an article prohibiting the alienation of property front the heirs of a criminal, and in the most trying times the Americans have never hesitated respectfully to comply with the requirements of that Constitution. Consequently, on the very day that this new confiscation law was passed, its authors, at the suggestion of Mr. Lincoln, destroyed to a certain extent its effects, by declaring that the confiscation was not to extend beyond the term of life of those who had incurred its penalty. Notwithstanding this reservation, the law was not the less unjust, for it was susceptible of being so interpreted as to give rise to the most tyrannical acts. This actually happened, and the law seemed all the more harsh because it was but seldom and unequally applied. Among the few examples that might be cited, there is one which deserves particular condemnation; this was the permanent confiscation of the Arlington estate, near Washington, belonging to the family of General Lee, who, in view of his noble conduct at the close of the war, deserved at least to have been allowed to end his days there after the struggle. Among all the Union generals who exercised dictatorial authority in the reconquered countries, Butler was the only one who, during his command at New Orleans, pushed the application of this law to the extremest limits. He took advantage of it to organize an odious system, which might be called speculative socialism, in that portion of

Louisiana subject to his control. A large number of planters

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