Treatment of prisoners.
Humanity to prisoners is a law of civilization which is disregarded by none but savages and Black Republicans.
But humanity does not require that they should be allowed any privileges or comforts inconsistent with the public interests.
Even if the war were conducted on the other side upon the recognized principles of war, common sense, as well as justice to ourselves, would sustain the truth of this declaration.
It must be remembered, however, that our adversaries positively deny that we are entitled to any of the rights of belligerents, and that they distinctly and emphatically declare in advance that every Secessionist is amenable to the pains and penalties of the law against treason, and that they openly proclaim their determination to hand our President
, Cabinet and Congress as soon as they fall into their hands.
Their conduct is in conformity with the programme; they have our privateers manacled, in dungeons, in the Toomos, the criminal prison of New York, and they bring with their army a vast number of handcuffs and halters for the purpose of executing their infamous threats.
Notwithstanding all this, we would have prisoners humanely treated; but, beyond what is necessary for their health and food, it would be both foolish and wicked, and unjust and inhuman to our own people in the extreme, to extend privileges and luxuries to them which our own prisoners, in the hands of the enemy, do not receive.
In any event, not one of them should be liberated except in exchange, for their countrymen hold our brethren in their hands, and threaten them with the balter, and these men are our only security against the execution of their threats.