Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Address of the Confederate Congress.

works are broken up; the introduction of medicines is forbidden; means of subsistence are wantonly wasted to produce beggary; prisoners are returned with contagious diseases; the last morsel of food has been taken from families, who were not allowed to carry on a trade or branch of industry; a rigid and offensive espionage has been introduced to ferret out "disloyalty"; persons have been forced to choose between starvation of helpless children and taking the oath of allegiance to a hated government; the cartel for exchange of prisoners has been suspended and our unfortunate soldiers subjected to the grossest indignities; the wounded at Gettysburg were deprived of their nurses and inhumanly left to perish on the field; helpless women have been exposed to the most cruel outrages and to that dishonor which is infinitely worse than death; citizens have been murdered by the Butlers and McNeils and Milroys, who are favorite generals of our enemies; refined and delicate ladies have been seized, bound with cords, imprisoned, guarded by negroes, and held as hostages for the return of recaptured slaves; unoffending non-combatants have been banished or dragged from their quiet homes, to be immured in filthy jails; preaching the gospel has been refused, except on condition of taking the oath of allegiance; parents have been forbidden to name their children in honor of "rebel" chiefs; property has been confiscated; military governors have been appointed for States, satraps for provinces, and Haynaus for cities.

These cruelties and atrocities of the enemy have been exceeded by their malicious and blood-thirsty purposes and machinations in reference to the slaves. Early in this war, President Lincoln averred his constitutional inability and personal unwillingness to interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, and the relation between master and servant. Prudential considerations may have been veiled under conscientious scruples, for Seward, in a confidential instruction to Mr. Adams, the minister to Great Britain, on 10th March, 1862, said: "If the Government of the United States should precipitately decree the immediate abolition of slavery, it would reinvigorate the declining insurrection in every part of the South." Subsequent reverses and the refractory rebelliousness of the seceeded States caused a change of policy, and Mr. Lincoln issued his celebrated proclamation, a mere brutum fulmen, liberating the slaves in the "insurrectionary districts." On the 24th of June, 1776, one of the reasons assigned by Pennsylvania for her separation from the mother country was, that in her sister colonies the "King had excited the negroes to revolt, and to imbrue their hands in the blood of