in favor of the free colored men of the North, which, however, the law, as it hands, does not recognize, he proceeds to remark as follows:
But the employment of our slaves and free negroes rests upon entirely different premisses, and retaliation for such employment comes directly under the laws of war. Upon such reptilian when can stand before the nations of the world, just as we can upon the punishment of any deserter from our ranks, or of treason upon the part of any of our people.
" The right of postliminium," says Vattel, "is that in virtue of which persons and things taken by the enemy are restored to former state when coming again under the power of the nation to which they belonged. "
And the American jurist, Wheaton, says:
"The jus postliminia was a fiction of the Roman law, by which persons or things taken from the enemy were held to be restored to their former state when coming under the power of the nation to which they formerly belonged. It was applied to free persons or slaves returning postliminia. " Here, then, is the law of nations under which the right to return a slave to his master is plainly and fully laid down, and upon this, and also upon the right to punish him for being found in the ranks of the enemy, the Confederate authorities will stand, and from which they will not depart.
Here, then, we have the rebel law and the rebel comment, and we are told in the most affirmative language that upon this the Confederate authorities will stand, and from it they will not depart.
In view of this expose no one can doubt the purpose of the South on the subject of colored troops who may be captured in the service of the Government; and it is inconceivable how any one can favor the proposition of a general exchange of prisoners while the law in the South is what their own papers represent and approve, and while the practice, unhappily, according to a good deal of evidence, goes beyond the law itself in barbarity.
It may just be remarked that the Riches the question as one between two nations already acknowledged as independent; but the recognition of certain belligerent rights, principally affecting prisoners of war, does not relieve rebels from obligations under the Government and laws of the United States. The jus postliminia, which even Wheaton calls a fiction of the Roman law, is wholly inapplicable here; and the right of the South to punish any one is without foundation, and must remain so until all rights over the South under the General Government shall cease; and this has now become a question of power as between the Federal Government and the rebellions movement in the South, to reduce which involves the very life of the Union and the Government of the United States of America.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK.
NOTE. -Since writing the letter published in the New York Times of the 2nd instant I have a further proof of the disposition of the rebel agent to declare prisoners exchanged without regard to the cartel, showing most clearly that the excess of prisoners now in confinement in the North cannot be sent South on parole without imminent risk of their being declared exchanged and put into the ranks without any proper authority.
To understand the last fact that has come to light in this history it is necessary to restate that, after the surrender of Vicksburg to General Grant, the rebel agent of exchange designed to release from the obligations of their parole the Vicksburg prisoners; but (and this he admitted what constituted the force captured and paroled by General Grant. This is the reason why in making declaration he refers to to definite numbers, but to corps, division, brigades, &c., enumerating those