pressing the rebellion," to declare free all the slaves held by the enemy in the insurrectionary States, not merely to emancipate those among them who might succeed in making their escape and coming within our military lines. The important and legitimate object was to present to those still held in duress a strong and proper motive for severing all connection with the insurgents, for abstaining from giving aid and comfort to the insurrection, and for seeking refuge fromo the superior force which compelled them to give such said and comfort, by fleeing to that portion of the country where lawful authority prevailed.
Another great principle is involved. Every publicist of repute has set forth (what common sense suggests) as among the most important of national rights, and duties the rule that a nation, especially a nation engaged in war, ought to protect itself not only against immediate but against prospective dangers. Deriving all rights attendant on conquest "from justifiable self-defense," Vattel says:
When the conqueror has subdued a hostile nation he may, if prudence so require, render her incapable of doing mischief with the same ease in future. * * * If the safety of the state lies at stake, our precaution and foresight cannot be extended too far. Must we delay to avert our ruin till it has become inevitable? * * * An injury gives a right to provide for our future safety by depriving the unjust aggressor of the means of injuring us.a
If, then, any of our enemy's possessions have been the special agency by which be has been enabled to injure us: if such possessions will still afford him the means to "do us mischief with the same ease in the future," if thereby "the safety of the state lies at stake," is it noto an imperative duty to extend our precaution and foresight, into coming years? Are we not bound by every consideration of enlightened statesmanship to "deprive our unjust aggressor of the means of injuring us" hereafter.
The case has not yet been fully stated. Not only have these possessions, in our enemies" hand, been the very sinews of war, but they were the original cause of the insurrection itself. The insurgents themselves, who best know their own motives, tell us this. One of the most honest and intelligent among them, selected as their Vice-President, Alexander H. Stephens, speaking for them before a vast audience at Savannah, a few days after his election, publicly said.:
Negro slavery was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, has anticipated this as the rock upon which the old Union would split.
These possessions caused the rebellion. Shall they remain in the hands of the insurgents to cause another? Can they remain in such hands without a certainty of that very result? In other words, can we reconstruct the Republic half free and half slave, yet preserve, under the operation of these conflicting labor systems, permanent peace? Let us take a practical view of this.
Alexander H. Stephens, adverting, in the address already quoted from, to slavery as having been regarded by the leading revolutionary statesmen to be "wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically," says: "This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief sponte of the corner in our new edifice." And he adds: 'Slavery is the natural and moral (normal?) condition of the negro. This our new government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical philosophical, and moral truth." (b)
a Vattel, Book III, Sec. 201, 44,45.
b Address of Alexander H. Stephens, already quoted. See Putnam's Rebellion Record, Vol. I, documents p. 45.