War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0359 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

masters, leaving them slave-masters still, can we expect that they will abstain from plotting foreign war, that they may gain by it? And if they succeed in the treasonable plot, can we suppose that they will refrain from seeking their own advantage by an alliance with the enemy?

If we expose ourselves to these dangers, patent to common sense, we shall deserve our fate. To foreign as well as to domestic tranquillity, the only practicable, path is through general emancipation.

In other words, as we would hasten by every lawful and proper means the advent of peace; as we would obtain, before this contest closes, a guarantee against foreign complications involving dismemberment of the Nation-and what duties during war more imperative than these? - we must take and cancel our enemies" claims to service and labor. That service feeds our enemy; that labor supplies his commissariat. Deprived of it, his power to injure us is taken from him. Possessed of it, he remains our enemy-dangerous in peace, still more dangerous in war-while grass grows and water runs.

Is not the grandeur of the object, then, commensurate with the magnitude of the remedy? If that remedy produce temporary disturbance of social and political elements throughout half our country, is not the alternative the dismemberment of that country itself; its loss of unity; its loss of peace; its final decline and fall as one of the great powers of the world?

So far the argument, has been one of policy alone; selfish, in one sense, it may be called, since it takes into account the interests of one only out of the two races which inhabit our country-an argument, too, sound and unanswerable if it, be which does not reach the full dignity of the subject, since it has not treated it in its relation to the progress of civilization and humanity, and to the national honor, ever intimately connected with the national life.

Opinions adverse to the lawfulness of slavery have, for a century past, been spreading and swelling into action throughout the civilized world. They have taken practical form and shape- they have become law-till not a nation in Europe, Christian or Mohammedan, Spain alone excepted, stands out against them. England led the way. In 1834 she emancipated all her slaves. King Oscar, of Sweden,followed her example in 1846. Then came Denmark in 1847, France in 1848, Portugal in 1856, the vast empire of Russia in 1862. Finally, with nearly thirty years" experience in English colonies and fifteen years" experience in those of France before her eyes, plain, practical unimaginative Holland, by a vote in her Chambers of forty-five to seven, gave freedom, with compensation, to her 45,000 slaves-liberating them on the 1st of July last.

The opinions which gave rise to these national acts are gradually finding place among the maxims of international law, as expounded by modern commentators. Phillimore, a reputable authority, says;

There is a kind of property which it is equally unlawful for States as for individuals to possess-property in man. A being endowed with will, intellect, passion, beings, like an inanimate or unreflecting and irresponsible thing. The Christian world has slowly but irrevocably arrived at the attainment of this great truth. * * * The black man is no more capable of being a chattel than the white man. The negro and the European have equal rights. Neither are among the respositoe in commercio in which it is lawful for States or individuals to traffic. a.


a Commentaries upon International Law, by Robert Phillimore, M. P. London, 1853, Vol. I, p. 316.