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tory, however, the President | the inhabitants of this ConfedDavis' Message. of the United States details, eracy are still citizens of the
Davis' Message. egith minuteness, the attempt to reenforce Fort United States; for they are waging an indiscrimin. Pickens, in violation of an armistice of which ate war upon them all, with savage ferocity, un. he confessed to have been informed, but only hy known in modern civilization. rumors; too vague and uncertain to fix the attention “ In this war, rapine is the rule ; private houses, of the hostile expedition dispatched to supply Fort in beautiful rural retreats, are bombarded and bumter, admitted to have been undertaken with the burnt; grain crops in the field are consumed by the knowledge that its success was impossible; the torch, and, when the torch is not convenient, care. sending of a notice to the Governor of South Caro- ful labor is bestowed to render complete the de. lina of his intention to use force to accomplish his struction of every article of use or ornament re. object; and then quoting from his inaugural address maining in private dwellings after their inhabitants the assurance tható there could be no conflict unless have fled from the outrages of brute soldiery. In these States were the aggressors,' he proceeds to 1781, Great Britain, when invading the revolted coldeclare his conduct, as just related by himself, was onies, took possession of every district and county the performance of a promise, so free from the near Fortress Monroe, now occupied by the troops power of ingenious sophistry as that the world of the United States. The houses then inhabited by should not be able to misunderstand it and in defi, the people, after being respected and protected by ance of his own statement that he gave notice of the avowed invaders, are now pillaged and destroyed approach of a hostile fleet, he charges these States by men who pretend that Virginians are their fellowwith becoming the assailants of the United States, citizens. Mankind will shudder at the tales of the without a gun in sight, or in expectancy, to return outrages committed on defenseless families by sol. their fire, save only a few in the fort. He is, indeed, diers of the United States, now invading our homes; fully justified in saying that the case is so free from yet these outrages are prompted by inflamed pas. the power of ingenious sophistry that the world will sions and the madness of intoxication. But who not be able to misunderstand it. Under cover of shall depict the horror they entertain for the cool this unfounded pretense, that the Confederate States and deliberate malignancy which, under the pretext are the assailants, that high functionary, after ex- of suppressing insurrection, (said by themselves to pressing his concern that some foreign nations had be upheld by a minority only of our people,) makes so shaped their action as if they supposed the early special war on the sick, including children and wo. destruction of the National Union probable, aban. men, by carefully - devised measures to prevent dons all further disguise, and proposes to make this them from obtaining the medicines necessary for contest a short and decisive one, by placing at the their cure. The sacred claims of humanity, respectcontrol of the Government for the work at least ed even during the fury of actual battle, by careful four hundred thousand men and four hundred mill. diversion of attack from hospitals containing woundions of dollars. The Congress, concurring in the ed enemies, are outraged in cold blood by a Gov. doubt thus intimated as to the sufficiency of the ernment and people that pretend to desire a con. force demanded, has increased it to half a million tinuance of fraterhal connections. All these outof men.
rages must remain unavenged by the universal “ These enormous preparations in men and reprehension of mankind. In all cases where the money, for the conduct of the war, on a scale more actual perpetrators of the wrongs escape capture, grand than any which the new world ever witness. they admit of no retaliation. The humanity of our ed, is a distinct avowal, in the eyes of civilized man, people would shrink instinctively from the bare idea that the United States are engaged in a conflict with of urging a like war upon the sick, the women and a great and powerful nation. They are at last com- the children of an enemy. But there are other pelled to abandon the pretense of being engaged in savage practices which have been resorted to dispersing rioters and suppressing insurrections, by the Government of the United States, which and are driven to the acknowledgment that the an. do admit of repression by retaliation, and I have cient Union has been dissolved. They recognize been driven to the necessity of enforcing the the separate existence of these Confederate States, repression. The prisoners of war taken by the by an interdictive embargo and blockade of all com- enemy on board the armed schooner Savannah, merce between them and the United States, not sailing under our commission, were, as I was only hy sea, hat by land; not only in ships, but incredibly advised, treated like common felons. cars; not only with those who bear arms, but with put in irons, confined in a jail usually appro• the entire population of the Confederate States. priated to criminals of the worst dye, and threaten. Finally they have repudiated the foolish conceit that ed with punishment as such. I had made applica.
JEFFERSON DA VIS.
tion for the exchange of these assertion that the States have Davis' Message. prisoners to the commanding no other power than that re.
Davis' Message. officer of the enemy's squadron off Charleston, served to them in the Union by the Constitu. but that officer had already sent the prisoners tion. Now, one of them having ever been a to New York when application was made. I there. State of the Union, this view of the constitutional fore deemed it my duty to renew the proposal for relations between the States and the General the exchange to the constitutional commander-in-Government is a fitting introduction to another as. chief of the army and navy of the United States, the sertion of the message, that the Executive possesses only officer having control of the prisoners. To power of suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and this end, I dispatched an officer to him under a flag of delegating that power to military commanders at of truce, and, in making the proposal, I informed their discretion. And both these propositions claim President Lincoln of my resolute purpose to check
a respect equal to that which is felt for the addi. all barbarities on prisoners of war by such severity tional statement in the same paper, that it is prope of retaliation on prisoners held by us as should se- er, in order to execute the laws, that some single cure the abandonment of the practice. This com- law, made in such extreme tenderness of citizeny' munication was received and read by an officer in liberty that practically it relieves more of the guilty command of the United States forces, and a message than the innocent, should to a very limited extent was brought from him by the bearer of my com- be violated. We may well rejoice that we have formunication, that a reply would be returned by Presi
ever severed our connection with a Government dent Lincoln as soon as possible. I earnestly hope that thus trampled on all principles of constitutional this promised reply (which has not yet been receiv. liberty, and with a people in whose presence such ed) will convey the assurance that prisoners of war avowals could be hazarded. The operations in the will be treated, in this unhappy contest, with that field will be greatly extended by reason of the poliregard for humanity, which has made such con. cy which heretofore has been secretly entertained, spicuous progress in the conduct of modern warfare.
and is now avowed and acted on by us. The forces As measures of precaution, however, and until this hitherto raised provide amply for the defense of promised reply is received, I still retain in close
seven States which originally organized in the Concustody some officers captured from the enemy, federacy, as is evidently the fact, since, with the ex. whom it had been my pleasure previously to set atception of three fortified islands, whose defense is large on parole, and whose fate must necessarily
efficiently aided by a preponderating naval force, depeud on that of prisoners held by the enemy. I the enemy has been driven completely out of these append a copy of my communication to the Presi.
stations; and now, at the expiration of five months dent and commander-in-chief of the army and navy from the formation of the Government, not a single of the United States, and of the report of the officer hostile foot presses their soil. These forces, howcharged to deliver my communication. There are
ever, must necessarily prove inadequate to repel in. some other passages in the remarkable paper to vasion by the half million of men now proposed by which I have directed your attention, having refer
the enemy, and a corresponding increase of our eme to the peculiar relations which exist between
forces will become necessary. The recommendathis Government and the States usually termed
tions for the raising of this additional force will be Border Slave States, which cannot properly be with
contained in the communication of the Secretary of held from notice. The hearts of our people are an. War, to which I need scarcely invite your earnest imated by sentiments towards the inhabitants of
attention. these States, which found expression in your enact
“In my message delivered in April last, I re. ment refusing to consider them enemies, or authorize
ferred to the promise of the abundant crops with hostilities against them. That a very large portion which we were cheered. The grain crops, gener: of the people of these States regard us as brethren; ally, have since been harvested, and the yield has that, if unrestrained by the actual presence of large
proven to be the most abundant ever known in our armies, subversion of civil authority, and declara- history. Many believe the supply adequate to two tion of martial law, some of them, at least, would years' consumption of our population. Cotton, svjoyfully unite with us; that they are, with almost en gar, tobacco, forming a surplus of the production of tire unanimity, opposed to the prosecution of the war
our agriculture, and furnishing the basis of our comwaged against us, are facts of which daily recurring mercial interchange, present the most cheering events fully warrant the assertion that the Presi- promises ever known. Providence has smiled on dent of the United States refuses to recognize in the labor which extracts the teeming wealth of our these, our late sister States, the right of refraining soil in all parts of our Confederacy. from attack upon us, and justifies his refusal by the
“ It is the more gratifying to be able to give you
this, because, in need of large singularly, viz: its disingenuousness and its Davis' Message.
and increased expenditure, in duplicity--the first, in imputing treachery sapport of our army, elevated and purified by to the President, rapine to his armies a sacred cause, they maintain that our fellow and undue tyranny to the Executive--citizens, of every condition of life, exhibit most
duplicity in its tenor and tone, evidently deself-sacrificing devotion. They manifest a landable
signed to impress the mind of Europe and pride of upholding their independence, unaided by thus to expedite the hoped-for recognition of any resources other than their own, and the immense wealth which a fertilized and genial climate the Slave Confederacy. If it answered any has accumulated in this Confedoracy of agricultur- direct purpose, its first effect was to inspire ists, could not be more strongly displayed than the Northern mind with disgust; while the in the large revenues which, with eagerness, they charge of rapine laid upon our soldieryhave contributed at the call of their country. In whose special study had been to punish the the single article of cotton, the subscriptions to the rebels with the least possible injury to their loan proposed by the Government cannot fall short fine “sense of honor” and their “sacred" of fifty millions of dollars, and will probably exceed rights*--certainly did not incite particular that sum; and scarcely an article required for the regard for orders which compelled them to consumption of our army is provided otherwise respect rebel property, even to leaving their than by subscription to the produce loan, so hap- cornfields untouched. Unionists in the South pily devised by your wisdom. The Secretary of the learned, at an early day of the revolution, Treasury, in his report submitted to you, will give that they had no rights of person or property you the amplest details connected with that branch of the public service; but it is not alone in their which the Confederates were bound to reprompt pecuniary contributions that the noble race spect; yet, the very persons who treated of freemen who inhabit these States evidence how Unionists with brutal severity, and inflicted worthy they are of those liberties which they so all the rigors of an unfeeling law, were those well know how to defend. In numbers far exceed- who clamored against Federal cruelty ! ing those authorized by your laws, they have press- Among the documents ed the tender of their services against the enemy. submitted with the MesTheir attitude of calm and sublime devotion to their
sage were the papers recountry, the cool and confident courage with which garding the mission of Colonel Taylor to they are already preparing to meet the invasion, in Washington. As they probably exerted some whatever proportions it may assume; the assurance influence in modifying the Federal Governthat their sacrifices and their services will be re.
ment's proceedings against the captured prinewed from year to year with unfailing purpose, until they have made good to the uttermost their vateers, we may here recur to them. Mr. rights to self-government ; the generous and almost Lincoln's proclamation of blockade of April unequivocal confidence which they display in their 19th, 1861, declared,“ that if any person, unGovernment during the pending struggle, all com- der the pretended authority of said (Confed. bine to present a spectacle, such as the world has erate) States, or under any other pretense, rarely, if ever, seen. To speak of subjugating such shall molest a vessel of the United States, or a people, so united and determined, is to speak in a the persons and cargo on board of her, such language incomprehensible to them; to resist at person will be held amenable to the laws of tack on their rights or their liberties is with them the United States for the prevention and puuan instinct. Whether this war shall last one, or ishment of piracy.” This declaration was three, or five years, is a problem they leave to be simply a consequent of the denial to the Consolved by the enemy alone. It will last till the federates of the status of a belligerent power: enemy shall have withdrawn from their borders; till their political rights, their altars, and their if they had no rights on the high seas, as such homes are freed from invasion. Then, and then power, then their seizure of vessels sailing only, will they rest from this struggle, to enjoy, in * It is one of the anomalies of the war that men in peace, the blessings which, with the favor of Provi- | open insurrection should have been accorded rights dence, they have secured by the aid of their own of property, of person and of transit. If the South strong hearts and steady arms."
was in insurrection its citizens were rebels, and, by This document was characterized by two all the laws and usages of nations, rebels had no pofeatures which impressed the Northern mind litical and only qualified personal rights.
The Case of the
The Case of the
The Case of the
Jefferson Davis to
under the United States ents, of the requisites to es-
this was a ust construc- law and usages regarding tion, and its enforcement was confidently letters of marque and reprisal. Thus the prolooked for; but, several circumstances con- ceedings assumed international rather than lospired to render the law one of standing cal importance; and American citizens heard menace rather than of fact. The early con- or read expositions of law of which but few cession, by England and France, of bellige had any proper conception. rent rights to the Confederate Government, Pending these proceedings, Colonel Taylor, at once placed it on a semi-national footing, of the rebel army, entered our lines at Arthrowing over it the ægis of the law of nations, lington (July 8th), under a flag of truce, as and depriving the United States of the right bearer of dispatches to the Federal Governto execute, as pirates, Southern privateers, ment. The wildest. rumors flew over the unless the Federal Government saw proper to country regarding the nature of this mission. defy the laws of nations and to force acquies- Offers of peace, threats of retaliation, proceuce in its construction of rights. Had Eng- posals for a general rule of exchanges, and land and France made no declaration on the many other purposes were attached to the subject at all, had they left us to manage our flag ; but, its true nature only transpired affairs in our own way, Northern juries would when Davis submitted the documents with have made quick shrift of the “privateers” | his message. The followcaptured during the summer of 1861. As it ing was the communication was, a boat's crew or two of those caught of which Colonel Taylor and brought to Northern seaports for ar- was the bearer :
“RICHMOND, July 6th, 1861. raignment, were, after a several weeks' at
“ To ARRAHAM LINCOLN, President and Commandtendance upon court, remanded to military
er - in - Chief of the Army and Navy of the United prisons to await the fortunes of war. Their
States : cases were suspended on the Court records,
Sir : to be called again when the General Govern
“ Having learned that the schooner Savannah, ment should demand. Eventually, they were a private armed vessel in the service and sail. considered prisoners of war, and, as such, ing under a commission issued by authority of the were exchanged for Federal officers held by Confederate States of America, had been captured the Confederate authorities as hostages for by one of the vessels forming the blockading squathe safety of the “pirates.” Thus, in this dron off Charleston harbor, I directed a proposimatter, and in the general exchange of pris- tion to be made to the officer commanding that squaoners finally ordered or adopted, the rebels dron for an exchange of the officers and crew of
the Suvannah for prisoners of war held by this Gov. gained a semi-recognition of belligerents even
ernment, “ according to number and rank." To from the Federal Government.
this proposition, made on the 19th ult., Captain The capture of the privateer Savannah, by Mercer, the officer in command of the blockading the blockading squadron, off Charleston, squadron, made answer on the same day that “ the early in the war, gave the first case for action prisoners (referred to) are not on board of any of under the proclamation of the 19th of April. the vessels under my command.' The men were arraigned and put upon their “It now appears, by statements made without trial for piracy. A long and very laborious contradiction in newspapers published in New York, consideration of the case followed. The that the prisoners above mentioned, were conveyed New York City journals, during June, 1861,
to that city, and have been treated not as prisondevoted much space to the evidence adduced,
ers of war, but as criminals; that they have been
put in irons, confined in jail, brought before the to the points of law raised and to the argu
courts of justice on charges of piracy and treason, ments of counsel-several of the most ingeni- and it is even ramored that they have bei n actually ous and able lawyers in the metropolis hav- convicted of the offenses charged, for no other ing been enlisted in the defense. The trials
reason than that they bore arms in defense of the called forth a masterly examination of rights of this Government and under the authority the laws of nations, of the rights of belliger- of its commission.
Jefferson Davis to
“I could not, without grave | Confederate lines, on the James River, and discourtesy, have made the the American officers were soon after pro
newspaper statements above duced.* Davis kept his word; and there is referred to the subject of this communication, if the
every reason to believe he would have hung threat of treating as pirates the citizens of this con
a Federal Colonel or Captain for every "pifederacy armed for its service on the high seas, had
rate" executed. The consciousness of not been contained in your proclamation of the
this fact-after the battle of Bull Run had April last; that proclamation, however, seems to afford a sufficient justification for considering those filled the Richmond prisons with Northern published statements as not devoid of probability.
officers and men—was not the least cogent reaIt is the desire of this Government so to conduct son urged for treating the privateers as pristhe war now existing as to mitigate its horrors, as oners of war rather than as pirates. far as may be possible ; and with this intent, its The legislation of the treatment of the prisoners captured by its forces has rebel Congress was all done
Secret Legislation. been marked by the greatest humanity and leniency in secret session. The doings of their own cousistent with public obligation; some have been lawgivers were closed to the scrutiny of the perinitted to return home on parole, others to remain at large under similar conditions within this law' when Congress so far raised the seal of
people, and they only learned what was "the Confederacy, and all have been furnished with rations for their subsistence, such as are allowed to
secrecy as to promulgate its acts for their our own troops. It is only since the news has been enforcement. A sterner, less relentless tyrreceived of the treatment of the prisoners taken on anny, never was inaugurated in the name of the Swannah that I have been compelled to with Liberty. The resolve to prosecute the war draw these indulgences and to hold the prisoners with their greatest ability was then the firm, taken by us in strict confinement.
fixed idea of the Southern leaders, and the “ A just regard to humanity and to the honor of processes of legislation were not openly subthis Government now requires me to state explicitly, ject to observation and discussion. Davis that, painful as will be the necessity, this Govern could have been proclaimed in law, as he was ment will deal out to the prisoners held by it the in fact, Dictator, and the people would have same treatment and the same fate as shall be expe: known nothing of the affair until all was rienced by those captured on the Savannah ; and if driven to the terrible necessity of retaliation by your
ready for its consummation. execution of any of the officers or crew of the Sa.
Among the acts specially vannah, that retaliation will be extended so far as
noticeable was one to raise shall be requisite to secure the abandonment of a
means for the prosecution of the war. The practice unknown to the warfare of civilized man, shinplaster issues of individuals and corporaand so barbarous as to disgrace the nation which tions having, already, wholly transplanted all shall be guilty of inaugurating it.
other currency, Government found itself out“With this view, and because it may not have done in the issue of a baseless scrip. It. reached you, I now renew the proposition made to therefore, sought to create some tangible the commander of the blockading squadron, to ex. basis of interest paying if not of actual rechange for the prisoners taken on the Savannah an
demption-thut its bonds and notes of issue equal number of those now held by us, according to
might have at least a seeming value. The rank. I am, sir, yours, &c.,
brilliant idea was conceived of “ JEFFERSON DAVIS, “President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army ton the great salvator. As Southern men and Navy of the Confederate States."
believed, with a faith stronger than their A reply never was returned; and those faith in future punishments and rewards, that prisoners of war, whom Davis stated he had Cotton was King, it is not strange that the ordered into close confinement—“ whose fate idol of their faith should be addressed in the must necessarily depend upon that of the hour of need. Did not the Romans tread the prisoners held by the enemy"-were released temple of Janus in times of war in the proud only one year thereafter, having been, during all that time, subjected to the rigors of * Colonels Corcoran and Wilcox were among severe and close confinement. In July, 1862, those set a part by lot as hostages for the safety of the privateers were finally sent within the the privateers.