Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/303

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
First Congress.

susceptible of removal, and even slaves too aged or infirm for work have in spite of their entreaties been forced from the homes provided by the owners and driven to wander helplessly on the highway.

By a recent general order (No. 91) the entire property in that part of Louisiana lying west of the Mississippi River has been sequestrated for confiscation, and officers have been assigned to duty with orders to "gather up and collect the personal property and turn over to the proper officers upon their receipts such of said property as may be required for the use of the U. S. Army; to collect together all the other personal property and bring the same to New Orleans and cause it to be sold at public auction to the highest bidders" — an order which if executed condemns to punishment by starvation at least a quarter of a million human beings of all ages, sexes, and conditions; and of which the execution, although forbidden to military officers by the orders of President Lincoln, is in accordance with the confiscation law of our enemies which he has directed to be enforced through the agency of civil officials. And finally the African slaves have not only been excited to insurrection by every license and encouragement, but numbers of them have actually been armed for a servile war — a war in its nature far exceeding in horrors the most merciless atrocities of the savages.

And whereas, the officers under the command of the said Butler have been in many instances active and zealous agents in the commission of these crimes, and no instance is known of the refusal of any one of them to participate in the outrages above narrated;

And whereas, the President of the United States has by public and official declaration signified not only his approval of the effort to excite servile war within the Confederacy, but his intention to give aid and encouragement thereto if these independent States shall continue to refuse submission to a foreign power after the 1st day of January next, and has thus made known that all appeals to the laws of nations, the dictates of reason, and the instincts of humanity would be addressed in vain to our enemies, and that they can be deterred from the commission of these crimes only by the terms of just retribution:

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confeder-