Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/426

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

remedy shall be speedily applied by the legislation of Congress. It has been our cherished hope — and hitherto justified by the generous self-devotion of our citizens — that when the great struggle in which we are engaged was passed we might exhibit to the world the proud spectacle of a people unanimous in the assertion and defense of their rights and achieving their liberty and independence after the bloodiest war of modern times without the necessity of a single sacrifice of civil right to military necessity. But it can no longer be doubted that the zeal with which the people sprang to arms at the beginning of the contest has, in some parts of the Confederacy, been impaired by the long continuance and magnitude of the struggle.

While brigade after brigade of our brave soldiers who have endured the trials of the camp and battlefield are testifying their spirit and patriotism by voluntary reënlistment for the war, discontent, disaffection, and disloyalty are manifested among those who, through the sacrifices of others, have enjoyed quiet and safety at home. Public meetings have been held, in some of which a treasonable design is masked by a pretense of devotion to State sovereignty, and in others is openly avowed. Conventions are advocated with the pretended object of redressing grievances, which, if they existed, could as well be remedied by ordinary legislative action, but with the real design of accomplishing treason under the form of law. To this end a strong suspicion is entertained that secret leagues and associations are being formed. In certain localities men of no mean position do not hesitate to avow their disloyalty and hostility to our cause, and their advocacy of peace on the terms of submission and the abolition of slavery. In districts overrun by the enemy or liable to their encroachments, citizens of well-known disloyalty are holding frequent communication with them, and furnishing valuable information to our injury, even to the frustration of important military movements. And yet must they, through too strict regard to the technicalities of the law, be permitted to go at large till they have perfected their treason by the commission of an overt act? After the commission of the act the evidence is often unattainable, because within the enemy's lines. Again and again such persons have been arrested, and as often they have been discharged by the civil authorities, because the Government could not procure the testimony from