Page:Attainder of treason and confiscation of the property of Rebels - 1863.pdf/27

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and for the millions of his fellow-men, the source of all their earthly enjoyments.

It may not add much to the force of my argument, to remark, that the rebels with these same words in their Montgomery constitution, are applying it in the sense for which I am arguing. They are confiscating the property of loyal men, who may happen to own real estate within their power, and as I understand, with no reservation or remainder to the heirs. As I said, the argument from that source may not be worth much in the estimation of loyal men; but as this interpretation is to act chiefly against them, they ought not to complain of the measure they give. It is certainly no more than fair, that they should be estopped by their own acts and compelled to abide by the construction which they have put upon the law. It may, indeed, be hard upon their children so to confiscate their property, but the payment of the expenses of this war is a hardship that must fall upon somebody; it must take somebody's property, and if it does not take that of the rebels, by confiscation, it must take ours and that of our children by taxation.

In a review of the whole matter, therefore, it seems to me that the four following propositions are clearly proved, and express the provisions of our Constitution on the subject of attainder and confiscation:

(1.) We have abolished bills of attainder altogether, so that there can be in this country no attainder for treason, except "on conviction by due process of law."

(2.) We have stripped the execution of the law upon the traitor of all unneccessary barbarities, such as the revolting scenes that attended the execution of such persons under the English law.

(3.) We have abolished "corruption of blood."

(4.) And fourthly, we have provided that no man's children shall be punished for his guilt by forfeiture of their possessions after his death.

I have taken no notice thus far of the debates in Congress on the passage of the Conscription bill, July 17th, 1862. I read them at the time and have refreshed my recollection of them since. The point which I have been discussing was not the one that was prominently before the minds of those who took part in the discussion. They were considering confiscation as a war measure. Still, however, the point was brought up in the col-