Some of the slavery apologists and treason excusers are very sensitive about Gen. Fremont's proclamation. Why in the world it is necessary for a citizen of Illinois to trouble his head about what becomes of a traitor's negroes (for none others are liberated) is more than we can comprehend. By the terms of Gen. Fremont's proclamation it is only the property of persons in arms against the United States, or taking active part with their enemies in the field, that is confiscated. The forfeiture of property follows as a consequence of such acts. But the penalty can attach only upon proper proof of guilt. The St. Louis Republican, we believe the best exponent of Gen. Fremont's views, says —
"No military party — nor any subaltern or subordinate military officer — can proceed, upon mere rumor or ex parte statements to seize property thus forfeited. A conviction must precede the seizure — not necessarily before a civil court, but before some tribunal, after due investigation and opportunity given the accused to be heard. There is no intention whatever, to set aside the safe rules of evidence and formal modes of determining guilt, which the wisdom of centuries have established. The procedure, therefore, of any officer, who may have seized property to hold it without trial, will, we presume be set aside; and no good citizen need fear that he will be the victim of malicious delation and wrongs for which there is no redress."
The St. Louis Democrat gives an item of news which shows what are the intentions of Gen. Fremont, and how his proclamation will be carried out. The Democrat says that, a few days since, a party of federal troops caught three slaves at the Meramac bridge, who had run away from their masters. The negroes were sent to St. Louis for security, and will be delivered to their owners as soon as they shall make application, with proper proofs of loyalty. That takes a good deal of the sting out of Fremont's proclamation, as it shows that while he will confiscate, by setting free, all slaves belonging to rebels, his soldiers will arrest and redeliver to their masters all escaped slaves of union men. That will be a set back to all such papers as have been regarding Fremont's proclamation as the stepping stone to universal emancipation. "Gen. Fremont simply refused to enter into the negro trade" on behalf of the rebels, and in this he was right.