The Confiscation Bill.
The Senate has begun a debate on the Confiscation Bill of Mr. Trumbull, which has in view not only the punishment of traitors, but the raising of a revenue for the partial expense of the war. As it involves the "eternal nigger" question and the future fate of political parties, it of course meets with strong opposition from the admirers of slavery and the architects engaged in resurrecting "Democracy." The Constitution, the usual bug-bear with which to frighten timid souls, is lugged in, and all the horrors of free niggers and nigger equality are invoked to save the secesh from the penalties they have justly drawn upon themselves.
Who should be punished for this war, and pay for it? Should it be loyal men, who never raised a hand against the Union as our Fathers made it, nor proposed to do so? At the very best they will pay enough in blood and treasure, but there is not a shadow of justice in placing upon them any burdens which the secessionists can pay, nor in withholding from the latter that stern and inexorable justice which sound policy dictates for the perpetrators of great crimes. The pro-slavery leaders originated this war, and as far as possible they should pay for it. They have forfeited all the rights the Constitution gave them except the right to be punished — punished with death the law says. If anything less severe is conceded to them they should be thankful, as well as their friends at the North, and not complain because they are not fully forgiven. That cannot be done if we cherish any regard for the maintenance and perpetuity of a free government.
Let the rebels be punished, at least all who have voluntarily aided in fomenting and carrying on this wicked rebellion. Visit a few score or hundred of the leaders with the utmost penalties of the law, death on the gallows, and the rest with confiscation and disfranchisement. If you think that too severe, reader, remember the magnitude of the crime, and the shameful character of its excuse. Remember how long, with Nero-like tyranny, the traitors have tramped on all the rights of freemen and the upholders of the Constitution. Remember how loyal Northern men and women have been treated, robbed, and ordered in broad day by these traitorous cut-throats, who now, by their friends and apologists, invoke the protection of the Constitution for themselves. They had no pity or sympathy for others who were despoiled of their all, and of life itself. They had no care for the Constitution, but would tear it to shreds if they could. The bones of our fathers, sons and brothers are bleaching on many a Southern battle field, or filling many a grave, because they chose to stand by the Constitution. Desolation fills many a Northern home because of this war engineered by traitors, and now if we simply disarm them and restore them to their former privileges, we not only shame ourselves in the eyes of the world, but establish a precedent profile of future rebellions.
Confiscation will secure many guard results, but there are three which stand out especially prominent. One is a revenue to pay the war bills, another security against future rebellions by ending the slavery question, and a third the regeneration of the South. The sale of confiscated plantations in farms of the usual size in the free States, will attract tens of thousands of hardy and enterprising Northern yeomanry, who will infuse new life and energy into the sluggish spirit of the South, and make it bloom like a paradise.
The rise in the value of Southern real estate will bring the tax list beyond the late aggregate even when the African in all his thousand dollar grandeur was the holiest of chattels. The "nigs," bit and little, if they cannot be colonized or coaxed off to Hayti — and they cannot at least for many years — will be but too glad to work for wages for enlightened and loyal masters; and for such as will not willingly work proper pauper and vagrant laws will make adequate provision. There is no fear for anything in confiscation but the traitorous secesh. It will be hard for them to turn their attention to honest labor instead of politics and treason, but then Justice is hard on all criminals, and we do not see that there need be many tears shed for them at least until they are repentant.