Abraham Lincoln Complete Works
Comprising His Speeches, Letters, State
Papers, and Miscellaneous Writings.
Ed. by John G. Nicolay and John Hay.
Vol. 2, The Century Co. 1894 p. 378
p. 378 Online at
"It is the duty of every government to give
protection to its citizens of whatever
class, color, or condition, and
especially to those who are duly
organized as soldiers in the public
service. The law of nations, and the
usages and customs of war, as carried on
by civilized powers, permit no
distinction as to color in the treatment
of prisoners of war as public enemies.
To sell or enslave any captured person
on account of his color, and for no
offense against the laws of war, is a
relapse into barbarism and a crime
against the civilization of the age.
The government of the United States will
give the same protection to all its
soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or
enslave any one because of his color,
the offense shall be punished by
retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners
in our possession.
It is therefore ordered
that for every soldier of the United
States killed in violation of the laws
of war, a rebel soldier shall be
executed; and for every one enslaved by
the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel
soldier shall be placed at hard labor on
the public works, and continued at such
labor until the other shall be released
and receive the treatment due to a
prisoner of war." ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
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