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[187] various Treasury agents and department commanders, including General Grant, and having also the approval of Mr. Lincoln, he issued from Milliken's Bend, La., April 15th, a lengthy series of instructions covering the territory bordering the Mississippi and including all the inhabitants.

He appointed three commissioners, Messrs. Field, Shickle and Livermore, to lease plantations and care for the employees. He adroitly encouraged private enterprise instead of Government colonies; but he fixed the wages of able-bodied men over fifteen years of age at $7 per month, for able-bodied women $5 per month, for children from twelve to fifteen years, half price. He laid a tax for revenue of $2 per 400 lbs. on cotton, and five cents per bushel on corn and potatoes.

This plan naturally did not work well, for the lessees of plantations proved to be for the most part adventurers and speculators. Of course such men took advantage of the ignorant people. The commissioners themselves seem to have done more for the lessees than for the laborers; and in fact the wages were from the beginning so fixed as to benefit and enrich the employer. Two dollars per month was stopped against each of the employed, ostensibly for medical attendance, but to most plantations thus leased no physician or medicine ever came, and there were other attendant cruelties which avarice contrived.

On fifteen plantations leased by the negroes themselves in this region there was a notable success; and also in a few instances among the others where humanity and good sense reigned, the contracts were generally carried out. Here the negroes were contented and grateful and were able to lay by small gains. This

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