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[195] of these happy provisions was centered in the selected agent himself, who brought with him a breath from home, who cheered the weary and suffering, and gave them visions of peace, love, and hope. He made it happier for the sick soldier to live, and easier for the extremely ill and the fatally wounded to die.

Still more remarkable was the almost universal interest, often amounting to enthusiasm, manifested among the people of our Northern, Central, and Western States for the relief of the white refugees and the freed people. The donors who rose up everywhere without stint sought channels to bestow their gifts. They took up, as we have already seen, existing organizations where they could find those willing to do their behests. For example, they used the Christian Commission for the East and Sanitary Commission for the West; also, East and West, the American Tract Society and the American Missionary Association, and many others connected with the Catholic and Protestant Churches. By the chosen agents of these, help was brought to those needy classes-clothing, food, medical attendance, and medical supplies-and always schools; for, as the benevolent actors thought, education was to be the permanent cure for all existing ills.

The prevailing thought was: The slaves are becoming free; give them knowledge-teach them to readteach the child This work thus undertaken was at first very irregular and spasmodic; only here and there was there any settled system of doing.

The generous enthusiasm for the freedmen pushed the eager home people further still. Unsatisfied with present facilities, they organized new commissions, societies, associations, leagues. The following names of a score of them bear their own interpretation:

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