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[198] affairs, they entreated the President to give them at least a “Supervising agent” for the West. They desired that this agent should have military power and authority, meaning undoubtedly that the President should detail for that duty a military officer of sufficient rank to overcome all controversy in the execution of his trust. The memorial petition was sent to Congress, and had its weight with that body in securing the final enactment of the Freedmen's Bureau Law.

The Emancipation League of Massachusetts, as early as January, 1863, had likewise sent to the Senate an earnest petition, asking for the creation of a “Bureau of emancipation” ; and other societies had at different times, in one form or another, urged upon their representatives in Congress some governmental department to meet the new situation of affairs, which now concerned millions of slaves set free, and affected thousands of loyal whites who had been driven from their homes by the operations and consequences of the great war.

The Honorable Thomas D. Eliot, member of the House from Massachusetts, whom, after personal acquaintance, I learned to love and honor, was early made chairman of committees which had under consideration freedmen's matters. He was an able, eloquent, and persevering friend of the emancipated. The field societies looked to him for sympathy and help in the House, as they always did to Henry Wilson and Charles Sumner in the Senate. Eliot and Wilson were never extremists. They were wisely progressive; if they could not take two steps forward, they would take one, and bide their time for further advance.

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