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[200] though all assistants, both civil and military, were to be subordinated to the commissioner.

The lively debate upon this bill, even in a dry record, is full of interest. The opposition came not only from the Democratic party, but many of the Republicans thought the measure unwise, abnormal to our system of government, and that there might be some other expedient devised than either a Department or Bureau of Negro Affairs.

Democrats like Samuel S. Cox of New York and George H. Pendleton of Ohio, and James Brooks of New York, attacked the proposed measure with argument, with ridicule, and with abundant sarcasm. But Mr. Eliot was at his best. He pleasantly answered every objection and earnestly called on the friends of the Government and of humanity to rally around him upon the side of duty.

The bill at last passed the House, but only with a majority of two votes. May 25th, this bill, somewhat amended, was reported to the Senate by Mr. Sumner. It encountered for some days hot and strong opposition there, pleading against its constitutionality and expediency, but was finally passed by a majority of twelve votes.

While the friends of the original bill were urging the House to nonconcur in the Senate amendments, the whole subject by a new motion, disheartening to its friends, was postponed to the ensuing session of Congress.

During the next session, after many disagreements on the bill between the two Houses, the Conference Committee proposed a substitute. It came up in the House in February, 1865. The substitute established an independent Executive Department of Freedmen's

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