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 Affairs. Every provision in the two previous bills remained substantially unchanged. The new draft went through the House by a vote of 64 against 62. In the Senate this new bill met with an increasing opposition, and so February 28th still another bill had grown out of the hot debate of the Conference Committee. To prevent its passage unusual expedients were resorted to, and dilatory motions were made, sometimes for postponement and sometimes for adjournment, but finally this bill, so long squabbled over, with slight amendment passed the Senate; and being again carried to the House, after a short debate went through that body without a division. The same day, March 3, 1865, President Lincoln signed it; and having his approval, the Act establishing the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands became a law. Its provisions as far as they went were good, and were developed from the first draft which Mr. Eliot had introduced in the House more than two years before. This Act of Congress, which in its plan and subsequent life seemed to grow like a tender shoot till it became a green tree with abundant branches, was destined by its fruitage to accomplish great things. The varied character of its fruitage will appear as we go on to develop the organization that grew out of this remarkable legislation. This statute law greatly affected my own work. In fact, upon it turned much of my subsequent career in life. As we may notice, it established a bureau in the War Department. The word “bureau” excited considerable amusement in the very beginning, even before there was any attempt to put the Act of Congress into execution. One poor
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