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“ [223] not allowing him to give testimony, the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen being committed to this Bureau, the assistant commissioners will adjudicate, either themselves or through officers of their appointment, all difficulties arising between negroes and whites, or Indians, except those in military service so far as recognizable by military authority, and not taken cognizance of by other tribunals, civil or military, of the United States. . . .”

My friends complained that the following was legislation. Yes, it was; but absolutely needed then:

Negro must be free to choose their own employers, and be paid for their labor. Agreements should be free, bona fide acts approved by proper officers, and their inviolability enforced on both parties.

The old system of overseers, tending to compulsory unpaid labor and acts of cruelty and oppression, was prohibited. The unity of families, and all the rights of the family relation, were to be carefully guarded. In places where the local statutes make no provisions for the marriage of persons of color, the assistant commissioners were authorized to designate officers who should keep a record of marriages, which might be solemnized by any ordained minister of the gospel, who was to make a return of the same, with such items as were required for registration at places designated. Registrations already made by United States officers were carefully preserved.

No objection was made to some wholesome regulation, as this: “Assistant commissioners will instruct their receiving and disbursing officers to make requisitions upon all officers civil or military, in charge of funds and abandoned lands within their respective territories, to turn over the same in accordance with the ”

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