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[233]

A colony of 100 freedmen for Liberia through a colored agent was transferred from Lynchburg, Va., to Baltimore, Md., of which the old and revered Colonization Society took charge. On many of the old Virginia farms which their owners had deserted, Colonel Brown had the freedmen well organized and cheerfully working. They had during this year of trial abundant diversified crops.

Colonel Whittlesey, assistant commissioner for North Carolina, had remained in possession at the time of his first annual report of 112 pieces of town property, and 36,342 acres besides; under cultivation 4,868 acres. The President's pardon caused 50,029 acres and 287 pieces of town property to be restored to returning owners before Brown's report was made.

Concerning the cultivators of land, Colonel Whittlesey said that few contracts were possible for long periods from the want of confidence between employers and employees. The freedmen, as a rule, worked more faithfully for money than for a share of the crops, for which they must wait. Nearly all of the farms transferred by Treasury agents as “abandoned” had already been, under President Johnson's orders, restored to owners. The tenure of these had become too precarious to admit of setting them apart for refugees or freedmen. Many freedmen were renting lands of the owners and efforts were constantly made by Whittlesey to aid them in this praiseworthy course. Whenever he could he secured lots and land to them, where they built houses, that they might not lose what they had expended. The “Trent River settlement,” filled with freedmen, situated near New Berne, N. C., was at this time a well ordered, quiet, healthy town, rivaling New Berne in these respects.

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