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[235] was the legal status and the humane conclusion. Then naturally I took such action as would protect the bona fide occupants, and expected the United States to indemnify by money or otherwise those Confederates who were pardoned; assuredly we would not succor them by displacing the new settlers who lawfully were holding the land.

My circular of instructions did not please President Johnson. Therefore, in order to avoid misunderstandings now constantly arising among the people in regard to abandoned property, particularly after the President had set on foot a systematic method of granting to the former holders a formal pardon, he made me draw up another circular worded better to suit his policy and submit it to him before its issue. But he, still dissatisfied, and with a totally different object in view than mine, had the document redrawn at the White House and instructed me September 12, 1865, to send it out as approved by him, and so with reluctance I did. This document in great part rescinded former land circulars. Besides allowing assistant commissioners to return all land not abandoned, it instructed them to return all abandoned lands to owners who were pardoned by the President, and provided no indemnity whatever for the occupants, refugees, or freedmen, except a right to the growing crops.

In the definition of confiscated estates the words were: “Land will not be regarded as confiscated until it has been condemned and sold by decree of the United States court for the district in which the property may be found, and the title thereto thus vested in the United States.”

On the face of it this approved circular appeared

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