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[238] Because I even yet strongly hoped in some way to befriend the freed people.

Obeying my instructions I reached Charleston, S. C., October 17, 1865. General Saxton's headquarters were then in that city. I had a conference with him and with many of the land owners concerned. The truth was soon evident to me that nothing effective could be done without consulting the freedmen themselves who were equally interested. Therefore, accompanied by several officers and by Mr. William Whaley, who represented the planters, I went to Edisto Island, and met the freedmen of that vicinity who came together in a large meeting house. The auditorium and the galleries were filled. The rumor preceding my coming had reached the people that I was obliged by the President's orders to restore the lands to the old planters, so that strong evidence of dissatisfaction and sorrow were manifested from every part of the assembly. In the noise and confusion no progress was had till a sweet-voiced negro woman began the hymn “Nobody knows the trouble I feel-Nobody knows but Jesus,” which, joined in by all, had a quieting effect on the audience. Then I endeavored as clearly and gently as I could to explain to them the wishes of the President, as they were made known to me in an interview had with him just before leaving Washington. Those wishes were also substantially embodied in my instructions. My address, however kind in manner I rendered it, met with no apparent favor. They did not hiss, but their eyes flashed unpleasantly, and with one voice they cried, “No, no” Speeches full of feeling and rough eloquence came back in response. One very black man, thick set and strong, cried out from the gallery: “Why, General ”

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