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[243] crops of grain; the negroes were at home and working quietly. They had generally contracted with their old masters, and all seemed to have accepted the change from slavery to freedom without a shock. Thomas believed that all that was necessary for peace and prosperity was kind treatment, respect for the laborer's rights, and prompt payment as agreed upon in their contracts.

In Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee there were only small amounts of abandoned land in the possession of the Bureau, and its operations under the Land Division were less in amount than in other directions.

As the year 1865 was drawing to a close, I saw plainly that this work of restoring lands and providing reasonably for the occupants, arranging things properly with the land owners or otherwise, would demand time; so I set forth the facts concerning the lands in my communication to Congress. I wrote that it would require at least a year more from January 1, 1866, to bring to a close the Land Division, whatever disposition might be made of the lands. The faith of the Government having been pledged as to leases and contracts for the coming year, it would be unwise to commit them to any State agencies. Again, I urged that to render any portion of the freedmen able to take advantage of the homestead law in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, or in other States where there were public lands, aid must be furnished the settlers in the way of transportation, temporary food, and shelter and implements of husbandry. To render this relief offered effective, more time than our present law offered would be essential.

Prior to the President's fuller action in the interest

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