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 of the land owners, my instructions had been clearly defined, namely, to return estates to those only who could show constant loyalty, past as well as presenta loyalty which could be established by the production of an oath of allegiance, or amnesty, or other evidence. As the Bureau held property by authority of an Act of Congress for certain definite purposes, I had presumed and believed that this tenure would continue until those purposes were accomplished; that such property must be surrendered by us only when it was made evident that our possession and control of it was not proper. But the positive adverse action of President Johnson and the non-action of Congress caused a complete reversal of the Government's generous provision for the late slaves. Thus early officers and agents were constrained to undertake to make bricks without straw. After years of thinking and observation I am inclined to believe that the restoration of their lands to the planters proved for all their future better for the negroes.
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