previous next

[247] places from Maryland to Louisiana to distribute and absorb the surplus population.

Yet, after all such provision, we found many authentic complaints of idleness for which no remedy seemed to exist. At last I urged for such freedmen the use of the vagrant laws which applied to whites, leaving out the whipping post which had still been retained in their law books for minor offenses in some of the States. Naturally enough, where exaggerated stories were always rife, a rumor was circulated among the freedmen quite generally that they would finally get somehow all the lands of disloyal owners. The wording of the Bureau law unfortunately fostered the idea. Were not forty acres to be set apart to every male citizen, whether refugee or freedman Soldiers, colored and white, magnified the report till the belief became prevalent that the Government intended, at the Christmas of 1865, to effect this division. Speculators who desired to cheapen the lands added to the tales their own exaggerations. The result was that toward the autumn great numbers of freedmen became averse to making any contracts whatever with property holders, verbal or written, for the coming year.

Our officers and agents at once set themselves to disabuse the minds of the working people of impressions so detrimental to their interests, entreating them to hasten and get places of support, and then aiding them to obtain fair wages. But even the correction of false reports did not always produce willingness to contract. And, indeed, I felt that the system we were obliged to adopt was checking individuality, or not sufficiently encouraging self-dependence; but a little wholesome constraint could not in many cases be avoided.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1865 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: