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“ [280] whites and blacks; impose the same taxes, the same duties, the same penalties for crime, and then execute the laws with simple justice; and the result will be peace, safety, and prosperity. . . . But the white people in this State are not yet ready to treat black men justly. Therefore, the Federal Government ought to retain control. Our military force ought to be increased and not reduced.”

Early in this, the last session of the thirty-ninth Congress, Senator Trumbull of Illinois, instead of simply sending for me as would have been customary, kindly came to my office and studied the operations of the Bureau. I was then striving to carry out the existing law, and realized how essential to the interests of the freedmen it was to extend the time of its operation. It was indeed important for the sake of humanity that that continued operation should obtain, not only in the cotton, but in the border States. I further believed and desired that the recent slaves should attain to all the rights of freemen before the existing protection of the general Government should be withdrawn from them. I had been much hampered by the instructions of the President himself, who had now gradually drifted into positive opposition to the Bureau law — a law that he was bound by his oath of office to execute, but one that his process of reconstruction had caused to be violated in the spirit, if not in the letter, so as to render it nugatory. This worthy senator, always of a conservative turn, warmly took the freedmen's part. I well remember those nights at my headquarters, for Mr. Trumbull's thoughts deeply impressedtme. In a subsequent speech he declared the freedmen's condition to be “abject, forlorn, helpless, and hopeless.”

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Lyman Trumbull (2)
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