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“ [288] by a coroner's jury, which justifies the act and releases the perpetrator; in other instances, when the proof comes to the knowledge of an agent of the Bureau, the parties are held to bail in a nominal sum, but the trial of a white man for the killing of a freedman can, in the existing state of society in this State, be nothing more or less than a farce.”

In not a single instance, however, when contracts had been entered into between planters and freedmen in the mode prescribed by the Bureau, had a complaint been subsequently made by either party to the contract, while in a large proportion of other contracts bitter complaints were constant. The-reason was plain enough. In all those approved by a Bureau officer, the terms were first carefully explained to both parties; and the whole power of the Bureau would be afterwards exerted against the party attempting to violate an approved contract.

In Mississippi General T. J. Wood, an able division commander during the war, always of a conservative turn of mind, gave a statement of the condition of affairs which was not very encouraging. Grievous outrages had been committed. A class of citizens called “regulators” appeared in several States as if by concert of action; the fear of them in some parts of Mississippi was so great that peaceably disposed inhabitants were afraid to give the information necessary for their detection and punishment. The regulators shot freedmen without provocation, drove them, unpaid, from plantations and committed other crimes. So many outrages of this kind were perpetrated that General Wood at first wondered that the better portion of the community did not take decided measures against the guilty.

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T. J. Wood (2)
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