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[298] the law by which my officers and myself have been bound.

The ostensible object of the inspection is to detect and correct abuses of administration and furnish yourself with information of the actual state of things. Had the inspectors made a thorough examination and report to yourself or to the Secretary of War, in accordance with their written instructions, so that I could have corrected the wrongdoings of individual agents or modified any policy that was faulty, I would not complain, but be grateful for the aid and encouragement thus afforded. This method of inspection and report is the one that has always been pursued in the departments of the service with which I have been connected.

The inspectors have pursued an extraordinary course. I understand they took as clerks several newspaper reporters, who gave to the press the substance of their reports, and sometimes the reports themselves, before you had time to give them consideration. The effect of this course has been to concentrate the attention of the public upon certain individual acts of officers and agents, or accusations against them carelessly drawn, in such a way as to keep the faults committed, and not the good done, prominently in view.

Some things they have held up as criminal, which were not so in reality. Erroneous conclusions have been drawn from a state of affairs now existing in many places, for which the Bureau is not responsible, e. g., they charge to the account of the Bureau all the evils of the labor system which they find, while they attribute to the State governments and citizens, in great part, the good accomplished. Certainly this is the impression received from reading the reports.

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