were reared to be sold and work further South, there is naturally a large surplus. Without visiting them, you could hardly realize how very much they need aid, not simply food and clothing, but instruction of every description, kindness, sympathy, and guidance.The Southern society is twofold; the whites, with their peculiar prejudices and beliefs, and the blacks, with their present disabilities created by antecedent slavery. The Government stands forth between the two classes with its gigantic resources as an intermediary power. The spectacle is singular, and the heart is often balanced between hope and fear in contemplating the struggle actually going on. My first decision was that labor must be settled, and if we would not relapse into some species of slavery it must be done without compulsory means; and if we would avoid anarchy and starvation what we do must be done immediately. It was very tempting to put the hand on the new freedman and compel him; it was so easy, by military power, to regulate all matters for him in that way. How the letters did pour in upon me urging that course! ‘Give us a system’ ; ‘ Fix the wages;’ ‘You don't understand the negro-he won't work,’ and similar expressions. Gradually these letters diminished and the cry ‘Compel him! compel him!’ is more distant and less distinctly heard. If we can hold a steady hand for a time-prevent extreme and widespread suffering by timely aidafford encouragement to every laudable enterprise — multiply examples of success in every species of free labor and do so in every county in every State, my decided impression is that, before five years, there will be no more use of an agency of the general
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.