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[335] that when there were schools, only a small proportion of the children had the privilege of attending them. Such teachers as Swayne then had were earnest, laborious, and efficient. They preserved good discipline and made their instruction, as far as they could go, thorough and accurate.

To the State of Arkansas there had come a new commander and assistant commissioner, General C. H. Smith, General Sprague having left the service to become the Western general superintendent of the Northern Pacific Railway. Arkansas was a difficult State to reconstruct, and progress, especially in the line of justice, was slow enough. There were numbers of desperadoes in remote places, especially in the southern districts. They evaded punishment by running across the State line, so that emancipation acts and the civil rights law had there little effect.

The catalogue of wrongs upon freedmen indicated feeble progress, even among the better class of former slaveholders; yet in the aggregate in Arkansas the colored people had made great gains. They were allowed to testify in the courts, even against white men, and white men had been punished for offenses against negroes in State and city tribunals.

To the educational work planters, now evidently for self-interest, were more favorable than before; some proprietors had shown marked kindness; others had found facilities for the planting of new schools on their own estates. The ardor of the freedmen for education exhibited ever since emancipation was unabated. Strange to say, they were willing to be taxed and gave even from their poverty all they possibly could to bring knowledge to their children.

The teachers in Arkansas often had a difficult task;

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