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[354] in the Senate, March 12, 1867, entitled: A Resolution in reference to the collection and payment of moneys due colored soldiers, sailors, and marines, or their heirs.

This resolution underwent considerable discussion, and no little opposition. It provided that all checks for the object named should be made payable to me as commissioner, or to my order. Senator Wilson showed abundant evidence of the frauds against the soldiers and marines that had been already committed, and averred that the second comptroller and the second auditor urged the passage of the resolution. Mr. Wilson was asked if General Howard should not be required to give bonds, and replied: “I have no objection to his giving bond, but this is imposing upon him a duty for which he gets nothing, and it is a great responsibility. I think it is enough to ask him to do this work.” Even while I was frequently consulted and was myself urging some legislation to protect these wards of the Government, I did not dream of the passage of such an Act as the one that finally went through both Houses and became a law (March 29, 1867). All references to the help of the branches of the Freedmen's Bank which Mr. Wilson proposed and embodied in his bill, an institution chartered by Congress to do a banking business in the South, but with which I was not connected, were thrown out by the amendments. My duties and responsibilities under the resolution which finally passed may be thus summed up:

1. Every claim of the colored soldiers, sailors, and marines, or their heirs, for bounty, back pay, or prize money, no matter by whom prosecuted, was to be paid by me, or through me, as commissioner.

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Henry Wilson (3)
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March 29th, 1867 AD (1)
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