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 State asylums, but the majority have been of necessity retained in the Bureau hospitals, and all that could be done for them was to supply them with food and clothing and prevent them from doing injury. For more than a year our principal aim has been to relieve the general Government by transferring to the civil authorities all these dependent classes for future care and treatment. To this end medicines and hospital stores have been furnished as an outfit where State or municipal governments have consented to assume charge of destitute sick and disabled freedmen within their own borders. By means of this aid, and by patient and persistent effort on the part of my officers, the hospitals, at one time numbering fifty-six (56), have been reduced to two (2), and one (1) of these is about to be closed. In addition to the sick, many others were destitute and required aid. To relieve this destitution without encouraging pauperism and idleness was at all times a difficult problem. ... The wonder is not that so many, but that so few, have needed help; that of the four millions of people thrown suddenly upon their own resources only one in about two hundred has been an object of public charity; and nearly all who have received aid have been persons who, by reason of age, infirmity, or disease, would be objects of charity in any State and at any time. It would have been impossible to reach such satisfactory results, and reduce the issue of supplies to so small proportions had not employment been found for a great multitude of able-bodied men and women, who, when first set free, knew not where to look for remunerative labor...
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