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 In spite of all disorders that have prevailed and the misfortunes that have fallen upon many parts of the South, a good degree of prosperity and success has already been attained. To the oft-repeated slander that the negroes will not work, and are incapable of taking care of themselves, it is a sufficient answer that their voluntary labor has produced nearly all the food that has supported the whole people, besides a large amount of rice, sugar, and tobacco for export, and two millions of bales of cotton each year, on which was paid into the United States Treasury during the years 1866 and 1867 a tax of more than forty millions of dollars ($40,000,000). It is not claimed that this result is wholly due to the care and oversight of this Bureau, but it is safe to say, as it has been said repeatedly by intelligent Southern men, that without the Bureau or some similar agency, the material interests of the country would have greatly suffered, and the Government would have lost a far greater amount than has been expended in its maintenance. . . . Of the nearly eight hundred thousand (800,000) acres of farming land and about five thousand (5,000) pieces of town property transferred to this Bureau by military and Treasury officers, or taken up by my assistant commissioners, enough was leased to produce a revenue of nearly four hundred thousand ($400,000) dollars. Some farms were set apart in each State as homes for the destitute and helpless, and a portion was cultivated by freedmen prior to its restoration.... In a few instances freedmen have combined their means and purchased farms already under cultivation. They have everywhere manifested a great desire to become land owners, a desire in the highest degree laudable and hopeful for their future civilization.
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