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[419] account of that one community. There were a number of such crowds at that time in Washington or within the District of Columbia, not so pressing, but where poverty prevailed. In meditating upon this condition of things, upon the evident desire of many of the poorest to do something for their own support, and upon their entreaty for land, I concluded that it would be well to take a portion of the “Refugees and freedmen's fund” which had been accumulating mainly from the rental of abandoned property, and which I had already devoted, in the exercise of my discretion, to educational purposes, and with that fund purchase a farm of large size as near Washington as practicable, and make it an object lesson, affording what relief it could. I would divide it up into acre or two-acre lots, give lumber enough for a small, comfortable tenement, and sell to the poor freedmen on time, on a bond to be followed by a deed in fee as soon as the terms of the bond should be fulfilled. The nearness to Washington would enable me to give the execution of the plan my personal oversight, and help me from time to time to secure city employment and wages for the industrious. I had no doubt of my right, under the laws governing me, to use the funds in question, except perhaps the constitutional one of purchasing land. So I consulted the second comptroller of the Treasury, who agreed with me. I even ventured to interview Chief Justice Chase on the subject. He was kind and approachable and freely advised me in the premises. He said: “Without doubt, General Howard, you can use your funds in the way you propose.”

At last, April 3, 1867, I issued a special order, transferring $52,000 to S. C. Pomeroy, J. R. Elvans, and O. O. Howard as trustees; the amount to be held

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