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 —an idea which many of the former slave-masters clung to as a reliance for the still unremunerated labor of those from whom it had once been exacted. To the Treasury Department had already been confided jurisdiction over ‘houses, tenements, lands and plantations, deserted and abandoned by insurgents within the lines of military occupation.’ The Bill provided against any system of enforced labor or apprenticeship. It was constructed just as carefully as to what it should not attempt to do; —the trouble being in all such cases in trying to accomplish too much. ‘It does not,’ as he remarked, ‘assume to provide ways and means of support for the Freedmen; but it does look to securing them the opportunity of labor, according to well-guarded contracts, and under the friendly advice of the agents of the Government, who will take care that they are protected from abuse of all kinds.’ The Commission on Freedmen, appointed by the Secretary of War, in their report had already said: ‘For a time we need a Freedmen's Bureau; not because these people are negroes only,—because they are men who have been for generations despoiled of their rights. This Commission has already recommended the establishment of such a Bureau.’ It was a long, hard fight. It encountered at every step, whenever it came up, bitter opposition. It finally passed the Senate, on the 28th of June; but it had a still harder struggle to go through in the House, where it did not pass until the 9th of February of the following year, and then only by a majority of two. It had the ordeal of another struggle in the Senate, when it at last passed that body without a division, and on the same day, March 3d, was approved by the President, and the
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