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[720] had abandoned the Lafourche district, and the adjoining lands situated on the right bank of the Mississippi, leaving their slaves on their plantations. It was necessary to find work for the latter, and to this effect to supply the absence of the masters. This could easily have been done without violence, and without striking at the very principle involved in the right of property in a vast, opulent country. But General Butler was surrounded by men who only looked upon the war as affording the means for enriching themselves. By an order of November 9, 1862, the whole district was placed under the ban of confiscation. At the same time, he appointed a military commission with power to determine, without right of appeal, the merit of all claims to which this measure might give rise, to administer the plantations thus seized, to sell the land or the produce, to fix the wages of negroes, to purchase, to store away and to resell to the resident proprietors what might be deemed necessary for their own consumption or for sowing purposes; the commission, in short, was authorized to grant permission, to such planters as should give sufficient pledges of their loyalty to the Union, to work their own estates by giving them to hope that by such means alone they might merit a revocation of the confiscation. We have only been able to present a brief analysis of this decree, but we have said enough to show what was its object and the consequences likely to follow. It suppressed all rights of property, placing it entirely in the hands of the administration, or rather of a few individuals without control and without honesty, and making the State the only farmer, the only merchant, the only regulator of the market, and sole arbiter of all transactions, and purveyor to each individual on the very land which he held from his parents or by his own exertions. The labor of the negroes was well enough regulated, or at least the confusion engendered by the war in this kind of labor was diminished; but the consequences of a measure so fatal in its principle were not slow in being felt. Scandalous fortunes were realized under this administration, and three weeks later Mr. Lincoln was obliged to recall General Butler in order to put an end to so many abuses. The administration of his successor, General Banks, was more equitable, but he lacked either the power or the ability to repair all the evil done

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