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[731] upon for the daily work of laborers, so as to deduct from these wages the advances made by the State in provisions, clothing, etc. Being thus paid for their labor, they were therefore free. But this idea of liberty was not fully understood except by the more intelligent class of overseers and artisans. The others, in their sad condition, only seemed to dread that they or their families should be sold. With the exile and the heartrendings that would follow as the most cruel consequence, owing to their inexperience and that instinct of caution which is the weapon of the weak, they seemed at first to look upon the Federals only in the light of new masters, whom they only begged to spare them from harsh treatment. When, however, they found that these new masters were strong enough to protect them against the old ones, a taste for freedom soon developed itself. They became assiduous frequenters of schools, where they were taught that alphabet the knowledge of which was formerly the privilege solely of the free man. The very character of the Christian religion is incompatible with slavery; it killed it in ancient times, and will kill it whenever this religion is alike professed by the master and the slave. Consequently, in order to render it inoffensive, it had been debased and deformed in the very little instruction which the enslaved race was permitted to receive. When religion, freed at last from those shameful shackles, came to the slave of yesterday, and told him that his labor belonged to him, that his wife and children were not the property of others, and that there were no duties without rights, however debased he may have been by his former life, he soon began to understand this language, and we shall presently find him on the field of battle rivalling his liberators in courage and devotion. But before the time had arrived when the Federal armies found useful auxiliaries in the freedmen, the latter were the cause of frequent embarrassments to them. The agents of the government sent into South Carolina were but little acquainted with the country, and still less with the inhabitants of this section of the country, so impenetrable had been until then the barrier erected by slavery, and in perusing the curious reports one would suppose that they were speaking of some region of country yet unexplored by travellers. They naturally desired to extend the

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South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)

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