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[732] sphere of their operations, and were incessantly soliciting for some new plantation the protection of the army, the troops of which they would eventually have succeeded in rendering completely inactive. On the other hand, both soldiers and officers frequently caused a great deal of disturbance among the agricultural population, and they were finally forbidden to approach the plantations. But this measure soon ceased to be of any great avail, and in the month of June it was deemed expedient to withdraw the supreme control of the freedmen from the Treasury Department, and give it to the War Department, in order to avoid conflicts which might have weakened the military authority.

In proportion as the question of the treatment of slaves in the States hostile to the Union became more difficult and absorbing, the judicious and moderate men of the North entered more seriously into the consideration of the means for directly solving the problem of slavery in the border States. It was, in fact, the loyalty shown by some of these States to the Union, which kept the great mass of the Republican party from resorting to the immediate and complete abolition of slavery, as a powerful instrument of war. But, on the one hand, it was evident that the protection granted to fugitives by the army, that confiscation and the constantly increasing enfranchisements of slaves, and the introduction of free labor on the plantations of the Sea Islands, constituted too serious a blow against the servile institution not to have a rebounding effect upon Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, despite all the provisions of the law which still protected it, and it was no longer to be seriously believed in the month of March, 1862, that, the Union once restored, slavery would be retained as in the past. On the other hand, the secession leaders justly thought that by the maintenance of slavery on the soil of the border States it would only require a few military successes to rally those States to the support of their cause; it was evident that if the South could constitute herself an independent power, all the countries where the servile institution existed would be obliged, out of regard for their own interests, to join her. It was important, therefore, to deprive the Confederacy for ever of all hope of dominating in the centre of the continent, by sundering the ties which might have bound to it the States occupying that

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