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8 ating $500,000 to buy food, whenever the bonds of the State could be negotiated for that purpose. It was for a long time, however, impossible to effect this, and it was not until the new year that from any source the quantity of food was materially increased. The State not having been occupied until there were no longer any persons in armed hostility to the Government, no lands belonging to such persons had been taken possession of as "abandoned," within the definition of the statute. The extended organization of the Bureau required, therefore, after November, a better revenue than the expedients which has answered till that time. Congress having made no appropriation,it was observed that certain property of the late rebel government might be made use of for this purpose. An application was accordingly sent forward, which resulted in the following order, dated November 11, 1865. " Ordered, that the civil and military agents of the Government transfer to the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands for Alabama, the use and custody of all real estate. buildings, or other property, seized or held by them in that State as belonging to the late Rebel Government, together with all such funds as may arise or have arisen from the rent, sale, or disposition of such property, which have not been finally paid into the Treasury of the United States. [Signed] Andrew Johnson, President. It was not considered that cotton was included in this order, and when it was found that in the copy sent to the collector at Mobile, the words "Except Cotton," were interpolated, a feeling of relief precluded inquiry or appeal. It was proposed by myself to receive under this order no property except such as was needed for actual used, and that the Collector appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury should complete his operations, and pay over the net proceeds to the Disbursing Officer of the Bureau, a paymaster detailed from the army. To this the Secretary objected, for reasons personal to the Collector, who was a stranger to me, and who was soon after removed. The sales of property already advertised were then completed by his subordinates, under the supervision of the Bureau, and the proceeds are the basis of the financial part of this report. The title to the remaining property being chiefly in dispute, the question of ownership was referred to the District Court of the United States, by proceedings in confiscation, which are still incomplete. The revenue thus acquired was sufficient for the actual necessities of administration. The organization of the Bureau, at first purely experimental, had, by November, taken shape. It consisted mainly in stationing an officer wherever one could be obtained by detail, to advise and protect the Freedmen, and do for the extremely poor whatever our facilities would permit. The number of such officers was unfortunately few, and was constantly reduced by removal or muster out of the regiments to which they were attached. Their principal care was the charge of labor contracts. These were, in great numbers, examined, explained to the freemen, and, if fair and mutually consented to, approved; and a duplicate retained for reference. Complaints arising afterwards were inquired into and adjusted. It was considered wrong to compel a free man to contract, or to prescribe fixed rates of compensation. But to guard against the total inexperience of freedmen, the stipulations were required to include the necessaries of life, in kind, and ample for their families and themselves. This system of annual contracts was regarded as a makeshift, which it was hoped would disappear as confidence should grow out of experience on both sides, and leave to each the benefit of an appeal at any time to competition. The demand for labor promised a comfortable future for the freedmen on this basis. At those stations which were central to disgtricts populous with freedmen, "colonies" were established. These were a sort of infirmary, consisting of a hospital for the sick, and a number of cabins for orphans and helpless persons; and were also used as places of transit for persons seeking homes. Various evils were incident to these, but 2
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