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operate with such charitable persons and associations as might undertake the instruction of the laborers. His full report to the Secretary, of February 3d, is the most valuable source of information we have on the general subject. The results of his labors and observations, up to the first of June, are contained in his second report, just received, made on occasion of the transfer of the charge from the Treasury to the War Departmet, and the appointment of General Saxton, who has just succeeded (June 23) to the administration of the district of Port Royal. Between ninety and a hundred teachers or superintendents (seventy-four men and nineteen women) have been sent out by the benevolent associations before mentioned, most of them receiving from twenty-five to fifty dollars a month, with rations from the government. Some of them, it is right to say, have contributed liberally in money, besides giving their own invaluable services. All the correspondence that we have seen testifies to the high tone of religious earnestness and conviction of Christian duty which have been their animating motive, as well as to the great patience, good sense, and good temper which they have brought to the work. Under their direction, nearly fourteen thousand acres have been planted in provisions and cotton, and “the forces of the plantations have been organized to reasonably steady labor.” Much more than the usual area of food (8,315 acres) has been planted, and about one third the usual amount of cotton (5,480 acres). If sure and regular wages could have been offered, a much larger amount could have been done. To sum up in the words of the Report :
“ Confidence in the government has been inspired, the laborers are working cheerfully, and they now present to the world the example of a well-behaved and self-supporting peasantry, of which their country has no reason to be ashamed. Ideas and habits have been planted under the growth of which these people are to be fitted for the responsibilities of citizenship, and in equal degree unfitted for any restoration to what they have been. Modes of administration have been commenced, not indeed adapted to an advanced community, but just, paternal, and developing in their character. Industrial results have been reached which put at rest the often reiterated assumption that this territory and its products can only be cultivated by slaves, - a social problem which has vexed the wisest approaches a solution.
of a race, and the possibility of lifting it to civilization without danger or disorder, even without throwing away the present generation as refuse, is being determined. And thus the way is preparing by which the peace to follow this war shall be made perpetual.”
It certainly tells well both for the disposition of the negroes and for the disciplinary results of slavery (which philosophical economists tell us of) as the hard apprenticeship of the race in civilization, that the needful preliminary work was so well done as now appears ; and that in spite of the four months' idleness and confusion, the baneful presence of the camp, the mischievous talk of soldiers, who also “ killed their cattle every day," the rude notions of liberty, the irregular earnings by petty services to the troops, the lack of time, tools, funds, provisions, and domestic animals, the annoyance of military drafting of the able-bodied,* and obstacles deliberately thrown in the way of the Commission by the superseded cotton-agents. Concerning these things, more is known than it is well should meet the public ear. The general testimony in favor of the liberated blacks is unequivocal, and, under all the circumstances, quite striking. “Think of their having organized and gone deliberately to work here, without a white man near them, preparing hundreds of acres for the new crop.” This, of course, was their own private patches of corn. It was one of the hardest tasks, at first, to break through their strong dislike to work on cotton, - a vestige of their old bondage. This prejudice was skilfully got over in time to secure, with a reasonably good season, an ample return for the outlay. Money enough could have been had as an investment to insure much larger returns; but it was thought best not to allow the intrusion of private speculation. Hence, a very great temporary inconvenience, as wages could be paid only scantily and at hazard; and it was hard to keep up the belief of the blacks in the good faith of their employers. The schools for children, appeals to religious feeling, and the gift of a little bacon, or salt, or cloth, now and then, saved this critical point, and kept the enterprise alive.
Some use has been made of the former plan of plantation
* In one report we read, “The women did three quarters of the field-work."
industry. The gangs of slaves had been wonted to work under the immediate direction of " drivers" of their own color,
which outline of discipline, under the humaner title of foremen or helpers, the same men often retain. With due allowance for some cruelties and some jealousies begotten by it, the system proves to have been of great service as an introduction to free labor. It has educated a class of men, trained to the exercise of trust, and of a much higher order of intelligence than most who serve under them, men who “ still hold the keys of the granary, and deal out the rations of food, with the same sense of responsibility as before.” The emphatic refutation of facts is brought against half the fallacies by which the system of slave labor has been sustained. Whatever it may have been once, it seems no longer doubtful that regular pay, mild and firm restraint, and the winning of confidence by a few simple charities and a kindly care for souls, are abundantly sufficient to bridge that chasm at which we have so long stood aghast; — the more, because this experiment was begun under great embarrassments, and conducted by stranger hands. There seems no reason to question, as Mr. Pierce has stated his own belief, “ that under the guidance and with the help of the fugitive masters, had they been so disposed, these people might have made their way from bondage and its enforced labor to freedom and its voluntary and compensated labor without any essential diminution of products or any appreciable derangement of social order." A striking confirmation of it is the promptitude with which labor has been organized and conducted under the new dispensation. The negroes, we are told, assent heartily to the appeals made to them on this point, “uniformly answering, Yes, massa, we must work to live, that's the law; and expressing an anxiety that the work of the plantations was not going on." We have the unequivocal testimony of Mr. Pierce, that indolence is not a conspicuous trait among them; and that, “ with proper motives set before them, they will, as freemen, be as industrious as any race of men are likely to be in this climate." In three months there were not, among them all, more than forty cases of discipline for idleness. We subjoin, from the same source, the following very interesting summary of the impres
sion made by several weeks' constant intercourse and observa
" It will appear that these people are naturally religious and simplehearted, attached to the places where they have lived, still adhering to them, both from a feeling of local attachment and self-interest in securing the 'means of subsistence; that they have the knowledge and experience requisite to do all the labor, from the preparation of the ground for planting until the cotton is baled, ready to be exported ; that they, or the great mass of them, are disposed to labor, with proper inducements thereto; that they lean upon white men and desire their protection, and could, therefore, under a wise system, be easily brought under subordination; that they are susceptible to the higher considerations, as duty, and the love of offspring, and are not in any way inherently vicious, their defects coming from their peculiar condition in the past or present, and not from constitutional proneness to evil beyond what may be attributed to human nature; that they have among them natural chiefs, either by virtue of religious leadership or superior intelligence, who, being first addressed, may exert a healthful influence on the rest;- in a word, that in spite of their condition, reputed to be worse here than in many other parts of the rebellious region, there are such features in their life and character, that the opportunity is now offered to us to make of them — partially in this generation and fully in the next - a happy, industrious, law-abiding, free, and Christian people, if we have but the courage and patience to accept it.”
Several other points deserve to be added, from the general testimony of those who have undertaken the duties of this new guardianship. No one but must be touched with the great eagerness of those untaught blacks to learn, - to bridge that mysterious gulf which the knowledge of letters interposes between the barbarian and the man. Children have attended school " half naked and shivering with cold," or walking for miles in the hot sand. Old men, gray and bent with long toil, bend themselves to the child's task of mastering the alphabet, and are children again in glee," when they make out a sentence of short monosyllables.” And when the able-bodied of the plantations were summoned to Hilton Head for military drill, each man's care was to take his spelling-book by the way, and con his lesson at odd hours. Not that just the same phrase will apply to them all. The record of a colored school shows us as provoking varieties of temper and intellect as
we look for among white children. But the result is promising in the main, and full as much so with pure Africans as with those of mixed blood. Their general courtesy and respectful language; their local attachments, and utter confidence in their new guardians; their freedom from profaneness and indecency of talk; their ingenuity in many little household arts; their piety, warm and sincere if often extravagant and grotesque in its expression, - all seem to give promise of admirable qualities, and hope of a genuine native civilization among them, to grow from seed wafted on the north-wind, and to fit itself to their characteristics as a race, and to their destined mode of life. “ Their faults are those of children.” Their teachers are “struck, constantly, with the childhood of this race.” “To sum up, we have, then,” says Mr. Forbes, “ for some of the results, the confidence of the blacks in us, our discovery that they will work, the education conferred, so far as it goes, the encouragement of industry, and the material advantage of planting food and cotton crops, instead of letting the negroes alone to run into vice and pauperism, or turning them over to the tender mercies of hard speculators.”
For the sake of completeness, we add a few practical suggestions, which we have gathered here and there from the papers of the Commission. The estates should not be rented to tenants, who would be under every temptation to sacrifice permanent good to present profit, but worked by government agents, protectors as well as overseers of the enfranchised laborers. The blacks should have assigned them patches of ground for their own cultivation, as under the régime of slavery, and should be led by all means to adopt civilized manners, such as eating their meals in families, not by solitary and chance devouring, as of old. They should be faithfully paid day-wages, and what they receive should be sold them, not given as alms; cloth, rather than garments, should be sent them, that their own ingenuity and industry may be developed. “ Doubtless, hereafter,” says the eminent merchant already quoted,“ the selfish element must be appealed to more than it could be by the agents of the Commission, who had to improve their short planting season by continuing the established system of labor in gangs; of course, a permanent