War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0400 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

Search Civil War Official Records

resentatives on the 2nd instant, and desire I should furnish the Department with a full and immediate answer to the following part of said resolution:

Second. Whether the said Edward Stanley has interfered to prevent the education of children, white or black, in said State; and, if so, by what authority, if any.

On the 31st day of May last I addressed you a letter, which I presume had not been received when you wrote on the 3rd instant. In that letter of the 31st, in reference to matters here, I made the following observations:

The perplexing question of what is to be done with tthe negroes is constantly presenting itself. I have thus far managed it with discretion. Upon all occasions I say I have no hope of affording redress to the enemies of our country; that the Union is to be restored, cost what it may in blood and treasure, and this is a matter not to be argued.

One person came to me yesterday who had four slaves taken from him, and told they were free by a rude soldier, who cursed his wife. I suggested, first, by must take the oath of allegiance; this be agreed to do. Then I gave him authority to look for his property, advising him to use mildness and persuasion. He did so, and one servant voluntarily returned to the home fo a kind master. This has already excited some evil-disposed persons and will be misrepresented.

Almost all the inhabitants have gone away and the belief still exists that it is dangerous for them to return.

The Confederates refuse to allow any persons to come to this place, keeping away even women and children. Unless I can give them some assurance that this is a war of restoration and not of abolition and destruction, no peace can be restored here for many years to come. I am making efforts to induce Union men to come and talk with me. I feel confident I shall be successful in a few weeks.

One person ventured to give me advice. I gave him at once permission to go to New York. The person whose impertinent meddling I rebuked is Mr. H. H. Helper.

A gentleman of good Samaritan inclinations and acts had established a school for negro children. He called and informed me what he was doing, and asked my opinion. I approved all he had done in feeding and clothing the destitute white and black, but told him I had been sent to restore the old order of things. I thought his negro school, if approved by me, would do harm to the Union cause. In a few months we shall know the result of the war. If by Southern folly emancipation comes, their spiritual welfare would not suffer by the delay, for I desired he would give such oral instructions in religious maters as he thought best.

Another reason I urged was, that by one of the cruel necessities of slavery the laws of North Carolina forbade slaves to be taught to read and write, and I would be most unsuccessful in my efforts if I encouraged the violation of her laws. He acquiesced, I thought, cheerfully. If the old residents ever return, those negroes who have been taught to read and write would be suspected and not benefited by it.

You have no idea how happy the influence has ben on the minds of the excellent and severely-punished people of this lonely town. This school affair has already been much misrepresented.

This extract might be sufficient to answer the resolution, but as you request not only an immediate "but a full" answer, it may be proper to add something more.

To the extent mentioned I did interfere, and would most assuredly do so again under the same circumstances.

My authority for so doing was the only instruction given me in your communication of May 20, 1862, in the following words:

It is obvious to you that the great purpose of your appointment is to re-establish the authority of the Federal Government in the State of North Carolina and to provide the means of maintaining peace and security to the loyal inhabitants of that State.

I had these instructions in view when I made the suggestion relative to the negro school.

And in your letter to General Burnside, of date 20th of May, to which you referred me, you state:

The province of Governor Stanley is to re-establish and maintain, under military form, the functions of civil government, until the loyal inhabitants of North Carolina shall be able to assert their constitutional rights and privileges.