freedom of the negro and the personal rights incident to his new condition. He is thus placed upon precisely equal footing with the white man in all matters wherein the General Government has ever exercised control. No intelligent man who considers the theory or the practice of our Federal Government would ask or consent that it should go further than this. In fact it cannot do so in case of the negro without assuming the same power over foreigners or other residents or citizens of all States of the Union-a power not given to it either directly or constructively.
But in any event, and however this point may be viewed, it is very certain that such matters should be regulated by State of Federal legislation, and not by order of military commanders. Wherever there is a State government organized and recognized by the United States such questions should be left to its action, with the distinct understanding, however, that the negro must have equal protection to his person and property and equal remedy at law with the white man, and that contracts and agreements must be equally enforced against both.
That such fair and liberal legislation could have been and can now be procured in the States in which attempts to restore civil government have been made, there is no question; and such laws can be enforced, as I now propose to enforce them, through the proper civil officers and tribunals, assisted, if necessary, by the military forces as a posse.
The whole arrangement would then be matter of law. The civil officers and tribunals would be responsible for their acts, and there would obtain that feeling of stability and permanency to which all parties would soon grow accustomed and which would give general confidence.
In Arkansas I propose, therefore, to withdraw the military from all connection with this subject, except to see that the laws of Congress and the orders of the President are observed. If the freed negroes are to live in Arkansas it is proper that dealings with them should be regulated in the same manner as with white men. There is no doubt that laws entirely satisfactory can be procured, to be made by the legislature of the State. The influence now possessed by the General Government over the States seeking to re-enter the Union, arising mainly from the need of its assistance in restoring civil administration, will be sufficient to secure and perpetrate any reasonable legislation concerning the feed negroes. How long the General Government will be able to retain this influence cannot be known.
Such laws it should be the province of the military to assist the State authorities to enforce, and this is rally the only proper connection the military can have with this question in the States having a recognized and loyal State organization.
The question of trade with the States in the Mississippi Valley should also receive immediate attention. Whatever arguments against unrestricted trade might have been valid during the progress of active military operations, they seem hardly applicable to the condition of affairs which now exit. We are in possession of all port on the Western rivers and of all points which are termini of railroads leading into the interior. When we consider that it taxes the extreme capacity of a railroad in the South to supply any considerable military force at a distance of 100 miles, and that an avenue for the supply of troops on any considerable scale can hardly be established without becoming immediately known and broken up, it is difficult to believe that the country wagons and carts over country roads can carry supplies that are likely to be of much service to the enemy at any considerable
9 R R-VOL XLVIII, PT II