War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0785 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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the State touching "free men of color," renders it exceedingly difficult for the most intelligent to a dispense justice and leaves the justices of the peace and superior courts, too frequently ignorant and full of prejudices, no guide whatever. The only solution I can possibly see for the present is the issuance of an order, from proper authority, allowing all officers of the superior and inferior courts, all ordinaries, justices of the peace, sheriffs, and constables to take the oath of allegiance, resume the performance of their several duties, and continue in the same till new elections can be held, under the auspices of a provisional governor, to fill all offices now existing. The order should also specify that all men of whatever color should have the same right of trial and be punished, upon legal conviction of crime, exactly as though they were white, considering in every case the intelligence of the accused and the degree of culpability that should be in justice attached to his or her violation of the law. Although this would in many cases result in greater punishment to the negro than the execution of the law specially applicable to his case, yet it is practicable, and I believe more advantageous and humane than no law at all, or than the present barbaric code of the statute books. It may not be improper in this connection to call attention top the dehumanizing and vicious tendencies of the present communal system of labor practiced by slave-holders throughout the South. I believe it is susceptible of proof that nearly all of the crime and debasement of the freedmen in their present condition is attributable to the fact that they are crowded together in villages offering every inducement and opportunity for promiscuous propagation and allowing nothing like absolute protection for the family. Every individual of the community is made thereby subordinate to the brutalizing influence of the master's ignorance, cupidity, and selfishness. I am convinced that the first step toward the civilization and elevation of the negro, by which he is to be made a useful and self-sustaining member of society, is to establish the family of every worthy man upon such a basis as will insure it all the advantages of industry, good management, and virtuous aspirations. Practically every landed proprietor who has freedmen upon his estate should be compelled to give every respectable and trustworthy man a life lease upon as much land as he and his family could cultivate, to build or allow the removal of houses and inclosures to the land, and require the lessee to live upon his own possessions and paying a fair rate of rent either in money or in kind to the proprietor. Having extended to all the protection of the law and the privilege of free schools, with compulsory attendance of the children, this system would tend to the development of independence, respectability, and healthy morals. The idle and lazy might be worked as at present by the planters and receive compensation daily or weekly and in accordance with the industry and fidelity with which they discharged their obligations, and always having before them the privilege by industry and good morals of becoming lessees or owners of land. I have given some thought to the rates of compensation to be established for freedmen's labor. The people in North and Central Georgia claim that they cannot afford to pay as much for such labor as those of South and Southwestern Georgia can, because in the former region the lands are not so good, will not yield so much to the cultivator, and in many cases have been swept by the march of contending armies of their implements, fences, and stock. It seems to me these points are worthy of consideration.

Third. General Cobb alludes to the difficulties anticipated by the people in the matter of taxation. From conversations with intelligent

50 R R-VOL XLIX, PT II