SECTION V. - Character of organization proposed.
The researches and investigations of the Commission have not yet been sufficiently extended and thorough to justify them in suggesting a definite system for the ultimate solution of one of the gravest social problems ever presented to a Government. Certain measures, however, are, in the present emergency, evidently demanded, not merely from considerations of common humanity to alleviate the sufferings caused to non-combatant laborers by the forced derangement of industry consequent upon military invasion, but also in virtue of the fact that a great and radical industrial and domestic change, every hour in progress, and ultimately involving the eradication of a labor system which has been the growth of more than two centuries, needs, for a time to which we cannot yet assign a definite limit, to be, to a certain extent, facilitated and directed by governmental assistance and control. The two labor systems, namely, that of enforced slave labor and that of free compensated labor, are, in spirit and result, so thoroughly at variance that the change from the one to the other by four millions of people cannot safely be left undirected and uncared for, to work itself out, drifting on at haphazard, according to the chance shifting of the current of daily events. The transition has not yet so far proceeded, nor have its effects so fully developed themselves as to supply reliable data whereupon to base a judgment as to the exact extent or duration of the guardianship which the new freedmen may require.
The system of apprenticeship in the English West Indies appears to have worked badly, and was terminated before the time originally fixed by law, but the defect may have been to a certain extent in its details, as to all which the Commission hope hereafter to be able satisfactorily to report. The question remains open whether and how soon the American-freedman, with the dependence engendered by the slave system still clinging to him, and, what is worse, weighted down in his efforts to rise by that prejudice which prompts men to despise whoever has long been their inferior, will be able peacefully to maintain his new rights and to protect himself against undue ascendency and imposition from the white man. Coming into competition with another race, one among the most energetic in the world, for the first time in the history of our country, on something like equal terms, will he if left to himself be overborne and crushed? And if he should be, will he bear it as patiently in his capacity of freedman as he has borne it under subjection as a slave?
On one point the Commission are already agreed, namely, that a scheme of guardianship or protection for one race of men against another race inhabiting the same country cannot become a permanent institution. If the necessity for the constant operation of such a scheme could be proved, the proof would amount to this, that the two races cannot in perpetuity inhabit the same country at all, and that the one must ultimately give way to the other.
The Commission, therefore, adopt the opinion that all special governmental measures, particularly those involving continuous expenditure, whether for the relief of poor Southern whites or of poor refugee blacks, or for the guardianship of such refugees, should be more or less temporary in their character, and should be prepared and administered in that idea and intent.
In this view of the case, the Commission state with satisfaction that in the course of their inquiries they have found unmistakable indica