tions that the negro slave of the South, though in some respects resembling a child from the dependence in which he has been trained and the unreasoning obedience which has been exacted from him, and therefore, in many cases, seeking and needing for a season encouragement and direction, is by no means devoid of paffairs of life, and usually learns readily and quickly to shift for himself. This, the Commission think, it is just and desirable that he should be led to do at as early a period as is practicable, without further reliance for aid or guidance on the Government.
In this view, the Commission recommend that all "contraband cam;s" (as they are usually called) be regarded as places of reception and distribution only, and that the superintendents be informed that it is the policy of the Government not to continue the aggregation of these people in military villages a day longer than is necessary to dispose of them as military laborers or on plantations, or in other self-supporting situations. A temporary exception to this may be made in cases where it is found that women and children can contribute materially to their own support by washing or other service for troops in the neighborhood. But camp life for women and children has been found by experience to be demoralizing. In a general way, when abandoned plantations can be had, it will be found more expedient and more profitable to cultivate these, even though chiefly By women and children under eighteen years old, than to leave such persons dependent on mere village employment.
Upon the same principle the working of plantations by Government should be undertaken as a temporary expedient, rendered necessary during the period of transition. But as soon as there are found loyal and respectable owners or lessees of plantations who will hire the freedmen at fair wages this is to be preferred; or when the freedmen themselves have saved a little to start upon, or when they evince ability to manage a small farm or market garden of their own, such spots may be temporarily assigned to them, at a moderate rent, on forfeited estates until Congress, which can alone originate a public policy in regard to such lands, shall make, if it sees fit to make, some permanent arrangement touching this matter. Ultimately, when these lands come into market, the desirable result is that the freedmen should become owners in fee of the farms or gardens they occupy.
To the superintendent it must in a measure be left to select one or other of these plans, according to the varying circumstances in different places. When freedmen are hired in the neighborhood of the superintendent's station by the owners or lessees of plantations or of manufactories, it should be made the duty of the superintendent to keep an eye over them for the time being, so far as to ascertain that they have fair treatment and prompt payment of wages earned.
When refugees are employed by Government in the cultivation of plantations the Commission are of opinion that item wages than to supply them and their families with rations, promising them half the crop. The custom in many places has been to give full rations to adults, male or female, and half rations to children under ten years of age. Thus, a family consisting of a man and wife and four children, two over ten years old, are entitled to five rations - a larger amount of food than they actually need. The cost of these rations in General Dix's department is 14 1/2 cents each; consequently, such a family there costs the Government in rations alone $ 21.75 per month. But a white farm laborer in that vicinity can be hired for $ 20 a month, he supporting himself and