War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0449 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

That clerks, when needed at any freedmen's station, be nominated by the resident superintendent to the department superintendent for confirmation or rejection.

That resident superintendents may, with the concurrence of the department superintendents, appoint foremen when needed.

But that the number of residencies in a department, and also the number of assistant superintendents, be determined, after a report on the subject from the department superintendent to the superintendent-general aforesaid, by that officer.

In the above recommendations as to the mode of appointing subordinate officers, the Commission are influenced by their conviction that it is a principle of great practical importance in administrative organizations that upon all officers to whom subordinates are immediately responsible should be thrown, as far as prudence permits, the responsibility, by selection of such subordinates, of having about them only men of character and of proper qualifications. When a workman has choice of tools he cannot throw the blame of bad workmanship upon them.

The commission here desire to record their profound conviction that upon the judicious selection of department superintendents and of superintendent-general of freedmen will mainly depend the successful practical workings of the above-sketched plan of organization. The African race, accustomed to shield itself by cunning and evasion and by shirking of work, whenever it can be safely shirked, against the oppression which has been its lot for generations, is yet of genial nature, alive to gratitude, open to impressions of kindness, and more readily influenced and led by those who treat it well and gain its confidence than our race or, perhaps, than any other. The wishes and recommendations of Government, if they are not harshly enforced, but quietly communicated by those who understand and sympathize with the African nature, will be received and obeyed as commands in almost every instance. It is highly important, therefore, that those who have in charge the interests of these freedmen shall be men not only of administrative ability but also of comprehensive benevolence and humanitarian views.

On the other hand, it is equally desirable that these refugees, as readily spoiled as children, should not be treated with weak and injurious indulgence. Even-handed justice, not special favor, is what they need. Mild firmness is the proper spirit in which to control them. They should find themselves treated, not as children of preference, fostered by charity, dependent for a living on Government or on benevolent associations, but as men from whom, in their new character of freedmen, self-reliance and self-support are demanded.

Superintendents imbued with this spirit and the views here recommended will, if they possess a fair amount of executive talent, find little difficulty in managing refugee freedmen, and, with infrequent exceptions, will meet with no factious opposition on their part.

In first putting into operation this plan of management, it is recommended that the present superintendent in the departments referred to be either confirmed as resident or assistant superintendents under the new organization or at once relieved from duty.

SECTION VII. - General results.

The problem, in the solution of which the Commission has been called to aid, is of a mixed character. Together with obvious and