With time, as civilization advances, these Christian graces of meekness and long suffering will be rated higher than the world rates them now. With time, if we but treat these people in a Christian spirit, we shall have our reward. The softening influence, of their genial spirit, diffused throughout the community, will make itself felt as an element of improvement in the national character.
And, on the other hand, they will learn much and gain much from us. They will gain in force of character, in mental cultivation, in self-reliance, in enterprise,in breadth of views and in habits of generalization. Our influence over them, if we treat them well, will be powerful for good. a
If we treat them well! But everything depends upon that. There depends upon it not alone the future of 4,500,000 people, native born, and who will remain, for good or for evil, in the land of their birth, but also, looking to the immediate present, there depends, to a certain extent, the likelihood of thoroughly and speedily putting down the present rebellion. In this connection we deem it useful here to repeat what we already suggested in our preliminary report:
Every aggression, every act of injustice committed by a Northern man against unoffending fugitives from despotism, every insult offered by the base prejudice of our race ot a colored man because of his African descent is not only a breach of humanity, an offense against civilization, but it is also an act which gives aid and comfort to the enemy. The report of it goes abroad, penetrates into the enemy's country. So far as its influence there extends, the effect is to deter the slave from leaving his master, therefore to secure to that master a bread producer and by the same act to deprive the Union of a colored soldier, and compel the Government by conscription to withdraw a laborer from a Northern farm.
The practical effect, therefore, of abuse and injury to colored people in these days is not alone to disgrace the authors of such acts, but to compel conscription and to strip the North, already scant of working hands, of the laborers and the artisans that remain to her. Thousands of fields owned by white men may remain untilled, thousands of hearths owned by white men may be made desolate, all as the direct result of the ill-treatment of the colored race.
Such a spirit is not treasonable in the usual sense of that term, yet its results are the same as those of treason itself. It becomes therefore, in a military point of view of the highest importance that all wanton acts of aggression by soldiers or civilians, whether against refugees or against free negroes heretofore settled in the North, should be promptly and resolutely repressed and the penalties of the law in every such case vigorously enforced. A prudent regard for our own safety and welfare, if no higher motive prompt, demands the taking of such precaution.
We have imposed upon ourselves an additional obligation to see justice and humanity exercised toward these people in accepting their services as soldiers. It would be a degree of baseness of which we hope our country is incapable to treat with contumely the defenders of the Union-the men who shall have confronted death on the battle-field side by side with the bravest of our own race, in struggle in which the stake is the existence in peace and in their integrity of these United States.
We are unjust to our enemies if we deny that this struggle has been a hardbought one, contested bravely and with varying success. A people with an element of semi-barbarism in their society giving birth to habitats of violence and of lawless daring, are, in some respects, better prepared for war than one which stands on a higher plane of Christian civilization. Add to this that our task is the more arduous because to quell the rebellion we have had to become the invaders. Under these circumstances can we overlook the fact that several hundred thousand able-bodied, men detached from the labor ranks of the enemy and incorporated into the Army of the North, may essentially influence the decision of the issue?
a Mr. McCullum, principal of the high school, Hamilton, Canada, said: "Colored people brought up among whites look better than others. Their rougher, harsher features disappear. I think that colored children brought up among white people look better than their parents."