There have been deposited in this bank since its establishment sums amounting in the aggregate to about $65,000 by depositors. The establishment of the bank was announced in Circular Numbers 5, appended herewith.*
In consequence of authentic reports that speculators were buying cotton of the negroes in advance of the harvest, at prices much below the probable value of the crop, I issued August 30, 1864, Circular Numbers 6, declaring such contracts as not binding on the people and giving them a lieu upon the crops upon which they had labored. I was ordered that no cotton should be shipped from the department until satisfactory evidence had been given that all just claims for labor had been settled and a permit thereupon issued from these headquarters. Purchasers of cotton from the negroes were required to obtain a certificate from the superintendent that the sale was fairly made, and with a due regard to the probable market value of the cotton. Violations of these regulations subjected the offenders to the penalties prescribed in Circular Numbers 6, appended.*
It is my wish in this report to call your attention to the economical results of the year, in connection with a general resume of the operations of the department, and to a brief review of my administration.
The summary of my instructions from the War Department was as follows:
It is expected that by encouraging industry, skill in the cultivation of the necessaries of life, and general self- improvement you will, so far as possible, promote the real well- being of the people under your supervision.
My constant endeavor has been to fulfill to the people of my charge the beneficent intentions of the Government as therein expressed. I have endeavored to act upon the principle that justice is, in all human relations, the truest expediency and wisest policy.
To enable me to carry out the views of the Government I was directed to take possession of the lands, and, subsequently, all other property abandoned by the rebels; to take charge of the people therein and who should afterward come into the department. I was authorized to make all requisite regulations for the cultivation of the land, and for the employment, protection, and government of the people; to exercise all necessary sanitary and police powers; to act upon the decision of courts-martial called for the trial of persons not in the military service, and, in respect to these last, to have the general control of the action of provost-marshals.
So far as my special duties and the persons and purposes specified in my commission were concerned, I was declared to be independent of the military authority, and in all other cases subordinate only to the major-general commanding the department.
The major-general commanding was instructed to give me all the military aid and protection necessary to enable me to carry out the views of the Government, whose object I believed it was to test here, under the protection of the military power, the problem of the industrial, intellectual, and moral capacities and aptitudes of the negro, by furnishing them with the opportunity and the means of developing whatever of the common attributes of human nature they possess.
The industrial branch of the problem has been most satisfactorily solved. The first measure, as it was first in the order of my duties, was to establish regulations for the cultivation of the lands.
The Port Royal and adjacent islands were arranged in three divisions, and a general superintendent appointed over each division.