without being allowed to communicate with the quartermaster or settle his accounts or provide for his family, was taken to Hilton Head and enrolled, although he had a certificate of exemption from the military service from a medical officer.
I protested against the order of the major-general commanding (General Foster) and sent him reports of these proceedings, but had no power to prevent them. The order has never to my knowledge been revoked.
It was generally believed that the commission with which I was intrusted was given with a view to a critical test experiment of the capabilities of the negro for freedom and self-support and self-improvement, to determine whether he is specifically distinct from and inferior to the white race, and normally a slave and dependent, or only inferior by accident of position and circumstances, still a man, and entitled to all the rights which our organic law has declared belongs to all men by the endowment of the Creator.
I believed myself charged with a mission of justice and atonement for wrongs and oppression the race had suffered under the sanction of the national law. I found the prejudice of color and race here in full force, and the general feeling of the army of occupation was unfriendly to the blacks. It was manifested in various forms of personal insult and abuse, in depredations on their plantations, stealing and destroying their crops and domestic animals, and robbing them of their money.
The women were held as the legitimate prey of lust, and as they had been taught it was a crime to resist a white man they had not learned to dare to defend their chastity.
Licentiousness was widespread; the morals of the old plantation life seemed revived in the army of occupation. Among our officers and soldiers there were many Honorable exception to this, but the influence of too many was demoralizing to the negro, and has greatly hindered the efforts for their improvement and elevation.
There was a general disposition among the soldiers and civilian speculators here to defraud the negroes in their private traffic, to take the commodities which they offered for sale by force, or to pay for them in worthless money. At one time these practices were so frequent and notorious that the negroes would not bring their produce to market for fear of being plundered. Other occurrences have tended to cool the enthusiasm joy with which the coming of the "Yankees" was welcomed.
Their disappointment at not getting the lands they had selected at the invitation and under the supposed guaranty of the Government, I have referred to. They had been promised land on conditions they were ready and offered to fulfi they could not understand the reasons of law and expediency why the promise was broken to the hope.
When they were invited to enlist as soldiers they were promised the same pay as other soldiers; they did receive it for a time, but at length it was reduced and they received but little more than one-half what was promised. The questions of the meaning and conflicts of statutes which justified this reduction could not be made intelligible to them. To them it was simply a breach of faith. It is first of all essential to the success of the efforts of the Government in their behalf that the negroes shall have entire confidence in its justice and