good faith. These things fill them with doubt and apprehension. They know as yet very little of political mechanism or gradation of authority, and hence every white man is in their eyes the Government.
Their conceptions are too confused to enable them to distinguish clearly between official acts and the wanton outrages of individuals. I had no independent power to prevent or punish these violences and wrongs. The aid and protection in my operations which the commander of the department was instructed to afford were not always promptly or efficiently rendered.
In all matters relating to my special duties I was declared independent of the other military authorities. I was deeply sensible of the importance of maintaining harmonious relations with those authorities. I have never consciously invaded their functions. I have scrupulously endeavored to avoid exercising or claiming any power which was not clearly conferred by my instructions, or which would bring me into collision with other authorities; yet my operations have been interfered with in every step I have taken. My authority has been questioned by the department commanders, explanations of my official acts demanded, those acts annulled, and subordinate officers sustained and encouraged in preventing the execution of my orders.
These frequently occurring and harassing conflicts of jurisdiction, when harmony of councils and concert of action were vitally important, compelled me to ask very earnestly to be relieved from my special duties. Having experienced embarrassments in the past, I could not hope they would be lessened in the future by one less friendly to the work I had to do. I will not recapitulate the frequent occasions of disputed jurisdiction in which I have been most unwillingly involved with the other military authorities. I have sometimes yielded without controversy and sometimes reported and referred the question to the department to which I am responsible. I could scarcely carry out measures of importance with the confidence and vigor necessary to success when the first movement might be contested with questions of jurisdiction to be settled at every step. I was put upon my defense and required to prove before an authority to which I was not responsible that the official acts I contemplated were not usurpations. So far as these things affect me personally, I would be silent concerning them. I do not refer to them in a spirit of personal complaint, but only in their relation to the people whose interests were intrusted to my charge, and my own ability to fulfill the beneficent intentim. I was the organ of communicating to them the purposes of the Government as conveyed in your instructions good. Their frequent disappointments, though for causes over which I had no control, which, being political considerations, they had the faintest understanding of, weakened their confidence in me and impaired my influence and usefulness.
Amid all their griefs and disappointments they seem to have kept bright their faith in Mr. Lincoln. Their hope and confidence in him never wavers. They regard him as their great friend and deliverer, who, though often thwarted in his purposes of good by malign influences, will at last bring them to the promised land.
The experiment with the freedmen in this department is a success. The only use I wish to make of this catalogue of difficulties is as an illustration of the fact which forms the summary and substance of