War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0533 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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materially diminished for the next twelve months, is of the opinion that its present organization may well be continued by Congress.


By an act of the last session of Congress a new bureau in the War Department was created, called the Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands. Its object was to supply the immediate necessities of those whose condition was changed by hostilities and were either escaping or escaped from slavery to obtain freedom, or were driven from their homes by the pressure of war of the despotism of the rebellion. Its aid was designed for the needy of both races,k white and black, and to administer as well aid from the Government and from charitable individuals and associations. No appropriation was made to carry this act into effect, but the condition of the people in the insurgent States required prompt relief. The act of Congress authorized the assignment of military officers to duty in the Bureau, and under this provision it was organized. Major-General Howard was assigned to duty as commissioner. Other officers selected by him were assigned for agents and assistants, and an organized system of relief has gone into operation. The report of the commissioner, which has not yet been furnished to the Department, will show the operation of the Freedmen's Bureau during a period of several months and afford some means to judge what regulations are required. It is plain that some such organization is wanted in the insurgent States to relieve promptly great and pressing need arising from the war, and social disorganization is wanted in the insurgent States to relieve promptly great and pressing need arising from the war, and social disorganization resulting from the war. Proper provision for the colored population, whose condition has been changed by direct act of the Federal Government to serve its own purposes in the conflict, is a solemn duty. More or less resistance to the performance of this duty is to be expected while any rebellious or hostile spirit remains, but the obligation to perform it cannot be evaded or thrust aside with national honor or safety. A numerous class of white persons who, without fault in themselves, are suffering want occasioned by the ravages of war have also just claim for relief. But while discharging these obligations to needy destitute white persons and the freed colored people the utmost care must be observed to guard against establishing a national system of pauperism that might foster a horde of idle official or dishonest agents, and engender vice, sloth, and improvidence among a large class of persons. To avoid this evil and insure strict supervision it is urgently recommended, first, that all appropriations of money for the Freedman's Bureau by made in specific terms distinct from any other purpose; second, that the number of agents and employes and their compensation be fixed by law; third, that the duties and powers of the Bureau in respect to persons and property be defined by law.

Be the heads of the rertment and their staffs the Government has been served with a zeal and fidelity not surpassed by their brethren in the field. To them the honors and distinction of an admiring public have not been opened, but in their respective vocations they have toiled with a devotion, ability, and success for which they are entitled to national gratitude.

Besides the signal vouchsafed to our arms, other causes contributed to overthrow the rebellion. Among the chief of these may be reckoned:

1. The steadfast adherence of the President to the measure of eman-