4 BUREAU OF FREEDMEx's AFFAIRS.
such as mav be deemed proper for the judicious treatment and disposition of
such freedmen, and with power to assign lauds, &c. An institution like this,
which assumes the functions of the judiciary over a large portion of the popu¬
lation, and combines with it the domestic management of the master over the
personal and household matters of the freedman, cannot, be carried out without
spreading a net-work of officials over all the conquered States, as numerous as
the slave masters whom this system supersedes.
Could this at once be made a self-sustaining system, to be supported by the
labor which it control.- and directs, and for whose benefit it is intended to act,
there might be a semblance of propriety and justice in its proposed inauguration.
But if it is to be converted into a grand almshouse department, whereby the
labor and property of the white population of the country is to be taxed to
support the pauper labor of the freedmen and mendicant officials of the coun¬
try, its operations cannot, be too closely scrutinized.
The government have as yet been rather unfortunate in their efforts in behalf
of the freed slaves, and it, seems to your committee to be very desirable that
legislation upon this subject, if it can be done leg illy, should be confined to the
absolute existing wants of the country. After the transition state through which
we are now passing shall have ended, and the character and position of this
class of our population shall have become better defined, the rights of the gov¬
ernment to the title of the confiscated property determined by competent au¬
thority, it will be time enough to initiate a system adapted to their wants and
capacities, and calculated for their protection and humane treatment.
ANTHONY L. KNAPP,
Minority of Select Committee on Emancipation.
Washington, January 18, 1S64.