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  --  NEWS FROM RICHMOND   Table of Contents     CHAPTER XXIX.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany



PRIOR to the reception of that order, Major Delany was in that state of painful inactivity, to which an officer is said to be a prey while awaiting instructions, in consequence of the absence of General Saxton. On the return of the general, in August, he was informed, to his astonishment, of the ridiculous part which some mischievous persons had taken in the St. Helena rumor, which surprised him more than the story itself, he said.

On Monday, the 7th of August, he received the desired instructions, which, for the time, definitely settled the position and duties assigned, of which the following is a copy--

Headquarters Asst. Comr. Bureau Refugees
Freedman, and Abandoned Lands, S.C., Geo., and Fl.,
Beaufort, S.C. , July 26, 1865

Special Order No.3.

Major M.R.Delany 104th United States Colored Troops is hereby detailed for duty in connection with the affairs of freemen, on Hilton Head Islands, South Carolina, and will proceed thither at once.


The quartermaster's department will furnish the necessary transportation, and Major Delany will make a request upon the post quartermaster at Hilton Head, South Carolina, for quarters

By order of Brevet Major General R. Saxton

Assistant Commissioner

Stuart M. Taylor Asst. Adjt. Gen

Major M.R. Delany , 10th U.S.C.T.

Major Delany, armed with this authority, immediately set out for Edition Head: there he found Josiah W. Pillsbury, Esp., the brother of the honored Parker Pillsbury, of the Anti-Slavery Society, on the duty as superintendent of freemen's affairs, under the old society's auspices, occupying a small, uncomfortable room, entirely unsuited to the office held by him, the people being compelled to wait without for want of space I within, and attended from the only window in front. The government in this, he said, "was probably doing as much as could be expected for anything outside of its immediate control."

His usual way to prepare or perfect himself in any new undertaking, is to study attentively everything relating to his subject; for this reason, while waiting for quarters suitable for the bureau's purpose, he attended daily the office of the freemen.

Before assuming the duties of his office, he immediately went about correcting many errors, suggesting and advising, as well as directing other and better measure For a class so recently emancipated, the greater portion had many things to learn, as well as their operate; and in many respects, like them, there was a great deal to unlearn. Major Delany says, "The great

social system was to them a novelty, and without proper guidance would have been a curse instead of a blessing. Unaccustomed to self-reliance by the barbarism of the system under which they had lived, liberty was destined to lead them into errors. To prevent this the bureau was established."

He made the genius, habits, and peculiarities of the people he was over his constant study, which, together with his unbounded populist with them, eminently fitted him for the position. Having a head and heart well adapted to mete out guidance for the unlearned, and protection and sympathy for the poor, the work under his management prospered to the great gratification of its friends. He says in regard to this--

"If a surgeon be called to attend the maimed or crippled, his object first should be, if possible, to cure: when all remedies fail, as the last resort, amputation as a treatment may then be resorted to. A physician, who would act otherwise than that, would be called by the profession a ' quack' or 'botch.' As in the medical, so should it be in trinity, legal, or civil jurisprudence. The object of appointment by government is to have its ends subserved and objects accomplished. Thus was the bureau established for protectional purposes."

In trade and all kinds of dealings among the freemen, the weakest points were sought out and advantages taken by that means. He then sought out the advantages taken by that means. He then sought to defend them against these frauds and other impositions practised upon them by persons using the magic word to them of "Yankee;" or else, "friend of your people," and, "I know no difference between black and white,"

&&;c. From these men his course received much disapprobation, if not actual opposition. As this impeded the progress of the work, he determined to accomplish by strategy that which could not be done by direct attack. Through the generous courtesy of the editor of the New South, the "official organ" at EDITION Head, he succeeded. He communicated a series of articles, seven in number, on domestic and political economy, conductive to the industry and labor of the South. Some of them are here reproduced, to show his earnest endeavors to facilitate the work of reorganization in the department assigned him, as well as the fitness of the officer for the appointment


  --  NEWS FROM RICHMOND   Table of Contents     I.