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The Negro as a Freeman.

The condition of the "contrabands," wherever they have been collected during the war, appears to be the same — and sad enough it is. A correspondent of the Indianapolis State Journal, the leading republican paper of Indiana writing from Cairo, gives this account of the negroes, or menagerie, as he says, there collected:

While waiting this morning for a boat, I concluded to go to the menagerie — a real show; the animals of which are partly caged and partly lying around loose in and about the old barracks over on the Mississippi. Such a sight! Old men and older women, heads as white as wool and more kinky; babies from a week old all the way up till too big to be babies, all half clad and distressingly dirty — it is the elephant we got in the raffle, and now what to do with it is the question. More than two thousand of these wretched beings have been sent here by military authority to prevent starvation. They are "captives of war," most of them having been abandoned by their former masters, in and about Corinth, Iuka and Bolivar. Some are from Curtis' operation. They have fallen into our hands in spite of our military policy to preserve the status of slavery, and their number is daily increasing. There is a great demand in this state for men to gather the corn and cut the winter weeds; so great that northern Illinois complains that the farmers in Southern Illinois gobble up all the best hands as fast as they come. Men are here every day for hands.

Wishing to get into the notions of the darkies, I passed among them as an Illinois farmer, my army hat answering a capital purpose in the game. I proposed to hire a man. "Dun no, sah! Whar you want me to go? What you gim'ee?" Going up to the dirtiest woman I saw, I proposed to her. "Can't go, sah; I's got four babies!" "Well, I'll take your babies." "But I's got a husband." "Well, I'll take your husband too." "But dar's ole granny; I can't leave her." "Why can't you go too, granny?" "O, master, I's in hopes some day it will please the good Lord to give me back to old master." I tried a dozen or more, and found underlying the hopes of most of them was an ultimate return to their native land. The one refrain was —

"Oh! carry me back."

Their local attachment is unconquerable, and they seem utterly unreconciled to separating the families. An over-sanguine friend of mine, a physician, spoke to me to procure a suitable boy for him, who, after serving a reasonable time as a hostler, could be put to the science of physicking. I concluded to get the boy here; but you ought to have seen the white of their eyes and their ivory when I suggested studying to be a doctor. The bursting of a bombshell would hardly have produced greater consternation. The facts here and the facts everywhere bid us to look the question fairly in the face. Until the time comes when these can return to their homes in peace and freedom they must be managed here, and to do this some system of apprenticeship must be adopted. These creatures have neither the intelligence nor the integrity necessary to contracting wisely for their own labor. One man asked $15 per month the year round, another $20, another $5.

And yet philanthropists (so called) desire to turn free, and thus to deprive them of their natural protection and shelter, four millions of just such beings — bringing desolation upon both whites and blacks.