Edward McPherson (ed.), A Handbook of Politics for 1868 (Washington, DC: Philp and Solomons, 1868), 36-38.
Department of South Carolina
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
HEADQ'RS DEP'T of SOUTH CAROLINA,
January 17, 1866.
I. To the end that civil rights and immunities may be enjoyed; that kindly relations among the inhabitants of the State may be established; that the rights and duties of the employer and the free laborer respectively may be defined; that the soil may be cultivated and the system of free labor undertaken; that the owners of estates may be secure in the possession of their lands and tenements; that persons able and willing to work may have employment; that idleness and vagrancy may be discountenanced, and encouragement given to industry and thrift; and that humane provision may be made for the aged, infirm and destitute, the following regulations are established for the government of all concerned in this department.
II. All laws shall be applicable alike to all the inhabitants. No person shall be held incompetent to sue, make complaint, or to testify, because of color or caste.
III. All the employments of husbandry or the useful arts, and all lawful trades or callings, may be followed by all persons, irrespective of color or caste; nor shall any freedman be obliged to pay any tax or any fee for a license, nor be amenable to any municipal or parish ordinance, not imposed upon all other persons.
IV. The lawful industry of all persons who live under the protection of the United States, and owe obedience to its laws, being useful to the individual, and essential to the welfare of society, no person will be restrained from seeking employment when not bound by voluntary agreement, nor hindered from traveling from place to place, on lawful business. All combinations or agreements which are intended to hinder, or may so operate as to binder, in any way, the employment of labor—or to limit compensation for labor — or to compel labor to be involuntarily performed in certain places or for certain persons; as well as all combinations or agreements to prevent the sale or hire of lands or tenements, are declared to be misdemeanors; and any person or persons convicted thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding $500, or by imprisonment, not to exceed six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
V. Agreements for labor or personal service of any kind, or for the use and occupation of lands and tenements, or for any other lawful purpose, between freedmen and other persons, when fairly made, will be immediately enforced against either party violating the same.
VI. Freed persons, unable to labor, by reason of age or infirmity, and orphan children of tender years, shall have allotted to them by owners suitable quarters on the premises where they have been heretofore domiciled as slaves, until adequate provision, a proved by the general commanding, be made for them by the State or local authorities, or otherwise; and they shall not be removed from the premises, unless for disorderly behavior, misdemeanor, or other offence committed by the head of a family or a member thereof.
VII. Able-bodied freedmen, when they leave the premises in which they may be domiciled, shall take with them and provide for such of their relatives as by the laws of South Carolina all citizens are obliged to maintain.
VIII. When a freed person, domiciled on a plantation, refuses to work there, after having been offered employment by the owner or lessee, on fair terms, approved by the agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, such freedman or woman shall remove from the premises within ten days after such offer and due notice to remove by the owner or occupant.
IX. When able—bodied freed persons are domiciled on premises where they have been heretofore held as slaves, and are not employed thereon or elsewhere, they shall be perniitted to remain, on showing to the satisfaction of the commanding officer of the post that they have made diligent and proper efforts to obtain employment.
X. Freed persons occupying premises without the authority of the United States, or the permission of the owner, and who have not been heretofore held there as slaves, may be removed by the commanding officer of the post, on the complaint of the owner, and proof of the refusal of said freed persons to remove after ten days' notice.
XI. Any person employed or domiciled on a plantation or elsewhere, who may be rightfully dismissed by the terms of agreement, or expelled for misbehavior, shall leave the premises, and shall not return without the consent of the owner or tenant thereof.
XII. Commanding officers of districts will establish within their commands respectively suitable regulations for hiring out to labor, for a period not to exceed one year, all vagrants who cannot be advantageously employed on roads, fortifications and other public works. The proceeds of such labor shall be paid over to the assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to provide for aged and infirm refugees, indigent freed people and orphan children.
XIII. The vagrant laws of the State of South Carolina, applicable to free white persons, will be recognized as the only vagrant laws applicable to the freedmen; nevertheless, such laws shall not be considered applicable to persons who are without employment, if they shall prove that they have been unable to obtain employment, after diligent efforts to do so.
XIV. It shall be the duty of officers commanding posts to see that issues of rations to freedmen are confined to destitute persons who are unable to work because of infirmities arising from old age or chronic diseases, orphan children too young to work, and refugee freedmen returning to their homes with the sanction of the proper authorities; and in ordering their issues, commanding oflicers will be careful not to encourage idleness or vagrancy. District commanders will make consolidated reports of these issues tri-monthly.
XV. The proper authorities of the State in the several municipalities and districts shall proceed to make suitable provision for their poor, without distinction of color; in default of which the general commanding will levy an equitable tax on persons and property sufiicient for the support of the poor.
XVI. The constitutional rights of all loyal and well-disposed inhabitants to bear arms will not be infringed; nevertheless this shall not be construed to sanction the unlawful practice of carrying concealed weapons, nor to authorize any person to enter with arms on the premises of another against his consent. No one shall bear arms who has borne arms against the United States, unless he shall have taken the amnesty oath prescribed in the proclamation of the President of the United States, dated May 20, 1865, or the oath of allegiance, prescribed in the proclamation of the President, dated December 8, 1863, within the time prescribed therein. And no disorderly person, vagrant, or disturber of the eace, shall be allowed to bear arms.
XVII. To secure the same equal justice and personal liberty to the freedmen as to other inhabitants, no penalties or punishments different from those to which all persons are amenable shall be imposed on freed people; and all crimes and offences which are prohibited under ex1sting laws shall be understood as prohibited in the case of freedmen; and if committed by a freedman, shall, upon conviction, be punished in the same manner as if committed by a white man.
XVIII. Corporeal punishment shall not be inflicted upon any person other than a minor, and then only by the parent, guardian, teacher, or one to whom said minor is lawfully bound by indenture of apprenticeship.
XIX. Persons whose conduct tends to a breach of the peace may be required. to give security for their good behavior, and in default thereof shall be held in custody.
XX. All injuries to the person or property committed by or upon freed persons shall be punished in the manner provided by the laws of South Carolina for like injuries to the persons or property of citizens thereof. If no provision be made by the laws of the State, then the punishment for such offences shall be according to the course of common law; and in the case of any injury to the person or roperty, not prohibited by the common law, or or which the punishment shall not be appropriate, such sentence shall be imposed as, in the discretion of the court before which the trial is had, shall be deemed proper, subject to the approval of the general commanding.
XXI. All arrests for whatever cause will be reported tri-monthly, with the proceedings thereupon, through the prescribed channel, to the general commanding.
XXII. Commanding officers of districts, subdistricts, and posts, within their commands respectively, in the absence of the duly-appointed agent, will perform any duty appertaining to the ordinary agents of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, carefully observing for their guidance all orders published by the commissioner or assistant commissioner, or other competent authority.
XXIII. District commanders will enforce these regulations by suitable instructions to sub-district and post commanders, taking care that justice be done, that fair dealing between man and man be observed, and that no unnecessary hardship, and no cruel or unusual punishments be imposed uppon any one.
By command of D. E. SICKLES, Major General.
Official: W. L. M. BURGER, Assistant Adjutant General.