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Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report
			
2                             REPORT OF

other reports of that body, and is now sent forth in its present form to
the patrons of our Society, to the friends of the freedmen, and all others
into whose hands it may come, as containing matter of interest relative to
an extended field of humane and Christian labor.

                               REPORT.
   In pursuance with the resolution of the Convention at Indianapolis,
the following report is submitted in behalf of the Western Freedmen's
Aid Commission to the Convention:
   In this statement I may, following the example of other delegates,
refer to the formation and early history of our Association.
   THE WESTERN FREEDMEN'S AID COMMISSION was organized in Cincin-
nati, Ohio, in January, 1863, by a number of Christian gentlemen--
several of them well-known ministers of the Gospel of various denom-
inations in that city-who withdrew from the Contrabands' Relief Com-
mission under circumstances and for reasons alluded to by the delegate of
that Society--Mr. Graham--the chief of which, as he has stated, was a
difference of opinion as to the course that should be pursued in applying
the means of which that Society became the almoner.  In regard to
the policy to be pursued the Board of Directors were about equally
divided, and, the difference being radical, it was evident that their action
could not be harmonious.  Those who withdrew immediately organized
the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, with this declaration, indicative
of the views they entertained, and illustrative of the spirit by which they
were actuated:
   "The new Society proposes, first of all, to supply the physical wants
of the freedmen-to give food to the hungry, garments to the naked, and
medicines to the sick. But this is a temporary work. These thousands
must not be left long in the condition of ignorant paupers, for this would
defeat the whole scheme of emancipation. They must be instructed, guided,
elevated, and prepared for the position and duties of Christian freemen,
and for this purpose school books, Bibles, Testaments, and teachers must
be provided. These increasing thousands can not long remain in a home-
less condition, herded like cattle around our military posts.  Efforts must,
therefore, be made to locate them upon Southern soil, and organize them
into communities, that they may receive the institutions of Christian
civilization, in order that they may support themselves, and even add
to the general wealth."
    In thus entering upon the work, it was accepted in its two-fold char-
acter of patriotic aid to the Government in a rightful effort to vindicate
its authority, and of Christian benevolence toward those whose bondage
was the chief cause of the rebellion, and whose emancipation promised to
be one of the glorious results of the war.
    With a Board of Directors in which many of the largest religious
denominations were represented by prominent ministers or active lay-
men, and governed in its operations by the foregoing principles, the
 Commission soon received the sympathy of the Christian public, before
 which Providence was opening one of the most interesting and extended
fields that ever invited humane and benevolent effort.
               Collecting Agents and Collections.
    Levi Coffin, our General Agent, gave some time to collecting funds and
 supplies for our Commission after its organization, operating principally
 among the Friends.  He is now in England, where, according to reports
 in leading journals, he meets with a cordial reception, and is likely to
 obtain liberal aid. In the Summer of 1863 we employed Rev. H. W. Cobb,




			
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Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report


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