Another Commissioner

January 1, 1866


The Dispatch criticizes the North for sending commissioners down to Virginia and The Dispatch asserts that the South does not need the North's "care" and that southerners love and respect African Americans.


It appears from late Northern journals that on Christmas day we had the honor of a visit from another Washington Commissioner, who, according to the New York Herald, came "to look after the reconstructed in Virginia." This latest overseer of the Southern plantations was, we suppose, self-appointed. He is a senator from the Pacific Coast-from the State of Oregon-his name is Williams, and is said by the veritable correspondent of the New York Herald to be "6 feet high," "with ample forehead" and "penetrating eye." We believe in the penetrating eyes, for he saw a great many things, according to the same correspondent, which nobody else has seen. Mr. Williams, it appears, is on the Senate Committee on Reconstruction, and, being a very conscientious man, she made the voyage to this place to see for himself how we were and what we were, that he might sit upon the inquest over us advisedly : very laudable motive, indeed: it is a pity that, with such creditable intentions, he could not have remained longer; but having unusual powers of observation and a " penetrating eye," he saw in 20 _ four hours enough, and went away- the Herald writer says back to Washington: though the Tribune letter says he intends to travel down the coast to the Gulf and up the Mississippi to Cairo and thence to the starting point_ Washington. Said reporter thinks it will take the Oregonian nearly 30 days to do the rebel states. We suspect, however, that affairs in Washington having assumed new and interesting features, Our dear friend, who has evinced so much concerned about us, Has had to hurry back and forgo his trip. It should be a matter of profound gratification and gratitude to these Southern states that they have become the objects of interest to such distinguished personages. We have had, among others, to remarkable men from opposite sides of the globe" us. The six _footer from Columbia river and the Carl Schurz rom the Rhine- they mad be said to be antipodes. Now, to receive the visits of such great people is something worth talking about! We cannot too much admired the great general Schurz , who proves so devout a patriot in his adopted country, and talks so, like a native, of "our country" and "our Constitution and laws," and looks so distrustful he upon the late rebels. Is so pure man_ so good a Christian_ so heroic General: one of our greatest offenses is that of provoking the ire of so great, So good in man_News so well how to behave himself in his own land, and learned so rapidly how to demean himself in this that he is already a better American than any of us. If we are overcome with alternating feelings of pride and shame at the attentions and sensors of this elevated and pure gentlemen, what shall we say of the influence upon us of our dear friend from Oregon, six foot high, with the penetrating eye? He comes the representative of the refinement and learning of the the state of Oregon, to "look after" us poor barbarians here in Virginia. What wonder if he does, according to Herald, find us rough and obdurate, sullen and intractable,, and does perceive, on the other hand, gentleness, sweetness and increasing intelligence, in the black race! It is an honor to be criticized by a gentleman of his refined taste we shall never be done with admiring his amazing condescension. We wonder how many commissioners are to be sent to spy out the wickedness of the South? How long in the system of misrepresentation and falsehood is to be kept up for the purpose of promoting party advantages at the North? How long are the people of the North dust to be misled_ to be in this way strengthened in their prejudices, and as rapidly as possible imbued with the new ones, that they may reelect men and now in office, and continue the power in the hands which now hold it? Every sort of creature has been employed in this cold and deliberate system of fraud and inquisition_from the most cunning and unscrupulous political trickster to the most errand and unmitigated blackguard. But the general grant appeared amongst these agents of atrocity and outrage, the truth would have hardly found a willing year. We should have then hopelessly maligned. But his appearance, sustaining the views of the president by his facts, has had the same effect on the traducers as that of the sudden entry of the lion in the midst of an assemblage of hyenas and jackals. The people of the South have the profoundest contempt for the whole race, from Schurz to the most wretchedest the correspondence of the New York journals. They know that justice will triumph. They know that the North must find that that is no restoration of the union in which a constant war is kept up against them. With this conviction, they are quiet under insult and misrepresentation. As they can do nothing, they leave the matter to the people of the Northern states. Let them see it. Upon their course depend the future relations of the two sections.
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Justin Barlow


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“Another Commissioner,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 28, 2023,