Your letter of the 25th is at hand. Its suggestions are very valuable and will receive immediate attention. I shall send a copy of it to Governor Johnson for his information.
As I intimated to you in Boston, the difficulties of raising colored regiments are not material but political, and will now fully explain my meaning.
I went to Buffalo in February last; the public mind was unprepared for the work, and we had no success until it was shaped and led to a full expression in favor of it. Then our success was marked.
For this vast work we want funds. This is the centre from which operations can be carried on in all directions, and, unless removed, of which I have no fear, I shall probably winter here and urge on the work. All government interference with the slave, except to put him in the army, demoralizes him. It is so here and everywhere. We must urge the government to enlist as many as they can, and let the rest alone. To remove them from their homes is the worst policy. I am taking the able men, and leaving the old men, women and children. The latter will be wanted for labor, and will be well treated, because they will run off if they are badly treated. Next spring there will be a demand for labor on the farms and they will be paid, because others will hire and pay them if the owners do not pay them.
SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 311-2