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Elizabeth Comstock to John P. St. John

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Portland, Me, 6.16.1881
Gov r St John
My dear Friend
My visit to Pres t Garfield accompanied by a dignified delegation of New York Friends has been satisfactory. I laid before him 4 points to which we thought it important to secure his attention & claim his interest & influence.
The importance of protecting the colored people at home, in the South.
The plan of a national organization in some older state than Kas. as a relief assn & distribution point.
A tract of land for them some where, & aid to make a fair start in the world.
The re-enactment of a law for the admission, duty free, of supplies from England, Canada &c (of donations).
Pres t Garfield gave me half an hour of his valuable time, asked many questions

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manifested lively interest in the refugees and in our noble Gov r of Kansas, who is so true a friend to the oppressed. He has promised to do all in his power to bring about my wishes & facilitate my plans for their elevation.
Our Friends in New York & New England are entering with lively interest into our own efforts for their elevation. They encourage the ?Agricultural & training Inst? near Columbus, & think with thee that it is better to teach them to be self sustaining than to pauperise them by feeding & clothing them in idleness, & that all props should be knocked from under them during the summer season.
I was very thankful upon receiving thy letter of the 16 Ult to find that all was working so well in Topeka & that the dissolution of the K.F.R.A. had resulted in so much good. I wish the colored people in Sou. Kas. could feel the same. By the little circular I sent thee, thou wilt see what a commotion they are making. They have fiercely attacked our

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excellent friends J. E. Pickering & son and the Agricultural & training Inst e? charging them with the ?misappropriation of funds? & various other charges without any foundation. I think we shall have to call upon thee to ?back us,? & to assure the grumblers & the public that we have not drawn a dollar of the funds from the Treasury of the K.F.R.A. for the Institute. Thou advised me to ?draw out the money & pack up the goods & go.? I did not feel any freedom to draw out the money, on the contrary, I called in all the bills that I knew of & paid them & hande into their treasurer's hands, $2221.11 (Two thousand two hundred & 21 11/100) after thou gave me that counsel. $500 of which I stipulated with the treasurer should be returned to me (as it was given for my Homestead fund) when the assignees of the K.F.R.A. had settled their business & sold their buildings. By our March report thou will see that a Bal was on hand in the Treasurer's hands $2936.36/100. I considered my connexion with the K.F.R.A. closed then, but remained a few days longer to pack up & say farewell.
I went to Columbus & placed in the hands of the com ee of Kas Y Meeting of Friends the bal of my ?Homestead fund? on hand, a few Hundred dollars, & $500 that had been sent to me with a special request to use it in a way that I thought would best promote the permanent welfare of the colored people. With this & such additions as have since been sent to me for the purpose we had tried to start the ?Agri & Ind l Inst e? & while the effort has met with thy approval, & warmly encouraged by our Eastern & English Friends, the colored people themselves have violently opposed. Many of these are the self same disturbers

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of the peace, who were so discontented in Topeka who told their people that ?The Gov t sent all those Bills & boxes for them & paid us large salaries to distribute them.? They clamorously claim them as a right, refused to go to places offered them to work, & said ?We've worked for white people long enough, we are going to work for ourselves now.? I fear you will have great trouble with this element, unless they are speedily put down. 150 left Topeka about the time, or soon after, we did. They went to Dan l Votaw, whose kind heart to been moved by their pitiful stories, & he has believed what they have said, taken their part, helped them to get up this circular, he continues to give them food & clothing this warm weather, as far as he can find the means.
I hear that he has recently distributed among these discontent people & others, a whole car load, of valuable clothing, bedding, & shoes that we had stored there against next winter. I believe he is a kind hearted honest man, easily imposed upon, & wanting in judgment & sanctified common sense.
I am inflicting upon thee a long letter, but I thought it was right thou shouldst know these facts & also that those valuable buildings in No. Topeka have been sold for only $1200. Twelve Hundred!! H. N. Rust has gone to California before he went he sent me his [ok] $306.80 for freight- storage &c Bills are coming in from other agents for same. I am paying them all as fast as I can. With kind love to thyself & wife

Thy sincere friend

Eliz th Comstock.
c/o Mr. F. H. Rous, Belleville, Canada West for 2 weeks.

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