INDUSTRIAL REORGANIZATION IN ALABAMA 487
other employers. They declared it to be the duty of the whites to act in perfect good faith in their relations with freedmen, to respect and uphold their rights, and to promote good feeling. 80
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SHARE SYSTEM
At first the planters had demanded a system of contracts, thinking that by law they might hold the negro to their terms. But the bureau contracts were one-sided, and the planters could not afford to enter into them. General Swayne early reported 31 a general breakdown of the contract system, though he told the planters that in case of dispute, where no contract was signed, he would exact payment for the negro at the highest rates. The " share " system was discouraged, but where there were no bureau agents it was developing. And so bad was the wage system that even in the bureau districts share-hiring was done. The object of share-renting was to cause the laborer to take an interest in his crop and to relieve the planter of disputes about lost time, etc. Some of the negroes also decided that the share system was the proper one. On a plantation near Selma the negroes demanded shares, threatening to leave in case of refusal. General Hardee, who was living near, proposed a plan for a verbal contract : wages should be one- fourth of all crops ; meat and bread to be furnished to the laborer and his share of the crop to be paid to him in kind, or the net proceeds in cash; the planter to furnish land, teams, wagons, implements, and seed to the laborer, who, in addition, had all the slavery privileges of free wood, water and pasturage, garden lot and " truck patch," teams to use on Sundays and for going to town. The absolute right of management was reserved to the planter. It was understood that this was no copartnership, but that the negro was hired for a share of the crop; consequently he had no right to interfere in the manage- ment.
On another plantation, where a share system similar to Hardee's was in operation, the planter divided the workers into squads of four men each. To each squat! he assigned one hundred acres of cotton and corn, in the proportion of five acres of cotton
"DeBow's Review, February, 1868. "January 31, 1866.