[source: National Archives, Record Group 105, microfilm publication M821, reel 1 (Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Texas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869, Letters Sent, Volume 1), pages 20-21]
Bureau R F and A L
State of Texas
Galveston Oct 17th 1865.
I. All contracts with Freedmen for labor for the period of one Month and upwards must be conside [?] to writing, Approved by an Agent of this Bureau and one Copy deposited with him. in proper case he shall require security
II. For Plantation Labor
1. Such contracts will be made with Heads of families. they will embrace all the Members of the family who are able to work.
2. The employer will stipulate to provide Good and Sufficient Food, Quarters, fuel and Medical Attendance for the entire family with such further Compensation as shall be agreed upon.[page 21]
3. Such contracts will be a lien upon the Crop of which not more than one half will [be] removed untill [sic] all payments have been made, and untill [sic] the contract shall have been released by an Agent of this Bureau or Justice of the Peace in case it is impractable [sic] to procure the Services of Such Agents.
III. The usual remedies for Violation of Contract to the employer of forfeiture of Wages due and to the Freedman of damages Secured by lien or personal Security are assumed to be sufficient and all that practable [sic].
IV. But as Many persons have not learned the binding force of a contract and that "freedom" does not mean "living with labor", it is further ordered that when any employer under this Order shall make oath before a Justice of the Peace acting as Agent of this Bureau and having local jurisdiction that one of his employees has been absent from his employ for a longer period than one day without just cause, or for an aggregate term of more than 5 days in one Month the Authorities shall proceed against such person as a Vagrant.
V. Freedmen committed as Vagrants may be set to work on roads or at any other labor by the Authorities which provide their Support or they may be turned over to an Agent of this Bureau.
VI. No contract will be Approved which does not expire on or before the first day of January A.D. 1867.
(Copy of Rules for Contracts as a General guide respectfully furnished Lt Col J C De Gross Asst. Com B. R. F. and A. L. Houston, Texas.) [For more on DeGress, see William L Richter, Overreached on all side]
By Order of
Brig. Genl E. M. Gregory
Channon C Moore
Lt and A. A. A. Genl