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Proceedings and Debates of the 1867 Constitutional Convention
Volume 74, Volume 1, Debates 159   View pdf image (33K)
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He contended that the law was wrong—that the negro
had a natural right to testify. He was born and reared
among negroes, and he was the friend of the negro, and
was not to be deterred from asserting his rights by the
cry that the lash was held in terrorem over them by the
men of Washington.
As to the policy of allowing the negro to testify, why
should he not ? The thing is preposterous. In the city of
Baltimore, nearly every wholesale house has a negro por-
ter or drayman to deliver packages, and because his testi-
mony was inadmissible it caused great inconvenience. He
was for the article as originally reported; was surprised
at his friend from Somerset (Mr. Jones) wishing to re-
mit this matter to the Legislature. It belonged to the
Bill of Rights, and he should vote for its retention there.
You admit the Chinese and the Hindoo to testify; why
should the negro be excluded? Had he not as much in-
telligence as they? You allowed every one to testify who
believed in the existence of God and of a future state of
rewards and punishments but the negro. Speaking for
the city of Baltimore, which he had the honor in part to
represent, he would say that he was satisfied, after a
freest interchange of views, that the majority of the best
men there were in favor of this principle.
Mr. Stoddert read an argument giving his views.
Mr. Brewer, of Baltimore city, said his objections to
this thing were that the Bill of Rights was not the place
for it, and it indicated the idea in our people of submis-
sion for the sake of expediency. The negro was declared
competent to testify now by the civil rights bill, and he
could afford to wait for legislation. He was opposed to
this spirit of compromising. All history proved that
though compromise might ensure temporary triumph, it
always resulted in ignominous defeat.
When he looked around him now and saw the men of
this Convention, he asked himself if they could be the
descendants of the glorious old Maryland Line. It re-
pented him that he had advocated the calling of this
Constitutional Convention; it repented him that men
should come here who would, for the sake of expediency,
so act as to disgrace the State of Maryland.

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1867 Constitutional Convention
Volume 74, Volume 1, Debates 159   View pdf image (33K)
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