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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 353   View pdf image
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and because familiarity with their condition and
their burdens, led them so to think, when, in
fact, it was not so; that is, precisely because their
opinion was erroneous, that the case illustrated
the truth of what he had urged. Certainly that
gentleman, and every one who knew him, must
know, that in his opinion, no people on the wide
surface of the habitable globe, had so much cause
of thankfulness for the measure of civil, political
and religious freedom, as the American people ;
yet he re-asserted the same fact—the English
people do think themselves the most happy and
most free. The imigration into this country, is
said to prove that they feel their rulers and mea-
sures to be tyrannical and oppressive, and for this
cause leave the country. He differed with that
gentleman. It was very true many of those who
came to our country, expressed this opinion, af-
ter they were here, and had some experience of
our greater political privileges, and our greater
abundance in all the necessaries and comforts of
life. But these were nut fair exponants of the
general sentiment of their countrymen, any more
than a class—and not a very small one—in our
own country, who are ever dissatisfied with the
existing government, and anxiously and vehemently
urging changes. Emigration ever did,
and ever will follow an excess of population.
Whenever the inhabitants of one country be-
come so numerous that the production is insuffi-
cient to sustain them, labor must of necessity be-
come cheap, while food becomes scare and dear,
and they will migrate to another country to
find better wages and better food, as certainly as
water will seek a level. We were receiving
emigrants from all other quarters of populous
Europe, as well as from England, and must expect
to do so while land and its products were abun-
dant, and labor in demand to an extent unknown
in Europe.
Our own people were continually migrating
to the new States and territories, in some in-
stances as rapidly as they were emigrating from
the old country into this. While, therefore, he ad-
mitted that our free institutions constituted one
element, in the aggregate of motives to immigra-
tion, it did not weaken at all the force of his po-
In relation to the matter of government stocks
he must enter his dissent to the views of the gen-
tleman from Frederick, and express his concur-
rence with those explained by his friend from
Anne Arundel, (Mr. Donaldson.) Contractors
for loans, like all other traders, will of course
make the best bargain they can.
The purchaser of stock looks to its security
and its productive value or dividend. If he can
get the stock of the State of Maryland, on as
good or better terms—reference being had to
these considerations—he will buy Maryland
stocks. If he can purchase the stock of other
States believed to be equally safe and equally
productive on better terms, he will purchase
There is nothing in the case of stocks to dis-
tinguish them from other articles of traffic. The
supply and demand will determine the price.
The error lies in treating the subject as if the

were no stocks in the market but Maryland State
stock, whereas the supply of other stocks is suf-
ficient to enable purchasers always to select. He
deprecated the abandonment of the system to
which we had now accommodated our prices of
land, labor and production, as well as our do-
mestic and social habits, until our emancipation
was complete. It would also advance our credit
in the event of a necessity to employ it hereafter.
He illustrated this view, by contrasting the pru-
dent, economical debtor, who anticipated the
day of payment, with the man of indulgence and
extravagance, who with much larger pecuniary
means, was always just in "at the last gasp," or
perhaps a little behind the stipulated time. He
regretted to hear a contrary opinion urged. It
was to be feared if we entered upon this easy
downward path of repealing taxes, we should be
in the condition of the passenger on the railroad,
who in going down the inclined plane cut loose
the fastenings, and was hurried with such rapid
impetus into the mire below, that he could neither
extricate himself nor be reached by his friends.
Mr. SPENCER said, the reference which had
been made to him by the gentleman from Kent,
(Mr Chambers,) and the gentleman from Anne
Arundel, (Mr. Donaldson.) made it necessary
for him to make a response It had been said
that at the December session of the Legislature
of eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, Governor
Grason had, with great firmness aid integrity
of character, in his annual message, recommended
the imposition of a direct tax to meet the exi-
gencies of the State, resulting from her internal
improvement works. But that the committee of
ways and means, of which he, (Mr.S.,) was
Chairman, had not recommended in their report
to the Legislature such a tax and had not sustained
the Governor. It was true that he had the
honor, at that important session of the Legisla-
ture, to be the Chairman of that committee, and
he was fully sensible, as he had occasion before
to say to this body, of the high and patriotic po-
sition then taken by Governor Grason and Mr.
McCubbin, then the treasurer of the State. As
the Chairman of the committee of ways and
means, he made every effort in his power to pro-
vide for a direct tax, but it was impossible. On
the ninth day of January, the Legislature having
been in session only ten days, and before any time
had been allowed for any action, by the commit-
tee of ways and means. General Ridgely, of An-
ne Arundel, a leading whig, and the year before,
the Speaker of the House, submitted a set of re-
solutions, repudiating the sentiments contained
in the message of Governor Grason, and decla-
ring that the Legislature do not concur in the
opinion of the Governor, that a direct tax is ne-
cessary, but on the contrary would hold such a
measure premature, unwise and burdensome to
the people of this State. [See page 52 of the
Journal of House of Delegates, session 1839.]
On the eleventh day of the same month, he,
(Mr S ,) being chairman of the committee of
ways and means, and with the approval of three
other members of that committee, submilled to
the Legislature a counter set of resolutions, approving
the course of the Governor, setting forth

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 353   View pdf image
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