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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 425   View pdf image
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The question was stated to be on the amendment
of Mr. DAVIS.
Mr. D asked the yeas and nays,
Which were ordered.
Mr. EGE suggested to the gentleman from
Montgomery, [ Mr. Davis, ] so to modify the
phraseology of his amendment as to say " for
common school purposes." The term " educa-
tion " was very indefinite.
Mr. DAVIS declined to modify. The word
"education " comprehended, bethought, the object
he had in view.
Mr. EGE. The term "education" compre-
hends much more than I desire. I shall be con-
strained to vote against the amendment.
The question was then taken on the amend-
ment of Mr. DAVIS,
And the result was as follows :
Affirmative.— Messrs. Chapman, President,
Blakistone, Dent, Hopewell, Ricaud, Lee, Chambers,
of Kent, Donaldson, Dorsey, Wells, Ran-
dall, Sellman, Weems, Merrick, Jenifer, Ridge-
ly, James U. Dennis, Crisfield, Dashiell, Hicks,
Goldsborough, Constable, McLane, Bowie,
Sprigg, Bowling, Spencer, McMaster, Fooks,
Biser, Annan, Stephenson, Stewart, of Caroline,
Hardcastle, Schley, Fiery, John Newcomer,
Harbine, Davis, Kilgour, Weber, Slicer and
Negative.—Messrs. Buchanan, Bell, Lloyd,
Colston, Miller, Grason, George, Thomas, Gai-
ther, Sappington, McHenry, Thawley, Gwinn,
Stewart, of Baltimore city. Brent, of Baltimore,
Presstman, Ware, Neill, Michael Newcomer,
Hollyday, Parke, Ege, Cockey and Brown—24.
So the amendment was agreed to.
The question recurred on the adoption of the
amendment as amended.
Mr. PRESSTMAN deaired to enquire of the gen-
tleman from Montgomery, [Mr. Davis] whether
it was the object of his amendment to give to the
Legislature, without limit, the power to appro-
priate the public money for schools.
Mr. DAVIS said that the gentleman from Balti-
more city, [Mr. Presstman] was as capable of
interpreting the language of the amendment as
he, [Mr. D.,] was.
Mr. PRESSTMAN suggested that the gentleman
should answer affirmatively or negatively.
Mr. DAVIS said he had no hesitation in saying.
that he did wish the Legislature to appropriate a
sufficient sum for that purpose—sufficient to edu-
cate every child in the State of Maryland, with-
out a single exception.
Mr. PRESSTMAN. My object is answered. I
wish the Convention to understand that the ap-
propriation is to be without limit.
Mr. THOMAS moved a re-consideration of the
vote just taken. He regretted the necessity of
trespassing upon the time of the Convention, but
he felt it his duty to call the attention of gentle-
men to the fact that the mode of representation
in Maryland was not based upon the popular
will of the people of Maryland. Without par-
ticular reference to the past, he could say, that
every one in Maryland knew that the funds of
the public treasury, for purposes of education,
had not been fairly apportioned.
Mr. T. went on to say. that he was not willing to
have his vote on the journal on this question
without explanation. If there was any prospect
that justified the expectation that there would be
a fair republican apportionment of representatives
in the Legislature, he might feel less hostile
to a proposition to confer upon that body a power
like that proposed. But foreseeing that no Le-
gislature will be organised by this Convention
that will give to the majority of the people the
power to make our laws, he was not disposed to
encourage an expenditure of the public money
for purposes of education. Without this article
in the Constitution, the Legislature would have
power to do this, but he would not encourage the
exercise of this power. He would, if he could,
take the power away, and leave to the several
counties and to the city of Baltimore authority to
establish schools within their respective limits.
In support of this, his position, he explained the
manner in which education funds had heretofore
been disposed of by the State Legislature. Ma-
ryland had advanced a large sum to defend the
country during the revolutionary war, which had
been paid to the State by the United States.
That part of this fund which had been received
from the General Government, and which was
set apart for the purposes of education, had not
been fairly distributed. It was divided between
the counties and the city of Baltimore, not ac-
cording to population, but by an arbitrary rule,
that gave to Frederick with her population of
thirty-five thousand white inhabitants, very little
more than the smallest county in the State. The
Slate had derived also a considerable revenue by
a tax of twenty cents on the hundred dollars of
bank stock, the largest portion of which tax was
paid by citizens of Baltimore city and of the
western counties. The income of the State from
this source had been divided by the Legislature
into equal parts, and one part had been given to
each of the counties and to the city of Baltimore,
without the alightest regard to the great inequal-
ity that existed in the population of these several
communities. This be thought was not right.
If there there is any fund that ought to be distri-
buted according to the white population of the
State, it is the fund intended for education. The
Legislature in making such a distribution ought
to feel that every white child in the State is
equally an object of its regard, no matter where
its residence may be in the State, from the sea
beaten beach of Worcester, to the Western boun-
dary of Allegany. This had not been the case
heretofore. Some of the small counties have a
school fund more than they want, while other
counties are compelled, and Baltimore city is
compelled, to tax heavily the properly of the
people within their limits, to maintain a system
of common schools. Seeing this he was disposed
to restrict the legislative power on this subject.
And would prefer that each county and city should
provide and maintain its own system of common
schools. Admonished by the past injustice of
the Legislature on this subject, and having no
reason to hope for better in the future, lie must
vote against any article like that before us. At
the same time he protested earnestly against be-

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 425   View pdf image
 Jump to  

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