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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 526   View pdf image
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sure. But he was opposed to the creation of any
more corporations.
Remarks of Mr. Grason, March 7, 1851.
Mr. GRASON said the report of the committee
was framed under the impression that the Con-
vention would provide for annual sessions. But
as biennial sessions had been determined, it was
now necessary to make an alternation in the bill,
It was of the utmost importance that the Go-
vernor should come into office, while the Legisla-
ture was in session; and, therefore, it was neces-
sary to reduce his term to two years, or extend
it to four. It was doubtful which term ought to
be preferred. In two years, he would acquire
the experience which would make his services
more valuable, just at the time he was going out
of office. On the other hand, by doubling the
term, he might continue in power after he had
lost the public confidence. He would move to
strike out three, and insert the longest term, and
if the blank were not filled with four, he should
then move to fill it with two.
Remarks of Mr. TUCK, March 13, 1851.
Mr. TUCK. The power of granting nolle prosequis
is an executive prerogative, and always ex-
ercised unless restrained by the Constitution. He
was in favor of expressly recognising the power
in Maryland. It had always been possessed by
our Governors. That it had been abused, he
did not deny. But all powers may be denied or
restricted for this reason. The question is, on
which side lies the greater chance of evil. Cases
of hardship must occur. That of Bromwell had
been referred to. Mr. T. was in the Legislature
at that time, and being well acquainted with the
facts, could speak with certainly. Very strong
recommendations were presented to the Governor,
predicated upon his age, his long confinement,
which was impairing his health, and perhaps
hastening his death, the condition and wants of
his family, &c.. The character of the offence
was such, that the Governor thought he ought
not to interfere. He had been in jail some
eighteen months or two years awaiting his trial.
His case had been removed to Harford county—
many of the witnesses resided on the eastern
shore. He had been carried to Bel-Air two or
three times and demanded his trial. The State
was never ready on account of the absence of
witnesses. His health was failing and a physi-
cian had certified that his continued confinement
might end in incurable disease, if not in death
His case was brought before the Legislature, and
by an almost unanimous vote in both branches, a
resolution was passed authorising the city court
of Baltimore to discharge him on his own recog-
nisance. The object was to let him go away.
He did so, and I believe has never been here
since. He thought this was a case for the exer-
cise of such a power. He would, therefore, vote
for its retention by the Governor. But he thought
that it should be guarded, and would prepare and
offer, at a proper time, an amendment requiring
that public notice should be given of the applica-
tion, in order that the Governor might-be better
informed of the facts of the case than he could
be by an ex park application. To prevent injus-
tice to the public, he thought the power could
not be too carefully guarded against abuse.
Remarks of Mr. Dirickson, Thursday, March 13.
Mr, DIRICKSON moved the following as a sub-
Sec. 21. The Governor shall be inattendance
at the seat of government during the sessions of
the Legislature of the State, and shall receive for
his services an annual salary of two thousand
Mr. DIRICKSON said that the substitute which
he had just had the honor to submit, was in his
humble judgment both eminently proper in itself
and in entire harmony with that spirit of retrench-
ment and reform, which had breathed this very
Convention into existence. He had hoped, nay
believed, that it would have been received by all
with a warm and cordial welcome, and at
once promptly sanctioned by a most decided and
unequivocal vote. Sir, all, or well nigh all,
around me are professed reformers, and we
here not only to shaddow forth the embodied
sentiment of Maryland, upon the great elemen-
tary principles of government, but to apply our-
selves earnestly, industriously, sternly if need be,
to the abolition of old abuses, and to the entire ob-
literation of every custom and provision, organic
or otherwise, which has been without benefit and
without essential good—feeding with an insatia-
ble appetite upon the common treasure gathered
from the whole body politic. The time had ar-
rived when we should lay aside the useless, worn
out and cumberous machinery of the past, and
looking around upon this great confederacy,
learn such lessons of political wisdom as will en-
able us to keep pace with the very foremost.
Surely—surely whilst others are moving onward
in every social improvement, we shall not be
found wedded to our idols, standing still midway
the glorious destiny that awaits us,
Tell me not then lint the substitute now under
consideration is a bold and reckless innovation,
because forsooth it seeks to remove a restriction
from the Constitution, which can no longer be
sustained either by argument or the examples of
other States. What was there so peculiar in the
condition or extent of Maryland, to require that
her chief executive officer should reside perman-
ently and constantly at the seat of government,
when so many of her sisters, with territory im-
mensely larger, and with revenues scarcely smal-
ler, had no such constitutional requirements, and
yet were advancing in prosperity with a rapidity
which we could scarcely realize. The general
duties and obligations attached to the official
position, were, if not precisely the same, with
slight exceptions, very similar in every section
of the Union, and if all could be discharged with
propriety and alacity elsewhere, why not with
equal promptness and fidelity here? It was not

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 1, Debates 526   View pdf image
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