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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 175   View pdf image
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induced me to believe that overgrown cities are
dangerous to the liberties and free institutions of
the countries in which they are situated, and that
for the general welfare, limitations ought to be
imposed upon their rights and powers, which are
inapplicable to the agricultural portions of a
State. Adiversity of wants and interests in large
cities, requires much local or special legislation.
And that it may be wise and just, and the inter-
est of all, both within and without the city, may
be protected in his opinion dividing the city into
districts, each of which should elect a delegate,
was indispensable.
He conceived that Baltimore was of such mag-
nitude and importance, that it of itself almost
formed a State, or one grand division thereof,
and that it was as reasonable and necessary that
it should be divided into districts to he severally
represented in the House of Delegates, by a dis-
tinct delegation as it was that the residue of the
State should be divided into counties and simi-
larly represented.
He was desirous of seeing every part and por-
tion of the city fairly and properly represented in
the House of Delegates; and if the proposition,
or amendment, which he had offered, with the
specifications, met with favor, in this Convention
he should be gratified. He desired to see Fell's
Point properly represented, where he learned,
the great mass of the population were Germans,
and among them many naturalized citizens, fully
competent to fill a seat in this body, or in the
Legislature, where their presence and ability
would enable them to suggest all such amend-
ments to the legislative enactments as to Balti-
more, as were necessary to the interest, welfare,
and protection of that part of the community.
He was anxious to see the sea-faring portion of
the people, as sailors, captains, &c., a useful,
hardy, and adventurous class of men—occupying
seats in our Legislature. If we did, it would not
be for the first time in the State of Maryland,
though the day has long since past. The manu-
facturing interests, too, ought to be represented;
and they are a numerous and distinct part of the
city of Baltimore, and separated in a great de-
gree from the large and thickly settled portion of
it. They are as distinct and diversified in their
interests, as is any county on the Eastern Shore,
from Frederick or Washington County. He
wished to see the merchants represented, and the
mechanical interests also. He was proud of Bal-
timore, when he said, from his own knowledge.
that he was perfectly satisfied that as beneficial
and useful members of the House of Delegates
could be procured from all these different branch-
es of society, as from any other class of persons
in the State.
He would like to see the noble and generous
hearted Irishman, who enjoys the confidence of
his fellow citizens, occupying a seat in the Le-
gislature, where he might be of great service and
influence to his countrymen as well by example
as otherwise. He had, in former times, seen
them and served with them in the Legislature
and he would wish to see them there again. He
desired to see a part but not a redundancy of the
delegation to consist of lawyers, because he was
satisfied that to wise and judicious legislation,
such a commixture was necessary and beneficial.
He always desired to see., as they called it in the
country, "a sprinkling of lawyers" elected to
the Legislature; notwithstanding he had heard
that in olden times one of the best Legislatures
Maryland ever had, judging from its enactments,
was designated as the " shoe string Legislature,"
on account of there being no lawyer in it. But,
so far as his observation went, it was indispensibly
necessary to have a portion of lawyers representing;
the city of Baltimore; yet, Mr. President,
its citizens should bear in mind that there may
be too much of a good ingredient in any admix-
ture. He wanted all the meritorious classes of
the community represented in the Legislature;
if we had, we would have a much better muni-
cipal government in Baltimore, a far more effi-
cient and conservative police The Germans in
the eastern parts of the city know what takes
place there, and he was inclined to believe, that
if an intelligent naturalized German had been in
this Convention when an effort was made for the
prevention of bribery and corruption, to postpone
for one or even six months the exercise of politi-
cal rights now immediately consequent upon natu-
ralization, that he would have sustained the post-
ponement not only as necessary to the public
weal, but as a means of rescuing his ignorant
and unsuspecting countrymen from the disgrace
about to be brought upon them by the machina-
tions of interested, unscrupulous electioneering
He could have told us what scenes sometimes
take place in his ward, of which we are not in-
formed. He could have told us of a particular
tavern keeper at Fell's Point, who at every
warmly contested election, is in the habit of
appearing at the polls, with from one to three
hundred sets of naturalization papers in his pos-
session, which according to a previous arrange-
ment, he distributes one by one, among his coun-
trymen, made citizens but a day or two before,
exempt from all expense incident to naturaliza-
tion, upon condition that at the approaching
election they would goto the polls, vote the ballot
given them, and as a consideration for so
doing, receive their naturalization papers gratis.
By districting the city, the foul and horrible
system of cooping, as it is called, would be dis-
continued; success in an election in a particular
district, would not furnish a sufficient motive for
its continuance. We should also escape those
frequent and disgraceful riots among the differ-
ent fire companies. They are produced, not
by persons living generally throughout the city,
but only in particular parts of it. We should
then have had in the Legislature a sufficient
number of delegates from Baltimore, who would
not have given countenance to them in any way,
as is the result of the city delegation refusing
to suggest and affect in the Legislature the adop-
tion of such measures as are adequate to their
suppression. They are a disgrace to the city,
and ought to checked by some legislative action,

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 175   View pdf image
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