clear space clear space clear space white space
 r c h i v e s   o f   M a r y l a n d   O n l i n e

PLEASE NOTE: The searchable text below was computer generated and may contain typographical errors. Numerical typos are particularly troubling. Click “View pdf” to see the original document.

  Maryland State Archives | Index | Help | Search
search for:
clear space
white space
Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 443   View pdf image
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space
distributing among the people the powers of the
government, and on all questions of that charac-
ter the gentleman and himself ought to agree.
They might be staggered about the election of
judges by the people, when it would be the office
of those judges to preside over the courts in which
were to be tried the causes of the people; but in
the question now under consideration, it was not
life and death but the mere pecuniary interests
of the people of the State which were at stake.
They were to decide whether freights were to be
high or low, and thus indirectly to determine the
income from the canal. Any principle which would
require the election of Senators or of Delegates
by the people, because they laid the taxes for
the support of the government, would apply to
these agents who had an equal connection with
the system of taxation, although not so direct.
As to the duties, they were left to the Legisla-
ture, together with the compensation to be given;
with the exception of those duties now known to
exist. Who could foresee what powers the Le-
gislature would put upon these agents ? Was
nothing to be left to the Legislature ? If the
Convention was to settle every detail in every
bill, when could they ever adjourn ? Some dis-
cretion must necessarily be left with the Legisla-
ture, and the compensation could be fixed no
more, finally, than the duties, the one depending
upon the other. If they should add no further
duties, the compensation might be $100, or $200.
If they should sec fit to add further duties,, the
necessity of which he could not now see, the
compensation would necessarily be increased.
As to the party character of the substitute, he
would say that he had framed it with reference
to an equilibrium in parties. His own deliber-
ate judgement was, that the old party organisations
of the country could not hold together to
the time of another Presidential election. But
whatever might be the future changes, the State
was so divided that in all probability there would
be two agents elected from each party, if party
influences should be brought to bear, and if they
could not harmonise the treasurer would have
the casting vote. He did not wish the agents to
be one and the same party. When himself was
elected to the office of President of the Canal
Company, he had influenced the agents of the
State to have him associated with gentlemen of
the opposite political party in the management
of the canal, in order that they might criticise
the action of the board, and divulge all that had
transpired before them.
Another reason for the distribution into dis-
tricts was, that it might not be safe to leave any
opportunity for rivalry between the Chesapeake
and Ohio Canal, and the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. Still another reason was, that the
people would not be so well able to judge
of the qualifications of the candidates, if they
were not from their own section of the State
In a political canvass for offices of the whole
State, candidates were generally selected who
were known throughout the State; but the nature
of this office was such, that in nine cases out of
ten, the persons best fitted, for it would not be
known out of their own section of Maryland.
Mr. DAVIS said, that so long as political parties
should continue, this must necessarily be a polit-
ical board; the treasurer giving the casting vote,
and he being, as is proposed, elected by the peo-
ple. His venerable friend from Anne Arundel,
(Mr. Dorsey,) had not sufficiently observed the
distinction between a railroad and a canal, as an
engine of political power; his friend lived near a
railroad, and after the train of living beings dash-
ed by like lightning, he saw nothing but the na-
ked railroad left—far different was it with a ca-
nal. The Hudson river canal, 108 miles long,
employed one thousand boats, and five thousand
men; and the Erie canal, five thousand boats and
fifteen thousand men. Here was, then, an army, a
sufficient field for political operations, and the
gentlemen from Frederick, (Mr. Thomas,) per-
fectly well understood this. This was the grand
mistake his venerable friend had made. He
would not say that he believed that advantage
would be taken of the number of men employed;
but he did not wish to have the power retained
in any board to interfere with the elective fran-
chise of such a number of voters as would con-
stantly be employed upon the line of the canal.
He would ask the gentleman from Frederick,
whether, when President, he had been in the
habit constantly of visiting the line of the canal
to manage its police ?
Mr. THOMAS, in his seat. Always.
Mr. DAVIS. Yes, he knew the gentleman
while he was receiving three thousand dollars as
President of the Canal Company, had found time
to represent his district in Congress, and he had
doubtless found a great deal of business to at-
tend to on the line of the canal during his elec-
tioneering campaigns, as from fifteen hundred lo
two thousand voters were then employed upon
the work. (Much laughter.)
Does not my friend from Anne Arundel see
what an engine of political power the control of
this canal will give the gentleman from Freder-
Mr. SCHLEY withdrew his amendment, and the
question recurred upon the amendment moved
by Mr. HOWARD.
Mr. BOWIE said, that he was opposed to the
amendment of the gentleman from Baltimore
county, (Mr. Howard.) He cared very little
whether the appointing power should be fixed
under the Constitution or not; and he should not
enter into that question. He could not vote to
give to this board the power from time to time,
to review the rate of tolls adopted by any com-
pany, in order to prevent competition. If the
gentleman would look to the charters of these
companies, he would find that the question of
toll was left entirely to their discretion, within
certain bounds; and he would submit to the gen-
tleman whether it was now competent for this
Convention or the Legislature, to alter or dimin-
ish in any particular, the power secured to these
companies under their charters.
Mr. DORSEY suggested that reviewing the
tolls and changing or reversing the tolls, or es-
tablishing different rates of toll, were entirely
different questions.

clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 443   View pdf image
 Jump to  

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

An Archives of Maryland electronic publication.
For information contact

©Copyright  October 06, 2023
Maryland State Archives