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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 110   View pdf image
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1. No free negro or free mulatto shall come
into or settle in this State after the adoption
of this Constitution.
2. All contracts made with any free negro
or free mulatto coming into the State con-
trary to the provisions of the foregoing sec-
tion, shall be null and void; and any person
who shall employ such free negro or free mu-
latto, or otherwise encourage him or her to
remain in the State, shall be fined in a sum
not less than fifty dollars, nor more than
five hundred dollars for each offence,
3. All fines which may be collected for a
violation of the provisions of this article, or
any law which may hereafter be passed for
the purpose of carrying the same into execu-
tion, shall be set apart and appropriated for
the colonization or removal beyond the limits
of the State of such negroes and mulattoes
and their descendants as may be in the State
at the adoption of this Constitution, and may
be willing to emigrate.
4. The General Assembly shall have full
power, and it is hereby made the duty of the
same to pass all laws necessary to carry out
effectually the provisions of this article.
Mr. DANIEL demanded the yeas and says,
and they were ordered.
Mr. CLARKE. This is a mere order of in-
quiry. It is a matter of deep importance to
the State. It is a matter in which, I am free
to state, my own constituents are divided. 1
do not know that my own delegation are en-
tirely agreed upon it. But I have endeavored
to present my views, plain, clear and dis-
tinct, in reference to it.
Mr, BERRY of Prince George's. We have a
precedent for legislation of this sort in several
of the free States of the Union. Some years
ago Indiana and Illinois, by their Legisla-
tures, passed laws lo prevent the immigration
of free negroes into these States. Ohio has
passed such a law, and it is now a law of
that State. A bill of that character was in-
troduced in the Legislature of Pennsylvania
some 12 or 18 months ago. I do not know
the fate of that bill, but I humbly apprehed
that the same law now prevails there. The
policy of the Northern States, the Non-Slave-
holding States, has always been to get rid of
their free negro population, for the evident
purpose of encouraging the poor white peo-
ple of the State, the laboring classes of those
States; for if the free negroes are allowed to
remain in the State their work comes in com-
petition with that of the white laborer.
should suppose it would be a very popular
measure in all free States, or in any State, to
get rid of them; if they are free, to allow
them to emigrate and form societies of their
Mr. SANDS. If I understand the order it is
simply to refer to a committee. I shall no
object to its reference; but I desire to take
this opportunity to express my views upon
the subject matter of this order. We are here
under peculiar circumstances. Our country
is in peculiar circumstances. Right or wrong
a vast majority of the people of Maryland
consider the terrible national calamity upon
us to-day as springing out of the slavery
question—out of slavery itself. I do not
choose to stop now to argue whether it is so
or not; but that is the judgment of the large
majority of the people of Maryland, What
then ought we to do as white men of the
State of Maryland " We see that society,
communities and States, have been tossed as
if by an earthquake. The negro has had his
share of the testing, and it has been a very
hard share, although but little in fault. He
has never been in your primary meetings, in
your representative assemblages or elsewhere
to agitate fur himself or about himself. He
has been quiet, docile, obedient, and in many
cases a willing servant for many long years
What do we propose to do? We were the
superior and governing race. We have
brought mutters to the position they occupy
to-day. While the poor negro with the white
man has been thrown up in the air by these
civil convulsions, he is to have no resting
place for his foot when he lodges. I shall
never give a vote here or elsewhere, never
utter a word here or elsewhere, which puts
any man in the position of saying that I
dread for the white man the competition of
the negro. I think the events of the last few
months have totally exploded the doctrine o
negro labor coming in competition with white
labor, which used to be the great popular
doctrine and cry before the people a year or
two ago, when wages were but half what
they are to-day when Maryland is virtually a
free State. It is a homely adage that "the
proof of the pudding is the chewing,"and
it is often the case that these homely adages
contain a great deal of truth. What is the
condition of things to-day? An honest white
man willing to labor can get all be can do
' and more, and get such wages as were never
paid him before. I do not choose to consider
this further; for the idea of such a competi-
tion of wages is scarcely worthy of a work
ing man.
But here is the position in which we are
called upon to act to-day. We have brought
about the existing condition of things. It is
not the negro. I am sorry to observe on toe
many sides, where 1 go, among those who
have heretofore enjoyed the benefit of negro
labor, and amount those who never had it
that there is too much of a disposition utter
ly to ignore the humanity of the poor negro
As to the cry of negro equality, and as to
adopting any Constitution or law or regula
tion which will put the negro upon an equality
with the white man, politically or socially
t I will fight it as long and as fiercely as any
one. Because I am willing to say that a ne-
gro's rights are not those of a white man,
am not willing to say that he has no right

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 110   View pdf image
 Jump to  

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