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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 112   View pdf image (33K)
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ference to the doctrine of colonization, does
my proposition suggest that you are to send
them from the State, or sunder the ties which
now exist between husband and wile, parent
and child? It simply says that whatever
funds may he collected from the violation of
this law shall be applied to the colonization
of those who may desire to leave the State.
Is that bordering on barbarism? Is it a vio-
lation of humanity? Or is it simply putting
at their disposition a fund which they may
employ in going abroad with their own free
I do not propose to go into this question
of negro equality which the gentleman bus
raised, and which it was never the intention
of this order to raise at all; for it says not
one word with reference lo the question of
negro equality, which the gentleman has
brought into this discussion. The order sim-
ply raises the question of the free negroes, of
what shall be done with them. My constitu-
ents live on the borders of Washington city.
We have there congregated thousands upon
thousands, who have come up from the South,
from all parts of the country. We have now
in the State a population of 90,000 free ne-
groes, besides a large slave population, who,
it is intimated by the gentleman, are to be
settee. Then the State is open to 200,000
now congregated within certain limits of
Washington city. The result will be that
Prince George's county, bordering on Wash-
ington, will be overrun, and flooded with
them. My constituents tell me that unless
some such provision as this is adopted, they
do not know whether they can leave their
families in safety with such a class thrown
upon the community.
As to the competition between free black
labor and free white labor, I do not pretend
to say which will triumph. If the State is
overrun with free negroes, they will have to
work, if they do not want to starve, and they
will come into competition with white men.
White men will not get the labor which the
blacks perform, unless they work at the same
wages with the free negro. Unless therefore
you adopt some such provision as this, you
will reduce the wages of white men down to
the level of those of the free negro. I say
this as a question of political economy, and
not at all as involved in the political question
of their franchise. Unless you adopt some
such provision, this will be the effect upon
the poor white man. Now what will be the
result to the land owner? We shall make
the State a second Hayti or Jamaica. The
land will be held by few, and the land own-
ers will never reap the benefit from a rise in
the value of their lands caused by a demand
from free white men. There is now in our
community a large class of white men who
are, in consequence of the loss of slave labor
able to rent land. If the free negroes are ad-
mitted the present land owners will continue
to work their lands by free negro labor in-
stead of slave labor. The poor white man
will not he able to rent an acre of land. He
must work at the rate of free negroes wages
or get nothing to do. Thus both the white
and owner and the poor landless white man
will be injured by admitting an influx of free
But 1 did not propose to go into this mat-
ter. 1 had no idea of saving anything upon
this subject, nor should I have done so but
for the remarks of the gentleman from How-
ard (Mr. Sands.) I have said what I have,
simply in justice to myself, and to show that
I have made no proposition based upon a
scheme of inhumanity either to the white or
the black.
Mr. SANDS took the floor and desired ten
minutes to reply, but the President slating
that the hour had arrived for the unfinished
business of yesterday to be taken up, Mr.
1 Sands preferred not to ask of the Convention
leave to proceed.
The Convention proceeded to the consider-
ation of the unfinished business, being the
report of the Committee on Rules and Orders,
the pending question being upon the amend-
ment submitted by Mr. Hebb, as a substitute
for Rule 54th.
Mr. HEBB modified his amendment by
striking out the words " section of the Con-
stitution then tinder consideration," and in-
serting the words "special matter to which
they relate ;" also, by striking out the words
"division of," and inserting "vote upon;
so that the amendment should read :
" The previous question shall be always in
order in Convention, and shall be in this
form: 'Shall the main question be now put?'
It shall only he admitted when demanded by
a majority of the members present, and its
effect shall be to put an end to all debate, and
to bring the Convention to a direct vote upon
pending amendments, and the special matter
to which they relate. On a motion for the
previous question, and prior to the seconding
of the same, a call of the Convention shall be
in order, but after a majority shall have sec-
onded such motion, no call shall be in order
prior to a vote upon the main question; and
on the previous question there shall be no
Mr. CLARKE, I would like to inquire how
this will operate, in taking the vote upon the
"pending amendments and the special mat-
ter to which they relate." Does it mean this?
Suppose we are upon the article on the Judi-
ciary, at the first section, upon the Court of
Appeals, and two amendments ure offered.
While these amendments are before the House
and under debate, the previous question is
called. Does this amendment mean that if
the previous question is sustained we are to
vote upon the whole subject of the Court of
Appeals without having gone through its

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 112   View pdf image (33K)
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