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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1247   View pdf image (33K)
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I have argued this matter in private upon
some of my friends upon the other side of the
house. That it is the truth they cannot possibly
deny. But the answering argument is: let the
future take care of itself. Let us do the best that
we can for ourselves in this day, and let the
future take care of itself. What a doctrine!
What a principle upon which public legisla-
tors should act'; or men in any capacity what-
ever I If you have little ones climbing upon
your knee to-day, why are you laboring and
toiling? Is it not that in the coming time,
twenty years hence, when your head is get-
ting white, that they may enjoy such bless-
ings as you maybe able to win for them?
Why have men in every great crisis of the
history of the world, borne the heat and bur-
den of war and strife? Suppose the men of
old days, the men who were here in this hall in
1776, had said: sufficient unto the day is the
evil thereof, and let the coming time take care
of itself, where would have been your coun-
try? Where would have been that great na-
tionality of which you have been so justly
proud? Where would have been that happi-
ness, that prosperity which you have enjoyed ?
It would never have had an existence. If our
fathers had said, we cannot bear the evil of
to-day; let the tyranny continue, you would
have been born serfs and not freemen, It is
not in that way that men act. It is not upon
such grounds that men fit to be legislators for
mankind, practice.
I did not rise to say, but it is an important
fact, and I challenge gentlemen to the math-
ematical refutation of it, that beyond all cavil
within twenty years from this day, in adopt-
ing this system, we rid the people of Maryland
from taxation wholly and entirely upon the
subject of public schools; and we have a fund
in our treasury of six millions of dollars to
bedevoted to public education. Take your
slates and try the question, in less than
twenty years Were there no such thing as in-
terest, look at the result. We propose to raise
a sinking fund of $300,000 annually. In
twenty years, if there were no such thing as
profitable investment by the financial agents
of the government upon interest, and com-
pound interest, in twenty years that would
amount to six millions. But taking this
matter as it practically exists, make your calcu-
lations; $300,000 for the first year, and inter-
est upon that, compounding it year in and year
out, as yon go along, and I believe you will find
your sinking fund established in less than fif-
teen years. And just so soon as you have
that, your people will be relieved from all tax-
ation whatsoever for this purpose, unless the
people, fifteen years hence, in love with a pro-
per educational system, reaping its fruits, shall
choose, in their liberality to make the fund
still greater; and I believe they will do it.—
But suppose there should be no such legisla..
tion upon the subject,! put it to gentlemen
whether this article as it stands does not in-
sure with mathematical certainty, that within
fifteen or twenty years we shall be rid of tax-
ation upon this subject, with a clear educa-
tional fund of six millions of dollars.
How are we going on? Every year that we
live there are 15 or 16 cents on the $100 im-
posed in some of the counties, as a fair aver-
age of what is being paid for the support of
common schools, and you can go on paying it
for a thousand years, and you will never be a
whit better off than to-day. You will never
be rid of taxation, I do not know how any
friend can calculate who argues that this sec-
tion increases onerously the taxation of this
State for no purpose. Let me ask any candid
gentlemen here, is it not a grand and glorious
object to attain in less than twenty years, that
you shall have a school fund of six millions
of dollars to be devoted to the education of
your youth? Is it not another grand and
glorious object, that in twenty years the peo-
ple shall be rid of taxation upon the subject
of public schools? It is in the power of gen-
tlemen this day to decree that that state of
facts shall exist; that in twenty years from
this time Maryland shall have a school fund
of six millions, and no tax to be paid for pub-
lic schools, but free education for every child
within the limits of the State, from the moun-
tains of Allegany down to the waves of the
Atlantic, Are not these grand and glorious
objects to be achieved by an addition by math-
ematical calculation of less than one-twen-
tieth of one percent.? Why do you hesitate?
The people will not grumble about onerous
taxation, because you do not impose it upon
them. Or if you do they will bless you for
the fruits from it. I shall vote for this sys-
tem, to provide such a fund that taxation shall
cease upon the subject. I shall vote for it,
believing that it will aid in achieving the
grandest and noblest object the State can con-
template, the best work we can accomplish.
Mr. BERRY, of Prince George's. I shall vote
for the amendment of the gentleman from
Anne Arundel, not because I am opposed to
the general school system of the State, be-
cause I am really in favor of a general school
system of the State, if we can secure aperfect
system, such a system as will benefit the poor
youth of the State. We have in our coun-
ty, and have had ever since 1837, a free
school system. We levy upon the assessable
property of the county every year, under the
provisions of law as applicable particularly to
that county, some eleven or twelve thousand
dollars for the support of those schools. Be-
sides, sir) we have a school fund there of some
twenty-four or twenty-five thousand dollars,
which is placed out at interest, and the inter-
est upon that school fund is yearly applied to
this purpose. We then do not desire the
change the gentleman proposes here.
It is proposed that this be made a general
system, and that the taxes go levied upon the
assessable property of the county be paid into

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1247   View pdf image (33K)
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