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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1585   View pdf image (33K)
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gentlemen so very different from remarks
made by them on former occasions, that I
am somewhat astonished for that reason.
Now in regard to the gentleman from Wor-
cester (Mr. Purnell,) I do not wish to answer
his remarks for any other reason than this; I
am afraid that if his remarks go unanswered
to the people of the State, the impression
might prevail that probably those of us who
take a different view of this subject from what
that gentleman does, were in favor of ele-
vating the negro' race; were in favor of
something like negro equality; a rehash of
that political, wishy-washy, meaningless talk
which I think we met and effectually refuted
in the canvass in this State. My only reason
for noticing the remarks of the gentleman
from Worcester is this: that he being known
as a representative upon this floor of the Union
party of the State, as it is called, and being
opposed to us in this particular, if his re-
marks remain unanswered, the impression
might prevail that those who opposed him
did so for some such reason as that suggested ;
that is, we desired to elevate the negro race
as compared with the white race; or rather,
that we were in favor of this old idea of negro
equality. For that reason, and that reason
only, I wish to answer him.
And I wish to recall to the recollection of
the gentleman some remarks made by him
some time ago, which I heartily indorsed,
and which when I did indorse them, I did
not admit justified the idea that he or me
were in favor of this policy of negro equality,
I wish to recall to his recollection those re-
marks, because I indorsed them then, and
indorse them now; and because I hold that
in indorsing them now I do. not indorse the
idea of negro equality. The gentleman in
his remarks on the article of the declaration
of rights abolishing slavery, to be found on
page 717 of the debates, said :
"I believe human nature is the same al-
most everywhere, and under almost any cir-
cumstances; although it may be covered
with a black skin."
Mr. PURNELL. Bead the connection.
Mr. PUGH. I will, for the connection is
where the point is.
"It must be apparent to every man—
though I speak more particularly to the
farmer—who has employed slave labor and
free labor, that free labor is incomparably
more economical than slave labor."
Now the reason that justifies the latter
clause of that quotation, is the same that jus-
tifies our course throughout this discussion,
and our political course, as it is called, in
the State. It is because we believe that free
labor is a better system of labor than slave
labor, that we are in favor of freeing the
slaves of this State. It is not because we
believe that when you free the slave you
make him the equal of the white man. But it
is simply for the reason suggested by the gen-
tleman, that ''human nature is the same al-
most everywhere, and under almost any circumstances;
although it may be covered
with a black skin."
Again, the gentleman says, on page 719 of
the debates:
" I have seen the free Africans in the mili-
tary service of Brazil. For at the time I was
there Don Pedro was at war with Rosas, of
the Buenos Ayrean dominions, and every day
the soldiers were paraded upon the public
square for the review of the emperor; and in
that long line of soldiers you would find the
Portuguese, the Indian, the hall-breed Afri-
can, and the full-blooded African, all in the
same uniform. There was but little distinc-
tion to be observed between them. All
seemed to be working in the service of their
great master; all seemed to perform their
services with alacrity and willingness, with-
out any control except the authority exer-
cised over them all by those who have a
right to direct them,"
The point is that these conditions follow
necessarily from the principle stated by the
gentleman in the quotation I first read.
That is, that "human nature being the same
almost everywhere, even although covered
by a black skin," it will be better developed
in a. free state than in a slave state.
Now that brings me right to the point of
my objection to the adoption of the appren-
tice system in the State of Maryland. It is
because I do not believe that is the course of
policy to properly develop the nation. It is
not the proper course of policy in order to
make the labor of the State the most valua-
ble. That is one reason only.
1 might state here why I am opposed, as 1
am opposed, to all systems of apprenticeship.
They are generally opposed to all laws, and
are never admitted excepting under certain
extraordinary circumstances. It is not the
best condition of labor, to prodace the best
results to the nation. It is only recognized
to be a system of labor to be appealed to as
the very last resort, when there is no other
way; when the party to be apprenticed is
unable to take care of himself, or herself, or
when there are no parents and they are
orphans cast loose upon the world. Then
that system of labor is resorted to. It is
only adopted through the force of peculiar
circumstances, and not as a wise measure in
The gentleman from Worcester (Mr. Pur-
nell) objected to the amendment of the gen-
tleman from Baltimore city (Mr. Stock-
bridge)—after having made the remarks
from which I have quoted, and which 1
heartily indorse—because it contemplated the
education of this laboring class. Now I sub-
mit to him, and I do not think he will take
issue with me upon that point, whether he
does not recognize the fact that it is better to
have educated labor than uneducated labor ?

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1585   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

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