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 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1590   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space
prepared by some of the rudiments of educa-
tion for that which is before them in their
after years of freedom.
And gentlemen have sprung up in alarm as
though the proposition that these people shall
be educated was a proposition to place them
upon an equality with the white race. Sir,
I have no sympathy, no respect, even, for
that feeling, or that fear, whatever it may be,
that is so eternally, afraid of negro equality,
If, with generations that start, with the edu-
cation we have already received, we cannot
maintain the race with them, then in all con-
science let us give them the track. It is nut
equality; they must be infinitely the superior
of the white race if with the brand upon
them, the degradation of generations of ser-
vitude, the stupidity and ignorance begotten
of that servitude, they can rise to be socially
and intellectually the equal of the white race,
simply because it is proposed to embody in
this section the provision that these negro
apprentices shall be taught to read and write.
What is intellectual equality? Was such a
thing ever known as any negro becoming in-
tellectually the equal of the white main, save
in those occasional, those rare, those spo-
radic cases which every one looks upon as a
phenomenon, like some rare musical genius.
where it seems to be rather an intuition, an in-
stinct, than the result of intellectual power?
There are such cases; we have heard of blind
Tom, the wonderful musician; of some rare
mathematician, who performs processes he
does not know how. But who ever talks of
any such a one being the equal of anybody
else. It argues nothing.
All that is proposed is that those who are
the descendants of slaves, who were them-
selves born inslavery, but who are destined,
as sure as the sun continues to rise and set,
to be free, shall have some little preparation
for freedom. What has been the cry on all
sides here, what has been the clamor all
through the discussion of this question of
emancipation, but that we were throwing out
upon the world a class of people who were
unprepared for freedom? And now when it
is proposed that those people shall be contin-
ued in servitude, we propose to add that du-
ring that servitude they shall have some sort
of preparation for their cooling freedom
And that raises all this clamor of negro equal-
ity. Was ever anything under the high hea-
ven more absurd ?
Now the purpose of the proposition of the
gentleman from Caroline (Mr. Todd) is not
to benefit the persons whom it is proposed to
retain in slavery for this limited time. if
that were the object, there is already law
enough upon the statute book to accomplish
that purpose. But it is for something else.
It has been said that it is a sort of compensation
to the masters. And gentlemen get up
here, and express great regret, and lecture us
as though they thought we were actuated by
some malice upon this subject towards mas-
ters. I feel none whatever. But we have
acted here, and such is the record of this con-
vention with regard to what are the rights of
men. We do not hurt the master. We ad-
judicate between the master claiming certain
rights from a person, and the person himself
who claims that those rights are his, and our
decision is that he who claimed himself had
a better right to himself than be who claimed
to own him as his own. Now if that deci-
sion of ours was right, then I beg to ask why
is this offer of compensation proposed? Let
gentlemen he consistent upon this subject.
If the principle .of that decision was right,
then the principle of this proposition is wrong
—the two principles do not, and cannot be
made to harmonize. I would not harm a
hair of the head of any person who has
owned aslave. I would not deprive him of
one cent of his lawful property. But when
we adjudicate upon the rights of men, we
say that regardless of character and condi-
tion, these people shall no longer be deprived
of those rights to which they are entitled.
Then, as my colleague (Mr. Stirling) has
justly remarked, if, as it has been said, this
is a beneficent provision for the good of the
negro, what is to besome of those who may
be dependent upon those whom we propose
tore-enslave? Will you add all the details
of legislation here? You have said that the
orphans' court shall bind all these negroes
who are minors. But how? Here is a de-
crepid and sickly child; it is the duty of the
orphans' court to bind it to a white person.
But the while person chooses not to have it
bound to him, and if every white person
says, "1 will not, have this child bound to
me," the orphans' court has no power to bind
it out. Here is an infant. The orphans'
court, in the discharge of its obligation, pro-
poses to bind that infant to its former owner.
But be and and everybody else says, " I will
not take that infant." Then you throw upon
the emancipated mother the charge of that
infant until it is ten or twelve years old.
And then, when it is old enough to render
some assistance to its mother, to repay to
some extent the care and trouble the mother
has expended .upon it, the orphans'' court,
without tilt) consent of the mother, upon the
application of some outside party, the former
owner perhaps, steps in and binds that child
ten years of age, for eleven years thereafter.
Where is the justice in all this? Gentlemen,
see how it will operate.
The orphans' court tinder existing law can
bind out the child, provided they think it
would be better for the habits and comfort of
that child that it should be done. But it is
not to be done on the motion of the orphans'
court, Information must be given to the or-
phans' court, before it can be done, under ex-
isting law. But under this proposition you
make the orphans' court itself the jury of

clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1590   View pdf image (33K)
 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