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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1597   View pdf image (33K)
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feeling to hire his own slave, taken from him,
yet I believe be will act under the strong ne-
cessity to hire another man in his place if he
comes to labor. If the gentlemen in the
lower counties do not wish for labor—if they
prefer that their whole agricultural opera-
tions should stop, there is more than demand
enough for all these free negroes in the other
parts of the State. And if there is no de-
mand for them there the army of the United
States can take them from eighteen to twenty,
and pay them such wages as will enable
them to support their families at home.
There is some way of providing for them.
If the men that owned them will not use
them, the men in the rest of the State will
use them. And I should suppose that the
army of the United States would take so
many of them that their wages would sup-
port their families.
Mr. TODD. I wish to say with reference to
the remarks of the gentleman who has just
taken his seat, that I do not see any incon-
sistency between the course I pursued on a
former occasion, when the twenty-third ar-
ticle of the bill of rights was under discussion,
and the course I have pursued to-day in offer-
ing the section now under consideration. If
the gentleman by his eloquence could con-
vince me that apprenticeship is slavery, then.
I should offer a different section, I would
offer a section forever hereafter prohibiting
any apprenticeship in the State of Maryland,
upon any terms, anywhere, or under any
conditions. But I do not see it in that light;
and therefore I think no extended remarks
are necessary as a vindication of my course
upon the ground of inconsistency. I feel
myself that my course to-day is perfectly
consistent with my course heretofore.
I have, however, drawn up an amendment
to my proposition which I hope I will have
leave to offer, which will modify it, though
I prefer the proposition as it was originally
offered by myself, with the modifications I
have already accepted, yet, as a compromise
measure', I propose the following modifica-
tion: to insert after the word "minors" ill
the fourth line, the words, " incapable in the
estimation of said courts of maintaining
themselves ."
Mr, HEBB. I would suggest to the gentle-
man to add, '' and whose parents are unable
to maintain them."
Mr. TODD. I would much prefer the modi-
fication as offered by myself.
Mr. RIDGELY. I hope the gentleman from
Caroline will accept that.
Mr. TODD adopted the suggestion, and
modified his proposition by inserting " inca-
pable of supporting themselves, or whose
parents are unable to maintain them."
Mr. SANDS. I give notice that at the proper
time I will move the following substitute:
" In the indenturing of any negro appren-
tice under the laws of this State, the orphans'
court shall give the preference to the former
master of the apprentice, if there be such, and
if he shall be a proper person to have the cus-
tody of the said apprentice."
1 propose to make a very few remarks upon
this question. I had hoped that I had said
my last word here on this long-vexed ques-
tion of slavery, or on any other subject that
bore to it so close a resemblance. I had
hoped that my share of the labors of this con-
vention would bedischarged, and I should go
home without the necessity of again even
alluding to this matter. But the course
events have taken here this morning) very
unexpectedly to myself, compels me, in sim-
ple justice to what I have said and done here-
tofore, to state my position with regard to
this matter.
In conversation with many gentlemen of the
opposition side of the house, I had expressed
the hope that this question of apprenticeship
would be allowed to rest where the law had
placed it; allowed to rest in the administra-
tion of the orphans' coarts of the several
counties, which would, as a matter of course,
exercise their best discretion in providing for
the wants of minor negroes .liberated under
the twenty-third section of the bill of rights.
1 am sorry that I was disappointed in my
expectation. I am sorry that the matter has
been thrown again into this hall, to be the
subject of long hours of debate. But there
are some reasons, both on the master's ac-
count and on the slave's or the freedman's ac-
count, as well as my own, which force me to
express the views which I entertain upon this
subject as briefly as I can.
First and foremost, I consider myself
pledged against the creation of any system
of slavery by this constitution. I shall vote
against the proposition, unless it be amended
to meet the views I entertain, for the reason
not only that I was thus pledged on this
subject to the people who sent me here, but
because any whole course since I have been
a member of this convention is entirely incon-
sistent with the idea that I should favor the
creation of an apprenticeship system. The
reasons why I oppose it are these:
1 put it to gentlemen on the opposition side
of the house, and especially from southern
Maryland, if negro labor is not a great neces-
sity to them. A strong argument urged
against the twenty-third article of the bill of
rights was that this labor was absolutely
necessary to their existence. Now I put the
question 'whether they desire to drive this
labor from their midst; because, in my opi-
nion, they can adopt no more vigorous
means of driving labor from their midst than
adopting this section. Why? Because the
twenty-third article, if the people adopt our
constitution, liberates all adults, male and
female; all over lawful age. Do you believe
that the father and mother, the free man and
free woman, are going to sit down quietly in

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1597   View pdf image (33K)
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