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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 555   View pdf image (33K)
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liberal common school education? Defeat—
universal defeat I And wherefore? Because
the upholders of the peculiar institution, have
been shrewd enough to foresee that if you
educate the common, laboring masses, you
make them dissatisfied with the fate that con-
signs them to a position in the estimation of
society upon a common level with the grovel-
ling negro slave I And that, becoming dis-
satisfied, and being a numerous class holding
the balance of political power, they would
assume a most dangerous antagonism to the
system which enslaves and grinds them down,
and perhaps sweep it from existence. Slavery,
sir, has had control of our legislation, and
with its accustomed tyranny, has frowned
down and fettered every attempt to procure
the intellectual emancipation of the masses of
the people of Mary land. And, sir, I blush to
say it, but it is true, as the census will bear
testimony, that there were in the State of
Maryland, in the year 1850, over 41,000 white
adults who could neither read nor write,
whilst in free New Jersey, with a white popu-
lation of more than 130,000 in excess of ours,
there were only a fraction over 18,000 who
could neither read nor write.
But again, slavery affects spiritual and
moral, as well as intellectual darkness and
demoralization. This proposition is sustained
by the same course of argument and the same
array of facts which prove the last. For moral
and spiritual life have ever been found to ex-
ist in about the same ratio with intellectual
light. As a general rule, an educated com-
munity is a moral and religious community;
and an ignorant community is an immoral
and irreligious community. That system,
therefore, which restrains and fetters intel-
lectual development—and slavery is such a
system—encourages and fosters spiritual dark-
ness and licentiousness.
I need not again recur to facts to which
reference has already been made in the argu-
ment under my second proposition. Those
facts speak with a mournfully significant
voice, which is equally applicable to this part
of my argument. That the system of slavery
is demoralizing to all classes within the sphere
of its influence, is evident from the following
patent facts which I shall content myself with
merely asserting—they require no proof or
Slavery recognizes no marital or domestic
bonds which may not be broken at the option
of the master. It throws no protection around
the chastity of its unhappy victims. On the
contrary, it virtually holds licentiuosness at
apremium, it fosters an abject, grovelling,
stubborn and hopeless servility and self-abne-
gation in the slave. It invites to the exercise
of an inhuman and tyrannical species of self-
constituted and arbitrary despotism in the
master. It ministers to a hateful and anti-
republican aristocracy in what are termed,
in slave communities', the upper classes; and
it besets in the non-slaveholding portion of
the community, a servile and humiliating
obeisance to that aristocracy, which demands
a scrupulous and careful suppression of every
sentiment against it.
It too often vests the legislative, judicial,
and executive functions in an irresponsible
mob. It extemporizes rails, tar and feathers,
whipping posts, and even gallows, to meet its
summary demands. It inculcates treason,
and for this purpose educates the Southern
mind, fires the Southern heart, until it is
brought forth full-fledged and armed with all
the malice and spleen which characterized
the old arch traitor in the first rebellion, to
wither and blast, if possible, with its' foul
breath, the fairest blossom of political liberty
that has ever shed its fragrance on our world!
Sir, will the good sense of the American
people—the people of Maryland—permit them
longer to foster in their midst a system,
whose uniform aggregated influence has been
to poison all the fountains, whence flow our
moral, social and political prosperity I May
Heaven grant that its tyrannical and de-
moralizing predominance maybe forever here-
after ignored.
A fourth reason why I am in favor of
emancipation in Maryland is :
Because slavery undermines and enervates
all those principles of public and individual
enterprise and self-reliance which lie at the
basis of all true political and material pros-
Our Southern children and youth are edu-
cated to ease and indolence. They are taught
to rely on the labor of hands other than their
own for their daily bread or their affluence.
Their minds are diverted from those channels
that lead to enterprise and usefulness. This
is the necessary result of slavery, on the one
hand, which prevents the necessity for white
labor; and of a slave aristocracy, on the
other hand, which stigmatizes the laboring
white man as a mudsill; and the consequence
is that the majority of the superior race in
our political hive are useless drones.
Where are the majority of your seminaries
of learning? Where are your great public
charities and enterprises? Where are your
mammoth mills and factories, giving employ-
ment to thousands of artizans, and passing
through their ingeniously contrived ma-
chinery their millions of property annually?
Where do the great and startling develop-
ments of science and art, and the vast majority
of the useful inventions of the age have their
origin? In the free North—educated in
literature—educated to free labor and self-re-
liance, and consequently fertile in all that
constitutes a people free, independent, pros-
perous and happy.
And just at this point, Mr. President, I ask
the attention of gentlemen to the following
facts and figures which are taken from census
reports, and which are designed to show the

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 555   View pdf image (33K)
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