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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 590   View pdf image (33K)
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590
myself to measure text by text with any man
that will maintain that the Gospel of Jesus
and the Revelation of God sustain slavery.
It is necessary, peculiarly in Maryland, to
abolish slavery, because the time has come in
the history of the State of Maryland in her
connection with the General Government
when she must decide, beyond peradventure,
on which side she will cast her lot. She must
either stand wavering between two, losing
force, losing weight, taking the evils of both
and none of the advantages of either, unless
she shall definitely and clearly decide upon
this the first occasion given her as to where
she will take her position. This article I think
will decide that her position forever is with the
North; that though every other Southern
State in the Union shall join with the South,
though every other State south of Mason and
Dixon's line shall go down into that seething
cauldron of secession, she shall go with the
North; she shall go where her honor leads,
where freedom flourishes and education reigns.
All that is good and pure of our whole sys-
tem of Government has taken up the response.
Hard as it may seem, upon the floor of this
Hall in Maryland, for gentlemen to call them-
selves American citizens, where epithets of
contempt are flipped at Massachusetts, flipped
at Rhode Island, flipped at men from New
Jersey and other States; do the gentlemen
know that without those States the country
of which they are so proud would have been
unknown? Do they know that taking out
those States the country of which they are so
proud would never have been beard of in the
progress of the world? Do they know that
all progress, all legislation, all education, all
the genius of mechanics and all the manufac-
tures of the country have come from that
quarter and that alone ?
Do gentlemen enjoy the unenviable results
of slavery? Maryland has always professed
to be bound in her connection with the
Southern States which firmly hold and sus-
tain slavery. The other States have left the
Union—so they say. Having dissevered them-
selves from Maryland, they have invaded her
soil; they have broken up her railroads; they
Lave taken away her citizens; they have made
war upon the State of Maryland, yet I halve
beard in this House not one single word of
objection to that course. Though I have
heard the Federal Government which de-
fended us maligned, I have not heard for the
government, whose army invaded us, one
word of censure. I do much fear me that,
slavery produces the effect that men want to
make conditions of their loyalty. I do much
fear me that their meaning is: We are loyal
if you touch not slavery. It seems to me that
if slavery were once out of the way, we should
all say that the man who is not prepared to
give up all that he has, or is, or hones to be
for this Union, is not what we should call a
good loyal man.
Slavery stands to-day before the bar of the
people of Maryland. She is impeached for
having driven all free migration to the other
States, because free men would not come here
to live in a slave State. She is impeached for
having stopped immigration, because she has
blighted our soil with her culture. She has
refused us education, because education would
make abolitionists; and finally, she is im-
peached with having brought on this country
the war in which we are now engaged. And
the verdict the people of Maryland give, first
in premonition through this Convention, and
then by the ruling voice of the people when
this Constitution shall be submilted to them,
will fix forever this much vexed question of
slavery; and a verdict will be rendered which
posterity for all time will appland. The smile
of the civilized world will be upon you; and
we may then hope that God will smile on both
State and nation.
I come now to the question of compensation
for slavery by the State. We are met with
many an assertion, apparently strong, that
can be brought home to every citizen. We
are told that we shall make many a child
poorer. We are told that the slaves them-
selves will be left destitute. Our sympathies
are strongly appealed to, as they have been
before. Beat, Mr. President, this is not a
question of sympathy. It is admitted that
always in all reforms the weak must go to the
wall. There never yet has been a reform of
any kind in which some have not suffered.
We are not here to determine the organic law
of this State by considering the few who may
lose property: for the property of the few is
but a little thing compared with the good of
the many. We do not allow ourselves to be
affected in the slightest degree by any appeals
to our sympathy, and we do not care to listen
to any tale of individual miseries that may
be inflicted. We have foreseen that, and have
come here determined to let them be inflicted.
This is no time for sympathy for the few who
lose their property when all around us are
mien with their lives ebbing away, Our sym-
pathies stretch there, and we have no time to
think of the few whose property is lost or
squandered. The loss of property is com-
paratively little in this war against the prin-
ciples of universal liberty, and it will have
no weight I hope in this Convention.
Slavery is a nuisance in the State of Mary-
land. and therefore we claim that it shall be
abolished. We pay no man for abating a
nuisance, and we will not pay for slavery.
Not one dollar, not one cent will we give.
Not a day will we give. We will immediately
emancipate; we will not compensate. The
voice of the people has said this before; and
I say it in the name of my constituency here
upon this floor. You may call it robbery ;
you may call it theft, or any other and milder
name that you please. Nevertheless the peo-
ple have so determined, If it is a satisfaction


 
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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 590   View pdf image (33K)
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