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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 611   View pdf image (33K)
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if the South are so ignorant, so many Presi-
dents have been elected from Virginia and
other Southern States? Now, we have never
denied that there are as well educated and as
intelligent men in the Southern States as
anywhere else. But the objection is that the
masses are not educated; the few are educa-
ted, but the great mass of the people are left
and kept in ignorance, with the view to
perpetuate that state of things, and keep the
reins of power in their own hands, thus
frown down everything like free schools,
everything that looks to the education of the
The gentleman from St. Mary's (Mr. Bil-
lingsley) said this morning that they bad no
prejudices against poor men in St. Mary's. I
was very glad to hear that. He said they liked
them just as well as they did rich men, that
they even helped to educate them. Well, I
do not think they ever have sent many of
those they have educated either here or to
Congress, And he gave another very flatter-
ing and very gratifying exhibit of the state
of things in St. Mary's; and that was that
they were the most moral, and the purest,
and the best educated men in any section of the
country. He said that they had academies there
and patronized them; and as a proof of the
gentleman's appreciation of those advantages,
he said that he himself never knew much
Greek, and had forgotten the little he had
known, [Laughter.]
Mr. BELT. St. Mary's was the only county
that filled the quota of the President's call
without being subjected to a draft.
Mr. SCOTT. That is very creditable; and
shows the advantage of having a large black
population. ,
Mr. BELT. That is just exactly what we
Mr. SCOTT. There is not a workshop in
New England, where there could not be
found among those who work over the anvil
ten hours a day, men just as well educated
as the majority of the men who have these
academic advantages in St. Mary's, or any
other county in the State. Elihu Burritt),
who worked ten hours a day over his anvil,
knew more languages than all the slave-
holders in Maryland put together; and be
never has forgotten his Greek. [Laughter.]
The gentleman from St. Mary's says there
was one lesson which they teach their poor
young men, and I have no doubt they im-
press it upon them with a great deal of force.
He did not just say it was to mind their own
business, but that was evidently what he
meant. He said they teach them that they
cannot be politically dishonest and personally
honest. The meaning of which is, in his
mind, that they could not vote for the aboli-
tion of slavery and be honest. That is
about what be meant, I think.
Mr. BILLINGSLEY. I spoke of political
leaders, who advocate measures for party
purposes, and to bolster up political dema-
gogues. That is the sense in which I used it.
Mr. SCOTT, The gentleman was speaking
of the advice which be says he gave to
poor men. He said he advised them not
to indulge in the intoxicating bowl; not to
engage in games of chance—I do not know
how they pursue those things there, whether
they are much addicted to it or not; and
immediately in connection with that he said
he advised them that if they were politically
dishonest, they could not be personally
honest. And I judge from that that he
meant it as a sort of wholesome lesson not to
engage in this abolition scheme, for it would
make them dishonest.
And the gentleman drew a doleful picture
of the hardship of emancipation upon those
who happen to have their inheritance in
slaves. Now, that is no fault of ours. I
could draw some doleful pictures myself of
the state of things in this country; but I do
not want to hold them responsible for it. If
a parent bequeathed a part of his property to
his children in slaves, that is their misfor-
tune, not our fault. If he had left it to them
in ships, and they had been destroyed by the
rebel pirates, that would have been equally
a misfortune, for which we would not be ac-
Mr. BILLINGSLEY. Will the gentleman per-
mit me a moment to explain?
Mr. SCOTT. Certainly.
Mr. BILLINGSLEY. I really do not wish the
idea to go abroad that I ever advanced any
such opinion. I am speaking of the action
of this Constitutional Convention. You do
not legislate for ships, unless in the way of
taking out an insurance, I am speaking of
the action of this Constitutional Convention,
by which an inequality is effected in the pro-
perty of individuals, from the fact that in
the division of the patrimonial estate certain
parties have taken the personal property,
and the other parties have taken the real es-
tate. And if by the action of this Conven-
tion you liberate the slaves, you make the
fortunes of the parties unequal.
Mr. SCOTT. And, Mr. President, how does
that compare with the declaration made im-
mediately afterwards, that their slave pro-
perty is now worthless ?
Mr. BILLINGSLEY. I said we looked to the
General Government for remuneration.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, that does not affect us.
The gentleman emphatically said imme-
diately afterwards that slavery was dead in
Maryland, that slave property was valueless,
and then he sets up a claim for compensa-
tion - not against the Government of the
.United States: for we have no objection at
all to his going there; he may go to the Queen
of England, if he chooses, for compensation,
if he can make any claim there. But he said
that he set up a claim against the State of
Maryland, for the depreciation in the value

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 611   View pdf image (33K)
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