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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 890   View pdf image
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Affirmative—Messrs. Sellman, Howard, Buch-
anan, Bell, Welch, Chandler, Ridgely, Lloyd,
Sherwood, of Talbot, Colston, Constable, McCullough,
Miller, McLane, Bowie, Grason,
George, Wright, Shriver, Gaither, Biser, Annan,
Sappington, Stephenson, McHenry, Magraw,
Carter, Thawley, Stewart, of Caroline, Gwinn,
Stewart of Baltimore city, Sherwood of Baltimore
city, Ware, Harbine, Michael Newcomer,
Brewer, Anderson, Hollyday, Parke and Shower
Negative— Messrs. Morgan, Lee, Chambers, of
Kent, Donaldson, Wells, Randall, Weems, John
Dennis, Dashiell, Williams, Hicks, Hodson,
Goldsborough, Eccleston, Tuck, Sprigg, Spencer,
Dirickson, McMaster, Fooks, Jacobs and
So the motion was adopted.
Mr. JOHN DENNIS moved to reconsider the vote
of the Convention just taken on said Constitution.
MR. RIDGELY moved to lay the motion on the
And the question having been taken, it was
determined in the affirmative.
The Constitution was then signed by the Presi-
dent, and attested by the Secretary thereof, in the
presence of the Convention.
At half past 1 o'clock at night, Mr. HOWARD
moved the Convention adjourn sine die.
The PRESIDENT then arose and delivered the
following address.
Gentlemen of the Convention.
In proceeding to perform the last public act im-
posed upon me as the presiding officer of this body,
my own inclinations, sanctioned by the authority
of a time-honored custom, impel me to the utter-
ance of a few brief parting words.
Our labors are ended. The sands of our poli-
tical existence are well nigh run out. Its very
grains are numbered—the peaceful revolution
which brought us together terminates here, and
now; and we, the actors of this eventful scene,
are about to separate to our distant homes, some
of us to meet no more for ever.
It is meet and decorous that, in a time go
solemn, the tumult of the political elements should
be hushed for a moment—that we should breathe
in each others ears the accents of peace—and, in
the presence of God and our country, wipe
out from our hearts the memory of every em-
bittered feeling which may have found an abiding
place there.
Representatives of Maryland—christians—gentlemen
—I invite you to this common sacrifice on
a common altar!
The emphatic testimonial which you have
stamped upon my official course, has been received
by me with feelings of deep emotion.
The natural distrust which I felt of my own abil-
ity for this station, has been augmented in no
common degree by the difficulties attending the
peculiar organization of this body—difficulties,
which have confronted us at every step of our
progress, and the pressure of which has never for
an instant ceased to be felt. But I can say, under
a devout conviction of the truth of the decla-
ration, that in administering the duties of this
chair, I have been governed by a disinterested
and pure desire to secure the freedom of debate,
to protect the rights of individual members, and
to promote the public welfare; "my witness is in
Heaven, and my record is on high."
Gentlemen, when by your too partial suffrages,
I was elevated to this honorable position, I
avowed without reservation the doubts and mis-
givings which perplexed my judgment upon the
question of Constitutional reform. The maturest
reflection of which my mind was capable, had led
me to the conclusion that many of the reforms.
which had been demanded, were not required by
a sound regard for the public welfare, and that
even in relation to those as to the necessity and
expediency of which there might be less differ-
ence of opinion, the best and safest mode for
their accomplishment was that which in a wise
forethought, our ancestors had themselves pro-
vided by the fifty-ninth article of the old Consti-
tution, I did not believe in the necessity of a
resort to any of the forms of revolution to secure
a remedy for any grievances under which this
gallant old State of ours might be suffering. In
change, for the mere sake of gratifying a vague
and undefined love of change, I saw, or thought
I saw, nothing but present discomfiture and future
Entertaining these sentiments, I have witness-
ed with profound regret many of the features
which have been embodied in the Constitution
now aboat to pass from our hands. That some
changes, salutary, in my judgment, and there-
fore commanding my voice and my vote, have
been made, I freely admit. But these changes
are so few and light when weighed in the
balance against graver and more objectionable
features, that I have no alternative but to vote at
the ballot-box, as I should have voted here,
against the ratification of the instrument. This
I do in no factious spirit. If my own forebod-
ings should not be realized—if this Constitution
should be adopted by the people—if it should
strengthen our union—cement our interests—fos-
ter our industry—promote civil and religious
peace, and secure in a more eminent degree the
blessings of that great republican liberty for
which, in other times, the blood of our people
was poured out like rain, my "right hand shall
wither and my tongue shall cling to the roof of
my mouth" sooner than I will raise an impious
voice against it!
And now, gentlemen, we part, not, I trust,
without a deeper sympathy in each others desti-
nies, and a more devoted attachment to the com-
mon mother that gave us birth. She is worthy
of all our affections and all our sacrifices. Be-
hold her history! Preserve her honor! Strike
down the sacrilegious hand that would invade it !
And may that Almighty Being whose Providence
has signally protected her "in the dark watches
of the night," be with her in the noon-tide of
her returning prosperity, and may we, under the
shadow of His wing, illustrate the career of &
virtuous, united and happy people!
It remains for me, gentleman, to pronounce
this Convention adjourned without day.
The Convention then adjourned sine die.

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 890   View pdf image
 Jump to  

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