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The Southern States of America
The History of Maryland - Chapter II


MARYLAND FROM 1776 TO 1868.

Steps to the Revolution.

In the first colonial period of Maryland's history, the absence of towns, the comparative isolation and the almost boundless personal freedom of the planters checked the growth of political consciousness among the people. What political questions arose they left to be handled by their delegates at the capital, not troubling themselves much about them beyond a feeling that whatever seemed to run counter to the views of the Governor and Council was to be approved on general principles. But in the second period, and especially after the restoration of the Proprietary government, there was a great change. This was the time of a continued struggle for popular liberty; and the people understood that it was something more than a wrangle between the two Houses.

The Palatinate government of Maryland was peculiar. The Proprietary was invested with royal powers, yet the people were liegemen of the King of England. The charter, after carefully defining the rights and privileges that it conferred, in an apparent superabundance of liberality, added a clause declaring that the colonists should enjoy all the rights, liberties and franchises of the people of England. A double standard was thus set up : a measure clearly within the scope of the charter might be combated on the ground that it infringed British liberties.

As the province prospered and the planters increased in wealth, they reached out toward higher standards of living. For one thing, they began to send their sons to England, there to acquire a higher and broader culture than could be had at home. As the impression prevailed that, next to the owning of land, the law was the only calling for a gentleman, and as, moreover, Marylanders were notably litigious, nearly all these youths studied the law. But the legal conditions of Maryland being peculiar, it was not enough for them to cram their notebooks with judges' decisions under statutes that had no validity in the province; they had to study constitutional law, the foundations of English liberty and the relations of government to the people. Thus there arose a body of constitutional lawyers, some of great intelligence and ability, whose views and arguments, disseminated by the press, were eagerly read by the people, who thus acquired a political education.

At the opening of a series of events which was to draw Maryland into the current of world-politics, and make her an active force in a movement which was destined to change the map of the world and profoundly affect the destinies of a large part of the human race, it was fortunate that she numbered among her leaders men of unsurpassed wisdom, intelligence and patriotism, not to be turned from the course that they believed right by fear of consequences or by popular clamor. While there were many hot-heads ready to precipitate revolution, conservative feeling was still strong in the province. For generations Marylanders had been taught that the British constitutional monarchy was the perfection of human government. Under Proprietary rule it was to England that the people looked, as to a wise and beneficent parent, for the redress of their real or supposed grievances. Even the late harsh measures of that government, while they irritated, had not alienated them: they ascribed them to a malignant ministry who had misled a good and well-meaning king. The last two governors had been able and just men; and Governor Eden had especially endeared himself by his sincere good will and amiable disposition; so that the leading men, while opposing measures which he felt it his duty to take, still held him in affectionate regard. Eden, naturally, could not look with unfriendly eyes upon men with whom he was on such cordial terms, and who carefully avoided language that could wound him; and thus he cherished a natural illusion that the hostile feeling was confined to a few hot-heads and demagogues, and that the men of standing and intelligence were firmly loyal. These views he impressed upon the British ministry; and even when hostilities had broken out, he advised that, if possible, nothing should be done in Maryland to exasperate the people and weaken the influence of the better sort. Thus, in the early part of the war, Maryland was treated as a loyal province, and even the malignant Dunmore's hands were tied. Prizes taken by British vessels in the Bay were released, and the captain of a cruiser sent a polite note to the governor asking for fresh provisions and permission to capture a New England vessel in the Severn, and was much astonished when given to understand by the Council of Safety that it was not to be thought of.

Maryland an Independent State.

Maryland, therefore, entered into the War of Independence, urged by no spirit of vengeance and smarting under no sense of personal wrong, but because she was convinced that the liberties of the American people were at stake, and that in no other way could they be maintained.

The convention had been constituted to see to the enforcement of the non-importation agreement, and to guard against invasions of the people's liberties.

Its powers gradually widened, and in 1775 it took the government into its own hands. It sent delegates to the Continental Congress, but forbade them to concur in a declaration of independence until it was plain that no other course was possible. On June 28, 1776, this restriction was removed. On July 3 the convention issued The Declaration of Independence of the Freemen of Maryland, setting forth in simple, manly words, with no pompous verbiage, the wrongs of which they complained, and renouncing allegiance to the King of Great Britain. On August 2 the Maryland delegates to the Congress, Chase, Paca, Stone and Carroll, signed the engrossed copy of the Declaration adopted by Congress.

The convention had always recognized its merely provisional character; and now, the Proprietary government having been swept away and Maryland having arisen a free, sovereign and independent state, it proceeded to put the capstone to its labors by framing a Bill of Rights and a constitution for submission to the people. The elections were held in November and December, 1776, and the state government met in the following March, with Thomas Johnson as governor. The convention having wound up its business, dissolved itself by simple adjournment, thus terminating the existence of one of the most remarkable political bodies in history. It was distinctly revolutionary in its origin; its powers were undefined and practically unlimited; yet all its proceedings were characterized by wisdom, conservatism and moderation. Neither successes nor mishaps, neither the passionate appeals of the loyalists nor the blind clamor of the multitude ever moved it from its path.

The state constitution provided for a governor and an Assembly of two chambers, all elective, and an appointed judiciary. The members of the Lower House, four from each of the nineteen counties and two from each of the two cities, Annapolis and Baltimore, were to be elected directly by the people. The fifteen senators were to be chosen by an electoral college, and the governor by joint ballot of the two Houses. The Senate was restricted to legislative duties, and provision was made for a Council, chosen by joint ballot, to act as advisers to the governor. Under the colonial government the governor and council were the Upper House, but now the executive and legislative departments were entirely distinct.
This constitution still shows traces of distrust in the judgment of the people, and the old idea that popular wishes had better pass through aristocratic minds before being realized in action. But the aristocracy was not that of birth or wealth, but of intellectual leadership.

At the very outbreak of the war, Maryland entered into it with zeal, furnished men, officers and supplies to the Continental army, and strained every nerve to meet the constant demands of Congress. But though represented in Congress, she acted in the war as an ally only. She steadily refused to enter the Confederation, not for private reasons, but in the interest of all the states. Her attitude in this important matter requires some explanation.

Maryland's Part in Forming the United States.

When Virginia declared her independence and formed her state constitution, she claimed as rightfully hers all the land included in the charter of 1609, namely, a tract extending two hundred miles north and two hundred south of Point Comfort, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Even conceding, as she did, that this claim was modified by the treaty of Paris, which made the Mississippi the western boundary of the British possessions, Virginia's territory would be several times as extensive as that of all the other states put together. But she expressed her willingness to "cede" to the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina the lands covered by their respective charters. But as the charter of 1609 had been revoked by due process of law in 1624, and no claim made under it for a hundred and fifty years, this extraordinary claim might very well have waited for settlement until the issue of the war was decided, but for a matter which made it of immediate importance.

To induce soldiers to enlist, Congress had offered bounties in land - a hundred acres to each private and larger grants to officers. But where were these lands to be procured? The United States had no lands held in common. Before the Confederation had been formed, Maryland had proposed to Congress that the vast unsettled western territory should be held as the common property of all the states, but this proposition was rejected. Now Virginia, if her claim were allowed, had an inexhaustible stock of the most desirable land in America to draw upon, while other states had little or none. Hence she could draw to herself men willing to enlist, and other settlers, by liberal grants of land at no cost to her treasury, while the less fortunate states must buy from her lands which, if won at all, would be won by the blood and treasure of all. By selling these vast unsettled, unmapped and unexplored lands at the most moderate price, Virginia would have an unlimited source of revenue and could dispense with taxation, and thus attracting all immigrants would grow to a giant state, greater than all the others combined-a central orb to which the others would be insignificant satellites. Both justice and the public welfare protested against such a claim, and Maryland steadily refused to enter the Confederation until the matter was placed on an equitable basis. Her arguments carried weight: New York and Connecticut-which both had "back lands" - approved the cession of the land to Congress, and at last Virginia yielded, but with certain restrictions. The Maryland idea that these Western lands should be a public domain, eventually to be organized into sovereign and independent states, finally prevailed; this momentous question was settled on a basis of equity, and on March 1, 1781, Maryland entered the Confederation as the thirteenth state.

Maryland's Part in Revolutionary War.

Though down to this time she had been but an ally, no state had shown more zeal in the prosecution of the war. Though no considerable battles were fought on Maryland's soil, the Maryland Line, as her troops in the Continental service were called, were conspicuous in both the Northern and Southern campaigns. To recount their deeds would be to write the history of the war, and but a few actions can be mentioned.

At the battle of Long Island, Aug. 27, 1776, the American forces were defeated and scattered by the overwhelming force of the enemy, who had turned their flank and was closing in around them. Their capture was certain unless the British could be held in check while the remains of the American force could escape through the marshes; and for this desperate service General Stirling chose the Maryland regiment, then commanded by Major Gist. Though the enemy outnumbered them five to one, this devoted band charged them again and again until they had lost two hundred and fifty-nine out of about four hundred that went into action, when, no retreat being possible, they surrendered, having saved the American army.

In the disastrous affair at Camden, South Carolina, on Aug. 16, 1780, Gist's brigade bore the brunt of the battle. At the Cowpens, on Jan. 11, 1781, the British force under Tarleton had forced back, after a stubborn resistance, the first line of the Americans, who retired upon the second line, composed of Marylanders under Col. John Eager Howard, with some Virginia militia and Georgia riflemen. This line stood like a rock and even pressed back the enemy, when Tarleton ordered up his reserve, extending his line so as to threaten Howard's right flank, which was also threatened by a body of cavalry. Howard ordered his right company to change front to meet this flank attack; but the men, misunderstanding the order, moved slowly off to the rear. General Morgan, thinking that they were retreating, rushed up to Howard, who called his attention to the steady deliberation of the movement. The British, confident that the day was theirs, were rushing on with triumphant shouts, when Howard suddenly halted his men, faced them about, and they delivered a deadly fire of musketry in the very faces of their pursuers, who, taken by surprise, halted and recoiled, when Howard's men charged them with the bayonet and they broke and fled. The Marylanders then turned to the right where the combat was still raging, and delivered one fierce charge upon which the enemy surrendered. At the battles of Guilford Courthouse, March 15, 1781, and at Eutaw Springs, September 8, the Maryland Line played a distinguished part. In the latter engagement the British, though technically victorious, in that they held the field, were really defeated, for they were compelled to retreat in haste to Charleston, destroying their stores and abandoning their wounded. In this battle Colonel Howard received a wound which disabled him for the rest of the war.

Maryland's Condition at Close of Revolutionary War.

The Treaty of Paris, June 20, 1783, formally ended the war, which had been virtually ended by the surrender of Cornwallis on Oct. 19, 1781; and in November, Congress, by invitation of the Maryland legislature, met in Annapolis, and there, on December 23, in the Senate chamber of the State House, Washington resigned his commission.

Although Maryland had been spared the devastations of hostile armies, yet the war had been a sore burden upon her. She had strained every nerve to furnish not only men, but supplies to the Continental army, and at the end of the war found herself loaded down with debt, while in addition she had to shoulder her part of the debt of the United States, then tottering on the verge of bankruptcy. The usual palliative, the issuance of bills of credit, had had the inevitable result: the paper money had lost nearly all purchasing power. But apart from direct taxation, the state had two assets: the bank stock held in England and the confiscated lands.

The former was a large fund accumulated in colonial times and invested in Bank of England stock, which was held by trustees. As this fund had been deposited in time of peace and bore no relation to any hostile measures, it was thought that, since peace had returned, the state would have no difficulty in recovering it. But the trustees, acting under legal advice, refused to honor drafts upon it, and for the time being it was sequestered, though part of it was eventually paid.

Then there were the confiscated lands. In 1780 a law was passed confiscating the landed property of loyalists who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the state, including, of course, the ungranted lands of Henry Harford, the last Proprietary. But the state did not assume the position of the Proprietary
or the Crown as sovereign landlord; it abolished all quit-rents, and the original freeholds became allodial.

The Tories gave much trouble throughout the war, and several conspiracies were sharply put down. But there were also among them men who were no conspirators, but some of the best inhabitants of the state. Looking at the matter now calmly, we can see that the Loyalists may have been as patriotic, in the sense of wishing well to the country, as their opponents. They believed that the British constitutional monarchy was the best government upon earth, and they thought it little less than madness to sever the ancient ties and embark on the unknown sea of democracy because an arrogant ministry and a purblind Parliament had passed a distasteful measure. They could not conceive but that the disciplined force of Great Britain must be victorious over raw colonials; and the miseries of war seemed to them too heavy a price to pay for an abstract principle and a more than doubtful issue. But speculative views had to yield to the logic of circumstances; and the Loyalists had to choose between swearing allegiance to the state or leaving it and forfeiting their lands.

But Maryland's richest assets were her soil, her climate, her waters and her energetic inhabitants. With peace, prosperity began to grow. Immigrants flocked to her lands, especially the rich lands of the Piedmont region. Commerce, which had been hampered by the Acts of Navigation, and manufactures, which had been repressed by British jealousy, now made rapid strides. Better facilities of transportation became necessary, and roads and canals were planned and in part constructed. Shipbuilding throve with commerce, for the European war following the French Revolution produced a demand for American goods, and these were now carried in American vessels. The Baltimore "clippers," vessels built on the lines of the swift Bay craft, became familiar in every port in Europe, and maintained their reputation for three-quarters of a century.

James Rumsey.

The idea which was finally to supersede them and to revolutionize the navigation of the world had its birth in a Maryland brain. James Rumsey, born about 1742 in Cecil county, who had shown much fertility of invention in engineering and mechanics, conceived the notion of propelling vessels by steam power. His first idea, which may have been suggested by the curious locomotion of the squids and cattle-fishes, was to drive his boat by a jet of water drawn in at the bow by a steam pump and forcibly ejected at the stern. With a boat of this kind he made a public experimental test on the Potomac in 1786, which was considered successful, the boat having been driven against the current at the rate of five miles an hour. There being no suitable machine shops in Maryland, Rumsey went to England to improve his device, on which he was still engaged when he died by apoplexy in 1792. As his plans have not been preserved, we cannot say whether he adhered to or departed from his original principle.

Maryland's Part in the Formation of the United States Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation, which worked moderately well while all interests had to be subordinated to the exigencies of war, proved unsatisfactory in times of peace, and steps were taken to amend them. Into the history of the Constitution of 1787, and the struggle of opposing interests of which it was the outcome, it is not necessary to enter. But it is not amiss to recall the fact that Luther Martin, the able attorney-general, withdrew from the convention, and with almost prophetic vision laid before the legislature the dangers lurking in the provisions of the compact. He pointed out that the Federal government, impatient of its restraints, would tend to enlarge its own powers by construction until the creature became the master of its creators; that a power given for the purpose of providing a Federal revenue would be extended to a control of all commerce and traffic; that the newly invented crime of "treason against the United States" might be stretched to include anyone whom the Federal government was pleased to consider an enemy, and might make men traitors to their own states; that the inequality of representation would destroy the equality of the states, and that in practice the smaller states would be overridden by the larger-predictions which have since been fulfilled to the letter. Nor was Martin the only member gifted with prevision; Patrick Henry, Pinckney, Mason, Williamson and Grayson all foresaw the inevitable results, and uttered unavailing warnings. The Tenth amendment, which it was fondly hoped would check Federal aggrandisement, has proved about as efficacious as a line drawn on the sand to stop the advancing tide, or a notice of "No admittance" to a burglar.

But the constitution was probably the best compromise that could have been accepted; and after all, the best constitutions have value only so long as men recognize the sanctity of solemnly plighted faith. Maryland, not without misgivings, ratified it on April 28, 1788.

In 1791 Maryland and Virginia ceded to the United States, for a permanent seat of government, a district ten miles square, lying on both sides of the Potomac. The public buildings were all to be erected on the Maryland side. In 1846 the part to the south of the Potomac was retroceded to Virginia.

Maryland's Part in the War of 1812.

The war of the Revolution had left bitter feelings on both sides of the Atlantic, and several things combined to exasperate animosity. England was at war with France, the friend of America, and American privateers, sailing under letters of marque issued by French consuls, had wrought havoc with British commerce; American ships, as neutrals, carried on the trade of both belligerents, and it was peculiarly galling to England to see the products of her colonies carried thus to hostile ports. The British government ordered the capture of ships so employed, and Congress retaliated by restricting trade with Great Britain. The counter-stroke to this was the Order in Council, declaring the whole coast of Europe in a state of blockade, to which Napoleon replied by his Milan decree, confiscating all neutral vessels that carried British goods, had touched at British ports, or even been searched by British cruisers; so that, between the hammer and the anvil, American commerce was crushed out of existence.

Still more irritating was the alleged right of search. England was desperately in want of seamen for her navy, and claimed the right to overhaul American ships on the high seas and take from them British deserters. The captains, of course, recognized a deserter in any able-bodied man, clapped him in irons and carried him off despite all protests and proofs. A storm of indignation arose. One case was peculiarly flagrant : three deserters from a British ship lying off Annapolis had enlisted on board the American frigate Chesapeake, Commodore Barron. Their return was demanded, but the men proved that they were American citizens who had been forcibly impressed, and the demand was refused. When the Chesapeake sailed she was brought to off the Capes by the British frigate Leopard, whose commander not only demanded the men, but also claimed the right to search for other deserters, and on Barron's refusal, opened fire, killing and wounding twenty-nine men. The Chesapeake was entirely unprepared for action, and Barron surrendered. This attack on a ship of the navy, in time of peace, filled the cup of exasperation to overflowing, and war was declared on June 18, 1812.

The incidents of that war, except so far as they concerned Maryland, need not be detailed here.

At the beginning of the Revolution, Maryland, as has been shown, was treated with great leniency, but now she was marked out for special vengeance. Most of the swift privateers that had preyed on British commerce had sailed from the Chesapeake, and Baltimore in particular, was regarded as a nest of pirates to be destroyed without mercy.

Maryland was quite aware of this, and began organizing her militia and getting ready for defense. As it was the constitutional duty of Congress to assist in repelling invasions, she imagined that she might rely on Federal aid if her own force was insufficient. In 1813 this was to be tested. Admiral Cockburn with a British fleet sailed up the Bay, ravaging both shores; and as there was little doubt that Baltimore was the objective point, the Federal government was appealed to for aid. It turned a deaf ear; New York and Virginia had more votes in Congress, and to them aid was sent, while Maryland was left to shift for herself. Luther Martin had proved a true prophet in this instance, and others were to come.

Baltimore, however, undismayed, set about her preparations for defense, while Cockburn was plundering farms and villages, not always with impunity. The Navy department at last roused itself to the extent of placing a small flotilla of gunboats for coast defense under the command of Capt. Joshua Barney, an old soldier of the Revolution. These boats could take refuge in shallow waters; so Cockburn fitted out a fleet of barges which encountered Barney in Battle Creek, Calvert county, but were driven off with loss. But while the admiral was burning farmhouses and carrying off pigs and chickens, he was waiting for a reinforcement of Wellington's Peninsula veterans, who arrived in August, 1814, under the command of General Ross. The plan now was to strike a blow at Washington and then attend to Baltimore.

As the enemy's troops could now be brought by way of the Potomac and Patuxent within easy striking distance of the capital, the Federal government awoke from its comatose condition long enough to entrust the defense to General Winder, of Baltimore, a capable officer, and this done, relapsed into lethargy, ignoring all Winder's appeals for calling out the militia and strengthening the strategic points.

Cockburn sent his transports up the Patuxent, and Barney, whose flotilla was in that river, disembarked his men, burned his boats and marched to Bladensburg, within six miles of Washington, where a force of Maryland and Virginia militia had prepared to make a stand, to whom he brought the aid of his men and a small battery of two guns. Here, on August 24, Ross made his attack. The defense at first was spirited, Barney's battery in particular rendering admirable service, but the steady onset of the British veterans proved irresistible, and the Americans broke and fled. Barney's battery held its own until its gallant commander was struck down by a musket-ball. He was taken prisoner by the British, but immediately paroled by General Ross. Winder, with what men he could rally, set out for Baltimore, and Ross entered Washington and burned the capitol and public buildings.

Baltimore knew that now her time had come, and began to make ready, the defense being entrusted to Generals Smith, Winder and Stricker. All citizens turned out to construct a line of earthworks to the east of the city, while to resist the attack by water they strengthened Fort McHenry at the mouth of the channel with several small batteries, and sank vessels in the channel itself. On Sunday, Sept. 11, 1814, about nine thousand British troops under Ross disembarked at North Point, about fourteen miles southeast of Baltimore, and took up their line of march the next morning. General Stricker led out a force along the Philadelphia road to reconnoitre, and on news of the enemy's approach formed a line of battle across the road. A small scouting party, including a few riflemen, was sent ahead, who suddenly encountered the British advance and a sharp skirmish followed. Ross, thinking from the firing that the Americans might be in greater force than he had supposed, rode to the front to see the situation, and was mortally wounded by a shot from the woods which lined the road. Colonel Brooke, the second in command, resumed the march, and Stricker fell back to a position near the city. This was the battle of North Point, in itself an insignificant skirmish, but important in that it replaced the able and daring Ross by the cautious and somewhat pedantic Brooke.

On the next morning Brooke examined the defenses of the city, and finding them stronger than he had expected, determined to postpone the attack until he had the co-operation of the fleet, which was to bombard the city from the south while he stormed the earthworks on the east.

But a hitch occurred in these arrangements. On Tuesday morning fifteen vessels, including five bomb-ketches, arrived within about two miles of Fort McHenry and opened a bombardment to which the Fort made no reply, as its guns could not carry that distance; but all attempts to pass or to take it in the rear were repelled by a destructive fire. All that Tuesday night Baltimoreans listened to the bursting shells, yet still more afraid of a cessation of firing which would announce the surrender of the fort and the doom of the city. But Wednesday's sun saw the flag still flying; and in a few minutes the fleet drew off and the naval attack was abandoned. Brooke, on learning of the failure of the fleet, withdrew his land force, and Baltimore had seen for the first and last time the face of a foreign enemy.

Just before the bombardment, Francis Scott Key, a young lawyer of Frederick, had gone with a flag of truce on board Admiral Cochrane's ship in the endeavor to procure the release of a captured friend. He was received with courtesy, but detained on board his own vessel until the attack was over, and there all night he watched the bombardment. When morning showed the flag still flying and the baffled fleet drawing off, his joy found expression in a song - "The Star-spangled Banner."

The war now dwindled to attacks on property; plundering raids on the one side and the ceaseless activity of privateers on the other, - until ended by the Treaty of Ghent, Dec. 24, 1814.

Growth of Industries, 1815-1860.

Peace being restored, a great expansion of industry began. Commerce and manufactures flourished, and population grew. The mineral riches of the state, especially coal and iron, began to be utilized. Baltimore, the centre of industry, rapidly increased, and was now the third city of the United States. Tobacco, so long the staple product of Maryland, was far outstripped by corn and the cereals, and Baltimore became the first flour market of the world. Marylanders were keenly alive to the importance of the growing west, and were determined to strain every nerve to make Baltimore the Atlantic outlet of the western trade, and a canal was planned to connect the Chesapeake and the Ohio. But what especially impressed the popular imagination was the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway in England. Such a road from Baltimore to the Ohio was planned, the stock eagerly subscribed, and the first stone was laid, with imposing ceremonies, on July 4, 1828, by the venerable Charles Carroll, then over ninety years of age and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. The cars were at first drawn by horses, but in 1830 steam locomotives of a very primitive pattern were introduced.

The natural advantages of Baltimore as a commercial and manufacturing centre were early recognized. Placed in a mild climate, at the junction of the Piedmont plateau and the Coastal plain, near the head of the Chesapeake Bay, where the estuary of the Patapsco forms a safe and capacious harbor where vessels of all sizes can load and discharge in the city itself, she occupies an almost ideal site for a great commercial city. The great Bay, two hundred miles in length and indented with rivers and estuaries, furnishes alone, from the products of land and water, an extensive trade. The natural routes of trade from the west and southwest converge to her. The men of 1824 were awake to these advantages.

Throughout the War of Independence Maryland's confidence in Washington had been unbounded and her devotion ardent, and the men of this time determined to perpetuate-not his glory, but their devotion to his memory in some worthy memorial. A majestic monument of white marble was determined on. A beautiful site in Baltimore was given by Col. John Eager Howard, and the monument, crowned by a colossal statue of Washington in the act of surrendering his commission, was completed in 1830.

Slavery in Maryland.

Some of the energies that had been engaged in the Revolutionary War, when deprived, by its close, of an external field of activity, found employment in the domestic field of politics. The undying issue of freedom against restraint is always with us, and as there was no longer a Proprietary government or a British ministry to oppose, one-half the people set itself in opposition to the other. This divergence showed itself in the making of the Federal constitution, where the party which desired a strong centralized Federal government was opposed to the party which desired the utmost freedom compatible with order. There were also more concrete antagonisms - the Northern states were largely commercial and manufacturing, and the Southern states agricultural. Well in the background, as yet, lay the question of slavery. This existed in all the states, but at the North the number of slaves was insignificant, while all the industries of the South rested upon slave labor. The disparity of interests came out in the apportionment of Federal representation on the basis of population, the North contending that the slave was property and not to be counted as a person, while the South maintained that he was a person and a producer. It ended in a compromise, illogical, as compromises usually are-the slave population was to be reckoned at only three-fifths of its actual numbers.

The importation of negro slaves into Maryland began at a very early period. They were found very useful as farm laborers, but they were not brought in in any considerable numbers until after the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which put the African slave trade into English hands. As the very lucrative trade with Africa depended upon a market for the slaves, they were forced upon the southern colonies. These began to look with apprehension on the influx of negroes, whose number in Maryland had risen to 50,000 by 1761; but all efforts to restrict their importation were frustrated by England. Their natural increase, also, was more rapid than that of the whites, and there would have been grounds for the gravest alarm but for their peaceful and inoffensive disposition. Crimes of violence were unknown among them, and as for their ineradicable propensity to pilfering, that was accepted as a part of their nature.

Political Parties.

So slavery in itself was not at that time a political question. But the great fundamental issue which, in the Thirteenth century, assembled men at Runnymede, in the Seventeenth signed the Petition of Right, and in the Eighteenth the Declaration of Independence, still remained alive. It presented itself in various concrete forms such as the Tariff, Internal Improvements, the Bank of the United States; but whatever form it assumed, it was always fundamentally the same, the increase of the powers of government at the expense of the liberties of the people. In this country, owing to our complex form of a union of free states, each state being the people as an organized political unit, and the people of the United States as such having no political existence, it took the shape of an issue between the Federal government and the states.

These two antagonistic principles were embodied in two parties: the Federalists (afterwards Whigs) and the Democrats. They were great and legitimate parties, each favoring a policy which professed to be for the good of all, and not for that of a part. Consequently there were many Whigs at the South and Democrats at the North, and there was no sectional cleavage, though there was, and always had been, a consciousness of opposing interests.

In Maryland the parties were pretty equally balanced, and elections often turned on the personal popularity of the candidates. From 1788 to 1801, Federalist governors were elected; from 1801 to 1811, Democratic; from 1811 to 1818, Federalist, and from 1818 to 1833, Democratic. These alternations, however, cannot be taken as exactly recording changes of public sentiment, as these governors were elected by the Assembly.

State Convention, 1837.

In 1837 the state constitution was reformed; the State Council, a relic of Proprietary rule, abolished, and provision made for electing the governor and state senators by popular vote.

Work of George Peabody.

The whole country had entered ardently upon a period of commercial expansion, and perhaps no state more recklessly than Maryland. Railroads and canals on a gigantic scale were planned, and the credit of the state pledged for vast sums, largely loans effected in Europe, the mere interest on which was a staggering load to carry. The collapse of the Bank of the United States, showing the pernicious nature of a scheme which placed the credit and prosperity of the whole country in the hands of a few men, came as a terrible blow to Maryland. Universal bankruptcy seemed imminent. Maryland struggled for five years under her burden of debt, and in 1842 found herself unable to pay the interest due her creditors. Then it was that George Peabody, a wealthy banker of London, but once a citizen of Maryland, rendered the state a service which entitles his memory to lasting gratitude. By the influence of his high character, even more than his wealth, he succeeded in restoring confidence in the good faith of the state. Governor Pratt impressed upon the people the duty of maintaining the public credit at all costs, and prevailed on the legislature to impose, and the citizens to submit to, a heavy rate of taxation. With this and with rigid economy, arrears of interest were paid off and regular payments resumed. For his great services which saved the honor of the state, Mr. Peabody refused to accept any compensation.

Slavery a Political Issue.

In politics apparently new issues kept arising, but it was as in a kaleidoscope where the same pieces are arranged in new figures. As the powers delegated to the Federal government were strictly defined and limited by the constitution, those who desired to enlarge them relied upon "implied powers" and a "liberal construction." If the giant could not be let loose at once, his chain might be gradually slackened and weakened. The Democrats maintained that the only safety lay in a strict construction. This war might have been waged at the ballot-box for many years had not a question arisen which properly had nothing to do with Federal politics, but which was adroitly used to convert friends into foes and dissentience into hate.

The abstract question whether negro slavery is in itself right or wrong need not occupy us here. Whoever knows the negro race knows that if they coexist in considerable numbers with the whites, they must be held under firm control, or the ruin of both will result. During the colonial period, and for more than half a century of the republic, nobody doubted this. In 1776 slavery existed in all the thirteen states. But while the consensus was universal as to the status of negroes born in servitude, there were differences of opinion as to the importation of slaves. This Maryland, in colonial times, had vainly tried to check, as has been shown.

Whether the negroes were worse or better off as slaves to white Christians than they had been as slaves to black savages is a matter of no consequence ; it was certainly a pernicious system that was pouring into the country an inferior and unassimilable race, naturally incapable of progress. This was so apparent that all the states abolished the slave trade in 1808. But there remained another cause of anxiety ; under slavery the blacks multiplied so rapidly as to give rise to grave apprehensions. In Maryland, from 36,000 in 1748 they rose to nearly 50,000 in 1761. In 1790 they were 34 per cent. of the population, and 38 per cent. in 1810. This was the highwater mark, after which the ratio steadily declined, and now (1908) it is only 19 per cent.

As there were many slaves at the South and few or none at the North, this marked a distinction between the sections, but it bore no relation to the antagonistic interests. It mattered nothing to the North with what kind of labor the cotton was grown that fed her mills and paid for her products, any more than it mattered to the South whether the fishermen of Nantucket or the shoemakers of Lynn were white or black.

But another question came in : the Whig, or old Federalist party, could not hope to fix itself immovably in power unless it could unite the whole North against the South. The slavery question seemed to offer them the means of doing this.

As early as 1789 there had been a society formed, having as its object the gradual emancipation of the slaves; but as this would only change their status without lessening their numbers, it met with but little favor. A more rational idea was that of colonization in Africa, and a colony for manumitted slaves was founded by Marylanders in 1821. Great hopes were entertained of this colony, but it was found that few were willing to go and fewer still to stay; and those who did stay, removed from the restraints and influence of white society, retrograded toward their natural level.

A number of persons who advocated the abolition of slavery by law, let the consequences be what they might, attempted to form a political party in 1839, and in speeches and through the press uttered fiery denunciations of a state of things of which they had no knowledge, and depicted horrors which existed only in imagination. But they soon found out that a political party cannot be founded on disinterested philanthropy, nor could they persuade the Northern people that they had anything to gain by ruining their best customer. Naturally, the party that wanted an issue and the issue that wanted a party were drawn together by irresistible attraction. The party whose aim was to secure perpetual supremacy for the North saw what use could be made of this question by assuming high moral grounds and appealing to men's passions. The former Federalists, now Whigs, assimilated the Abolitionists and became the Republican party. But still the South could not believe that these violent threats and denunciations reflected any general sentiment of the Northern people.

The attempt of John Brown in 1859, at Harper's Ferry, to arouse and arm the negroes against the whites was like a flash of lightning in the night, revealing the whole situation. For Brown was not a half-crazed fanatic, nor was his plan merely to liberate a handful of negroes. He and his supporters believed that the blacks throughout the whole South could be roused to revolt if they had a daring leader, and that it only needed to strike a blow to start another massacre of Santo Domingo. And when the press, the pulpit and the rostrum at the North rang with praises for the attempt and lamentations over its failure, it was natural to conclude that its success would have been hailed with general joy.

The position of Maryland at this time was very painful. Her people were devoted to the constitution and the Union. She was a part of the South, but had many close ties with the North. There was hardly an advocate of secession within her borders, and even later, when it was seen that the secession of some of the states was inevitable, none but the unthinking desired that Maryland should secede. It was clear that as the Federal navy could control the Chesapeake and its waterways, and the whole northern border lay open to the Federal army, the secession of the state would be followed by her immediate subjugation-a heavy blow to the Confederacy at the very opening of hostilities.

Maryland in the War of Secession.

Men's minds being thus agitated, the fall of Fort Sumter on April 14, 1861, and the President's call for troops, created intense excitement. On the 19th a body of troops from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, on their way to Washington, were received by an angry crowd who placed obstructions on the track and would not allow the cars to pass, which were then run back to the President Street station. The Mayor and Marshal of Police were well aware of the danger, and had nearly the whole police force of the city on the ground. The commanding officer of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, despite the warnings of the Mayor and Marshal, determined to march his men through the city to Camden station, where cars were awaiting them. The police formed an escort and the Mayor marched at the head of the column along a street lined with spectators, most of whom had been attracted by mere curiosity, to whom he earnestly appealed to refrain from hostile demonstrations. Excitement grew; the crowd was unarmed, but stones were thrown, striking some of the soldiers. The order was given to fire and several citizens fell. The soldiers, as they advanced, kept up an irregular fire, even shooting up and down cross-streets at persons who had nothing to do with the affray. This roused the people to fury. Numbers came running at the sound of the firing, and the troops would have fared badly had not the escort of police confronted the crowd with drawn revolvers. In this way the column reached Camden station, where they took refuge in the cars. A few miles beyond Baltimore they fired at and killed a citizen who was fishing on the Patansco, and had not even heard of the outbreak. In this unhappy affair twelve citizens and four soldiers were killed.

The Northern press breathed fire and slaughter, and demanded that Baltimore be laid in ashes. Of course this was mere idle vaporing but as considerable bodies of troops were known to be on the way, and as another attempt to paid would surely have resulted in a more violent outbreak, since the citizens, almost to a man, were arming, the Governor and Mayor gave their sanction to the destruction of the bridges to the north and east of the city, thus checking the advance of forces until the authorities at Washington could be appealed to. A deputation of leading citizens called upon the President and explained the situation, and orders were issued that the troops for Washington should avoid Baltimore and go by water to Annapolis. Federal forces, soon after this, occupied the city and constructed fortifications at commanding points.

In view of the crisis a special session of the legislature was called to meet in Frederick, Annapolis being under military occupation. At the election in Baltimore politics, in the ordinary sense, were cast aside, and the wisest and most conservative citizens elected with unanimity. A rumor having found credence that this legislature intended to pass an ordinance of secession, they hastened to declare that they had no such intention, nor did they possess the power to pass such an ordinance. But they passed vigorous resolutions against the conduct of the war and the treatment of the state as if it were a conquered province.

It would seem that the Federal authorities cherished some peculiar malevolence against Maryland, although she had not seceded nor offered any resistance. Baltimore was put under the control of a Provost-Marshal, and all the machinery of government superseded by military force. Arbitrary arrests occurred every day, and citizens were dragged from their homes and sent to Northern prisons, not only without trial, but without ever being informed of the charges against them. Spies and informers were everywhere watching to pick up something that could be carried to the Provost-Marshal. Mayor Brown and Marshal Kane, who had saved the lives of the soldiers on the 19th of April, were sent to Fort Warren. The legislature which had declared against secession was surrounded by troops, and several of its members arrested and sent to a military prison. A citizen was seized at his house by a party of soldiers and imprisoned in Fort McHenry. His friends applied to Chief Justice Taney of the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted, but the commanding officer refused to obey it, saying that he had been "authorized by the President" to suspend the writ. Judge Taney then issued a very able opinion showing that the President had no such power; but, of course, the constitution was now regarded as a dead letter by those who had solemnly sworn to maintain it.

All these things aroused hot indignation at the time; now they are rather matter for sober reflection. It is better to see ugly truths than to be blind, and the events of this time taught a lesson which should never be forgotten, and scattered illusions which can never return.

Exasperated by such deeds, thousands of Marylanders crossed the Potomac and joined the Confederate army. This was easy at first, but later it was extremely difficult, and many who would have gone were either deterred from starting or abandoned the attempt. But even to the last, secret communications were kept open and letters and messages forwarded.

The number of Marylanders in the Confederate army is not exactly known, as they were under various commands, but some estimate them at about 20,000 men all told. A large number also joined the Federal forces, either voluntarily or forced by the conscription; and so far as courage and conduct are concerned, the state has no cause to be ashamed of any, whether they wore the blue or the gray.

The only battles of any moment fought on the soil of Maryland were those of South Mountain and Antietam, when General Lee entered Pennsylvania in 1862.

The former occurred on September 14 at two passes in the Blue Ridge, about eight miles northeast of Harper's Ferry, which was strongly fortified and held by about 12,000 Northern troops. This it was Lee's plan to capture, and Jackson was hurrying to attack it. The Federal general, McClellan, was hastening to its relief, and the battle was fought to hold him in check. The Confederates, though greatly outnumbered, held McClellan until nightfall, and Harper's Ferry surrendered the next day.

The battle of Antietam was fought on the 16th and 17th of the same month, and takes its name from a small stream which divided the armies of McClellan, with about 90,000 men, and Lee, with about 40,000. The engagement lasted two days and was one of the fiercest of the war. At the end Lee withdrew in good order to the south of the Potomac, and McClellan's losses had been so heavy that he was unable to follow.

Political Conditions During the War.

We return now to the political conditions.

A pretense of free institutions had been left to the state, and elections were held under due precautions to secure the choice of candidates acceptable to the party in power. Citizens of doubtful "loyalty" had their votes rejected, or were even arrested, and soldiers were stationed at the polls to intimidate voters, many of whom, knowing the uselessness of the attempt, remained at home. To make assurance surer, a test-oath, a device unheard of in the state and adopted from the old iniquitous British laws, was offered to voters.

The legislature of 1864, elected by such means, devised a plan to fix their party immovably in power by framing a new constitution. They did not, however, write one and declare it adopted, but somewhat pedantically went through the form of submitting to the people the question of calling a constitutional convention. The voter, unless of known "loyalty," was required to answer a string of questions so framed as to catch any but a thorough-going partisan. It was not sympathy with the Southern cause that they feared-Southern sympathizers never thought of voting-what they feared was the conservative men of their own party, of whom there were many, who, while entirely faithful to the cause of the North, disapproved these outrageous methods. To catch these the judges were empowered to refuse the ballot of any voter whom they thought suspicious.

Constitution of 1864.

The convention met at Annapolis on April 27, 1864. In the constitution they drew up, beside tests which disfranchised all but these partisans, there were two remarkable articles, the fifth and twenty-fourth, one intelligible and one unintelligible. The fifth article declared that every citizen owed "paramount allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the United States." Here was a phrase to stagger the strongest understanding. "Paramount" belongs to a sovereign, "allegiance" to a subject. How could there be two allegiances, one paramount to the other? Allegiance is due to a person, natural or moral. Now what was the "government" that claimed allegiance? Surely not the administration, a body of public servants elected by the people of the states. The creator could not owe allegiance to its own creature. Then where was to be found the liege lord and paramount sovereign of the United States? Who had ascended the vacant throne of George III.? Of course the framers of this precious phrase had no idea what they meant by it, beyond a muddled notion that it would rivet still firmer the fetters they were forging for their fellow-citizens.

But the twenty-fourth article was a very chrysolite for clearness. It provided that "hereafter in this state shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime * * * and all persons held to service or labor as slaves are hereby declared free."

The value of the slaves in Maryland at this time was estimated at $3,000,000. Many of these belonged to adherents of the party in power, who were thus called on to suffer for their faith. But, on broader grounds, what would be the result of turning loose eighty-seven thousand negroes to shift for themselves was a question of the most serious kind. The framers of this constitution knew that it would have to be forced through, so they provided a new set of qualifications for those who were to vote on it, thus making it operative before it had been adopted. Yet, despite all their contrivances for suppressing the will of the people, there was a majority of two thousand in the state against it. Then they tried their last resort: they took the soldiers' vote outside the state, and thus pulled it through by a very small majority. Under this constitution, tainted at every step of its generation and adoption by fraud, perjury and violence, the people of Maryland remained for three years.

Maryland at the Close of the War.

The cessation of the war found Maryland still in the state of a conquered province. Of 95,000 voters about 60,000 were disfranchised, and of the remainder about 15,000 were opposed to the radical faction, so that the state was ruled by little more than one-fifth of its voters. But the exigencies of war now no longer existing to confuse ideas of justice and right, a "conservative" wing arose in the Republican party who refused to indorse the extreme measures of the radicals. The latter, seeing that power was slipping from them, made frantic efforts to retain it, even to the extent of imploring the Federal authorities to restore military law, but their pathetic appeals were unheeded. They had, perhaps, somewhat discredited themselves with the authorities at Washington by declaring against negro suffrage, though they now withdrew their objections.

The Conservative Union men very faithfully collaborated with the Democrats in restoring the reign of justice and impartial law. The officers of registration, seeing that the tide was turning, no longer attempted to apply the act in its severity, but listened only to specific charges supported by adequate proof. A legislature was now elected which fairly represented the people, and one of its first actions was to pass an act authorizing an election to decide on the calling of a constitutional convention. The election was held in April, 1867, and delegates to the convention were elected by a large majority.

In May, 1867, the convention assembled at Annapolis, and drew up a Declaration of Rights and a Constitution which were submitted to the people and adopted by an overwhelming majority. The Declaration of Rights declared "That the provisions of the Constitutions of the United States and of this state apply as well in time of war as of peace; and any departure from or violation thereof under the plea of necessity or any other plea is subversive of good government and tends to anarchy and despotism."

Maryland had never ratified the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but as that had already become the law of the land, the word "white" was omitted from the qualifications for suffrage. Persons elected to office were required to swear to support the Constitution of the United States and "bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland." The sweeping character of the revolution is shown by the fact that in the legislature of 1808, for the first time in the history of the state, there was but a single party, every member of both houses being a Democrat. Thus Maryland, after six years of bondage, became once more a free state.

Bibliography - American State Papers (Washington 7832-G1), Archives of Maryland (Vols. XI, XII, XV, XVI, XXI ) (Baltimore 1882); Brown, George W. Baltimore and the 19 April, 1863 (Baltimore 1887); Elliott, J. Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia, 1861): Hening, W Statutes of Virginia (Richmond. 1808-20); Ingersoll, C J History of the War of 1812 (Philadelphia. 1852); Maryland Gazette and other contemporary journals; Niles' Register (1816-49); Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland (Baltimore, 1816-49); Scharf, J T.. History of Maryland (Baltimore, 1879).

WILLIAM HAND BROWNE,
Professor of English Literature, .Johns Hopkins University; author of Maryland. The History of a Palatinate. etc., editor of the Archives of Maryland and the Maryland Historical Magazine.


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