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all look again with fond delight upon the same gorgeous emblem of our nationality still floating over us, affording equal protection to the rights of all, at home and abroad, not a star erased, nor a stripe obscured.
Representatives of Maryland-Freemen of a central State of a once proud galaxy of States---citizens of a National Government, unequalled in its fostering protection by any other upon earth, your hearts and mine I know beat responsive to a wish for the restoration of our Federal Government, and a return of that period when we shall all, irrespective of geographical lines or sectional parties, recognize "the Constitution and the laws and treaties made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land.” Is there a man so indifferent to the blessings of republican liberty, as not to cherish a hope of a speedy realization of such a result? Who does not desire a peace-permanent substantial peace-a peace commanding the obedience of all men, in all parts of our common country, to those who have been or may be chosen to administer the Government? Who will not hail with pleasure the end of scenes of blood and desolation, if it can be obtained by an unconditional submission of those proud domestic foes, wherever located, who have been and are now engaged in plotting our destruction, and whose treasonable schemes, I hope, in the providence of God, may be defeated, whether sought to be accomplished by the sword or by a surreptitious use of the ballot ? “The union of the States, the majority must govern, it is treason to secede,'' is as truthful now as in the earlier days of the Republic, or even in the Madisonian era of, unsuspected State Rights Republicanism. The will of the people must be respected. It must be enforced, and although we may cry "peace, peace,” there will be no peace until every armed foe shall be made to acknowledge the paramount authority of our Federal Government.
In the momentous struggle which has for the past three years agitated this State, your President has not been an inactive participant. He has witnessed the rapid change of public sentiment in relation to a domestic institution heretofore protected by law to such an extent as almost to suppress all freedom of speech and freedom of action. In an evil hour, initiated by the loss of place and in the full-blown pride of power, its supporters sought to extend and perpetuate its rule, even though it involved the destruction of the best Government on earth. Scarcely awaiting the announcement of the result of the Presidential canvas, they openly proclaimed their fixed determination to disregard the popular will as expressed in the choice of a Chief Magistrate, and mocking all the ordinary restraints of law, proceeded in
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their work of disintegration and dismemberment, regardless of all consequences. Such traitorous proceedings culminated, as might have been expected and forseen, in all the horrors of civil war. In such acts are to be discovered the true cause of all our trials and sufferings, as well as the history of that determined popular clamor for this Convention, as the most effectual means to check such movements within our State. The draft of a Constitution now about to be submitted, is but one of the legitimate fruits of rebellion, to be followed by other similar enactments, until the popular will shall be reflected in an absolute extinguishment of this institution. Slavery interwoven with our social and domestic relations, and accustomed to control our national policy could not brook the antagonism of free speech and free labor. In its mad appeal to the dread arbitrament of the sword, there has been disclosed the secret history and ambitious designs of many party leaders who have long sought to divide our country by sectional lines for the gratification of their own personal ends. That God, in the providence of His ways, will effectually thwart the machinations of such schemers and plotters of disunion, I have not a doubt. Believing that He has permitted this state of things for the accomplishment of some great National good, I have an abiding faith that the great mass of the American people, whose generous patriotism, unflinching courage and unselfish devotion to their country's cause is without a parallel in the history of the world, will emerge from this terrible ordeal, inuch better prepared to appreciate the blessings of free institutions, and to provide in a Constitutional mode for the removal of every obstacle to the perpetuation of a united Government, constituting us one people, so dear to every true American heart. This problem of universal freedom is being fast wrought out by the current events of the day, to the satisfaction of every loyal man, while in the blood of patriotic sons and sires will be found the surest guaranties against all future enemies, foreign or domestic, of that Liberty and Union which should be one and inseparable, now and forever.
In this State the institution of slavery is dead. Those who have tears, therefor, prepare to shed them now. It is not now in your power, or mine, or that of any living mortal to revive or resuscitate it. I congratulate you upon the accomplishment of this work, which I doubt not the people will seal with their approbation. Even those of your constituents who do not now coincide with your views, after the asperities of the day shall have ceased will, I doubt not, hail with pleasure this great social revolution, opening as it does, the fair fields of Maryland to the hand of honest industry, in all its diversi
fied forms, and enabling each and every man irrespective of color, to enjoy as God intended, the fruits of his own personal labor. The sons of honest toil, the farmer, the mechanic and the manufacturer will be elevated in the scale of humanity. Free and untrammelled with the avenues of wealth, power, and distinction open to all classes of the white race, every one, whether native or naturalized, becomes the peer of every other man-nay, even of the proudest aristocrat, who will have either to content himself with the daily contact of the things he loathes or seek other more congenial climes for the enjoyment of the peculiar blessings of an institution, which in its mad efforts to discredit free labor and free institutions has destroyed itself.
This change alone, of itself, will more than compensate the people of Maryland for all their trials and sufferings. As a central State her future is most auspicious, bringing with it wealth, prosperity and population, the sure concomitants of free labor. She will henceforth begin to experience the truth of her motto “Crescite et multiplicamini," and, with the increase of her people, I hope the love she has ever manifested for the Union and Constitution will be strengthened, purified and intensified.
Permit me, gentlemen, in conclusion to express my thanks for your emphatic approval of my official course, for your courteous and kind deportment at all times, and in bidding you farewell, to renew my wishes for the prosperity and happiness of each individual member of this Convention.
I do now proclaim this Convention adjourned, in accordance with a resolution heretofore adopted.
WILLIAM R. COLE, Secretary.