previous next

[394] by its color. It was a yellow ticket, and, armed with that, a voter could safely run the gantlet of the sabers and carbines that guarded the entrance to the polls, and known sympathizers with the rebellion were allowed to vote unquestioned if they would vote that ticket, while loyal and respected citizens, ready to take the oath, were turned back by the officer in charge without even allowing them to approach the polls. In one district the military officer took his stand at the polls before they were opened, declaring that none but the ‘yellow ticket should be voted,’ and excluded all others throughout the day. In another district a similar officer caused every ballot offered to be examined, and, unless it was the favored one, the voter was required to take the oath, and not otherwise. In another district, after one vote only had been given, the polls were closed, the judges were all arrested and sent out of the county, and military occupation taken of the town. Other statements might be made.

These abuses present a humiliating record, such as I had never supposed we should be called upon to read in any State, still less in a loyal one like this. Unless it be, indeed, a fallacy to suppose that any rights whatever remain to such a State, or that any line whatever marks the limit of Federal power, a bolder stride across that line that power never made, even in a rebel State, than it did in Maryland on the 3d of last November. A part of the army, which a generous people had supplied for a very different purpose, was on that day engaged in stifling the freedom of election in a faithful State, intimidating its sworn officers, violating the constitutional rights of its loyal citizens, and obstructing the usual channels of communication between them and their Executive.

The result was the election of a majority of members of the legislature in favor of a state constitutional convention. The acts necessary for this object were passed. At the election of delegates, the military authority again interfered in order to secure a majority in favor of immediate and unconditional emancipation. The so-called convention assembled and drafted a so-called constitution, in which the twenty-third article of the Bill of Rights prohibited the existence of slavery in the state, and said, ‘All persons held to service or labor as slaves are hereby declared free.’

It was urged, in objection to the adoption of the so-called constitution by the convention, that ‘the election by which the Convention was called and its members elected was not free for the legal voters of the State, but was held and conducted in clear violation of the rights of voters, in consequence of which a majority of the legal voters of the State were excluded from the polls.’ A rigid article on the qualifications of voters at the state elections was embodied in the constitution, with the shameless provision that it should be in force at the election for ratification or rejection of the so-called constitution which was to create the disabilities. The instrument also authorized a poll to be opened in each company of every Maryland regiment in the service of the United States at the quarters of the commanding officer, and that the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (2)
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November (1)
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: