The legislature of Maryland was composed of brave, high-minded and patriotic men, but it was dominated by the spirit of conservatism, which cannot understand how anything can be right which is unlawful, nor any process expedient or necessary which is illegal. The conservatives never could, never did understand that they were in the midst of a revolution. They stood by constitutional rights. They held on to the claim of constitutional guarantees—to habeas corpus—to trial by jury—to free speech—to law—until they and their constitutional guarantees were landed in Fort Lafayette or the military prisons in New York and Boston. They stood by their faith then and never ceased to protest that they could not be imprisoned without warrant, nor held without bail. They were right in doctrine, but they were imprisoned and held. The minority party in the State, the party of action in the legislature, never hoped for the secession of the State after the delay of Virginia. After the 24th of May Maryland was a Federal garrison. But they did hope for action—a league offensive and defensive with Virginia, with all that that implied. They introduced into the legislature a bill to provide for a committee of safety to be elected by the legislature, to which should be committed the duty of defending the State and her people and to exercise all the powers of government. The bill appropriated $5,000,000 to be applied by the committee of safety for the defense of the State. The banks in Baltimore had raised $500,000 for the defense of the city register this their earnest and unqualified protest against the oppressive and tyrannical assertion and exercise of military jurisdiction within the limits of Maryland, over the persons and property of her citizens, by the government of the United States, and do solemnly declare the same to be subversive of the most sacred guarantees of the Constitution and in flagrant violation of the fundamental and most cherished principles of American free government.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.