L[eonard] Magruder Passano.

History of Maryland online

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pended upon their masters for support, were, for the most
part, ignorant and helpless, and if they v/ere suddenly freed
would be unable to provide for themselves. Moreover,
their masters had paid large sums for them — in the year



1859 as much as two thousand dollars was asked for a slave —
had bought them in good faith expecting to keep them, and
would be made bankrupt
or reduced to poverty if
the slaves were suddenly
set free without recom-
pense to their owners.
The Northern anti-slavery
societies, on the other
hand, wanted the slaves
to be freed at once and in
any way, without regard
to the master's rights.

Fugitive Slaves. It was
the law that if a slave es-
caped into a "free State "
he could be captured and
returned to his master,
but it very often happened
that the people there
helped him to get away instead of returning him to his
owner. This was especially the case with slaves owned in
Maryland, who had only to cross the line into Pennsyl-
vania to find numbers of persons ready to help them to
get away. In 1851, Edward Gorsuch, of Baltimore County,
his son, and several friends, all armed and having a war-
rant got in Philadelphia, went to Lancaster County, Penn-
sylvania, in search of two slaves who had escaped three
years before. The searchers broke into the house where the
fugitives were hidden, but did not succeed in taking them,
as a mob of about a hundred men, armed with guns, axes,
and clubs, had been called together by the sounding of a
horn as a signal. After some parley shots were fired, and


From an eitgrm'iitg in the />ossessioH of the

JSIarylaiui Historical Society.


in the fight which followed, Gorsuch was killed and his son
wounded. By order of the President search was made for
the fugitive slaves, but they had escaped. Several persons
were arrested and tried for taking part in the riot, but all
were acquitted. Public opinion in the free States was so
strong against the fugitive slave law that it could not be
enforced, and such occurrences as this made very bitter feel-
ing in the South.

Free Negroes. Many efforts were made to reduce the
number of free negroes in Maryland. Beginning with the
year 1831, the State appropriated large sums to send them
to the colony of Liberia. The movement met with little
success, however, as the negroes did not wish to go. In the
twenty years to 1851, only one thousand and eleven were
colonized in Africa, and this at a cost of two hundred and
ninety-eight thousand dollars. Many slaves had been man-
umitted by their masters, so that the number of slaves in
the State had greatly diminished, while the number of free
negroes had greatly increased. In i860, there were almost
as many free negroes as there were slaves.* This decrease
in the number of slaves was partly due to the fact that many
of them were sold into the more southern States. In 1810,
when the number of slaves was greatest, there were about
ten slaves to every twenty-four free persons ; while in 1S60
there were only ten slaves to about sixty-nine free persons.

The Abolitionist Merged in the Republican Party. At first
the Abolitionists did not form any political party, but in 1840
they organi/.ed as the Liberty party. From that time on
their efforts were directed to uniting all the people of the
North into a political party pledged to destroy slavery in all
the States. Before long they were merged into the Repub-

* See Appendix B, p. 302, following.


lican parly which took up their watchword of " no slavery."
The election of Lincoln to the presidency by the Republican
party in i860, caused great excitement, and some of the
Southern States at once began to prepare for secession. In
Maryland Lincoln had received only 2,294 votes out of a total
of 92,441, and the electoral vote of the State was cast against
him. Nevertheless, although Maryland sympathized with
the South, she was strongly opposed to all violence, had
always been for moderation in the dissensions between the
two sections, and believed that the Union should be pre-

Maryland Does not Secede. When, at the end of the year
i860. South Carolina seceded, and was followed in the course
of some months by ten other Southern States, Maryland,
though asked to do so, would not join with them. Many
persons in the State favored, many were opposed to, seces-
sion. The Governor, Thomas IL Hicks, was a loyal ITnion
man, and as he said in his message at this time, believed
" that the only safety of Maryland lies in preserving a neutral
position between our brethren of the North and of the
South." The Legislature passed no ordinance of secession,
and did not call a convention of the voters to decide the
question, and thus the State remained in the Union. It is
fortunate for Maryland that she did not secede. If she had,
it is probable that, being a border State, much of the fight-
ing during the war which followed secession would have been
within her borders ; and she would have been desolated,
impoverished and laid waste, as Virginia actually was.

Immigration and Mechanical Inventions. While the slavery
question was uppermost in men's minds during the decades
before the war of secession, we must not get the idea that
it constitutes the whole history of the period. F.ven in the
most exciting times the ordinary affairs of life must go on ;


men must labor, business must be conducted, and the routine
of life's work and pleasure continue. T\vo~ of the most
striking features of this period were the enormous growth in <
population due to immigration, and the equally large increase
in material welfare. It was a time of mechanical inventions :
the harvesting machine, tlie breech-loading firearm, the sew-
ing machine, the steam fire-engine, the Atlantic cable, all
belong to this period ; and the growth of material welfare
was largely due to inventions of this kind. But it was more
especially due to the use of steam in manufactures and rail-
roads. While this quiet progress is often overshadowed by
more stirring events, it is of lasting importance and must
not be forgotten.


I. roi.iTicAi, Parties.

1. The American or Know-nothing party.

(a) Was a secret society.
(/') What were its two chief objects?
(t) Riots caused by, in Baltimore.
(J) Overthrow in i860,

2. Abolitionists.

{a) Opposed to slavery in general.

(/') Opposed to the extension of slavery into new States and

(c) Not a political party at first.
(i/) Organized as the Liberty jiarty in 1S40.
(e) Merged into the Republican paily.

II. The Slavery Que.stion.

1. Slaves owned for the most part in the South.

2. Why was this the case ?

((/) Nature of the soil.
{/>) Nature of the crops,
(c) Size of the plantations.

3. Maryland classed with the slave States.

4. The people divided on the question.


II. The Slavery Question {contiiutcd).

5. Slaves in Maryland almost from ihe first settlement.

6. 'The number small until early in the eighteenth century.

7. Describe how the slave trade was carried on. Molasses, rum

and slaves.

8. Tax laid on imported slaves by the State.

() Later as a preventive measure.

((■) Becomes prohibitory in 1780 (;ij^500 per head).

9. Importation of slaves into Maryland forbidden, 1783.

10. The Federal government prohibits their importation after 1808.

11. Slaves not ill-treated in Maryland.

12. A few were educated.

13. Prominent men opposed to slavery; Luther Martin, Charles

Carroll, Roger B. Taney.

14. The Quakers in general opposed to slavery.

15. Southern Abolitionists ; how did ^.\\^i\x views differ from those of

the Northern Abolitionists?

16. Fugitive slaves.


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Online LibraryL[eonard] Magruder PassanoHistory of Maryland → online text (page 10 of 23)