Copyright
L[eonard] Magruder Passano.

History of Maryland online

. (page 9 of 23)
Online LibraryL[eonard] Magruder PassanoHistory of Maryland → online text (page 9 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


pay the interest on its debts. The amount of interest



150



HISTORY OF MARYLAND.



Steadily increased until in 1844 it reached the sum of nearly
a million and a half dollars.

Interest Payments Resumed, 1848. Soon, however, the
companies to whose stock the State had subscribed began
to earn enough to pay interest on it, and the amount raised
by taxes gradually grew larger, so that in 1848 the State
began to pay interest again.




OLDEST RAILROAD STATION IN AMKRICA, AT FRKDKKICK.

Nothing is more important for a government than the
prompt payment of its debts ; for if it does not pay promptly
no one will be willing to lend it money again. The State
of Maryland, like other governments, can get money in two
ways : by taxing the people, or by issuing bonds. If it
adopt the latter plan, interest must be paid on the bonds,
and, besides, the money borrowed on them has to be paid
back in time to those who advanced it. For instance,
Maryland may want to borrow money, by issuing bonds, to
build new school houses, but if she has already refused to
pay the money she borrowed to build bridges, say, men
throughout the country who have money will refuse to lend



AFTER THE WAR WITH ENGLAND.



151




FIRST LOCOMOTIVK, liAl.'IIMOR K X:
OHIO RAILROAD.



it to her. In which case, possibly, the school houses could
not be built. Maryland should be grateful to two men.
Governor Thomas G. Pratt and George Peabody, for the
services they rendered the State when it was in such diffi-
culties. It was largely
owing to their efforts
that interest payment
was resumed and the
credit of the State
maintained. Governor
Pratt kept constantly
before the Legislature
and the people the ne-
cessity of laying taxes
for the payment of the
debt of the State and the interest thereon, and George
Peabody used all his personal ability and influence in
London to sell the bonds and maintain the credit of Mary-
land among English financiers. He w'as entitled to compen-
sation for his services, being one of three commissioners
appointed by the State, but he refused all pay, saying that
he was "sufficiently remunerated for his services by the
restored credit of his State." Maryland has never repu-
diated ; that is, refused to pay its debts, and the suspen-
sion of interest payment lasted only a few years.

The First Electric Telegraph Line in the United States.
Fourteen years after the first use of a steam locomotive on
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was seen the completion of
the first electric telegraph line in America. In 1843 Con-
gress had appropriated thirty thousand dollars to be used
by the inventor, S. F. B. Morse, in erecting an experimental
line between Baltimore and Washington. The line was com-
pleted by May, 1844, and proved to be successful. Shortly



152



HISTORY OF MARYLAND.



afterwards the news of the nomination of Polk and Dallas
by the National Democratic Convention held in Baltimore
was telegraphed to Washington, and caused a great sensa-
tion. At an earlier date than this, in 1816, was organized
in Baltimore the first company in the United States for the
manufacture of gas for street lighting and general use, and

a little later, in
1859, the first
passenger street
cars were run in
Baltimore.

The War with
Mexico. In the
year 1845 war
broke out be-
tween Mexico and
the United States
because of the
annexation of
Texas by the lat-
ter. The State
of Texas was
originally a part
of Mexico, but
rebelled to form
an independent
republic, which
afterwards asked
to be made a part of the United States. The United States
army won a number of victories at Palo Alto, Monterey,
Buena Vista, and other places. Another division of the army,
after a series of victories, took possession of the City of
Mexico. At Palo Alto the skilful handling of the artillery




MEXICAN WAR MONUMENT BALTIMORE.



AFTER THE WAR WITEI ENGLAND. 153

by Major Samuel Ringgold, of Maryland, probably won the
battle. Major Ringgold died from wounds received in this
engagement, and was succeeded in the command of the
Light Artillery by Randolph Ridgely, another Marylander.

Volunteers for the war offered themselves so eagerly
in Baltimore that recruiting v/as discontinued. Of those
who enlisted, a battalion of six companies was form.od,
called the Battalion of Baltimore and Washington Volun-
teers, and was placed under the command of Lieutenant-
Colonel William H. Watson, of Baltimore. This battalion
distinguished itself at the battle of Monterey, where Colonel
Watson was killed, and throughout its term of service in the
war. Many other Marylanders served with personal dis-
tinction and not a few of them met their death in the war
with Mexico, which ended February 2, 1S48.

Society and Manners. Social life in the United States
during the early part of the nineteenth century was in many
ways very curious, and if we are to believe the accounts
given by some of the visitors from Europe, our manners
were as bad as they could possibly be. While the States
were yet colonies of Great Britain there were, as we have
seen, marked distinctions between the different classes of
people ; distinctions very much like those in England.
There were a number of Englishmen of rank and title in the
colonies, and very many of the planters belonged to aristo-
cratic and noble families of the mother country.

Disappearance of Class Distinctions. But with independ-
ence and the establishment of the Republic all titles of
nobility were done away with, and the distinctions of class
began rapidly to disappear. " Republican simplicity," as it
was called, began to replace aristocratic state. Much of
this so-called simplicity was assumed as a political means to
*' catch the votes " and support of the mass of the people,



u



XJ



154



HISTORY OF MARYLAND.




AFTER THE WAR WITH ENGLAND. 155

but more of it was truly felt by those who believed in the
equality of all men and wanted to put their beliefs into
practice. A new country is necessarily rougher and
simpler in its life and habits than an old one, and vast
regions of the United States were at that time little more
than a wilderness. But even in the older States along the
Atlantic the people had much the same faults as in the
newer West. Improvement soon came, however, and we
of the present can hardlj^ believe what we read of the
manners of these earlier days.

Some American Bad Habits. One thing which visitors
to our country fovuul most oljjoctionable was the common
habit of tobacco chewing and the spitting that resulted
from it. One Englishwoman, Mrs. Trollope, says that
the habit was indulged in even at evening parties. But
other travellers tleny this, and it is probably untrue.
At an evening party, Mrs. Trollope says, "The ladies
look at each other's dresses till they know every pin by
heart." And she gives the following list of the refresh-
ments at the party: "Tea, coffee, hot cake and custard,
hoe cake, johnny cake, waffle cake and dodger cake,
pickled peaches, and preserved cucumbers, ham, turkey,
hung beef, apple sauce, and pickled oysters than ever
were prepare 1 in any other country of the known world."*

Such diet made the Americans of those days dys]ioi)tic,
and they talked too much of their ills. ]\Irs. Trollope
did not like this, but indeed, if we judge from her fault
finding and complaining, we must believe that she had
caught our "national disease." She was so prejudiced
that she woidd not praise even such actors as Edwin
Forrest and the elder Booth.

Maryland Better than Other Parts of the Country.
Mrs. Trollope, after a great deal of fault-finding with the

■••■ Mrs. Trollope, in '• Domestic Maiint;rs of tlic Americans."



156 HISTORY OF MARYLAND.

inns and people she met on her journey from New Orleans
to Cincinnati, says, on reaching Maryland : " Luckily for us,
the inn at Hagerstown was one of the most comfortable I ever
entered. . . . Instead of being scolded, as we were in Cincin-
nati, for asking for a private sitting-room, we here had two,
without asking at all. The waiter summoned us to breakfast,
dinner, and tea, which we found prepared with abundance,
and even elegance. The master of the house met us at the
door of the eating-room, and after asking if we wished for
anything not on the table, retired." Continuing her journey
through the State, she says : " As we advanced towards Balti-
more, the look of cultivation increased, the fences wore an
air of greater neatness, the houses began to look like the
abodes of competence and comfort." She calls Baltimore a
beautiful city, and speaks of her pleasant visit of a fortnight
there. She went to mass in the Cathedral, where she was
" perfectly astonished at the beauty and splendid appearance
of the ladies who filled it. Excepting on a very brilliant
Sunday at the Tuileries, I never saw so showy a display of
morning costumes, and I think I never saw anywhere so
many beautiful women at one glance."

Both Mrs. TroUope, who visited Baltimore in 1830, and
another Englishwoman* who visited the city ten years earlier,
speak of the clean, broad streets, the fountains, and the neat
red brick houses with their shining knockers and white
marble trimmings. Still another visitor f ^vho came to Balti-
more in 1S34, speaks with especial delight of the children
she met there. And so, if American manners were bad in
those days, we have at least some satisfaction in knowing
that those who came here from Europe found Maryland

* Frances Wriglit, " Views of Society and Manners in America."
t Harriet Martineau, " Society in America."



AFTER THE WAR ^VITH ENGLAND. 167

better than many other parts of the countrj'. But not in
every respect.

A Journey from Philadelphia to Baltimore. Another Eng-
lish traveler *, in describing his journey from Philadelphia to
Baltimore, says that he was there "brought in close contact
with tobacco-chewing, to an extent that is positively disgust-
ing." He adds, thus contradicting Mrs. Trollope, that it is
only in public places that this spitting prevails, and that " it
has not been permitted to invade the sanctuary of private
society," and that he " never yet saw anyone, in the presence
of ladies, violate with the practice the decorum of a drawing-
room."

In his journey, Mr. Mackay at length reached the Susque-
hanna River, over which the passengers were ferried from
one railroad to the other in a steamboat, and where he was
struck with the beauty of the scenery. The train sped on
and he arrived at Canton, which he describes as a suburb of
Baltimore, and a " melancholy instance of misguided enter-
prise " where "the streets are all nicely laid out, paved, and
macadamized ; and where you have everything to make a
fine town but the houses." As the train rolled into the sta-
tion at Baltimore " it was like Pandemonium let loose," on
account of the colored men touting for the hotels to which
they belonged.

" Barnum's, gen'lemen — Barnum's — now for Barnum's —
only house in town — rest all sham — skin but no 'possum
— yhaw, yhaw — Barnum's, Barnum's 1 " "'Cause Eagle
eaten all de 'possum up, and left nuflfin but de skin — de
Eagle's de house, gen'lemen — hurra for de Eagle I "

It is no wonder that the poor English travelers thought
this a strange country.

* Alexander Mackay, " The Western World ; or. Travels in the
United States in 1846-47."



158



HISTORY OF MARYLAND.



Mr. Mackay went to " Barnum's " and " found the hotel
. . . one of the most admirably managed establishments
of the kind on the continent." He speaks of the fine har-
bor of the city, " crowded with shipping," of the Baltimore
Clippers, and of the city's large foreign and Western
trade. Baltimore Street was, he says, " one of the finest

streets in the Union,"
and the Baltimore women
were finer still. He had
never seen " in so large
a population ... so
small a proportion of un-
attractive faces," and
'"this characteristic ex-
tends more or less to the
whole State of Mary-
land."

Mr. Mackay left Bal-
timore for Washington
on the "late night-train,"
and when about ten miles
from Washington discov-
ered for the first time
what a " cow-ketcher "
was. The train was
brought to a stop by
running into a cow on the track, and our inquiring English-
man walked to the front of the engine where he made his
discovery.

Country Life. In Maryland dining the first half of the
nineteenth century .social life in one respect resembled that
of earlier days : it was not entirely a society of towns and
cities as in the more northern States. While much of the




EDGAR AF.I.AN POK.



AFTER THE WAR WITH ENGLAND. 159

social life was centered in Baltimore and Annapolis, on the
other hand quite as much of it was in the country between
the families of those who owned large plantations, and was, \^
with greater freedom and more open hospitality, not unlike
country life in England.

Edgar Allan Poe. One Maryland name of eminence be-
longs to this period. Edgar Allan Poe w^as born in Boston
in 1809, and died at Baltimore in 1849. His father was a
Baltimorean of an old and prominent family, and he himself
was one of the most gifted writers America has produced.
His life and character were somewhat erratic, but his tales,
and even more his poetry, stamp him as a man of genius.
In 1875 a monument was erected to him in Baltimore by the
teachers and pupils of the p'lblic schools.

One of the chief faults of Americans in those years, if we
are to believe what foreign visitors wrote about them, was
their boastfulness about their country, its resources, and its
institutions. But its material resources were in fact almost
greater than any boast; and when we consider that the -
Americans were just beginning to see the success of what
was, perhaps, the greatest experiment in government that the
world had ever seen, it is not strange that their pride in this
success led to frank and open talk about it. This peculi-
arity is not so noticeable in the Marylander as in the New
Englander or the Western man : he is more apt to boast of
his State than of his country.

Many duels were fought in America in these years, and a
Mar)'lander of renown lost his life in one. Commodore
Stephen Decatur was killed in 1820, near Bladensburg, by
Commodore James Barron, in a duel which grew out of the
affair between the Chesapeake and the Leopard.



160 HISTORY OF MARYLAND.

TOPICAL ANALYSIS.

I. Political Parties.

1. Name the chief points of difference between the Federalist and

the Repubhcan parties.

2. Does the latter mean the present Republican party?

3. How were the two parties distributed geographically ?

4. What became of the Federalist party?

H. Reforms in the State Government.

1. What is meant by " minority rule"?

2. The growth of population and wealth made the old allotment

of representatives unfair.

3. Baltimore City and county, and Annapolis entitled to more

representatives.

4. The Governor and Senators not elected directly by the people.

5. Failure in 1S18 of efforts to correct the evils ; why?

6. Failure again in 1836 ; why? The effect of Presidential on State

elections.

7. Compare the minority rule in Connecticut to-day on account of

township representation.

8. Public opinion brings about the reforms.

9. The reforms were :

{a) Direct election of the Governor and of Senators, one from
each county and one from Baltimore City.

{/j) The number of delegates from each county proportional
to its population.

{(■) The number of delegates from Baltimore City equal to the
number from the county of largest population.
10. The enfranchisement of the Jews, 18^5.

III. Pi'Hi.ic Improvements and the Indebtedness of the State.

1. Large amounts subscribed by the State to canals and railroads.

2. K.xplain that the State could get money for this purpose only by

la.xation of the citizens or by borrowing. In fact,

3. The State borrowed the money and issued bonds.

4. These subscriptions were thought to be a good busines-s invest-

ment, because it was thought the dividends received fiom
the companies w'ould be large as compared with the interest
the State would have to pay on its bonds.



AFTER TIIK WAR WITH ENGLAND. 1(51

III. Public Lmprovkmknts and thk I.ndebtkd.nkss uk the

Stat e (continued ) .

5. What was the amount of interest on these bonds, and how was

it to be raised .'

6. Were the taxes paid willingly ?

7. Suspension of interest payments, 1842.

8. Resumption of interest payments, 184S.

9. Thomas (i. Pratt and George Peabody ; wliat valuable service

did they render to the State ?
10, Tell what you know about the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

IV. First Railroad in Maryland.

1. Tell about the construction of the first railroad ii Maryland.

2. What was the motive power at first? When was steam first

used ?

3. Tell about the first electric telegraph line in the United States.

V. Manners and Customs.

1. What causes led to the disappearance of class distinctions?

2. A new country necessarily rougher and simpler in habits and

manners than one long settled.

3. How does Mrs. Trollope describe American manners in 1S30?

4. What was the appearance of Baltimore City at that date?

5. Country life in Maryland.

6. What e.xcuse or reason had Americans for their boastfulness?

7. Duels ; the death of Decatur.

(See the State Constitution, Art. Ill, Sec. 41.)

8. Tell what you know about Edgar Allan Poe.

VI. The War wiiii Me.xico.

1. Caused by what ?

2. Name some battles won by the I'nittd States.

3. Name some Marylanders who won distinction in this war.



CHAPTER XI.

NEW POLITICAL PARTIES— THE SLAVERY QUESTION.

New Political Parties — The Know-nothings. The period
after the war with Mexico was marked by the rise of several
new pohtical parties. Not that they came into being all at
once; in fact, they had been gradually forming; but at
about this time they became more or less prominent. Of
these the Free-soil, or Anti-slavery party, was by far the
most important, and we shall have more to say of it later.
Another was the American, or as it is oftener called, the
Know-nothing party. This was a secret political society
which for a few years had considerable influence on politics
in Baltimore as well as in other parts of the State, and in the
whole country. The main object of this party was to exclude
all foreign-born citizens, and more especially all Catho-
lics, from any office under the National, State or city govern-
ments. Its second aim was to change the naturalization laws
so that the immigrant could not have the rights of citizenship
until after a long residence of fifteen or twenty years in the
country. Riots between the Know-nothings and the Irish
Catholics occurred in many places, both during elections
and at other times. Such riots occurred in Baltimore at the
elections which were held in October and November, 1856.
Muskets even were used, and a number of persons were
killed. Thomas Swann, the Know-nothing candidate, was
elected Mayor of Baltimore, and the presidential electors of
this party received a majority of the votes cast. Thus the
eight electoral votes of Maryland were cast for Millard Fill-

1G2



NEW POLITICAL PARTIES. 163

more, the Know-nothing candidate for President. He re-
ceived no others, however. Scenes of violence and fraud at
the elections continued for several years, until at length, in
i860, the Know-nothing party was defeated by the election
of all the opposition candidates, headed by George William
Brown for Mayor, in an election that was quiet and without
disorder.

Free-soilers and Abolitionists. A far more important
party, and one whose doctrines had much more far-reaching
eflfects, was the Anti-slavery, or Free-soil party ; of even
more prominence and importance were the Abolitionists.
These were not large parties like the Democratic and the Re-
pubhcan, but they made up in energy what they lacked in
numbers. They were opposed to the holding of slaves in
general, and in particular they believed that slavery should
not be permitted in the new parts of the country that were
being made into States. For the most part the slaves were
owned in the South ; although there were some in almost all
the States, and at first a few even in New England. Their
number was so much greater in the Southern States because
in that portion of the country the soil was rich and fertile,
and adapted to the raising of crops, such as rice, sugar, and
cotton, to which slave labor is suited; while in New England
the soil is more sterile. Then, too, in the South large plan-
tations were owned by a single man ; while in the North
each farm was so small that a man and his sons, with per-
haps the help of a " hired man " or two, could do all the
work upon it.

Maryland Classed with the Southern States. In the divi-
sion of the country Maryland is usually placed among the
Southern States, with those south of Mason and Dixon's
line, and on the whole her interests and sympathies were
probably more with the South than with the North.



/



4



164 HISTORY OF MARYLAND.

Her People Divided on the Question of Slavery. There
were many slaves and slave-owners in the State, but on the
other hand there was a large Puritan element in the popula-
tion whose sympathies were more or less with the North.
Moreover, there were many later settlers in the northern and
western counties, many of them industrious and thrifty Ger-
mans, holding smaller farms, and accustomed, man, woman,
and child, to do their own work. These also were anti-slav-
ery in feeling. Thus the State which lies on the border be-
tween North and South was divided in feeling, sympathy
and interests on the matters of difference between the two
sections.

Negro Slaves in Maryland. The first negroes were brought
to Maryland shortly after the settlement of the colony. Their
number was small until the early years of the eighteenth
century, when the importation of them increased rapidly, so
that by 17 12, when the white population numbered about
thirty-eight thousand, there were more than eight thousand
negroes. These slaves came for the most part from Africa,
and at first were brought in British vessels. Later the trade
was carried on largely by New England merchants. A ves-
sel would bring molasses from Jamaica to one of the
Northern towns; the molasses would there be made into
rum, which in turn would go to Africa to buy slaves ; and
the slaves thus bought would be carried to Jamaica or to the
ports of the Southern States. As early as the year 1695 the
Assembly laid a tax of ten shillings on every negro brought
into the colony ; and this tax was afterwards increased until,
in 17 1 6, it amounted to forty shillings a head. These taxes
were laid for revenue rather than for the purpose of discour-
aging the importation of slaves. In 1780, however, the tax
was raised to five hundred pounds, which was so high as
virtually to prohibit the trade. This was done because the



NEW POLITICAL PARTIES. 165

people had begun to think that there were already more than
enough slaves in the State, and because the feeling that
slavery was wrong was beginning to gain ground.

The Importation of Slaves Forbidden, 1783. Three years
later an Act was passed forbidding altogether the further
introduction of slaves.

When the convention to form a new Constitution for the
United States met in 1787, Luther Martin, a delegate from
Maryland, proposed, but without success, that it be made a
part of the Constitution that no more slaves should be
brought into the country. It was finally agreed as a com-
promise that the importation of slaves should not be pro-
hibited by the Federal Government until the year 1808, and
that meanwhile each State should regulate slavery as it
saw fit.

Slaves in Maryland were as a rule treated with kindness,
and their ill-treatment was punished. It was not forbidden
by law to teach them to read and write, as it was in some
other States, but not very many of them were so taught.
Frederick Douglass when a boy was taught to read by his
mistress, a Baltimore lady. As early as the year 1789 a
society was formed in Maryland having for its object the
abolition of slavery ; and such men as Charles Carroll of
CarroUton and Roger Brooke Taney, among others of promi-
nence, agreed in their opinions as to the evils of slavery and
the desire for its abolition. The Friends or Quakers were
active in their efforts to have slavery abolished. The South-
ern Abolitionists thought that the slaves were not fit to be
set free without preparation. The slaves had always de-


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryL[eonard] Magruder PassanoHistory of Maryland → online text (page 9 of 23)