Oct 12 1864 New Maryland Constitution - Loyalty and Free Labor vs. Disloyalty and Slave Labor
Rally to the Rescue!
The election for the acceptance or rejection of the new Free State Constitution is at hand, and if the loyal voters of this county are not prepared to give this great measure of reform a cordial and unanimous support at the Polls, they will be derelict in the discharge of one of the most important duties which has ever been devolved upon them. The leading issue involved in this election is simple and easily understood. One the one hand, it is LOYALTY and FREE LABOR, on the other DISLOYALTY and SLAVE LABOR. Can any man, whose sympathies are no all with the rebels in arms, hesitate as to which side he will espouse or on which he will cast his ballot? Or can any such man neglect or refuse upon some trivial pretext, to vote at all? We have heard it intimated that the oath of allegiance, which all who desire to vote are required to take, will prevent some Union men from voting, not because they are not loyal enough to take it, but because they have conscientious scruples with regard to swearing at all on such an occasion. We beg all such to reconsider this determination, if they do not wish to jeopardize the adoption of the new Constitution, and to live under slave laws for many years longer. In accordance with the will of the people, as expressed at the election in April last, an organic law has been framed at an expense of more than a hundred thousand dollars, which removed the incubus of slavery, and is better in nearly every other respect than the old one. This Constitution is now submitted to the people, and if it should not receive their approval, it is not probable that another opportunity will speedily present itself of accomplishing emancipation. Besides, a rejection of the new Constitution will undoubtedly be regarded by the rebels in the South as an unmistakable proof that Maryland is still with them in sentiment, and only awaits a favorable time or a favorable event (the election of McClellan for example) to attach herself to and make common cause with them, while Union people everywhere would look upon her as a State of doubtful loyalty and treat her accordingly.
Fellow Union men, you who have for more than three years stood so nobly by the old flag and the Government whose authority it represents, you whose sons and brothers have shed their blood and lost their lives on so many battle fields to put down the rebellious slave power, are you now prepared to permit that power, in its waning and expiring hours, to achieve a political victory in Maryland which would humble and disgrace her and astound loyal people everywhere. We know you are not, but you must bear in mind that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Your enemies are organized and active, and will nearly all swallow the hated oath if they have to spit it out the next moment, in order to vote down the new Constitution. You must meet them with a corresponding vigilance, and poll your full strength in this and other populous and loyal counties of the State. Overcome any objections you may have to miner features of the new organic law for the sake of the great object which is to be accomplished by its ratification, and vote for it yourselves, and see that all your loyal neighbors do so. Rally to the rescue and all will be well!
Herald & Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown (Md.), Newspapers; Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Washington County (Md.), 1861-1865