“That hereafter in this State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except in punishment of crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; and all persons held to service or labor as slaves are hereby declared free.”
The decisive test of a popular vote accepting the amended constitution as a whole, remained, however, yet to be undergone. President Lincoln willingly complied with a request to throw his official voice and influence in favor of the measure, and wrote, on October 10, 1864:
“A convention of Maryland has framed a new constitution for the State; a public meeting is called for this evening at Baltimore to aid in securing its ratification by the people; and you ask a word from me for the occasion. I presume the only feature of the instrument about which there is serious controversy is that which provides for the extinction of slavery. It needs not to be a secret, and I presume it is no secret, that I wish success to this provision. I desire it on every consideration. I wish all men to be free. I wish the material prosperity of the already free, which I feel sure the extinction of slavery would bring. I wish to see in process of disappearing that only thing which ever could bring this nation to civil war. I attempt no argument. Argument upon the question is already exhausted by the abler, better informed, and more immediately interested sons of Maryland herself. I only add that I shall be gratified exceedingly if the good people of the State shall, by their votes, ratify the new constitution.”
At the election which was held on October 12 and 13, stubborn Maryland conservatism, whose roots reached far back to the colonial days, made its last desperate stand, and the constitution was ratified by a majority of only three hundred and seventy-five votes out of a total of nearly sixty thousand. But the result was accepted as decisive, and in due time the governor issued his proclamation, declaring the new constitution legally adopted.
Shaping of the Presidential Campaign—Criticisms of Mr. Lincoln—Chase’s Presidential Ambitions—The Pomeroy Circular—Cleveland Convention—Attempt to Nominate Grant—Meeting of Baltimore Convention—Lincoln’s Letter to Schurz—Platform of Republican Convention—Lincoln Renominated—Refuses to Indicate Preference for Vice-President—Johnson Nominated for Vice-President—Lincoln’s Speech to Committee of Notification—Reference to Mexico in his Letter of Acceptance—The French in Mexico