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March 19th, 1867.
(To whom was referred a Document transmitted by the Secre-
the Constitulion of the United States.)
The joint Committee on Federal Relations to whom was referred a document, transmitted by the Secretary of State of the United States, to the Executive of this State, containing a copy of a resolution of Congress, proposing an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, submit the following report and resolutions. The proposed amendment is in the following words, viz:
Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Be it Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, twothirds of both Houses concurring,) that the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid as part of the Constitution, namely:
ARTICLE XIV. SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.
Sec. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States, according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial Officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole pomber of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Sec. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or an Executive or Judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability,
Sec. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the Uni. ted States nor any State shall assume to pay any debt or obligation in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Sec. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 16, 1866.
Annapolis Maryland. Sir: I have the honor to transmit an attested copy of a resolution of Congress, proposing to the Legislatures of the several States, a fourteenth article to the Constitution of the United States. The decisions of the several Legislatures upon the subject are required by law to be communicated to this Department. An acknowledgement of the receipt of this communication is requested by Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE. To all to whom these presents shall come greeting: I certify that annexed is a true copy of a concurrent resolution of Congress, entitled, "Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States;" the original of which resolution, received to-day is on file in this Department.
In testiuiony whereof, I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, have here
unto subscribed my name and caused the Seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
The Committee have considered the question of ratification thus submitted to the Legislature of Maryland, with all the careful deliberation which so important a measure demands.
The State of Maryland has the deepest interest in the speedy and peaceful restoration of friendly relations, and intercourse between all the States and sections of the Union.Her geographical position, her intimate connexions in trade, commerce and travel, with all portions of the Union, as well as her patriotic desire for the prosperity and happiness of the whole country, would induce her to make every possible sacrifice to promote the great objects of the l'ederal Constitution, These are declared to be sto establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves aud our prosperity.”
We have to confess that we are unable to discover any possible tendency in the proposed amendment to promote any of these indispensable requisites of good government.
The distribution of powers between the Federal and State Governments, when acting in harmonious co-operation, having proved adequate to every emergency, in peace and in war, during the entire existence of the Constitution down to our late unhappy troubles, and having elevated our country to the highest point of national prosperity and greatness, the wisdom, patriotism and sagacity of the framers of the Constitution were exhibited by the results of their labors. In the proposition now under consideration, the people of the several States, acting throngh their several Legislatures, are called upon to strip themselves and their State Governments of powers most vital to their safety and freedom, yea, even to their continued esistence in any useful or practical operation; and to bestow those powers upon the Federal Government.
Before yielding to such a demand, the proposition ought to receive the most careful consideration in all its aspects and consequences.