Southerners who wanted to free the slaves

Posted on May 5, 2011 by


Yes, there were white Southerners who wanted to free the slaves. But, something that comes to my mind when I’m considering this is, well, with all of the talk about “Black Confederates”, and fair and equal treatment by the Confederacy… do tell… of those who wore gray, or were the big dogs in the Confederate government, who left documentation, from the time of the war, expressing an interest in freeing the slaves?

O.k., while that question is considered, today, I give you… Governor Francis Thomas, of Maryland.

Gov. Francis Thomas

Now, I’m by no means a “Thomas specialist”, but, I do know, when it came to slavery, he was noted for having called the institution “altogether unworthy of enlightened statesmen, and should be by all patriots repudiated”. Of course, look for that quote on the Web, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find the words that came before or after, so… if you are in the know, please feel to enlighten and provide us with context.

It just so happened that, two weekends ago, I was making my way through central Maryland, and made a point of stopping to see Thomas’ grave.

Thomas' headstone, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church Cemetery, Petersville, Md.

Sure, I imagine some folks are, at about this time, saying, “so?”

Well, let’s take a look at the other side of the headstone, and add a little something more…

If you can’t quite make that out, I’ll assist, but… first, of course, keep in mind… the Emancipation Proclamation had no impact on Maryland, correct? Yet, Maryland took measures on its own, to free its slaves by the fall of 1864… yes… 1864. Thomas was instrumental in this effort. In fact, he felt so strongly, he was quite proud to note his part in it, in words etched for posterity, on his headstone.

The author of the measure which gave to Maryland the Constitution of 1864 and thereby gave freedom to 90,000 human beings.

So, not only did he want to see an end to slavery, he had a hand in making it possible.

Interesting, no?