The discussion regarding the Talbot Boys Monument brings to mind the Martin Luther quote, “Unity if possible, truth at all costs”. I applaud Councilmember Price’s proposal for a monument representing Talbot’s Confederate and Union soldiers at the courthouse, for men on both sides had good reason to take up arms. So, let there be unity with clear statements of truth.
Maryland, divided in sentiment at the onset of the Civil War, did not secede from the Union. Nonetheless, Lincoln took unprecedented executive actions which infringed upon the natural rights of Maryland’s citizens, including but not limited to: imprisonment of citizens without due process, search of homes without warrants, shutdown of the press and the assault of our Judge Carmichael. Are we surprised the Talbot Boys resisted? Some detractors want us to believe that these brave Talbot Countians fought for slavery, but it is clear the Talbot Boys were fighting against federal tyranny. The question of slavery was not even ‘on the table’ in Maryland; Lincoln made clear his only intent was to reunite the nation regardless of the issue of slavery, Lincoln actually promoted a constitutional amendment to forever protect slavery, and the Emancipation Proclamation exempted Maryland and other territories. So no, the Talbot Boys did not fight for slavery.
The taking of personal liberties and violation of laws during times of war and crisis is captured in the ancient legal maxim, “inter arma silent leges” (in times of war, the laws are silent). Illegal federal actions did not stop at the end of the Civil War, but were repeated during other times, including WWII (e.g., internment camps for American citizens of Japanese ancestry). Some may argue the Government’s actions were justified, but I think it is a fair question to ask how much of our liberty are we, as a people, willing to give-up to the Government in times of alleged crisis? Aren’t we currently experiencing the Covid-19 virus ‘crisis’ where we face more governmental edicts that in ‘normal’ times would be dismissed as blatantly illegal? Where do we draw the line?
For the Talbot Boys, the Federal Government had crossed the line. I am proud the monument stands at the courthouse as a potent reminder to our elected officials and bureaucrats that the power belongs to the People and Our rights shall not be infringed.
And yes, let’s add the Boys in Blue to hear their voices. Build-up, not tear-down, our monument.
Clive R. Ewing, P.E.