20 de marzo de 2009


For a time the colony was without laws except the common law of England.But Baltimore was too wise and conciliatory to allow such a state of affairs to continue. He gave authority to the governor to assent to the acts of the assembly, which he himself might or might not confirm.
Accordingly in 1639 the assembly met and passed various acts, mostly relating to civil affairs. One, however, was specially noteworthy, as giving to the "Holy Church" "her rights and liberties," meaning by this the Church of Rome, for, as Gardiner says, the title was never applied to the Church of England. It was at the same time expressly enacted that all the Christian inhabitants should be in the enjoyment of every right and privilege as free as the natural-born subjects of England. If Roger Williams was the first to proclaim absolute religious liberty, Lord Baltimore was hardly behind him in putting this into practice. As has been neatly said, "The Ark and the Dove were names of happy omen: the one saved from the general wreck the germs of political liberty, and the other bore the olive-branch of religious peace."
During the civil war in England the affairs of Maryland were in a very disturbed condition. Clayborne, Maryland's evil genius, seized the opportunity to foment an insurrection, possessed himself once more of Kent Island, and compelled the governor to flee to Virginia. Returning in 1646, Calvert was fortunate enough to recover the reins of government, but the following year witnessed the close of his administration and his short though useful and eventful life. Few men intrusted with almost absolute authority have exercised it with so much firmness and at the same time with so much ability, discretion, and uprightness.
His successor, Greene, a Catholic, was not likely to find favor with the Puritan Parliament of England, and Baltimore, in 1648, to conciliate the ruling powers and to refute the charge that Maryland was only a retreat for Romanists, removed the governor and appointed instead one who was a Protestant and a firm supporter of Parliament. The council was also changed so as to place the Catholics in the minority. The oath of the new governor restrained him from molesting any person, especially if of the Roman Catholic persuasion, on account of religious profession. The way was thus opened for the Act of Toleration passed in 1649.
This law, after specifying certain speeches against the Trinity, the Virgin, or the saints as punishable offences, declared that equal privileges should be enjoyed by Christians of all creeds. Whatever the motives of Baltimore, his policy was certainly wise and commendable.
A new and troublesome element was now introduced into the colony. Some Puritans who had not been tolerated among the stanch Church-of-England inhabitants of Virginia were invited by Governor Stone to Maryland. Their home here, which they named Providence, is now known as Annapolis.The new-comers objected to the oath of fidelity, refused to send burgesses to the assembly, and were ready to overthrow the government whose protection they were enjoying. Opportunity soon offered. Parliament had already in 1652 brought Virginia to submission. Maryland was now accused of disloyalty, and when we notice among the commissioners appointed by the Council of State, the name of Clayborne, it is not difficult to understand who was the author of this charge. The governor was removed, but being popular and not averse to compromise, was quickly restored. Then came the accession of Cromwell to power as Protector of England. Parliament was dissolved. The authority of its commissioners of course ceased. Baltimore seized this opportunity to regain his position as proprietary. He bade Stone to require the oath of fidelity to the proprietary from those who occupied lands, and to issue all writs in his name. He maintained that the province now stood in the same relations to the Protectorate which it had borne to the royalist government of Charles I.
So thought Cromwell, but not so Clayborne or the Maryland Puritans. They deposed Stone, and put in power Fuller, who was in sympathy with their designs. There resulted a reversal of the acts of former assemblies, and legislation hostile to the Catholics. The new assembly, from which Catholics were carefully excluded by disfranchisement, at once repealed the Act of Toleration. Protection was withdrawn from those who professed the popish religion, and they were forbidden the exercise of that faith in the province. Severe penalties were threatened against "prelacy" and "licentiousness" thus restricting the benefits of their "Act concerning Religion" to the Puritan element now in power. The authority of the proprietary himself was disputed, and colonists were invited to take lands without his knowledge or consent.
Baltimore adopted vigorous measures. By his orders Stone made a forcible attempt to regain control of the province, but was defeated at Providence and taken prisoner. His life was spared, but four of his men were condemned and executed. Baltimore again invoked the powerful intervention of Cromwell, and again were the enemies of Maryland sternly rebuked for their interference in the affairs of that province, and told in plain language to leave matters as they had found them. In 1656, after an inquiry by the Commissioners of Trade, the claims of Baltimore were admitted to be just, and he promptly sent his brother Philip to be a member of the council and secretary of the province. The legislation of the usurping Puritans was set aside, religious toleration once more had full sway, and a general pardon was proclaimed to those who had taken part in the late disturbances.In the meantime, Fendall, who had been appointed governor by Baltimore, plotted to make himself independent of his master, and, with the connivance of the assembly, proceeded to usurp the authority which was lawfully vested in the proprietary. But the attempt was a miserable failure. Philip Calvert was immediately made governor by the now all-powerful proprietary, who had the favor and support of Charles II., just coming to the throne. Peace and prosperity came back to the colony so sorely and frequently vexed by civil dissensions. The laws were just and liberal, encouraging the advent of settlers of whatever creed, while the rule of the Calverts was wise and benign, such as to merit the respect and admiration of posterity. In 1643 Virginia and Maryland together had less than twenty thousand inhabitants. In 1660 Maryland alone, according to Fuller, had eight thousand. Chalmers thinks there were no fewer than twelve thousand at this date.

See also:1634-1638


This charter, as will be readily seen, could not please the Virginians, since the entire territory conveyed by it was part of the grant of 1609 to the London Company for Virginia. But as this and subsequent charters had been annulled in 1624, the new colony was held by the Privy Council to have the law on its side, and Lord Baltimore was left to make his preparations undisturbed. He fitted out two vessels, the Ark and the Dove, and sent them on their voyage of colonization. They went by the way of the West Indies, arriving off Point Comfort in 1634. Sailing up the Potomac, they landed on the island of St. Clement's, and took formal possession of their new home. Calvert explored a river, now called the St. Mary's, a tributary of the Potomac, and being pleased with the spot began a settlement. He gained the friendship of the natives by purchasing the land and by treating them justly and humanely.
The proprietary was a Catholic, yet, whether or not by an agreement between him and the king, as Gardiner supposes, did not use either his influence or his authority to distress adherents of the Church of England. The two creeds stood practically upon an equality. But if religious troubles were avoided, difficulties of another sort were not slow in arising. About the year 1631, Clayborne, who had been secretary of the Virginia colony, had chosen Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay as a station for trading with the Indians. This post was in the very midst of Maryland, and Calvert notified Clayborne that he should consider it a part of that province. Clayborne at once showed himself a bitter enemy.
The Indians became suspicious and unfriendly, Clayborne, so it was believed, being the instigator of this temper. An armed vessel was sent out, with orders from Clayborne to seize ships of the St. Mary's settlement. A fight took place, Clayborne fleeing to Virginia. Calvert demanded that he should be given up. This was refused, and in 1637 he went to England. A committee of the Privy Council decided that Kent Island belonged to Maryland.
1638.In 1635 the first Maryland assembly met, consisting of the freemen of the colony and the governor, Leonard Calvert, the proprietary's brother, who was presiding officer. Lord Baltimore repudiated its acts, on the ground that they were not proposed by him, as the charter directed. The assembly which gathered in 1638 retaliated, rejecting the laws brought forward by the proprietary.

See also: Maryland 1630