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LIFE AND CHARACTER OF SIR GEORGE CALVERT.

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his life. He desired, as a founder of a colony, not CHAP. present profit, but a reasonable expectation; and, perceiving the evils of a common stock, he cherished enterprize by leaving each one to enjoy the results of his own industry. But numerous difficulties prevented success in Newfoundland; parliament had ever asserted the freedom of the fisheries,' which his grants tended to impair; the soil and the climate proved less favorable, than had been described in the glowing and deceptive pictures of his early agents ; and the incessant danger of attacks from the French, who were possessed of the circumjacent continent, spread a gloom over the future. Twice, it is said, did Lord Baltimore, in person, visit his settlement ; with ships, manned at his own charge, he repelled the French, who were hovering round the coast with the design of annoying the English fishermen; and, having taken sixty of them prisoners, he secured a temporary tranquillity to his countrymen and his colonists. But, notwithstanding this success, he found all hopes of a thriving plantation in Avalon to be vain. Why should the English emigrate to a rugged and inhospitable island, surrounded by a hostile power, when the hardships of colonizing the milder regions of Virginia had already been encountered; and a peaceful home might now be obtained without peril?

in the Cambridge Library. Also p. 522, 523; Lloyd's State Wor-
Purchas, v. iv. p. 1882—1891; thies, in Biog. Brit. article Calvert;
Collier on Calvert; Fuller's Wor- Chalmers, p. 201.
thies of Yorkshire, p. 201, 202; 1 Chalmers, p. 84. 100. 114, 115,
Wood's Athena Oxonienses, v. ii. 116. 130.
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and

Lord Baltimore looked to Virginia, of which the climate, the fertility, and the advantages were so much extolled. Yet, as a papist, he could hardly expect a hospitable welcome in a colony, from which the careful exclusion of Roman Catholics had been originally avowed as a special object, and where the statutes of the provincial legislature, as well as the

commands of the sovereign, aimed at a perpetual 1628, religious uniformity. When Lord Baltimore visited 1629. Virginia in person, the zeal of the assembly imme

diately ordered the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to be tendered him. It was in vain that he proposed a form, which he was willing to subscribe; the government firmly insisted upon that which had been chosen by the English statutes, and which was pur

posely framed in such language as no catholic could 1629. adopt. A letter was transmitted from the assembly

to the privy council, explanatory of the dispute, which had grown out of the intolerance of European legislation. It was evident, that Lord Baltimore could never hope for quiet in any attempt at establishing a colony within the jurisdiction of Virginia.

But the country beyond the Potomac seemed to be as yet untenanted by any but the scattered hordes of the native tribes. The cancelling of the Virginia patents had restored to the monarch the ample authority of his prerogative over the soil; he might now sever a province from the colony, to which he had at first assigned a territory so vast; and it was not diffi

Oct.

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1 Hazard, v. i. p. 72.

History of Virginia, v. ii. p. 24 2 Ancient Records, in Burk's -27.

CHARTER OF MARYLAND.

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a

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cult for Calvert, a man of such moderation, that all CHAP. parties were taken with him, sincere in his character, disengaged from all interests, and a favorite with the royal family, to obtain a charter for domains in that happy clime. The nature of the document itself and concurrent opinion, leave no room to doubt, that it was penned by the first Lord Baltimore himself; although it was finally issued for the benefit of his son.

The fundamental charter of the colony of Mary- 1632. land, however it may have neglected to provide for the power of the king, was the sufficient frankpledge of the liberties of the colonist, not less than of the rights and interests of the proprietary. The ocean, the fortieth parallel of latitude, the meridian of the western fountain of the Potomac, the river itself from its source to its mouth, and a line drawn due east from Watkin's Point to the Atlantic, these were the limits of the territory, which was now erected into a province, and from Henrietta Maria, the daughter of Henry IV. and wife of Charles I., received the name of Maryland. The country, thus described, was given to Lord Baltimore, his heirs and assigns, as to its absolute lord and proprietary; to be holden by the tenure of fealty only, paying a yearly rent of two Indian arrows, and a fifth of all gold and silver ore, which might be found. Yet the absolute authority was conceded rather with

a

1 Collier on Calvert.

Relation of Maryland, 1635. It has 2 The charter may be found in been commented upon by ChalHazard, v. i. p. 327–337, in Ba- mers, p. 202—205; very diffusely con's Laws of Maryland at Large. by McMahon,p. 133—183; by StoIt is appended in English to the rý, v. i.p.92—94, and many others.

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CHAP. reference to the crown, than the colonists; for the

charter, unlike any patent which had hitherto passed 1632. the great seal of England, secured to the emigrants

themselves an independent share in the legislation of the province, of which the statutes were to be established with the advice and approbation of the majority of the freemen or their deputies. Representative government was indissolubly connected with the fundamental charter; and it was especially provided, that the authority of the absolute proprietary should not extend to the life, freehold, or estate of any emigrant. These were the features, which endeared the proprietary government to the people of Maryland ; and, but for these, the patent would have been as worthless as those of the London company; of Warwick, of Gorges, or of Mason. It is a singular fact, that the only proprietary charters, productive of considerable emolument to their owners, were those, which conceded popular liberty. Sir George Calvert was a Roman Catholic; yet, far from guarding his territory against any but those of his persuasion, as he had taken from himself and his successors all arbitrary power, by establishing the legislative franchises of the people, so he took from them the means of being intolerant in religion, by securing to all present and future liege people of the English king, without distinction of sect or party, free leave to transport themselves and their families to Maryland. Christianity was by the charter made the law of the land, but no preference was given to any sect; and equality in religious rights, not less than in civil freedom, was

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assured. A monopoly of the fisheries had formerly CHAP. been earnestly resisted by the commons of England ; to avoid all dispute on this point, Calvert, in his 1632. charter, expressly renounced any similar claim. As a catholic, he needed to be free from the jurisdiction of his neighbor ; Maryland was carefully separated from Virginia, nor was he obliged to obtain the royal assent to the appointments or the legislation of his province, nor even to make a communication of the results. So far was the English monarch from reserving any right of superintendence in the colony, he left himself without the power to take cognizance of what transpired; and, by an express stipulation, covenanted, that neither he, nor his heirs, nor his successors, should ever, at any time thereafter, set any imposition, custom, or tax whatsoever upon the inhabitants of the province. Thus was conferred on Maryland an exemption from English taxation forever. Sir George Calvert was a man of sagacity, and an observing statesman. He had beheld the arbitrary administration of the colonies; and, against any danger of future oppression, he provided the strongest defence, which the promise of a monarch could afford. Some other rights were conferred on the proprietary, the advowson of churches; the power of creating manors and courts baron, and of establishing a colonial aristocracy on the system of sub-infeudation. But these things were practically of little moment. Even in Europe, feudal institutions appeared like the decrepitude of age amidst the vigor and enterprize of a new and more peaceful

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