網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

PROGRESS OF CIVIL LIBERTY.

277

VII.

years

after it had been confirmed, the apologist of CHAP. Lord Baltimore could assert, that his government, in conformity with his strict and repeated injunctions, had never given disturbance to any person in Maryland for matter of religion ;' that the colonists enjoyed freedom of conscience, not less than freedom of person and estate, as amply as ever any people did in any place of the world. The disfranchised friends of prelacy from Massachusetts and the puritans from Virginia, were welcomed to an equality of political rights in the Roman Catholic province of Maryland.

An equal union prevailed between all branches of 1650. the government in explaining and confirming the civil April. liberties of the colony. In 1642, Robert Vaughan, in the name of the rest of the burgesses, had desired, that the house might be separated, and thus a negative secured to the representatives of the people. Before 1649, this change had taken place; and it was confirmed by a statute. The dangerous prerogative of declaring martial law was also limited to the precincts of the camp and the garrison ;5 and a perpetual act declared, that no tax should be levied upon the freemen of the province, except by the vote of their deputies in a general assembly.

66 The strength of the proprietary” was confidently reposed “in the affections of his people.”6 Well might the freemen of Maryland place upon their records a

[ocr errors]

1 Langford, p. 11. 2 Ibid, p. 5.

3 Chalmers' Political Annals, p. 219.

4 Bacon, 1649, c. xii. and note, 1650, c. i.

5 Bacon, 1650, c. xxvi.
6 Ibid, 1650, c. xxv.

VII.

chap. declaration of their gratitude “ as a memorial to all CHAP

posterities," and a pledge that succeeding genera1650. tions would faithfully “remember” the care and

industry of Lord Baltimore in advancing “ the peace and happiness of the colony."1

But the revolutions in England could not but affect the destinies of the colonies; and while New-England and Virginia vigorously advanced their liberties under the salutary neglect, Maryland was involved in the miseries of a disputed government. The people were ready to display every virtue of good citizens; but doubts were raised as to the authority to which obedience was due ; and the government, which had been a government of benevolence, good order and toleration, was, by the force of circumstances, soon abandoned to the misrule of bigotry and the anarchy of a disputed sovereignty. When the throne and the peerage had been subverted in England, it might be questioned, whether the mimic monarchy of Lord Baltimore should be permitted to continue ? When hereditary power had ceased in the mother country, might it properly exist in the colony? It seemed uncertain, if the proprietary could maintain his position ; and the scrupulous puritans hesitated to take an unqualified oath of fealty, with which they might be unable to comply.” Englishmen were no longer lieges of a sovereign, but members of a commonwealth; and, but for the claims of Baltimore, Maryland would equally enjoy the benefits of republican liberty. Great as was the

1 Bacon, 1650, c. xxiii.

2 Strong's Babylon's Fall, p. 1, 2.

MARYLAND IN THE TIMES OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

279

VII.

temptation to assert independence, it would not have CHAP. prevailed, could the peace of the province have been maintained. But who, it might well be asked, was the sovereign of Maryland ? The distinction was claimed by four separate aspirants. Virginia' was ever ready to revive its rights to jurisdiction beyond the Potomac, and Clayborne had already excited attention by his persevering opposition;" Charles II., incensed against Lord Baltimore for his adhesion to the rebels and his toleration of schismatics, had issued a commission to Sir William Davenant ;3 Stone was the active deputy of Lord Baltimore; and parliament had already appointed its commissioners.

In the ordinance for the reduction of the rebellious 1650. colonies, Maryland had not been included ; if Charles II. had been inconsiderately proclaimed by a tempo

officer, the offence had been expiated ;; and, as assurances had been given of the fidelity of Stone to the commonwealth, no measures against his authority were designed. Yet the commissioners were 1651. instructed to reduce “ all the plantations within the

Sept. bay of the Chesapeake ;”” and it must be allowed, that Clayborne might find in the ambiguous phrase, 1652. intended, perhaps, to include only the settlements of Virginia, a sufficient warrant to stretch his authority to Maryland. The commissioners accordingly entered the province; and, after much altercation with

rary

>

1 Hazard, v. i. p. 6204630; McMahon, p. 207, 208.

2 Bacon, 1650, c. xvii.

3 Langford's Refutation, p. 3,4; Grahame's U. S. v. i. p. 117, 118.

4 Hazard, v. i. p. 636.
5 McMahon, p. 203.
6 Langford, p. 6 and 7.

7 Thurloe, v. i. p. 198; Hazard, v. i. p. 557.

VII.

1652. June.

CHAP. Stone, depriving him of his commission from Lord

Baltimore, and changing the officers of the province, they at last established a compromise. Stone, with three of his council, was permitted to retain the executive

power

till further instructions should arrive from England. 1653. The dissolution of the Long Parliament threatened April.

a change in the political condition of Maryland; for, it was argued, the only authority, under which Bennett and Clayborne had acted, had expired with the body, from which it was derived. In consequence,

? 1654. Stone, Hatton and his friends, re-instated the rights

of Lord Baltimore in their integrity; displacing all officers of the contrary party, they introduced the old council, and declared the condition of the colony, as settled by Bennett and Clayborne, to have been a state of rebellion. A railing proclamation to that effect was published to the puritans in their church meeting

The measures were rash and ill-advised. No July. sooner did Clayborne and his colleague learn the

new revolution, than they hastened to Maryland; where it was immediately obvious, that they could be met by no effectual resistance. Unable to persuade Stone, “in a peaceable and loving way,” to abandon the claims of Lord Baltimore, they yet compelled him to surrender his commission and the government into their hands. This being done,

1 Strong's Bab n's Fall, p. 2 3 Strong, p. 3; Hazard, v. i. p. and 3; Langford's Reply, p. 7 and 626. The date is there 1653. It 8; Bacon's Preface; McMahon, p. was in 1654, as Strong asserts. 204, 205; Chalmers, p. 122. McMahon, p. 206, cites Hazard

2 Langford, p. 10; Strong, p. 3. doubtingly. Bacon, 1654, c. xlv.

MARYLAND DURING THE PROTECTORATE.

281

VII.

1654.

Clayborne and Bennett appointed a board of ten chap. commissioners, to whom the administration of Maryland was entrusted.

Intolerance followed upon this arrangement; for parties in Maryland had necessarily become identified with religious sects. The puritans, ever the friends of popular liberty, hostile to monarchy, and equally so to a hereditary proprietary, contended earnestly for every civil liberty ; but had neither the gratitude to respect the rights of the government, by which they had been received and fostered, nor magnanimity to continue the toleration, to which alone they were indebted for their residence in the colony. A new assembly, convened at Patuxent, acknowledged Oct. the authority of Cromwell, but it also exasperated the whole Romish party by their wanton disfranchisement. An act concerning religion, confirmed the freedom of conscience, provided the liberty were not extended to “popery, prelacy, or licentiousness” of opinion. Yet Cromwell, remote from the scene of strife, was not betrayed by his religious prejudices into an approbation of the ungrateful decree. He commanded the commissioners “not to busy thenselves about religion, but to settle the civil govern

ment."

When the proprietary heard of these proceedings, he felt indignant at the want of firmness, which his lieutenant had displayed. The pretended assembly was esteemed “illegal, mutinous and usurped ;” and

1 Strong, p. 3, 4, 5; Langford, p. 11, 12; McMahon, p. 206; Chalmers, p. 223. VOL. I.

36

2 Bacon, 1654, c. iv.
3 Chalmers, p. 236.
4 Hazard, v. i. p. 629; Strong.

« 上一頁繼續 »