The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Calvert (Lord Baltimore)
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Calvert (Lord Baltimore)
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|Edition of 1879. See also George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore; Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore; and Leonard Calvert on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
CALVERT. I. George, the first Lord Baltimore, born at Kipling in Yorkshire about 1582, died in London, April 15, 1632. He graduated at Oxford in 1597, when but 17 years old, was sent abroad to travel, and on his return became secretary of Robert Cecil, afterward earl of Salisbury. Cecil procured for Calvert one of the clerkships of the privy council, and in 1617 he was knighted. At length he was appointed one of the two secretaries of state, and in 1620 he was granted an annual pension of £1,000. In 1624 he resigned his office, freely confessing to the king that he had become a Roman Catholic. James I., however, retained Calvert in the privy council, and in 1625 made him baron of Baltimore, in the Irish peerage. He had obtained a patent from King James creating him proprietor of a part of the island of Newfoundland, with all the rights and privileges of nobility. To this region, which was styled Ferryland, he sent a colony in 1621, and he spent of his own fortune £25,000 in building warehouses and granaries, as well as a superb mansion for himself. He followed in 1625, about the time of King James's death, but was completely disappointed with Newfoundland, the climate proving too severe and the soil too rugged. In 1628 he visited the Virginia settlements and explored Chesapeake bay. He was delighted with the country, but the church of England party had full sway, and the authorities tendered to him the oath of supremacy, which as a Roman Catholic he could not take. From 1628 to 1632 little is known respecting him, but he is supposed to have returned to Newfoundland, as history relates that in the war between England and France he rescued 20 sail of fishing vessels (those of Newfoundland at the time being upward of 250 in number), after they had been captured by a French squadron. He returned to England, and in 1632 obtained from the king a renewal of his former charter, with the territory now forming the states of Maryland and Delaware; but Lord Baltimore died before the papers could be duly executed, and they were issued, June 20, 1632, to his son Cecilius. II. Cecilius, second Lord Baltimore, son of the preceding, born about 1603, died in 1676. The charter which had been intended for his father was executed for him by the command of Charles I. It conferred on Lord Baltimore and his heirs for ever absolute ownership of the territory granted, and also civil and ecclesiastical powers of a feudal nature. The name first intended for the colony was Crescentia, but Maryland was adopted instead, in compliment to the queen, Henrietta Maria. By the charter there was to be an annual payment of two Indian arrows, by which Lord Baltimore acknowledged that the original title to the land was still in the possession of the king, and that the soil granted to him yet belonged to the British empire. Entire exemption from taxation was conceded to the colonists. Lord Baltimore did not emigrate to America, but gave the management of the colony to his brother. III. Leonard, brother of the preceding, first governor of Maryland, born about 1606, died June 9, 1647. He conducted the first expedition to Maryland, which consisted of about 200 persons, among whom were three Jesuits. On Nov. 22, 1633 (13 years after the first voyage of the Mayflower to Plymouth), they sailed from Cowes, Isle of Wight, in two small vessels: the Ark, a ship of 300 tons, and the Dove, Lord Baltimore's pinnace, of about 50 tons. They sailed by way of the Canary islands, and after touching at Barbadoes and the neighboring islands, they reached Point Comfort in Virginia, Feb. 24, 1634. Here they were entertained for some days, and on March 3 sailed up the Chesapeake and into the Potomac, landing at an island which they called St. Clement's, and on the 25th of the month, “the day of Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary, offered in this island, for the first time in this region of the world, the sacrifice of the mass.” A large cross hewn from a tree was then set up, and they “raised it a trophy to Christ the Saviour, humbly chanting on bended knees, and with deep emotion, the litany of the cross.” Proceeding from this island about nine leagues toward the north, they entered a river which they called St. George's. They landed on the right bank, and gave the name of St. Mary to the intended city, with appropriate religious and military ceremonies, March 27, 1634. Of this city of St. Mary's scarce a trace remains, and by a stranger even its site would be unnoticed. While the missionaries were making friends with the Indian tribes, Calvert found much to harass him. Before his arrival Kent island in Chesapeake bay, situated nearly in the centre of his province, had been occupied by a certain William Clayborne; and when the patent was made out Kent island became a part of Maryland, and Clayborne owed allegiance to Calvert as proprietary. Clayborne, however, entered upon hostilities against the settlers at St. Mary's, and there is reason to believe that he was abetted in this course by the Virginian authorities at Jamestown, who were jealous of the colony of Maryland. Clayborne fitted out an armed pinnace, manned by 14 men, and on April 23, 1635, his force engaged two other pinnaces prepared by Governor Calvert to resist his aggression. Clayborne's vessel was captured with a loss of several men, and he himself fled to Virginia, whence he was deported to England. In 1638 he presented a petition to the king, setting forth his grievances, which however obtained him nothing, and he returned to Virginia. His property on Kent island had meanwhile been declared forfeited by the provincial assembly of Maryland; he petitioned for its restoration, and was refused. Lord Baltimore designed that the lands should be owned in large masses, and desired to found a feudal nobility with hereditary titles and privileges. Had his special order of commission to his brother, dated at Portsmouth, Aug. 8, 1636, been fully carried out, a great part of Maryland would have been parcelled out in grants of 2,000 or 3,000 acres of land, giving to their proprietors not only the right of soil, but of holding courts leet and courts baron to decide upon personal claims, and also of property. These rights of jurisdiction were to descend from the original owner to his heirs. Primogeniture, and hereditary legislation, such as is perpetuated by a house of lords, were to be established, and a project for titles and dignities had been sketched. In the charter, however, there was a provision which in effect nullified the one for creating an aristocracy, inasmuch as it prescribed that laws could only be made with “the advice, assent, and approbation of the freemen of said province, or of the greater part of them, or of their delegates or deputies.” The idea of founding an aristocracy seems from the very first to have been of no effect, as no single title was ever created, and none recognized but that of the proprietary himself, although in some of the early manors baronial courts were held. The manors were soon subdivided among the different descendants of the original proprietors, and the last one ceased to exist in its entirety with Charles Carroll of Carrollton. In addition to the fact that Lord Baltimore remained in England, which prevented him from legislating for the colony understandingly, the charter did not clearly express whether the laws were to be originated by the colonists or the proprietary. On this account, for several years the colony held together without any laws at all, but in great danger of anarchy. Finally Lord Baltimore conceded to the colonists permission to frame their own laws, reserving a veto to himself or his deputy. One of the first acts of the assembly of 1639 was to make the Roman Catholic religion the creed of the state, but permission was given to all bodies of Christians to worship God according to their conscience. Eating flesh in time of Lent was forbidden under penalty of a fine, and this was obligatory on Protestants as well as Catholics. Some ten years after this time another law was passed, which declared that “no person or persons whatsoever, professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be any way troubled, molested, or discountenanced for and in respect of his or her religion, nor in the free exercise thereof, nor in any way compelled to the belief or exercise of any other religion against his or her consent.” Leonard Calvert visited England in 1643, returning the following year. During his absence much trouble was experienced from the conduct of one Ingle, and this man, in connection with Calvert's old enemy Clayborne, harassed the settlement at St. Mary's. The governor on his return found everything in confusion, and although he brought a new commission from his brother confirming him in all his previous powers, Clayborne, in connection with Ingle, regained possession of Kent island, invaded the western shore of the Chesapeake, and, expelling the proprietary government, compelled Calvert to retire to Virginia. Among other property, the colonial records fell into the hands of these marauders, and were greatly mutilated and in part destroyed. This happened in 1645. Leonard Calvert returned two years after with a strong military force, took possession of Kent island, and reëstablished his rights over the entire province. But he died soon after, having named Thomas Green to he his successor as governor.