The New International Encyclopædia/Baltimore, Barons of

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BALTIMORE, Barons of, or Lords Baltimore. The title of the Calvert family in the Irish peerage. Sir George Calvert, first Lord (c.1580-1632). A British statesman. He was born at Kipling, Yorkshire, and graduated at Oxford in 1597. He then became secretary to Sir Robert Cecil and won the esteem of James I., who knighted him in 1617 and made him Secretary of State in 1619. He became a Catholic in 1624 and resigned his office, but continued in favor with the King, and in 1625 was raised to the Irish peerage as Baron of Baltimore. He early became interested in the colonization of the New World and in 1621 dispatched a ship to Newfoundland to establish a settlement. In 1623 he obtained a charter to found a colony there under the name of the Province of Avalon (q.v.). He crossed the ocean himself in 1627, and again in 1629, taking his family with him, but encountered many difficulties from the hostility of the French and the severity of the climate, and soon applied for a grant of land in a more genial region. Although the King had tried to dissuade him from his project, he finally obtained (in 1632) a grant of the territory which was called ‘Maryland’ by Charles I. in honor of the Queen. Before the charter was issued, Sir George died, and the grant devolved upon his son Cecil, who thus became the real founder of Maryland, although he never visited the colony. He sent settlers, however, under his younger brother, Leonard (see Calvert, Leonard), who was the first Governor of Maryland (1634-47). The successive Barons of Baltimore, or Lords Baltimore, were: George (first), Cecil (second), Charles (third), Benedict (fourth), Charles (fifth), and Frederick (sixth). The house became extinct with the last, who died without leaving legitimate issue. All of them, including Leonard, were prominently identified with the history of Maryland.

Consult: Browne, George Calvert and Cecilius Calvert, Barons of Baltimore (New York, 1890); Wilhelm, Life of George Calvert, one of the Maryland Historical Society's monographs; and Kennedy, Discourse on the Life and Character of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore (Baltimore, 1845).