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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1671-1681
Volume 15, Preface 6   View pdf image (33K)
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x Preface.

There had been in the Province, almost from the beginning, a discon-
tented faction, led by a few demagogues, who were ever ready to stir
up sedition, and play on the ignorance, credulity, and bigotry of the
people. A leader in all work of this kind was the ex-governor, Josias
Fendall, who having been, with perhaps more humanity than wisdom,
pardoned for an act of flagrant treason, and suffered to remain in the
Province, bore ever afterward a rancorous hatred to the Proprietary and
the government, and his home in Calvert county was a hatching-place
for plots and mutinies. With him we soon find associated that unclean
bird, John Coode.

The uneasiness about the Indians was skilfully taken advantage of
by these plotters, who spread everywhere the rumor that the Proprie-
tary and the Catholics (about one-twelfth of the whole population) were
conspiring with the Indians to massacre the Protestants. Absurd as
such a charge was, it found ready credence among the agitated and
credulous people, to whom it seemed an easy explanation of all these
disquieting phenomena. Indeed so well did it serve its purpose, that
it was used with great effect by Coode and his followers in the rebellion
of 1689, and openly put forward in their Declaration.

To a certain extent, therefore, these volumes explain what has always
been a mystery, the sudden and almost unresisted success of that most
causeless of rebellions. It was not that the people really felt any
oppression, endured any wrong, or bore any burdens but such as are
incident to all governments by law. But for years they had had their
fears, their credulity, and their bigotry wrought upon by tales of Popish
plots and conspiracies with the Indians, and the assurances that
(whether they felt it or not) they were groaning under insupportable
tyranny, until mere iteration had compelled belief.

 

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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1671-1681
Volume 15, Preface 6   View pdf image (33K)
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