In this volume is completed the Journal of the Council of Safety,
which it will be remembered was the permanent executive committee of
the Convention, or provisional revolutionary government. The Con-
vention met at stated times, or was called together by the Council on
any emergency, while the Council carried out its measures, and admin-
istered all matters connected with the war, or growing out of it.
In August, 1776, a new Convention was elected, charged with the
duty of framing a Bill of Rights and a Constitution for the State.
Their task was accomplished in November. The Constitution provided
for a House of Delegates consisting of four members from each of the
nineteen counties, and two each from Annapolis and Baltimore, to be
elected immediately by the people. There was also to be a Senate of
fifteen members, nine from the Western, and six from the Eastern
Shore, to be chosen by an electoral college, designated by popular vote.
The governor was to be elected annually by joint ballot of the two
Houses, and was to be assisted by a Council of five members, chosen
in the same manner.
The election for electors to the Senate was held on Nov. 25, 1776,
and they performed their duties on Dec. 9. The Delegates were
elected on Dec. 18, and the Assembly met in Annapolis on Feb. 10,
1777. On the 13th Thomas Johnson was chosen governor, and was
inaugurated with imposing ceremonies on Mar. 21.
The State government being now complete, the Council of Safety
dissolved itself by simple adjournment, and handed over its records
and unfinished business to the Council of the State. The records of
the State Council are therefore taken up in this volume, as they have
never been published.
The most disquieting matter with which the Council had to deal, was
the activity of the tories, especially during the gloomy winter of
1776-77. In Somerset and Worcester counties there was a strong tory
feeling; and under leaders of some ability the loyalists became so bold
that a dangerous outbreak seemed imminent. Gen. Smallwood and
Col. Gist were sent down into those counties in February, 1777, to
suppress disaffection and restore order; and Congress empowered
Smallwood to call in the aid of the continental troops, should it be