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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October 1720-1723
Volume 34, Preface 11   View pdf image (33K)
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Preface. xi

land. This declaration called forth a vigorous protest from the Lower
House, where action was taken after the presentation of an ex-
haustive report upon the subject from a special committee composed of
James Stoddert, one of the justices of the Provincial Court, Daniel
Dulany, the Attorney General, and John Beale, formerly clerk to the
Council and to the Upper House. In apprehension of the position
taken by the Proprietary, the Lower House had at the previous session
adopted resolutions asserting the right to the benefit and protection of
the English law, and a copy of those resolutions was sent to the
Proprietary with the address adopted at this session.

The summary dismissal by the Lower House, of Colonel Nathaniel
Blakiston, a former Governor of Maryland under the Crown, from his
employment as agent of the Province in England, and the criticism of
the Proprietary's advisers, contained in the address above mentioned,
suggest the possibility that he was deemed in a measure responsible
for the Proprietary's pronouncement upon this subject.

The question of the limitation of Officers' Fees had long been a
vexed one, and session after session the Proprietary had withheld his
dissent to the Act of 1719, urging the Assembly to take action to
render it more acceptable to him. Meanwhile a feeling of hostility
toward the Upper House, composed of the members of the Council
appointed by the Proprietary, had grown up. The Upper House had
opposed the Lower House in the measures for improving the quality of
tobacco, and had sided with the Proprietary in the matter of the regula-
tion of Officers' Fees, and had sustained the prerogative on other oc-
casions. The hostility of the Lower House was at first manifested in
petty ways, but at the session of 1723 it was determined to cut off the
allowance made to the Councillors for their services out of Assembly
time. This led to a long and acrimonious dispute between the two
houses, in which the usual amenities of parliamentary debate were laid
aside. Finally the journal of the Committee on Accounts was passed
without the customary appropriation, the members of the Upper House
reserving to themselves their rights. It was not until this result had
been attained, on the last day of the session, that the Lower House
passed a bill amending the Act relating to Officers' Fees in a manner
acceptable to the Proprietary.

The evils resulting from the importation of convict labor had con-
tinued to grow, and at this session an Act was passed for the pre-
vention of those evils, and for the better discovery of convicts when
imported. This Act was dissented to by the Proprietary, June 8, 1724,


 

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October 1720-1723
Volume 34, Preface 11   View pdf image (33K)
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