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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1724-1726
Volume 35, Preface 9   View pdf image (33K)
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PREFACE.

In the present volume is presented a continuation of the Proceedings
and Acts of the General Assembly from October, 1724, to July, 1726,
including four sessions of that body, the brief session in July, 1726,
being the last one held during the administration of Governor Charles
Calvert.

The principal subjects of public interest that engaged the attention
of the legislature were, the question as to whether the English statute
law extended to Maryland, the importation of convict labor, the regula-
tion of the quality of tobacco—the principal crop and chief staple of
the province—and the old disputes over the fees of public officers and
allowances to members of the Council.

In respect to the first of these, long arguments were exchanged be-
tween the Lord Proprietary in England and the Lower House of
Assembly, which finally resulted in a concession by the former to the
extent of agreeing that such laws as were " undoubted, certain, con-
stantly adhered to and practised " should be preserved.1 An act passed
in 1725 prescribing the form of oath to be taken by judges, by which
it was intended to bind them more strictly to the application of the
English law in cases where the local law was silent, was, however, dis-
allowed by the Proprietary.

In relation to the importation of convict servants, the act passed in
1723, which was designed to restrict the importation of convicts, re-
ceived the dissent of the Proprietary on the ground that it was in con-
travention of an act of Parliament, by authority of which certain con-
tractors had the right to offer these convicts in the American colonies
for sale into penal servitude. By the Maryland act it had been sought
to require purchasers of such laborers to give security for their good
behavior. The Governor pointed out, in an address to the Assembly,
that the only way to exclude this undesirable element from the popula-
tion was to refuse to purchase convict labor, as it was impossible, by

1The rule thus prescribed is, in effect, identical with the principle embodied in Article 5 of
the Maryland Declaration of Rights, wherein is asserted the right of the inhabitants of the
State to the Common Law of England, and to the benefit of such English statutes as existed
on the 4th day of July, 1776, and which had been found applicable, and had been introduced,
used, and practised by the Courts.


 

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1724-1726
Volume 35, Preface 9   View pdf image (33K)
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