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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1663-1666
Volume 49, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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                        LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                                         BALTIMORE, May 2, 1932.

         To the Maryland Historical Society:

          This volume of the Archives of Maryland, which contains the Proceedings
         of the Provincial Court from 1663 to 1666 inclusive, is the fourth of the
         sub-series dealing with the activities of this court, and the forty-ninth of the
         general series of the Archives of Maryland.
          It is the purpose of the Committee on Publications not only to continue to
         bring out the proceedings of the Provincial Court, which owing to their bulk
         is a slow process, but in the near future to begin the publication of the seven
         teenth century records of the Court of Chancery and of certain of the county
         courts of the Province. These together will be known as the Court Series
         of the Archives of Maryland, and in connection with the Decisions of the Court
         of Appeals from 1695 to 1729, which are shortly to appear under other auspices,
         will form as complete a picture of the entire judicial system of the Province as
         is possessed by any other colony.
          It should be clearly understood that it is not the intention of the editor to
         attempt to give here a general history of the early judicial system of Maryland,
         which has been so well described by Bozman, Thomas, Steiner, Newbold, and
         Bond. This would seem to be a good opportunity, however, to consider in some
         detail a few obscure and unsettled questions regarding the evolution and devel
         opment during the seventeenth century of certain of these courts, their juris
         dictional relationship to each other as brought out by the study of this and
         previous volumes of the Archives, and to note the condition of the old record
         books from which our source material is derived. A definite opinion upon
         some of these mooted questions cannot be given at the present time—perhaps
         can never be given with absolute certainty—owing to the mid-century gaps in
         the records as a result of the struggle between king and parliament, from which
         Maryland suffered not a little. This re-study of some of these problems seems
         to have thrown additional light upon the early development of the Provincial
         Court and its peculiar relation to the St. Mary's County Court. It is hoped that,
         when the surviving early county court records finally appear in printed form,
         further light may be thrown upon other questions which are still puzzling.
          Maryland is fortunate in that the records of the court exercising general
         jurisdiction in the Province during the colonial period have been so well pre
         served, although the same cannot be said of the seventeenth century records
         of the various county and manorial courts, which are quite fragmentary. The
         records of this court of general jurisdiction, known successively as the County
         Court, the Provincial Court, and the General Court, exist in an almost unbroken
         sequence from their beginning in 1637 to 1805, when the entire judicial system
         of the State underwent a complete change. These breaks are to be found prin

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1663-1666
Volume 49, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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