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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1758-1761
Volume 56, Preface 9   View pdf image (33K)
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Baltimore, December 1, 1939.
To the Maryland Historical Society,

this volume of the Archives of Maryland, containing the Proceedings and
Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland from the autumn of 1758 to the
spring of 1761, is presented to the Maryland Historical Society by your Com-
mittee on Publications, to which you have entrusted its preparation. It is
Volume LVI of the general series, and the twenty-sixth volume of the sub-
series dealing with Assembly affairs. It covers all the proceedings of the six
sessions of the Assembly, the Lower House of which had been elected by the
people in September, 1758. This Assembly terminated its existence when
Governor Sharpe and his Council dissolved it in the autumn of 1761, and
ordered the issuance of writs for the election of a new lower chamber. Al-
most no new legislation of a controversial character was enacted by it, except
when in a single instance, to save the pockets of members of both the Pro-
prietary and popular parties about to be hit by an additional land tax, both houses
reluctantly agreed upon a compromise measure. The laws which were passed
were in great part acts which continued in force laws of a non-controversial
character about to expire by time limitation. There was a marked reduction
in the number of messages and addresses which passed between the Governor
and the Upper House on one hand and the Lower House on the other over con-
troversial legislation. Each side had had its say on these questions at recent
preceding sessions. Occasionally, however, the Governor, taunted beyond en-
durance by the ill manners of the Lower House, responded in a message with
proper spirit.

The period covered by these Assembly records, the four mid-years of the
Seven Years' War, opens just after there had been a turn for the better for
the British in the fortunes of war. The low point for Britain in the war in
America had been reached on July 8, 1758, with the ignominious defeat of
Abercrombie by Montcalm at Ticonderoga. But there was a rapid change for
the better when Amherst on July 27th captured Louisburg on Cape Breton
Island, and this was followed on September 13th by the fall of Quebec to
Wolfe. These victories gave the control of Canada and the Great Lakes to
the British. The success of the expedition across Pennsylvania under Brigadier-
General John Forbes, in which five hundred Maryland troops took part, re-
sulted in the abandonment of Fort Duquesne by the French and wrested from
them the control of the Ohio.

These victories were, however, to have an untoward result in Maryland,
for relief from the threat to its frontiers by the French and Indians was to
make the Lower House even more truculent and less willing to contribute to
the support of the war. Military events in the south now settled into a con-
dition of stagnation which lasted until the end of the war, although the treaty

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1758-1761
Volume 56, Preface 9   View pdf image (33K)
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