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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 87   View pdf image (33K)
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Introduction. lxxxvii

Adair, the last three being Baltimore County delegates, and ordered to bring in
a bill (pp. 354-355). This bill, brought in by John Moale two days later on
June 8th, was entitled, "An Act for erecting a Court house and public prison
in Baltimore County in the town of Baltimore and for making a sale of the
old Court House and Prison" (p. 361). This was followed by its passage on
June loth by vote of 40 to 4, Buchanan, Bordley, Deye, and Beale still voting
in the negative, and Paca not voting (pp. 368, 389). On the same day, June
8th, that the bill for removal was brought into the Lower House, the Upper
House, at the request of Benjamin Rogers of Baltimore on behalf of those
favoring Baltimore Town, requested the house to issue a summons through
Daniel Chamier, the Sheriff of Baltimore County, to Colonel William Young,
Corbin Lee, William Aisquith, and William Cox, to appear before the Upper
House and to testify the truth of what they know of certain facts set forth
in a petition against the removal of the Court House to Baltimore; and the
request was granted and a hearing ordered for June 16th (p. 298). This hear-
ing extended over a two-day period in which "the House proceeded in taking
the Testimony of Evidences upon the Petition for and against Removal of
the Court House—and heard Council for and against", and on June 17th
passed the bill which the Lower House had already approved (pp. 306-308).
An incident of some interest as bearing-on legal ethics occurred in the Lower
House after the bill had passed that body, and while hearings on it were still
being held in the Upper House. Thomas Jenings (1736-1796) of Annapolis,
a young lawyer of outstanding ability who later in the same year became At-
torney General of the Province, and who represented Frederick County in the
Lower House, was chairman of the committee having the bill in charge. Al-
though he had voted for removal, he now asked leave to attend the hearing in the
Upper House as counsel for those opposing removal. This proposal seemed too
much for the house to stomach, for it refused by a vote of 40 to 2 to allow him
to do so, only Chase and Gresham, both of whom had voted for removal, being
in favor of this professional switch (pp. 387-388). The passage of this act gave
additional impetus to the development of Baltimore as a great port and as one
of the leading cities of the Atlantic seaboard.

The petitions to the Assembly for and against the removal of the county
seat, Joppa, to Baltimore Town are printed in the Appendix (pp. 520-580).
The former set forth many reasons urged for removal that are not to be found
in the preamble of the act providing for it. An exact count of the signers, for
and against, is not possible as some of the petitions are defective and it seems
likely that others are missing. A contemporary tabulation shows 2271 signers in
favor of removal (pp. 523, 564); and a count shows 901 against. We learn from
one of the petitions against removal that there were then 8256 taxables in Balti-
more County. As "taxables" embraced all males over sixteen years of age,
including negro slaves and white indentured servants as well as female slaves
over sixteen, it seems certain that the 3172 inhabitants who signed petitions
included practically all of the males of the county twenty-one years and over,
whose signatures would influence the Assembly in making the decision.

The petitions favoring removal were circulated as printed broadside sheets;


 

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 87   View pdf image (33K)
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