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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 88   View pdf image (33K)
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lxxxviii Introduction.

these cited the reasons why removal was sought. Of these forty-one broad-
sides, thirty-four were printed in English alone, and seven were printed with the
petition in English and in German, the latter in German type. It is of interest
that all these printed petitions appear to have come from the press of Nicholas
Hasselbach, a Pennsylvania German, who had in 1765 moved to Baltimore and
established the first printing press in that town. These printed petitions appear
in three forms. Those in English alone are in two forms which show only
trivial differences; these are nos. 1-28, 35-37, [39]-[41] (pp. 520, 563). In
the petitions in both languages the English precedes the German version; these
are nos. 29-34, [38] (pp. 552-556). The interested reader will find these early
examples of Baltimore printing fully discussed in Lawrence C. Wroth's A
History of Colonial Printing in Maryland, 1922 (pp. 113-114, 232-233). The
petitions for removal as presented to the Assembly are preceded by an "Ad-
vertisement" in manuscript which recites that they have complied with resolves
of the Lower House which require petitions for local legislation to be adver-
tised at least two months before an Assembly meeting; and in further com-
pliance with these resolves that the notices, that such application would be made,
had been set up at the door of the court house at Joppa and at the seven
churches and chapels of the Established Church in Baltimore County named in
the "Advertisement".

The petition for removal then goes on to assert that in addition to the
court house at Joppa being too small, it being the smallest court house in the
Province, it is flimsy and exposed to the depradations of evil-doers; and that
the jail is not only insecure, thus encouraging frequent escapes, but has no
through draft, resulting in the prisoners suffering loss of health; that the town
is on a low promontory connected with the mainland by an isthmus, which when
flooded by high tides and heavy rains is nearly impassable, making the town an
island; that the town can now be reached only by very small vessels. It is
further recited that there are few houses in Joppa, and that those who attend
courts must ride by night to houses in the neighborhood for lodgings, thus
endangering their lives by colds, pleurisies and other disorders. Baltimore is
then extolled. The town is declared to be situated on a fine river, navigable by
large ships, and has a rapidly increasing population and trade; there are suffi-
cient inns to accommodate large numbers with ease and plenty; the court house
and jail would be by their surroundings better protected; and people from all
parts of the county would find here a good market to sell their goods. While
Baltimore is not as central as Joppa, the experience of neighboring colonies
shows that this is not a serious objection. For all these and other good reasons
the petitioners asked that the court house and jail be moved to Baltimore Town.
A very considerable number of those signing bore German names, and were
either residents of Baltimore Town or of the western part of the county with a
large German population. Many of these names in German script are well nigh
illegible, and several show a transitional form between the correct German
spelling of Christian and family names and the euphonic English spelling into
which they were becoming transformed.

The petitions against removal were circulated in manuscript and not in printed


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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 88   View pdf image (33K)
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