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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 96   View pdf image (33K)
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xcvi Introduction.

Nothing further was heard of the matter at this session, but at the 1768
Assembly a bill "for the relief of the poor within the several counties named"
was ordered to be prepared, and was brought into the Lower House by a
committee which Chase headed, and was promptly passed by both houses
(pp. 343- 382, 410, 486, 495). The preamble recites that the number and
continual increase of the poor and vagrants in the Province is exceedingly
burdensome and might be greatly lessened by due regulation and employment
of them. The act provides for the appointment in each of the counties men-
tioned, viz. Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Worcester, Frederick and Charles,
of five "trustees for the poor", who are named in the act, with authority to
make laws for regulating the poor and for punishing such offenders as va-
grants, beggars, and vagabonds, to purchase lands and erect thereon in each
of the counties a building, part of which was to be used as an almshouse for
the poor and part as a workhouse for minor offenders. An overseer, appointed
by the trustees, was to be placed in charge of each county. Power to commit
offenders for not over three months was vested in any justice or magistrate
of the county; those able to work were to be required to do so; the sale of liquors
was prohibited. An interesting provision of the law was that all inmates of the
almshouses or workhouses received for relief were required to wear on the
right sleeve a badge "with a large Roman P, together with the first Letter of
the Name of the County—cut either in Red or Blue Cloth." Punishment of
unruly inmates by whipping or by hard labor was authorized. Funds for carry-
ing out the provisions of this law were to be raised by a levy of 15 pounds of
tobacco annually for three years upon all the taxable inhabitants of these five
counties (pp. 486, 495). It may be noted that at the November-December,
1763, Assembly Edward Tilghman had introduced a bill, which did not even
pass the Lower House, requiring county pensioners to wear badges (Arch. Md.
LVIII, xxxv, 320).

It should be noted that the law passed at the November, 1765, session, "An
Act for the benefit of the poor and encouragement of industry", had a mis-
leading title, as it was merely a measure to encourage the home manufacture
of linen by the payment of county bounties, and was only indirectly beneficial
to the poor. It is only mentioned here because of its misleading title. It is
fully discussed in the Introduction to another volume of the Archives (LIX,
xxxii), and is referred to again in the present volume under "Bounties on
Linen" (pp. xxxi-xxxii) and in the Appendix in the Worcester County tax
levy (p. 512).


One of the acts passed at the 1768 session related to the marriage settlement
between Mary Darnall and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, which became effec-
tive the day before their marriage. The petition upon which the act was based
was presented to the Assembly May 31, 1768, and the act rushed through to
passage on June 4th. Their marriage took place on the 5th. It is interesting
to note that the law thus hurriedly enacted, entitled "An Act to enable Mary
Darnall, an Infant, to enter into and accept of a Marriage Settlement and


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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768
Volume 61, Preface 96   View pdf image (33K)
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