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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1681-1683
Volume 70, Preface 13   View pdf image (33K)
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                           Introduction.            xiii

      him from Foorde. So far good. But the clerk referred to Phelps as “the said
      Wm. Phelps Admr as aforesaid” when it does not appear that Phelps was
      administrator of anyone.

                           ATTORNEYS

        Of the men who appeared as attorneys at this time, more and more were
      attorneys at law, though the attorney in fact has not yet disappeared. Little is
      known of their training, or of their qualifications. It is a fact that every
      attorney must be a freeman. Anthony Underwood, who had come over from
      England, petitioned the Proprietary for admission as an attorney. He had for
      several years served as clerk to a London counsellor at law (although the clerk
      spells it councillor), and, since coming over to the Province, he had worked for
      Attorney Robert Ridgely. The Proprietary wrote on the petition: “Let Under
      wood be sworne an Attorney of ye Provinciall Court if you thinke him capable
      thereof”. The justices did think him capable thereof, and so on March I, 168 1/2
      Anthony Underwood was sworn in. Next day, the Court said it could not, in
      deference to the other attorneys, admit Underwood unless he could make it
      appear that he was a freeman. To that end he presented to the Court a certifi
      cate from the widow of Ridgely, under whom he had served, that he was a free
      man (post, 115-116).
        Only one attorney came up for disbarment in these years. There had been
      bad blood between Richard Hill and Thomas Bland for several years. Both
      men had lived and worked in Anne Arundel County. Hill was a justice of the
      Anne Arundel County court: Bland was an attorney in that court and also
      in the Provincial Court. Bland said later that he had been sworn in as attorney
      of the higher court on December io, 1672, but existing records are silent on that
      point. When Bland sued Hill in the Provincial Court, he declared that he had
      had a substantial amount of work in the courts, that he had enjoyed a good
      reputation, and that he had been making a plentiful and sufficient maintenance
      for himself and his family. Yet, on August 10, 168o, before the Anne Arundel
      County Court sitting at the Ridge, county Justice Richard Hill, in the hearing
      of the justices and of others present in the room, used “false feigned scandalous
      lyeing and Malicious words” about him (Bland), saying that the Proprietary
      had said that Bland should no longer be an attorney in any Maryland court,
      because he (Bland) “made it his businesse to make and urge men to go to law”.
      This was (and is) barratry, and any attorney guilty of it was liable to disbar
      ment and even to criminal prosecution. As a consequence of Hill's words, the
      county justices refused to let Bland practice before them, and his clients with
      drew their papers from him. So, he sued Justice Hill for 100,000 pounds
      of tobacco. When, later, the case came to trial, Bland failed to appear and was
      adjudged to pay Hill's costs. With execution. (post 9-12).
        Attorneys were, of course, officers of the Court, and the Chancellor never
      hesitated to remind them of that fact, and to call them to order when he judged
      it meet. On October 17, 1882, while the Chancellor was giving the charge
      to the jury in a case, “George Thompson, gentl one of the Attorneys of this
      Court disturbing the Chancellor in giving the charge . . . is ordered to depart
      


 
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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1681-1683
Volume 70, Preface 13   View pdf image (33K)
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