3 HENRY HARFORD, Esq;
XII. This act to commence on the first day
of October next, and continue in
force for three years from that day, and to the end of the next session
which shall happen after the end of the said three years.
Continued for three years, &c.
by the act of February, 1777, ch. 17, and for seven years, &c. by the
act of March, 1780, ch. 21.
|| HERE end the laws under the proprietary government.
The arbitrary acts
of the king and parliament of Great-Britain having manifested a settled
of enslaving her colonies in North-America, a determined spirit of opposition,
in a little time, pervaded every part of the continent which now belongs
to the United
States. From this period, notwithstanding the mere forms of the ancient
were permitted a little longer to subsist, there was no real authority
except that derived
immediately from the people. In Maryland, and indeed in most of the
the people, without waiting to hear what was done in other places, assembled
and entered into the most spirited resolves. In these they universally
expressed a determination
of coinciding with their brethren in any measures, that might be deemed
for procuring a redress of grievances. In general, they declared
that all commercial intercourse with their unnatural parent country should
and they appointed delegates to meet, on the 24th day of June, 1774,
in a provincial
convention, which was invested with full powers to adopt any measures that
might be suggested by the united wisdom of the whole.
After these first meetings, and until the formation
of a fixed and permanent government,
in the year 1776, the supreme legislative, executive and judicial
in provincial conventions, or in councils of safety, chosen by conventions.
county, likewise, a legislative and judicial authority was at first exercised
elected from time to time, and superceded at the will of the people.
Such an administration, the immediate offspring of necessity,
might have been reasonably
expected to be subversive of that liberty which it was cheerfully submitted
all, except the advocates for British usurpation, although many occasions
which an intemperate zeal transported men beyond the just bounds of moderation,
single person sell a victim to the oppression of this irregular government.
is, that during the whole memorable interval, between the fall of
the old, and the institution
of the new form of government, there appeared to exist amongst us such
of public virtue as has scarcely a parallel in the annals of the world.
the opposition of a country unskilled in war, destitute of arms, inferior
for in numbers,
and wanting almost every thing for which it had before relied solely on
its now inveterate
enemies, the opposition of such a people to the efforts of the most powerful
on the globe, would have been feeble indeed. There were, moreover,
amongst us, men
not fired by the general enthusiasm, men too of character, talents and
doubting the reality of that spirit and patriotic ardour which seemed to
other classes of men, and reasoning as they thought from sure principles,
that the subjugation of America would be effected almost as soon as it
should be attempted.
These men took their measures accordingly.
There are occurrences in which it would be impious to
suppose that Divine Providence,
does not interfere. Amongst these is the revolution of America, which
has taken place
contrary to all reasonable calculation. But it does not fall within
the design of this
work to take any notice of this singular event, except where it has an
to the acts of legislation herein contained. Thus far is premised
by way of introduction
to the proceedings and resolves of that convention which framed the constitution
under which we not live.
On the 3d of July, 1776, the provincial
convention, then sitting at Annapolis,
came to the following resolutions:
|| RESOLVED, That a new Convention be
elected for the express purpose of forming a new government,
by the authority of the people only, and enacting and ordering all things
for the preservation,
safety and general weal of this colony.
RESOLVED, That there be four representatives chosen
for each of the districts of Frederick county, as
described in the proceedings of the session of July last, two representatives
for the city of Annapolis, and
two representatives from the town of Baltimore in Baltimore county, and
four representatives for each county
in this province, except Frederick county aforesaid; but that the inhabitants
of Annapolis and Baltimore-town
be not allowed to vote for representatives for their respective counties,
nor shall the resolution
be understood to engage or secure such representation to Annapolis or Baltimore-town,