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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1681-1685/6
Volume 17, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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PREFACE.

This volume completes the publication of the two long-lost Council
Books, the recovery of which was explained in the preface to the
volume containing the Council Proceedings, 1671-1681. They nearly
fill up the great lacuna in our archives.

As previously explained, the necessity of dividing this new material
into two volumes causes the present to be somewhat smaller in bulk
than other volumes of the series; and advantage has been taken of
this fact to insert in an appendix some original documents belonging to
the period covered. Among these will be found some characteristically
unctuous letters from William Penn, and a report, from the Virginia
records, of George Talbott's trial, with his pardon.

During these years the northern Indians gave but little trouble.
Treaties were made with the Five Nations, and stipulations, as always,
inserted to protect the Pascattoways and other Maryland Indians, who
stood in great fear of the Senecas and Susquehannoughs. Some
damage was done by small parties on outlying plantations, but an
active system of ranging gave general security. The justice and clem-
ency which characterised the dealings of the colonists with the abori-
gines were no doubt a chief cause that Maryland suffered so little from
Indian troubles. An instance of this can be seen in the report of the
trial of an Indian culprit (pp. 193, 224). An Eastern Shore Indian who,
in a fit of drunkenness, had gone to a colonist's house and attempted
to shoot the proprietor, is tried before a special commission. The
Indian King whose subject the culprit was, is invited to be present with
his great men to see that all things are done in accordance with justice.
The evidence as given is interpreted to the Indians, who are asked if
they can offer anything in justification, and reply that ot.
They are then told that by the rigor of the law the prison rves
death, but that the authorities are unwilling to exercise the utmost
severity. The prisoner is then sentenced to receive thirty-nin lashes, and
the Indians are requested to delegate one of their own men to execute
it, which is done. The Kings are asked how they will guarantee that
the offender will keep the peace in future, upon which they pledge their


 

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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1681-1685/6
Volume 17, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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