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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1717-April, 1720
Volume 33, Preface 10   View pdf image (33K)
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x Preface.

of the State Archives, which contained the record of the session laws,
has long been lost.

The measures taken to secure the control of the Province in the
" Protestant interest" and to exclude Roman Catholics from any
participation in the government occupy considerable space in the
records. John Hart had been appointed Governor of Maryland by
the Crown, and was continued in that office when the government of the
Province was restored to the Proprietary upon his professing adher-
ence to the Church of England. Hart was ardent in his allegiance to
the Hanoverian sovereigns and believed in the necessity of preserving
the Protestant succession for the protection of England from foreign
influence. To his mind no other attitude was consistent with loyalty.
The Roman Catholics were in sympathy with the house of Stuart, and
were suspected of sympathy with the French, with whom England had
lately been at war, and whose encroachments upon the American con-
tinent were already causing apprehension to the English colonists.
With views so antagonistic, Hart spoke with sincere conviction when he
described Charles Carroll, the leader of the Roman Catholic faction in
Maryland, as " an enemy of his country on principle."

Charles, Lord Baltimore, who came to the title in 1715, was a minor,
and while he declared his intention " to live and die " in the Church of
England, many of his near kinsmen were Roman Catholics, and his
guardian. Lord Guilford, was of Jacobite sympathies and in after years
was received into the communion of the Roman Catholic Church.
Governor Hart had, moreover, a personal grievance against Mr.
Carroll, growing out of a dispute over the custody of the Proprietary's
Great Seal, and the enjoyment of the fees which were attached to it.

In these facts, rather than in differences of opinion upon religious
questions, is to be sought the explanation of the legislation enacted to
exclude the Roman Catholics from any possible share in the govern-
ment, legislation which culminated in 1718 in the repeal of the Mary-
land Act, with its milder restrictions, in order to give full force to the
harsher British Statutes " to prevent the growth of Popery "; and in a
law directly depriving Roman Catholics of the right to vote for mem-
bers of the Assembly—a law which was signed the day of its passage
and promulgated the next day, so as to affect an election then pending
in the City of Annapolis. In his speech to the Assembly in 1720, at
the close of his administration, Governor Hart reviewed the claims of
the Roman Catholics from his standpoint, and gave his construction
of the charter of the Province as bearing thereon. In this address the


 

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1717-April, 1720
Volume 33, Preface 10   View pdf image (33K)
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