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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1757-1758
Volume 55, Preface 13   View pdf image (33K)
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INTRODUCTION.

The bitter struggle between the popular or county party of the Lower
House and the Proprietary and conservative interests as represented by the
Governor and the Upper House, which has been narrated in former volumes
of these Archives, reached a high water mark in the four sessions here
recorded. In control of the purse strings of the Province, the Lower House
at a time when money was desperately needed to provide men and supplies
to prosecute the war, used this weapon in an attempt to extort political con-
cessions from the Lord Proprietary, even to the extent of jeopardizing the
defence of its own frontiers.

This introduction will first summarize the proceedings of the four sessions
covered by this volume, and will then discuss in more detail under various
headings the sundry controversial questions of political, legislative, legal,
administrative, and military importance, which are brought out by a study
of these Assembly records.

SESSION OF APRIL-MAY 1757.

This volume opens with the proceedings of the General Assembly which met
from April 8 to May g, 1757, in Baltimore Town, then a village of perhaps
thirty houses. This was the sixth and last session of the Assembly which had
been elected in November-December, 1754, and the meeting was held in Bal-
timore instead of Annapolis because of the smallpox epidemic then raging
in the latter place. The meeting of the Lower House was held on the first
day at the house of Thomas Sligh (p. 44), but on the following day it met
at the home of the Rev. Thomas Chase, the rector of St. Paul's Parish, who
was engaged to read prayers twice daily (p. 46). The record does not dis-
close where its subsequent meetings were held, but this was doubtless at the
Chase rectory. This session was characterized by the same acrimonious dis-
putes between the Governor and the Upper House on one hand, and the Lower
House on the other, as had occurred in the immediately preceding sessions of
this same Assembly. The Lower House organized by choosing Col. Henry
Hooper of Dorchester County as Speaker in the place of Alexander Williamson
of Kent, who was too ill to attend (p. 51). The Upper House met at the home
of " Mr. Buchanan ", probably William Buchanan who kept an inn near the
northeast corner of Market and Calvert streets (pp. 41, 108).

Governor Sharpe in his opening speech to both houses on April 8 laid before
them the minutes of a meeting which had opened in Philadelphia on March 15,
between the Earl of Loudoun, the commander-in-chief of the King's forces
in America, and the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and
North Carolina. At this meeting these four colonies and South Carolina
were asked to furnish at their own expense 3,800 provincial troops, of which
Maryland's quota was to be 500 men, these colonials to be joined to 1,200 of
the King's regular troops. Two thousand of these provincial troops were to


 

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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1757-1758
Volume 55, Preface 13   View pdf image (33K)
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