first day of August in the fortieth year of his Lordships |
Dominion over Maryland in the year of our Lord God 1671.
COUNCIL BOOK, C.B. fol. 89.
ORIGIN OF THE LAND OFFICE ESTABLISHMENT, AND EARLY
PROCEEDINGS IN LAND AFFAIRS.
ALTHOUGH it is certain that Mr. Leonard Calvert
came out originally with some authority by Commission from
the Proprietary for the government of the proposed Colony,
and though some of the first adventurers were designated as
his immediate (a) assistants in that task, the records now in
being afford no evidence of any formal establishments until
three or four years had elapsed from the time of the first
emigration. A complete provision for the management of
public affairs seems to have been aimed at soon after the
publication of the Conditions of Plantation of 1636. Our
present enquiry, however, must be confined to those offices or
establishments which were charged with the management of Land
affairs. The promises to the first adventurers could not,
of course, be realized until lands were procured, and might
be explored and surveyed with safety. When this period
arrived, it became necessary to settle the manner in which the
persons demanding grants of land should exhibit and
substantiate their claims, and also to provide for the locating,
surveying, and bounding the several quantities of land so
claimed, with the methods of authenticating the surveys, and of
passing complete titles by grant or Letters Patent under the
great seal of the Province. The document first to be
noticed as having relation to this subject is the Commission of
Mr. Leonard Calvert as Lieutenant General or Governor of
the Province, dated the 15th day of April 1637. Among
other powers and trusts not connected with the objects of our
enquiry, the Governor was by this Commission made
Keeper of the great seal, with power, in the proprietary's name,
to pass and grant under the said seal such quantities of land,
(a) It appears by a grant to Thomas Cornwalleys Esq. of the Manor
of West St. Mary's in 1640, (Liber No. 1, fol. 97) that the land so
granted was part of 4000 acres for which Capt. Henry Fleete had agreed
with the Governor and Commissioners of Maryland in the year 1634,
the second year of the Colony. This is the only evidence which I have
found of the original Commission for commencing the settlement of
Maryland, but it is sufficient.
Source: John Kilty. Land Holder's Assistant and Land Office Guide.
Baltimore: G. Dobbin & Murphy, 1808. MSA L 25529.