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Convention of Maryland

On 19 April 1774 the last proprietary Assembly adjourned and was prorogued by Governor Robert Eden until 12 June 1776, when it was dissolved. From June 1774 to November 1776, the Convention of Maryland, an extralegal assembly, served as the de facto government of Maryland. For convenience the sessions are numbered as nine separate conventions even though not all conventions were separately elected. Held between 22 and 25 June 1774, the First Convention was an informal meeting to formulate Maryland's response to the Boston Port Act. Subsequent conventions became more formal assemblies composed of numerous delegates, elected much as representatives to the Lower House of the Assembly had been. These conventions increasingly assumed control of the colony's financial, legal, and military matters. By the time the Fifth Convention met on 26 July 1775, it was apparent to the delegates that keeping such a large body in continuous session was impractical, but uninterrupted government administration was necessary. Acting on an 18 July recommendation of the Continental Congress, the convention elected a Council of Safety to serve as a standing executive committee. In June 1776, when Robert Eden, the last proprietary governor, departed for England, he called for the election of a new provincial assembly. The Eighth Convention, however, resolved to disobey Eden and formally denied proprietary authority in Maryland. The Ninth (and final) Convention, which met from August to November 1776, framed the first state constitution.


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