| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
THE FOUNDING OF MARYLAND
 ABOUT the same time as Gorges was making laws for his little kingdom
of New Hampshire another English gentleman was doing much the same
somewhat farther south. This was Lord Baltimore.
The first Lord Baltimore was a Yorkshire gentleman named Calvert;
he was a favourite of James I, who made him a baron, and he took
his title from a tiny village in Ireland.
Like so many other men of his time Lord Baltimore was interested
in America, and wanted to found a colony there. First he tried to
found one in Newfoundland. There he received a large grant of land
which he called Avalon after the fabled land in the story of King
Arthur, and he had a kind of fairy vision of the warmth and sunny
delights which were to be found in his new land.
But instead of being warm and sunny he found that Newfoundland was
bleak and cold, so his fairy vision shrivelled and died, and he came
home and asked for a grant of land on the Potomac instead.
King James gave Lord Baltimore what he asked and called the land
Maryland in honour of his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
But before the grant was sealed "with the King's broad
 seal" Lord
Baltimore died. Not he, therefore, but his son, Cecilius, was the
first "Lord Proprietary" of Maryland, and for his broad lands all
he had to pay to King James was two Indian arrows, to be delivered
at Windsor Castle every year on Tuesday in Easter week. He had
also to pay one-fifth part of all the gold and silver which might
be found within his borders. But no gold or silver was found in
the colony, so there was nothing to pay.
Lord Baltimore did not himself go to America, but sent his brother,
Leonard Calvert, as Governor. Maryland was not founded like the
Puritan colonies for religious purposes, but like New Hampshire,
merely for trade and profit. But in those days religion and religious
strife entered into everything. So it did into the founding of
For Lord Baltimore was a Catholic, and in England Roman Catholics
in their turn, as well as dissenters, were persecuted, and Lord
Baltimore hoped to found a refuge for them in his new possessions
in America. So although, in the charter given by a Protestant King
the Church of England was recognised as the state religion, in
reality there was great religious freedom in Maryland, and for a
time it was there only that Catholics found freedom in America.
But in order to secure toleration for the Catholic religion Lord
Baltimore found himself obliged to tolerate all others. So men of
all creeds came to settle in Maryland and find freedom.
The people of Virginia were very far from pleased when they heard
of the new colony about to be planted so near them. For part of the
land which had been given to Lord Baltimore they claimed as their
own, and they looked upon the newcomers as intruders on their
territory and resolved to maintain their rights. They did all they
could to prevent the new settlers coming. Nevertheless, in spite
of everything, Leonard Calvert set sail with his colonists,
of whom were well-to-do people, in two ships called the Ark and
They had a prosperous voyage and landed in Virginia full of doubt
lest the inhabitants, who were very angry at their coming, should
be plotting something against them. But the letters which they
carried from the King seemed to appease the anger of the Virginians
for a little, and the newcomers sailed on again to their own
destination in Chesapeake Bay.
So at length they reached the "wished-for country" and Calvert
landed with solemn state to take possession of the land in the name
of God and the King of England.
As he stepped ashore a salute was fired from the boats. Then,
reverently kneeling, the colonists listened while Mass was said for
the first time in English America. Mass being over, they formed a
procession at the head of which a rough wooden cross was carried.
Then when they reached a spot chosen beforehand they planted the
cross, and, kneeling round it, chanted the Litany of the Sacred
Cross with great fervour.
And thus a new colony was begun.
With the Indians Calvert made friends, for he was both just and
kind to them, paying them for their land in hoes, hatchets, coloured
cloths and the beads and gew-gaws they loved. So in those early
days there were no Indian wars and massacres in Maryland.
But although at peace with the Redmen the Marylanders were not at
peace with their fellow white men. For the Virginians could not
forget that Lord Baltimore had taken land which they had looked
upon as their own. They had done their best to hinder him coming
at all. And now that he had come they did their best to drive him
away again. They tried to stir up mischief between the newcomers
and the Indians by telling the Indians that these newcomers were
Spaniards, and enemies of the English nation. They
 complained to
the people in power at home, and did everything they could to make
Maryland an uncomfortable dwelling place for those they looked upon
The chief enemy of the Marylanders among the Virginians was a man
named William Clayborne. Before the coming of these new colonists
he had settled himself upon the Isle of Kent, which was within
their bounds, and now he absolutely refused either to move or to
recognise the authority of Calvert as Governor; for he claimed the
Isle of Kent as part of Virginia.
Calvert on his side insisted on his rights, and as neither would
give way it came at length to fighting. There was bloodshed on both
sides, now one, now the other getting the upper hand. Each appealed
in turn to King, Parliament, or Protector, and so for more than
twenty years the quarrel went on. But when the great Cromwell came
to power he took Lord Baltimore's part, Catholic though he was. And
at length in 1657, weary perhaps of the struggle, each side gave
way a little and there was peace between the two colonies.
But in spite of the constant trouble with Clayborne the colony grew
and prospered, for there was greater religious freedom to be found
there than anywhere else either in England or America. And in the
seventeenth century religion bulked more largely in an Englishman's
thoughts than almost anything else. Then in 1649 the Governor issued
an Act called the Toleration Act, which has made him famous. It
gave freedom to every one to follow his own religion save Jews and
Unitarians, and for those days it was a wonderfully liberal and
broad-minded Act. It threatened with a fine of ten shillings any one
who should in scorn or reproach call any man such names as popish
priest, Roundhead, heretic. It declared that no person whatsoever
within the Province professing to believe in Jesus
 Christ should
be in any way troubled or molested for his or her religion.
This was the first law of its kind ever brought into force in
America, and although suspended once or twice for short periods it
remained almost continuously in force for many years.
Time went on and the great
estate of Maryland passed from one Lord Baltimore to another. Although
founded as a refuge for Catholics there were far more Protestants
than Catholics within the colony. And when William III, the Protestant
King, came to the throne he deprived Baltimore of his rights, and
made Maryland a royal province. The Church of England was then
established, and Catholics forbidden to hold services. Thus Lord
Baltimore's dream of providing a refuge for the oppressed was at
But in 1715 Benedict, the fourth Lord Baltimore, became a Protestant,
and Maryland was given back to him. It remained in possession of
his family until the Revolution.
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