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... no person or persons ... professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be any ways troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province ... (Maryland Toleration Act, 1649)
The Province of Maryland is a Commonwealth of England colony in North America.
Maryland was named for the devoutly Catholic Henrietta Maria, Consort of King Charles I of England. After the downfall of the House of Stuart and the establishment of the Commonwealth it retained its name.
Maryland soon became one of the few predominantly Catholic regions among the English colonies in North America. Maryland was also one of the key destinations where the government sent tens of thousands of English convicts punished by sentences of transportation.
The Maryland Toleration Act, issued in 1649, was one of the first laws that explicitly defined tolerance of varieties of Christianity.
In 1650, the Puritans revolted against the proprietary government. They set up a new government prohibiting both Catholicism and Anglicanism. In March 1655, the 2nd Lord Baltimore sent an army under Governor William Stone to put down this revolt. Near Annapolis, his Roman Catholic army was decisively defeated by a Puritan army in the Battle of the Severn. The Puritan revolt lasted until 1658, when the Calvert family regained control and re-enacted the Toleration Act. The Puritan revolutionary government persecuted Maryland Catholics during its reign. Mobs burned down all the original Catholic churches of southern Maryland.
In March of 1660, bloodless rebellion, called Fendall's Rebellion, against Lord Baltimore headed by the Governor Fendall and the Assembly established a Commonwealth system for Maryland and abolishing the powers of the Lord Proprietor. In 1662 by an Act of Parliament the titles were officially abolished and Lord Baltimore compensated.
Maryland's territorial expansion starts in 1661 due to a legal void in the new Charter in stating the limits of the colony. The Northern Expansion, as it was know, referred to the lands allocated to the west of Delaware River (or South River, de facto frontier with Dutch New Netherland) and to the north of the Potomac River (limit with Virginia), limited to the Appalachians. In 1665 the House of Burgess approved a series of acts that revived the headright system (40 acres) as an incentive to occupy the new lands, being quite successful in its action. However, the already established Indians attacked and raided the new settlers. So the colonial militia, called to protect the new lands and man the forts, was enlarged, all county companies unified under a common command, and its organization made more permanent with a professional corps of officers recruited from outside Maryland.
In the late 1670s the Northern Expansion also included the west of the Appalachians, in direct collision with the territories occupied or claimed by the Dutch and Iroquois.
Maryland's foundational charter created a state ruled by Lord Baltimore. As ruler, Lord Baltimore directly owned all of the land granted in the charter. He possessed absolute authority over his domain. Settlers were required to swear allegiance to him rather than to the King of England. The charter created an aristocracy of lords of the manor, who bought 6000 acres (24 sq km) from Baltimore and held greater legal and social privileges than the common settlers.
However, as elsewhere in English North America, English political institutions were re-created in the colonies, and the Maryland General Assembly fulfilled much the same function as the House of Commons of England, In addition, the Lord Proprietor could summon any delegates whom he was pleased to select.
In some ways the General Assembly was an improvement upon the institutions of the mother country. In 1639, noting that Parliament had not been summoned in England for a decade, the freemen of Maryland passed an act to the effect that "assemblies were to be called once in every three years at the least", ensuring that their voices would be regularly heard. The General Assembly had an upper house consisting of the governor and council and a lower house of elected delegates from each of the four counties (St. Mary’s, Kent, Calvert, and Anne Arundel) between 1650-1654 and 1656-1660.
in March of 1660, Fendall's Rebellion, against Lord Baltimore headed by the Governor and the Assembly established the Commonwealth of Maryland. A new charter established a commonwealth system of government and abolished the Upper House. Supreme power would be vested in a House of Burgesses. Over this body the Governor was to preside; but the House, retaining its speaker, as the power to adjourn and dissolve it.
The new charter, as approved by the Protector-in-Council in 1661, did not enclose the limits of the colony, so the previous 40th parallel north limit was not respected and allowed further settlement to the north.
Lords Proprietors (1633-1662 Post abolished)
- Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, 1633–1662
Proprietary Governors (named by the Lord Proprietor)
- Lieutenant-General Josias Fendall (July 1656- March 1660)
- Lieutenant-General Josias Fendall (March 1660-...)
Maryland is divided into counties and parishes.
The Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, repealed 1654-1658, grants freedom of conscience to all Christians who believed in the Trinity. Settlers who blasphemed by denying either the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus Christ could be punished by execution or the seizure of their lands. That meant that Jews, Unitarians and other dissenters from Trinitarian Christianity are practicing their religions at risk to their lives. The Act was supplemented by laws for Sunday observance against blasphemy, drunkenness and limiting the use of religious slurs and insults.
The Act promoted by the Lord Proprietor Cecil Calvert, who founded Maryland partly as a refuge for English Catholics, sought to protect Catholic settlers and those of other religions that did not conform to the dominant Anglicism of England and the colonies. It was also induced the migration and settlement of dissenting Protestants coming from Virginia, that had an established church (the Church of England). However, the Act has not stopped conflicts between the mainly Catholic planters and the Protestant freeman and labourers.
Agriculture and trade
Maryland's economy is marked by a heavy reliance on the tobacco crop. Maryland suffered through economic depression, and instituted a series of regulatory reforms to try to curb the impact of fluctuations in tobacco prices on the colony’s economy. Corn regulations mandated that farmers grow two acres of corn, outlawed “the export of grain in times of scarcity,” and prohibited hoarding of corn. To limit further decline in prices, the colonial assembly ordered the destruction of low-quality tobacco in 1640. In hopes of moving the economy away from tobacco, the colonial assembly subsidized the production of hemp and flax. The assembly also sought unsuccessfully to develop port towns to serve as centers of trade. However this changes with the Northern Expansion. The Susquehanna River allowed depth inland shipping to the Chesapeake Bay and the establishment of Pakstown a major inland river port, Susquehanna Port, Baltimore, and Annapolis
The Northern Expansion into upper Maryland expanded the possibility of land holdings in a twofold. Previously it was exhausted in lower Maryland with the tobacco plantations and had slowed migration and provoked political tensions. The weather and soil of the Northern Expansion allowed the growth and greater outputs and profits of grains, fruits, and vegetables. This attracted a new wave of settlers and landowners and improved the agricultural output and profits over the previous main crop, tobacco. Although, the lalter still made great gains to its owners and large income from customs duties. The new land also benefited from the shipping along the Susquehanna River.
Slavery, an already common institution in lower Maryland, was extended to the Northern Expansion to supplement the chronic shortage of laborers in the fields.