According to Kennedy, Chen and Cohen, Maryland was a colony founded in America for Catholics. It was the second colony in America, but rather the fourth English colony founded in 1634 by a prominent member of the English family, Lord Baltimore (36; par. 4). The title “Maryland” was constituted by Lord Baltimore on June 30, 1632 in honor of Henrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles I. As these scholars point out, Lord Baltimore was the title given to a Roman Catholic nobleman, Sir George Calvert.

Kennedy, Chen and Cohen note that Lord Baltimore was not comfortable with the laws against the Roman Catholics in England (36; par. 4). He even opted to immigrate to Virginia. They have asserted that Lord Biltmore’s intention to go to Virginia was to enjoy the liberty of conscious, which had been limited in England at the time of King James’ I rein. But to his disappointment, they pointed out that Lord Baltimore had founded Virginians to have the same intolerance attitude as those he had left in England. This prompted him again to seek another asylum in the territory, the Chesapeake Bay, which was inhabited by only natives.

At the Chesapeake Bay, Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen note that Lord Baltimore embarked on venturing on the site both for financial profits and the creation of refuge for his fellow Catholics (36; par. 5). At this period of time, Roman Catholics were heavily persecuted and discriminated by Protestants in England. Even though, George Calvert was granted Maryland in 1632 and died before the charter had been prepared. His major aims were not only to make more money out of the land but also to establish it as a haven for Catholics and a site for freedom of worship even for other Christians (Kion 1). Maryland, thus, played an important role in the New World as being the perfect haven for New Settlers and Oppressed Catholic Christians. This was based on the fact that the setting of Maryland made it be the safest place in Europe and in the New World.

Colony of Maryland

According to Mis, before the discovery of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, by Baltimore, the land had been already inhabited by Yaocomaco Native Americans (5; par. 1). She has pointed out that Maryland was firstly explored by an Italian, Giovanni da Verrazano, in 1524 during his journey to the Chincoteague Bay. But the first European to set foot on the land was an Englishman John Smith that in 1608 explored the Chesapeake Bay. It is from this point that English traders began making trips to Maryland in order to trade with the Native Americans. In 1631, the author noted that the first English settlement was established in Maryland by an Englishman William Clayborne.

On November 1633, Mis pointed out two small ships, The Ark and The Dove carrying 150 people sailed from England to a strange land for a great adventure (4; par. 1). On the board, there was the Father Andrew White that was a Jesuit priest. Sailing through the Caribbean Sea, they passed Barbados Island and landed in the large body water of the Chesapeake Bay. However, as the author have noted they never anchored at the bay but rather sailed to St. Cement’s island. Despite the island’s fertile soil, she has pointed out that the island was too small for the settlement. This prompted them to sail back and settle at St. Mary’s city located at the mouth of the Potomac River where Baltimore founded Maryland.

According to Mis, even long before both The Ark and The Dove landed at the Chesapeake Bay, George Calvert imagined the colony along the Bay (7; par. 1). She has pointed out Calvert as being the most trusted adviser of the English King, James I, that due to his loyalty gave him more than 2,300 acres of Ireland. It is from Calvert’s home that called the Manor of Baltimore, and he first got the title of Lord Baltimore. This title was passed to the heirs of his fortunes. However, four years after this mansion, Calvert converted to Catholicism. This was a choice which the author asserted that ended his job career in the government. This is due to the fact that during the reign of James I, England was an official Protestant nation with the Church of England also known as the Anglican Church being the national religion. When the Catholic Church refused King Henry VIII in divorce, he established the Church of England (Mis 7; par. 2).

After withdrawing from the governmental position, Calvert began to venture on the new land especially to the north of Virginia in order not to encounter Catholic and Protestant factions struggling for the power supremacy in England. Mis notes that Calvert’s attempt to settle in the island of Newfoundland, presently known as Canada, was not successful as the area was too cold for investing in the profitable colony (8; par. 2). This prompted him to seek a grant from James’s successor, Charles I, to venture to the north of the Chesapeake Bay, in Maryland, which was at that time the part of the Virginian royal colony. However, his agitation for the settlement in Virginia was not taken happily by some of island’s settlers that saw Calvert as he wanted to use Catholicism for stripping them off their land. But regardless of this, Calvert continued to lobby for his land grant, which the author has ascertained to be paid off in June 1632, two months after his departure.

Setting of Maryland as the Haven for New Traders and Settlers

According to Mis, Charles I signed the charter in 1632 granting the holder of Baltimore the title of the colony of Chesapeake (9; par. 1). This was known as Maryland; the title was established in honor of the Queen Henrietta Maria of Charles I. However, the attempts by Lord Baltimore’s eldest son Cecilius to establish the colony as a haven for new traders were marked with ups and downs. Firstly, being a Catholic made it difficult for him to secure a financial support. Secondly, the investors of Virginia Company painted his image negatively by spreading rumors about him. Nevertheless, the author has pointed out that Cecilius founded seventeen catholic men funding the voyage and enabling him to establish Maryland as a privately owned colony.

There is a number of factors that led to the rapid growth and prosperity of Maryland as a safe place for new traders and settlers. Firstly, settlers of Maryland colony were exempted from the hostility from the Indian population. According to Kennedy, Chen and Cohen, Lord Baltimore even in his absentee wished that the two hundred settlers coming by The Ark and The Dove ships founded Maryland at St. Mary’s City in the Chesapeake Bay (36; par. 4). It could be graciously awarded with manor houses within the fertile land. When these planters arrived to Maryland in 1634, they found out that Cecil Calvert had appointed his brother Leonard Calvert as a governor of the province. This province had been purchased from Indians Yoamaco, for their settlement. Here they formed a settlement in St. Mary’s City where they lived peacefully with other American Indians.

Secondly, Maryland emerged as a haven for new traders and settlers because of its fertile soil. Kennedy, Chen and Cohen note that Maryland had the rich fertile soil, which produced the marketable tobacco leaves easily within a year (36; par. 7). But unlike Virginia, Maryland settlers did not depend on black slaves as the workers for their farms. The three authors have pointed out that in Virginia, during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, slaves were denied from their fundamental rights, thereby giving their masters a virtual and complete control over them. This was evident during the late seventeenth century where black slaves had been imported in Maryland, thereby leading to the notorious Barbados slave code (37).

But as Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen point out, the charter which was signed by King Charles I conferred on Maryland settlers more privileges as compared to other American colonies (36; par. 7). A part from the charter was securing equal religious rights to immigrants and allowed Maryland the privileges to make laws without the royal revocation especially for their civil freedom. As these scholars have noted even taxes were not allowed to be imposed upon inhabitants without their approval. For instance, in 1639, a group of freemen assembled in person and enacted the necessary laws, thereby leading to the establishment of Maryland’s representative government. Within these laws, rights and dignities of people were outlined. With this, Maryland was regarded as a harbor for settlers and immigrants in the New World.

Kion has acknowledged Calvert as it has been granted by the charter to have the lawful power of not only making laws but also of enforcing them as long as they do not contradict with the English laws (1). However, she has noted that they were cautious especially in extending their governance role towards the colony’s commerce such as rents and taxes’ collection. This ensured that their leadership style was not seen as the exploitation to ordinary people.

Setting of Maryland as a Haven for British Catholics

Ross has described the colony of Maryland as it was founded by Lord Baltimore under the proprietorship of his eldest son, Cecil Calvert (1). She has noted that originally Maryland had the colonies of wealthy planters, tradesmen, slaves and American Indians. But being a Catholic, Lord Baltimore believed that the religious tolerance had to be realm at which the colony had been established. This, therefore, did not miss out. As Ross has pointed out, the colony of Maryland eventually became a place of safety for the Catholic settling especially in the New World. She has argued that unlike the colonists in Jamestown located in Virginia, Maryland’s original settlers lived peacefully with the Native American Indian tribes.

Contrary to Ross there is Kion that argues that the major aims for which Calvert had been agitating to establish Maryland in the New World to be not only for making the financial profits out of it, but rather for building it as a place of harbor for British Catholics. She has pointed out that having their father’s ideas in their mind; Calvert wanted to make Maryland a refuge for the British Catholics even though they did not expect the area to be settled by Catholics alone. Doubtfully, it was never possible for people to believe that one day Maryland would be dominated by Catholics. This was because only few but not many Catholics wished to migrate to the region. But while realizing that, this could be achieved, though with a struggle. Calvert engaged into the continuous activities with ensuring that they had succeeded in getting the Act of Tolerance.

Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen note that Lord Baltimore outset the unusual freedom of worship in this area (36; par. 5). To him, it was more than necessary to purchase the tolerance if possible in order to ensure that his fellow Catholics from England were free from restrictions. The scholars have noted that during the period Catholics were severely restricted in England and, therefore, they only left with options of supporting the framed Act of Tolerance for their freedoms of worship.

As Holmes  points out, the rebellion caused by an Englishman William Clayborne that had been licensed by King Charles I to explore the region and traffic with the natives broke out in 1635 (21; par. 1). Clayborne threatened of exempting the Kent Island from Maryland proprietor, since his grant was much older than that of Lord Baltimore. But by Lord Baltimore insisting that Clayborne should either depart from the island or take the oath of allegiance to Governor Calvert, he refused both thereby using the forces of arms in maintaining his possession. This, in turn, led to his deprival of civil rights and property by Maryland legislature in 1638.

Even though, Clayborne disappeared after his defeat, his active hostility had seriously impacted on the Indians’ minds regarding the settlement designed by English settlers towards them. Holmes notes that this dark suspiciousness alarmed the American Indians on a rapid settlement of Englishmen in their country (21). Indians were falsified by Clayborne’s testimonies. The author has pointed out that they had taken a hostile position towards settlers which eventually led to the first Civil War in the region in 1642. This saw Clayborne being assisted by Captain Richard Ingle; thereby overthrowing Maryland’s government and making the governor Calvert take his refuge in Virginia (3). However, by 1646, the rebellion had been crushed by the return of Governor Calvert.

Holmes points out that the displacement of Green, a Roman Catholic and later an acting-governor of Maryland after the death of Leonard Calvert by Lord Baltimore, was the first step for the religious tolerance (22; par. 1). He has added that the commissioning of William Stone of Virginia, a Protestant, influenced on Virginian puritans to move to the bay of Chesapeake for exercising their liberty of consciousness. According to him, an assembly of colony comprising of mostly Puritans, the Church of English men and some Roman Catholics, met in 1649 and adopted the Tolerance Act. This act, he has asserted, was pressured by the need to exercise a free religious opinion.

According to Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen, the Tolerant Act published by the British and adopted by Maryland allowed every believer of Jesus Christ and Trinity to have the freedom to exercise his or her religious opinions (38; par. 1). Additionally, the Act did not allow any man to reproach another one on the basis of his peculiar religious standings. In so doing, the persecuted Christians from England, the Roman Empire and Virginia flocked into Maryland in order to enjoy this broadened freedom. The three scholars have noted that a fundamental principle of Lord Baltimore was to support the legislation involving the act of religious tolerance not to suppress people basing on their pressing faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ. They have asserted that Maryland presented an asylum for the oppressed Puritans from the South and the church men from England that not only had experienced the good reception but also enjoyed their full liberty.

Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen  point out that new Maryland religious statute offered the equal opportunity to all Christians in exercising their religious opinions (36; par. 9). However, it was harsh to other people that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. According to these authors, the Act was less liberal as it had decreed death penalty to Jews and atheists that denied the existence of Jesus Christ. This law was, therefore, seen less restricting the religious tolerance than serving the purpose for which it had been previously enacted for such as protecting other religious groups. Kennedy, Chen, and Cohen have noted that the Tolerance Act only offered a temporary cloak of protection to other Catholic minorities but more significantly sheltered the British Catholics than any other English speaking colony in the New World.

But in 1651, after the triumph of King Charles I by the English parliament, Holmes points out that commissioners including Clayborne were appointed to reduce and govern Maryland (23). These commissioners took the possession over Governor Stone’s records, thereby abolishing the authority of the proprietor over the province. But barred with the Civil War between the Catholic followers of proprietor and Protestants supporting the Parliament, Stone was removed from office but reinstated through the approval of the Parliament. However, when the Parliament was dissolved in 1653, Crowmell bestowed Baltimore with the full power as a proprietor over Maryland (Holmes 24). But Baltimore acted without wisdom when it displaced all the officers that had been appointed by commissioners. This, in turn, made these incensed commissioners return to Maryland compelling the governor to surrender his authority.

Additionally, the Protestants that formed the majority in the General Assembly wanted to pass laws that would see that Papists and Churchmen being not entitled to protection by the Toleration Act of 1649. He has noted that under the influence of victorious Protestants, the assembly agreed that no person professing as belonging to the Catholic religion would be protected by Maryland laws. This led to the commencement of the Civil War in 1655, which, in turn, resulted into the imprisonment of Stone for using force to resist the Protestant party. But in 1660, Holmes points out that Lord Baltimore was once more restored to his full authority with Philip Calvert being appointed as a governor (23). His appointment led to the restoration of former liberal principles of the proprietor that wished a tolerant colony.

However, on the accession of William and Mary to be the English King and Queen respectively in 1689, there was another interruption of Maryland tranquility. According to Ross, while responding to the Puritans’ takeover in England, a group of Protestants opted to triumph over Calvert government, thereby making Maryland a royal colony (1). This was widely contributed by the false rumors that pointed out Catholics to be combining efforts with American Indians to overcome the Protestant colony. Ross has noted that the religious freedom being experienced in Maryland disappeared after the royal take off especially when King William appointed Sir Lionel Copley to be the governor of the region. Maryland then had remained the royal colony for 26 years.

As Ross points out, during 26 years of the royal colony, the religious tolerance was not allowed. Sir Lionel Copley ensured that the English Church of worship was established and supported only by laws (1). However, in 1716, this great law on the religious expression was rectified. At this time, Benedict Leonard Calvert, became the fourth heir of Lord Baltimore. Before then, Benedict Calvert had renounced the Catholic Church, thereby joining the Church of England in order to win the proprietorship over Maryland from King George I. Just like his father, he fostered in toleration and humanity and aimed at making Maryland a haven for the British Catholics. Due to this, Maryland was restored as a privately owned colony. This lasted for 60 years until the emergence of the Revolutionary War.

Ross notes that the Revolutionary War swept away every vestige of the proprietary and royal government within the English-American colonies (1). Maryland, on its part, formed the Provincial Convention government in 1775 which saw the Governor Robert Eden coming back to England in 1776. He gave out the emancipating freedom to the nation (1). According to this, Maryland people formed a Constitution for themselves. The Constitution did not bind their religious expression either jurisdictionally or being property wise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Maryland is, thus, a haven not only for settlers and traders, but also for oppressed religious groups. It has been considered as a region of protection for the British Catholics being discriminated against Protestants in England. Maryland’s existence as a haven for the religious toleration was contributed by a visionary approach and agitation procreated by Calvert and his successive heirs. The case of Maryland is a clear indication that it is important for leaders not to enact laws infringing the people’s freedom and rights to participate in worship, politics, or even government duties.

Order now

Related essays