Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore

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Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore

Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (8 August 1605 – 30 November 1675), was the first Proprietor and Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland, and ninth Proprietary Governor of the Colony of Newfoundland and the colony of Avalon (in the southeast).  His title was "Cecil Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, First Lord Proprietary, Earl Palatine of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon in America".  He received the proprietorship after the death of his father, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (15 April 1632), for whom it had been intended.  Cecil Calvert established and managed the Province of Maryland from his home, Kiplin Hall, in North Yorkshire, England.  As an English Roman Catholic, he continued the legacy of his father by promoting religious tolerance in the colony.

Quotes[edit]

Quotes about Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore[edit]

Wm. Hand Brown, George Calvert and Cecilius Calvert: Barons Baltimore of Baltimore (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1890)[edit]

Preface[edit]

  • Both George and Cecilius Calvert may claim the title of founders of Maryland.  The original design belongs to the former; the charter was a modification of his earlier charter of Avalon, and was, no doubt, drawn up in conformity with his suggestions; only his personal favor with the king would have obtained a grant of such a nature, and nothing but what we may call the accident of his death prevented his being the first proprietary. On the other hand, it was Cecilius in whose name the character was drawn, who sent out the first colonists and guided their earliest political steps, and who watched over the infancy of the colony and shielded it from ruin.


  • Cecilius…seems to have studied to withdraw himself from publicity.  Except in connection with his colony, his name scarcely appears in history, and hardly any letters of his or addressed to him, other than those of a formel and official character, are known to exist.

Chapter III[edit]

  • The grant of Maryland—so named in honour of the queen, Henrietta Maria—was made out in the name of Cecilius, Baltimore's eldest son and heir to the title.  As at first drawn, it included the whole peninsula east of the Chesapeake Bay; but it having been shown that some settlements had been made by Virginians in the southern part of this peninsula (now the Eastern Shore of Virginia), the southern boundary of Maryland was drawn eastward from the mouth of the Potomac.  With this alteration, the charter was confirmed on June 20th, 1632.
    • Page 35.

Chapter IX[edit]

During the last years of his life Cecilius seems to have lived altogether in retirement, and few references to him, other than official, are to be found.  …  On November 30th, 1675, Cecilius Calvert, the founder of Maryland, died at the age of sixty-nine.  His life had been in many ways one of trial and anxiety; he had passed through dangers and difficulties when far more than his own happiness and fortune was at stake, and by his patience, prudence, and moderation he preserved safe his own rights and the franchises of his people.
Wm. Hand Brown
  • During the last years of his life Cecilius seems to have lived altogether in retirement, and few references to him, other than official, are to be found.  …  On November 30th, 1675, Cecilius Calvert, the founder of Maryland, died at the age of sixty-nine.  His life had been in many ways one of trial and anxiety; he had passed through dangers and difficulties when far more than his own happiness and fortune was at stake, and by his patience, prudence, and moderation he preserved safe his own rights and the franchises of his people.
    • Page 174.

Murray N. Rothbard, Pt. II of Conceived in Liberty vol. 1 (Arlington House, 1975)[edit]

"The Royal Government of Virginia", ch. 8[edit]

  • William Claiborne, a leader of the Virginia colony and secretary of its Council, had obtained a royal license to establish a fur-trading post on Kent Island, between Maryland and Virginia, which he had purchased from the Indians.  The Virginia House of Burgesses—which included a representative from Kent Island—backed Claiborne in his refusal to recognize the overlordship of the Maryland feudal proprietor, Lord Baltimore.  Egged on by a competing Virginia fur trader's accusation that Claiborne was inciting the Indians to attack the Marylanders, Lord Baltimore ordered the seizure of Claiborne and the confiscation of his property.  Maryland's ships attacked and seized a vessel of Claiborne's, and not only killed several Kent Islanders in the process, but also hanged one as a "pirate" after the battle.  Governor John Harvey of Virginia angered the Virginians by taking the side of Lord Baltimore, removing Claiborne from his office as secretary, and jailing an official who sided with Claiborne.
    • Page 81.

"Maryland", ch. 12[edit]

  • The first American proprietary was a grant of land in 1632 by King Charles I to Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore.  The grant was carved out of Virginia territory and extended from the Potomac River north to the fortieth parallel, including (but rather larger than) the present boundaries of Maryland.  The king reserved for himself but one-fifth of the gold and silver that might be mined each year in the province.  Otherwise, Lord Baltimore was as free to govern in his vast domain as the king was in England.  The king even expressly granted the power to levy any taxes on Maryland, so named in honor of the English queen Henrietta Maria.  The charter granted to Lord Baltimore ownership of all the land, minerals, rivers, and fisheries in the area as well as the right to confer titles, incorporate cities and towns, levy taxes, erect churches and feudal manors, and constitute courts.  This was a veritable feudal government—a "Palatinate" as existed in Europe, specifically like the Palatinate of Durham in England.  One important limitation on Calvert's absolute rule, as in the case of the king himself, was that he could levy taxes only with the consent of an Assembly representing the freemen, or landholders, of the province.
    • Pages 114–115.
  • From the first, Cecilius wanted to make Maryland a haven from persecution for Catholics in England.  But, eager to encourage settlement (for without settlers there would be no profit from his feudal domain), Calvert made no religious test for settling in the colony.  As a result, Protestants outnumbered Catholics among the settlers by nearly ten to one from the beginning—with the Protestant faith predominating among the poorer classes and Catholicism among the gentlemen.  Both Protestants and Catholics enjoyed full religious liberty and there was no established church in the colony.
    • Page 115.
  • Early relations with the Indians were peaceful, with the land acquired from them by voluntary purchase rather than by force.  This peaceful coexistence was assured by Calvert's simple expedient of instructing his men to deal fairly with the Indians.
    • Page 115.
  • The land system, however, in keeping with the vast feudal powers given to Calvert, was established on the most rigidly feudal lines in America.  Calvert early advertised that every settler who would finance the transport of five other settlers to the colony would receive a grant as "Lord of the Manor" of 2,000 acres of land—not outright, however, or in fee simple, but as a feudal tenancy with a quitrent of 400 pounds of good wheat per year to the proprietor.  The manor lords, most of them Catholic, in turn rented their land to smaller planters in exchange for rent in produce.  This restrictive method of allocating land or landownership decidedly hampered the growth of the entire colony during the seventeenth century.  Furthermore, Calvert gave vast estates as manors to his friends and relatives.
    • Page 115.
  • While the Calverts tried to keep representative government to a minimum, an Assembly soon developed, after persistent pressure from below on the proprietors.  The proprietor and the Assembly soon quarreled over the extent of their relative powers, the proprietor claiming the sole right to initiate legislation, which the Assembly could then reject.  The Assembly, with the power to hold up the enactment of laws, refused to consent to any imposition of a code by Calvert and thus won the fight to initiate legislation.
    • Page 115.
  • The governor and the proprietor, who appointed the governor, had veto power over all legislation and the governor could also dissolve the Assembly at will.  However, the Assembly assured its continuing existence by refusing to grant taxes for more than a year at a time.
    • Page 116.
After the Restoration in England, the cocky Lord Baltimore doubled the quitrent to four shillings per 100 acres, which began to be enforced in 1669.  In addition, in an attempt to block the quiet dissolution into the market of feudal tenure, the proprietors imposed in 1660 a fine on any alienation of landed property.  Happily the fine was never thoroughly enforced.  The proprietors also imposed on the settlers a purchase price (known as "caution money"), which considerably restricted the growth of the colony.  First levied in 1683 at 200 pounds of tobacco per 100 acres, the purchase price was increased the next year to 240 pounds, and by 1717 had reached the sum of 40 shillings per 100 acres.  …  The quitrents, furthermore, were enforced by forfeit of land for nonpayment, and by making every debt due to Lord Baltimore a prior lien on the land.  Where there were no goods to seize, the delinquent tenant was imprisoned.
Murray N. Rothbard
  • Charles II, still in exile, embittered by what he regarded as acts of treachery by Lord Baltimore, deposed him and appointed instead Sir William Davenant as royal governor, for Baltimore "did visibly adhere to the rebels in England, and admit all kinds of sectaries and schismatics and ill-affected persons into the plantation."
    • Page 117.
    • Page 119.

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