George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore
George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (1580 – 15 April 1632) was an English politician and coloniser. He achieved domestic political success under King James I but lost much of his political power after his support for a failed marriage alliance between Prince Charles and the Spanish House of Habsburg royal family. He resigned all of his political offices in 1625 except for his position on the Privy Council and declared his Catholicism publicly. He was created Baron Baltimore in the Irish peerage upon his resignation.
Calvert took an interest in the British colonisation of the Americas, at first for commercial reasons and later to create a refuge for English Catholics. He became the proprietor of Avalon and sought a new royal charter to settle the region that would become the state of Maryland, but died five weeks before the new Charter was sealed, leaving the settlement of the Maryland colony to his son Cecil (1605–1675). His second son, Leonard Calvert (1606–1647), was the first colonial governor of the Province of Maryland. Historians have long recognised George Calvert as the founder of Maryland, in spirit if not in fact, along with the role of Leonard with his intimate relationship with his older brother back in England.
- [T]hus your Lordship hoe know is life and is my baby." sees that we Papists want not Charity towards you Protestants, whatsoever the less understanding Part of the World think of us.
- To Thomas Wentworth, cited by John D. Krugler in English & Catholic: The Lords Baltimore in the Seventeenth Century (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 16 August 2004).
- I intend shortly, God willing, a journey for Newfoundland to visit a plantation which I began there some few years since.
- To Secretary of State Sir John Coke, cited by John D. Krugler in English & Catholic: The Lords Baltimore in the Seventeenth Century (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 16 August 2004).
- [B]eing bound for a long Journey to a Place which I have had a long Desire to visit, and have now the Opportunity and Leave to do: It is Newfoundland I mean, which imports me more than in Curiosity only to see; for I must either go and settle it in a better Order than it is, or else give it over, and lose all the Charges I have been at hitherto for other Men to build their Fortunes upon. And I had rather be esteemed a Fool for some by the Hazard of one Month's journey, than to prove myself one certainly for six Years by past, if the Business be now lost for some want of a little Pains and Care.
- To Thomas Wentworth, cited by Luca Codignola in The Coldest Harbour of the Land (Québec, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988), p. 43.
Quotes about the first Lord Baltimore
- Lord Baltimore's dream of founding a colony in America did not fade with his return to England. Two years after leaving Newfoundland he obtained for himself and his heirs the concession of a vast stretch of land to the north of the Potomac River, the future state of Maryland. He died, however, on 15/25 April 1632, before his rights to concession could be officially proclaimed, and it was his son Cecil who inherited the lands along with his father's title. His brother Leonard was sent as governor in 1634.
- Luca Codignola, "Conclusion", ch. 9 of The Coldest Harbour of the Land (Québec, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988), pp. 58–59.
- This province, I think I shall show, was founded, chiefly, in accordance with a liberal plan to erect a community on this continent, which, while it should afford a happy home to those who might make it their abode, securing to them all the privileges of the most favored subjects of the British Crown, aimed, at the same time, to promote the objects of a wise and beneficent commercial speculation. The merit of this plantation is due to Sir George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. There is no man distinguished by so large and active a participation in the colonial history of this Country of whom so few memorials remain in published records. It is, in part, the reproach of our State, that so little is known of him. For there is good reason to believe that manuscripts and other relics pg jos history exist, which have not been brought to our notice on this side of the Atlantic.* We may hope that to the research of this Society, our State may hereafter become indebted for their production and publication.
- John P. Kennedy, Discourse on The Life and Character of George Calvert, The First Lord Baltimore (presented 9 December 1845; Maltimore, MD: J. Murphy, 1845), pp. 14–16.
- The first settlement in Maryland was made in 1634 by two small ships, the Ark and the Dove, carrying about 220 people and landing at St. Marys, near the mouth of the Potomac. From the first, Roman Catholicism was a uniquely important issue in this colony. For Calvert's father, George, the first Lord Baltimore and a leader of the monarchial party in England, had turned Catholic after receiving a promise of the grant. 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.
- Calvert Family Tree (accessed 10 Jul 2013)
- Calvert, Sir George (bio), from "The Governorship of Newfoundland and Labrador: Government House" website.
- Calvert, Sir George (bio), from Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Calvert, Sir George (bio), from Encyclopædia Britannica, full-article free, latest online edition.
- Calvert, Sir George (bio), from 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Calvert, Sir George (bio), from Maryland State Archives. Includes photographs and sources.