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The privy councillor was not a man to rely exclusively and devotedly upon royal favor. He was too sagacious to place all his trust in princes. And even if the king should be always friendly, there were other parties willing and ready to mar the peace of his life. He was not exempt, notwithstanding the king's favor, as McMahon remarks, from those difficulties and mortifications which always attend the profession and exercise of a proscribed religion. It was natural', says this author, 'that thus situated, he should desire to establish himself in some more happy land, where, in every event, he might be free from the persecutions of the Established Church. Men are not content with the enjoyment, by mere sufferance, of either political or religious liberty. The insecurity of the tenure robs them of half their enjoyment.' He went to Avalon,' in Newfoundland, to find a peaceful home, but left it on account of the rigor of the climate; 2 he went thence to Virginia, but was repelled from that province by the local government on account of his religious tenets. Then it was ', continues McMahon, 'that his eyes were cast upon the territory along the Chesapeake Bay, as yet unsettled; and by the amenity of its situation, and the fertility of its resources, inviting him to its retreat. Here, if he could but obtain a grant of it from the crown, he might dwell in his own territory and under his own government; and build up in the wilderness a home for religious freedom. These were the leading views which seem to have operated upon him, in applying for the charter of Maryland; and but for his untimely death, at the moment of accomplishing his wishes, it is probable he would have removed to the province, and would have here permanently established his family. Hence it may be truly said, from the consideration of the views of its founder, and of the character and objects of its first colonists, that the State of Maryland, as well as the New England States, originated in the search for civil and religious freedom; and the character of the former is still further consecrated by the fact, that her government, for a long period after the colonisation, was true to the principles which laid the foundations of his colony. Her colonists, in escaping from the proscriptions and persecutions of the mother country, unlike those of some of the Puritan settlements of the North, did not catch the contagion of the spirit which had driven them from their homes.'s
1 He called his first province Avalon, from the place where it is said Christianity was first planted in England.
? A French author complacently observes that he (Calvert) was 'obligé de l'abandonner à cause des excursions des Français ;' but in point of fact, in his engagements with the French, he bore off the laurels, and they the cypress.
The buffetings which Calvert received on account of his religion, probably opened his eyes to the enormity of persecuting men for their religious tenets. He had felt the wrong in his own person, and he had witnessed the sufferings of others, both of his own faith and of divers dissenting creeds, for their religious opinions. It seemed to be sent to him, a just and a wise man, like an inspiration, that this great evil, this perennial scourge of Christendom, could and should be redressed at once and forever. Returning to England from Virginia, he made a successful application to King Charles I. for a grant of land within certain limits bordering upon the Chesapeake Bay. He drew up the charter with his own band, and he took care to keep out of it anything which might trench upon liberty of conscience. His own plans were already made. Except a couple of phrases, one merely conventional, which declared that nothing should be done in the colony to the detriment of God's holy religion, and another that all ecclesiastical benefices were to be within the gift of the proprietary, there was nothing in the charter bearing upon the subject of religion. It is to be presumed that the king did not mean that the members of his own church should be in any way molested on account of their creed; but, at the same time, there was a careful avoidance of making the Established Church of England the established church of the new colony. King Charles meant to act gracefully and gratefully by his father's old and trusted friend. He probably wished that Calvert and his followers should have, in the wilderness beyond the seas, as happy and as peaceful a home as possible. If the Catholics could find an asylum far away from England, where the king was often obliged to persecute, bongré malgré, his majesty who, though selfish, was not cruel, by nature, would rather favor than hinder the enterprise. Accordingly, he allowed Lord Baltimore to shape the charter to suit himself, reserving only a nominal tribute, besides an interest in the precious metals to be discovered in the province. So far, the provincial possessions had been the source of about as much trouble as profit to the crown; and the king set very little store by the then nameless territory asked by the petitioner. He gave it a name, however, and happily hit upon the beautiful name of Mary, or Maria, the second name of the queen, Henrietta Maria. And thenceforth the brightest gem in the American cluster of provinces or states was known as Terra Marice, or Maryland, otherwise called with reason, the Land of the Sanctuary.
3 McMahon's History of Maryland.
At this stage of the proceedings, the great and good George Calvert was gathered to his fathers; but his works have survived him. He had projected a scheme for the happiness of his fellow men, which was carried into execution by his son and successor, Cecilius, with results with which the world is familiar. Sir George Calvert died,' says Bancroft, ' leaving a name against which the breath of calumny has hardly dared whisper a reproach.'
We should like to dwell upon his fame and memory if our space permitted; for calumny has dared to touch his name only to recoil, and to plague the inventors. Detraction has been busy, and, since the facts are all in favor of Calvert, his motives have been assailed; but empty assertion, and conjectures, or surmises, have fortunately exerted very little influence over the minds of men capable of thinking and judging for themselves.
We pass on rapidly to the actual settlement of Maryland. George Calvert dying, the charter was made out in favor of the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert. In the words of the instrument, the son and heir, 'treading in the steps of his father, and being animated with a laudable and pious zeal for extending the Christian religion, and also the territories of our empire, hath humbly besought leave of Us, that he may transport by his own industry and expense, a numerous colony of the English nation to a certain region, hereinafter described, in a country hitherto uncultivated, in the parts of America, and partly occupied by savages, having no knowledge of the Divine Being, and that all that region, &c., may by our royal highness be given, granted, and confirmed unto him and his heirs.
'Know ye therefore, that WE, encouraging with our royal favor the pious and noble purpose of the aforesaid barons of Baltimore, of our special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have GIVEN, GRANTED, and CONFIRMED, and by this our present CHARTER, for us, our heirs and successors, do give, grant, and confirm unto the aforesaid Cecilius, now baron of Baltimore, his heirs and assigns, all that part of the Peninsula or Chersonese, lying in the parts of America between the ocean on the East, and the bay of Chesapeake on the West,'' &c., &c.
'Treading in the steps of his father', in the words of the king, is not, in this instance, the language of empty compliment. The great soul of George Calvert designed to establish a government wherein liberty of conscience should be the crowning glory of a just, liberal, and generous rule. But George Calvert did not establish his government. This work was left for his son and successor, and it often happens that the son and heir has widely different views from those of his progenitor. In this case, however, the son was fully imbued with the sentiments of the father, and it devolved upon him to reduce theory to practice. It was a grand experiment at that day, but a successful one, for a time at least, as we shall see; and though interrupted for a time, it was, we may hope, the harbinger of better and brighter days for all Christendom, to the end.
In the month of November, 1633, two vessels of significant and memorable names — the Ark and the Dove—sailed from England with the first pilgrims destined for Maryland. These pilgrims were, for the most part, gentlemen of means and condition, who, with their families,—wives, children, and servants, were in search of the most desirable of earthly blessings — peaceful and happy homes. After various adventures and perils, the pilgrims landed on the banks of the Potomac in March, 1634. They were met by large bodies of armed natives, who swarmed upon the shores, who sent messengers inland, and who, by night, illumined earth and sky with their alarm fires, to invite the neighboring savages from far and near to repel the invaders.
“See Charter in Bozman's History of Maryland.
The hostility of these simple children of nature was soon disarmed by the conciliatory policy of the immigrants. At the head of these was Leonard Calvert, brother to the proprietary, and now governor of the new commonwealth, another worthy son of a worthy sire. The governor immediately entered into friendly relations with the Indians, and Maryland', as McSherry remarks, ' was almost the only State whose early settlement was not stained with the blood of the unfortunate natives.' This is another crown of glory for the lovely princess of the Chesapeake.
On the 25th of March, the colonists 'took solemn possession of Maryland, and their priests performed divine service for the first time within its borders. After mass was ended, the pilgrims formed in procession, led by the governor, Leonard Calvert, the secretary and other officers, carrying on their shoulders a huge cross, hewn from a tree, and erected it upon the island, as the emblem of Christianity and civilization, which they were about to plant upon those shores. Under these auspices was begun the founding of Maryland.”
The cross was not, in those days, considered by all American colonists, as a Christian emblem. A curious illustration of hostility to this ancient and venerable symbol, may be found in the life of Sir Henry Vane, when governor of Massachusetts. The Bostonians and some English captains had certain compromises to make to get on satisfactorily, and inter alia, the captains desired that the royal ensign should be displayed on the fort in the harbor. “Fair and reasonable as this request seems,' says Mr. Upham, Vane's biographer, it would have been impossible for the captains to contrive a more effectual dilemma for the poor Puritans.' They did not want to appear disloyal to the crown from which they held their charter, but to hoist the ensign was to hoist the cross also in the chosen centre of Puritanism. With the ingenuity, which was already a New England trait, they avoided both horns of the dilemma for a time, by declaring there was no royal ensign in the colony. The captains offered to lend or give colors for the occasion. 'All chance of escape being thus shut out, the magistrates met the question
5 McSherry's History of Maryland.