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PART II.-CHAPTER I. Maryland, the Carolinas and New York— The Mary
land Lords of Manors.
The charter and arrangements of colonial Maryland, the Carolinas and New York, apart from a general subinfeudation to the King, peculiar to all other feudal charters, provided for the especial establishment of patrician orders.
The colony of Maryland, of great extent from beyond the Susquehanna River on the north to the Potomac river on the south and west, was a principality conceded to the family of Calvert, Lords of Baltimore. The province contains the most beautiful, healthful and most productive part of North America—the unrivalled eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the less noted western shore. A region it is, with easy access to the commerce of the seas, to the richness of the land, broken into creeks and inlets teeming with the oyster, the menenoes, the terrapin; abounding in fruits including the fig, the best known area for the sweet potato and the yam. Truly the province of Maryland was a terrestrial paradise in colonial days—a paradise that even the mad extravagance, corruption, oppression and malfeasance of the grim democracy of the United States has not yet succeeded in entirely suppressingso strong are the arms and limitations of Nature!
In the beginning, when Lord Baltimore began the settlement of the colony of which he was by grant of the King sovereign lord proprietor, he decided that an aristocracy was as necessary a part of the state as a democracy and that its function should be independent-that is, not confused with the function of democracy; that its true ancient Greek meaning of right to rule'' should be exemplified. This was in 1634, after he had brought over the first settlers to the shores of the Chesapeake. However, although the Assembly refused to pass his "Bill for Baronies,” he possessed sufficient authority from the King as lord proprietor to establish manors
with hereditary magistracy attached thereto. This was like what in ancient English history is called creating "barons by writ" and in old France would be termed ''anoblissements."
But in regard to the power of the lord proprietor to do these things:- In the first place, the statute of Quia Emptoris, which had been enacted in the reign of King Edward I., in 1290, and which decreed that in all sales or ''feoffments'' of land the holder should bear allegiance not to the immediate lord or grantor but to the King, was set aside in favor of Lord Baltimore by King Charles I., so that in Maryland Lord Baltimore was sole tenant of the crown and had the power of erecting manors as though he were the King himself. While allegiance to the King was preserved, oath of office was administered in the name of the proprietor and all writs ran "In the year of our dominion." Now, the lord of a manor has a right to hold court and judge all offences happening within the limits of his manor, except the crimes of murder, counterfeiting and treason. This right is hereditary so long as the manor passes in the family from father to son. If the manor is sold all rights are transferred to the purchaser. At first no one could possess a manor but a "descendant of British or Irish,” but in 1683 it was decreed that manors might be held by any person living or trading in the province properly qualified." This was similar to the manner of holding seigneuries established by the French King, Louis XIV., in Canada, in 1663. But the seigneur, as an officer, was obliged to be the military commander over his tenants, to instruct them for the defense of the country and to settle their disputes as a magistrate.
The ancient records show that in Maryland the manorial system died out, not because it was unpopular, for no complaint is mentioned by the people against it, and the benefits as founders of the province which the lords of the manors conferred on the people could not be forgotten. But what caused it to decline was the introduction of slavery. Many ignoble and unscrupulous but enterprising persons began to use slaves on their places to do the work. A manorial grant did not authorize slavery. This was in the latter part of the seven
teenth century, and as time progressed the lords of manors found themselves steadily falling behind in revenue, owing to the small return which their tenants gave them. They were eclipsed in splendor of display by the ignorant, low bred, but wealthy, parvenues whose places were worked by slaves. So, one by one, yielding to the temptation and pressure of events, the lords of the manors descended from their exalted position, sold the portions occupied by tenants to those tenants and with the money purchased slaves to work the portion of the manor reserved for themselves. So the manor disappeared in the plantation.
Those who read this should not forget that the lords of the manors of Maryland were the founders and patricians of the province. Lord Baltimore recognized them as such in the writs by which he endowed them with manorial rights. He permitted that anyone finding favor in his sight as a proper person and bringing wealth and people to the province might acquire such manorial rights on the possession of at least 2, ooo acres. As an example, a part of the writ creating George Talbot, a cousin of Lord Baltimore, Lord of Susquehanna Manor in Cecil County in 168o is here in evidence: “Know that for and in consideration that our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin and counsellor, George Talbot, of Castle Rooney, of County Roscommon, in the Kingdom of Ireland, hath undertaken, at his own proper cost and charges, to transport, or cause to be transported into the province within 12 years from date thereof 640 persons of British or Irish descent here to inhabit, and we, not only having a great love, respect and esteem for our said cousin and counsellor, but willing also to give him all due and lawful encouragement in so good design of peopling and increasing the inhabitants of this our Province of Maryland, well considering how much this will conduce to the strength and defense thereof, and that he may receive some recompense for the great charge and expense he must be at, in importing so great a number of persons into this our province aforesaid.” * * “we have thought fit to grant unto our dear cousin and counsellor all that tract or dividend of land called Susquehanna, lying in Cecil County,
* * * *
in our said province. * + containing an estimate
of 32, ooo acres. with all the prerogatives and royalties of a manor and the magistracy thereof.”
These Talbots belonged to an ancient Norman family that had been settled in Ireland for generations. Of the Catholic party, they were opposed to Protestant England, and it was the religion only of James II. that recommended him to the Catholic Irish in the days when Prince William of Orange, invited to England by the Protestants, chased King James over into Ireland. The George Talbot mentioned in this as Lord of the Manor of Susquehanna was cousin of Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, commonly known as “Dick” Talbot, who was one of the Irish generals in the service of King James II. against the Prince of Orange in 1698. It is said that Talbot, while deputy governor, stabbed a man with whom he quarreled and fled and took refuge in a cave in Cecil county, where for a long while his food was brought him by several trained falcons. Some of the Talbot loyalists settled in Nova Scotia in 1783.
Bashford Manor, on the Wicomico, was granted to Dr. Thomas Gerrard in 1650 for an annual quit rent of 15 bushels of corn. In 1678 he sold it to Governor Thomas Notley, who divided it afterwards into small holdings and sold it, the manor then becoming extinct. The name of Governor Notley has passed into many families and preserves the memory of one of the foremost founders of Maryland.
Brooke Place Manor, in St. Mary's county, in 1654 reckoned as its lord Gov. Robert Brooke, president of Lord Baltimore's council. He had in 1650 the Manor of De la Brooke, on Battle Creek, in Calvert county. He had come from England with his wife and Io children and brought over 28 other persons—servants, retainers and colonists. He became the commander of the county. His eldest son, Baker Brooke, was confirmed as the lord of the manor. The council of Gov. Charles Calvert met at this manor-house July 19, 1662, and it was standing until about 8o years ago. This name may be found among the loyalists of Ontario.
Cross Manor, on St. Inigoes Creek, in 1639 had been erected in favor of the Hon. Thomas Cornwaleys.
The manor house, built of English brick, is the oldest brick house in Maryland, yet standing. Captain Cornwaleys was associated with Lord Leonard Calvert and Mr. Jerome Hawley in the government of the province. The Cornwaleys, or Cornwallis family, were represented in Nova Scotia.
Evelynton Manor, in the "Baronie of St. Mary," was conceded to the Hon. George Evelyn in 1638. He was commander of Kent county in 1637. He came as agent of Clabery & Co., of London (Claibourne's partners), and he superseded that person after that person's departure for England in 1637. He was the means of bringing Kent Island under Lord Baltimore's jurisdiction. He left the colony in 1638 and returned to England, but he had a brother, Capt. Robert Evleyn, who was interested more permanently in the province. The Evelyns are among the earliest royalist names of Quebec Province.
Warburton Manor, in Prince George's county, in 1690 owned as its lord Col. William Digges, son of Governor Digges, of Virginia, whose father was Sir Dudley Digges, master of the rolls to King Charles I. He married Jane Sewall, daughter of Lady Baltimore by her former marrriage with the Hon. Henry Sewall, of London. „This manor passed to William, the eldest son of Col. Digges, and to his children, one of whom, a daughter-Jane-married Col. John Fitzgerald, of Virginia. The government of the United States purchased a part of the manor, on which was erected Fort Warburton, which was blown up in 1814. The Diggeses of the Nova Scotia loyalists, some settling in Ontario, perpetuate their traditions.
Fenwick Manor, on Cat Creek, in 1651 became the fief of Cuthbert Fenwick, member of Lord Baltimore's council. In 1659 the manor house was the scene of the trial of Edward Prescott for "Changing a witch." The only witness who was summoned was Col. John Washington, great-grandfather of President George Washington. When the day arrived for the trial instead of the witness came a letter of excuse in the following phraseology: "Because then, God willing, I intend to gette my yowng sonne baptized, all the Company and Gossips