spite of the fact that he was in holy orders (though he had repudiated
them) he had sat in several previous sessions of the Assembly. Gov-
ernor Nicholson was resolved that this scandal should cease; and taking
his ground upon the law which made a priest ineligible (in fact, with
this exception, no clergyman had ever sat in the Assembly) refused to
swear him in. The Burgesses contended that they were the sole judges
of the eligibility of their own members. Nicholson pointed out to them
that while they were indeed the sole judges whether any one of their
members was duly elected, they had no power to qualify a person legally
disqualified; that though Coode might consider that he had repudiated
his own orders, yet that they were indelible except by the power which
had conferred them; and furthermore, that the Burgesses themselves
knew the man's whole life and conversation to be "so heinously flagiti-
ous and wicked as scarce to be paralleled in the Province." He con-
cluded by calling the whole House before him and curtly telling them :
" Gentlemen, I do acquaint you that I shall not swear that person, not-
withstanding your vote." The Burgesses thus rebuked seem to have
become ashamed of themselves, and dropped Coode, who lived to turn
his envenomed hate against Nicholson, and to contribute the most dis-
gusting pages to the criminal records of the Province.
In the session of Sept.-Oct., 1696, William Bladen Clerk of the
House, applied for and received license to do the public printing, he
furnishing a press and types at his own cost.
Though Maryland was fairly prosperous under Nicholson's adminis-
tration, yet the state of affairs was not entirely satisfactory. Nearly all
the land was given up to tobacco, and the best soils were now worn out.
Outside of tobacco, scarce anything was exported: some furs and sassa-
fras root to England, and insignificant quantities of beef, pork, pipe
staves and timber to Barbadoes and New England.
Several of the original journals have been ravaged by damp and
insects, and here, as in previous volumes, brackets indicate that the
inclosed words have been supplied from a later copy. From the original
journal of the Upper House, Session of May-June, 1697, the first four
pages have been torn away, and the text is taken from a later copy.