The sessions of 1707 and 1708 were distinguished by no unusual
events, and harmony prevailed between the different branches of the
Attendance on the Provincial Court being inconvenient to those who
lived far from Annapolis, and especially to the people of the Eastern
Shore, the Governor and Council recommended a system of itinerant
judges to go on the Western and Eastern circuits, and hold assizes
twice a year. To this plan the Lower House would not agree, so the
Governor appointed four such judges by virtue of the royal prerogative,
and the Queen confirmed the appointments.
As the people seemed slow in erecting towns and ports, for which
such ample provision had been made in the Act of 1706, the Governor
feared that that Act was " not sufficiently coercive," and again urged
the Assembly to bestir themselves in the matter. At first sight it seems
absurd to try to make ports by main force, unless one could also create
the traffic to justify them; but there was a special reason in this case.
Vessels had to be entered and cleared by the royal collectors, and thus
the planters who could have landed and shipped their goods almost at
their doors, were put to the trouble and risk of conveying them to or
from Annapolis, St. Mary's, Oxford, or Chestertown. To remedy this,
an Act was passed creating all the towns, rivers and landings in the
several Bay counties, " members " of the ports of their districts.
The proceedings in the case of Richard Clarke, attainted for various
heinous acts or designs, such as counterfeiting, piracy, and blowing up
the port of Annapolis, show symptoms of a degree of alarm which at
present seems rather excessive. But that business can be better
studied in the Council Journals.
In the Session of Sept.-Oct. 1708, no Acts were passed, the Lower
House having shown so froward a temper that the Governor cut short
the session by dissolution.
On July 30, 1709, Gov. Seymour died, and by the terms of his com-
mission the administration of his office was vested in the Council who
chose Edward Lloyd as their President. Lloyd held this position until
the arrival of Gov. Hart in 1714.