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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 727   View pdf image (33K)
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"now become my principal Amusement." PUBLIC
sioned on March 17, 1753, sworn on August 10,
1753, dismissed July 20, 1768, left office upon
arrival of Robert Eden (1741-1784); surveyor gen-
eral of the Western Shore, August 10, 1753, to
December 1768. A modern historian has noted
that Sharpe "conducted his office (as governor)
intelligently" through the French and Indian War
and Stamp Act crises, "used the art of conciliation
and compromise," and was a "conscientious ad-
ministrator, careful and well informed." Sharpe
himself wrote, "I have endeavoured to act in my
Public Capacity like an honest Man and am under
no apprehension lest anything should be laid to
my charge that I may be ashamed of...." Upon
hearing the news of his dismissal, the judges of
the Provincial Court and gentlemen of the bar
addressed Sharpe in words which, he said, "I think
reflect honour on my administration." MILITARY
SERVICE: captain, marines, by 1745; lt. colonel,
foot, served in the West Indies; commander in
chief of Maryland Militia, ex officio, 1753-1769;
commander in chief of forces raised to resist the
French, principally at Ft. Cumberland, 1754, sup-
planted by Ma j. Gen. Edward Braddock, who
was commissioned commander in chief of all Brit-
ish forces in America on September 1754, but
arrived in America in the late winter 1755. Sharpe
continued to exercise his command until Brad-
dock's arrival. During the winter of 1755, Sharpe
toured defenses in western Maryland, Virginia,
and Pennsylvania and canoed ca. 250 miles down
the Potomac River to Alexandria. He returned
to the west after Braddock's defeat to do what
he could to restore order. STANDS ON PUBLIC/PRI-
VATE ISSUES: Sharpe's letters to the proprietor,
to the principal secretary of Maryland, and to his
brothers provide a careful record of his thoughts
and positions during his administration. In a letter
to Cecilius Calvert in 1756, Sharpe wrote "the art
of disposing of places (of profit) so as to avoid
offense is one of the most difficult parts of Gov-
ernment." He advised Calvert in 1760 that "the
only way then in my opinion for His Lordship to
obtain a solid and lasting influence (in Maryland)
is to appear steady and resolute, to reward as far
and as often as it is in his power those who behave
themselves well, but never bribe any of those who
endeavour to carry the point by violence to desist
or forbear......." To his brother Joshua Sharpe
he wrote in 1763, "was I in England and in Busi-
ness by which I could live comfortably I would
not for the sake of getting something more make

my happiness dependent on the Caprice of others
as is the Ease and happiness of every Governor
SONAL PROPERTY: sent £715.2.4 to his brother
Philip to invest with other money of Sharpe's in
England, 1758; mentioned his stock in "the pub-
lick Funds" in England valued at £4,300.0.0 at
3% interest, 1767, and assumed the principal on
this stock to be at least £5,000.0.0, 1771; sold all
slaves, plate, liquors, household furnishings,
plantation equipment, horses, and livestock, plus
land and buildings at "Whitehall," Anne Arundel
County, for £7,000.0.0 current money, 1782. In
1783, John Ridout (1732-1797), who had pur-
chased the property, was assessed for 31 slaves,
249 oz. plate, 18 horses, and other personal prop-
erty with a total value of £2,050.15.0 current
money. ANNUAL INCOME: Sharpe estimated his
yearly income as governor at ca. £1,400.0.0, 1756,
and £1,861.0.0 sterling, not counting housing al-
lowance, 1767. From 1753 to 1760, Sharpe al-
lowed the profits of his position as surveyor gen-
eral of the Western Shore to John Ridout (1732-
1797). In 1756, Sharpe complained to Lord Bal-
timore that his £80.0.0 per year housing allow-
ance was inadequate since he was paying £100.0.0
per year to rent his mansion in Annapolis. He
requested, but apparently did not receive, reim-
bursement for his expenses of £150.0.0 incurred
during trips to Ft. Cumberland and New York
after Gen. Braddock's defeat. By 1767, Sharpe
was paying ca. £450.0.0 sterling per year from his
income as governor for the support of various
friends, relatives, and employees of the propri-
TION AND DEATH: purchased 149 acres in Frederick
County by 1759, and 302 acres in Anne Arundel
County by 1763; purchased 814 acres in Broad-
neck Hundred, Anne Arundel County, in 1763,
and exchanged ca. 144 acres of this tract for 144
acres of "Whitehall," Anne Arundel County, in
1764; purchased 1,000 acres in Frederick (later
became Washington) County, 1768; patented and
then sold 271 acres in Anne Arundel County,
purchased 1,637 acres in Baltimore County, and
sold 302 acres in Anne Arundel County, 1770;
added a total of 41 acres to his Anne Arundel
County plantation for a mill seat, 1771 and 1773.
By special order in 1781, Sharpe's property was
not confiscated. The following year, however, he
sold probably all his remaining Maryland land
and received, as partial payment, a house in Sa-
ville Row, Westminster, England. WEALTH AT



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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 727   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

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