Governor John Seymour and the Charters of Annapolis
Part 3. The Charters
Part 1. Preliminary Observations
Part 2. The Act of 1696
Part 4. Reflections
The act of 1696 remained the basis of the government of Annapolis for not quite twelve years, and the city remained without representationin the lower house except as a part of Anne Arundel County. On 8 September 1704, however, during his second meeting with the assembly after he assumed the governorship on 12 April 1704,1 John Seymour suggested that the delegates seriously consider the instruction of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations that he enquire into why St. Mary's City should have two representatives in the lower house and whether, since Annapolis was the seat of government, it might be proper to "encourage" it by giving it two representatives.2
The delegates ordered that the charter of St. Mary's City "be laid before" the House during the next session, when they would consider it further,3 but in the short session in December,4 on the "Article relating to the Members of the City of Saint Mary's referred to this Session & producing the Charter" they resolved that "it . . . [did] not properly lie before them."5 This wording might mean either that the delegates believed that they had no business considering the issue6 or that Seymour had failed to deliver the article from his instructions and the charter of St. Mary's City to the lower house.
Seymour might not have been anxious to have the delegates discuss representation to begin with. During the next three sessions of the assembly neither he nor the delegates mentioned withdrawing representation from St. Mary's City and awarding it to Annapolis.7
However that may be, finally in 1708 Seymour decided to act on his own. Whether this is what he had in mind all along there is no way to know. On 16 August 1708 he and his council, after considering whether it was proper that St. Mary's City send two delegates to the lower house, since it did not have "a Mayor Recorder & [alder?]men"8 to choose them, decided that because of the absence of such people no citizens of St. Mary's City could be legally returned to serve in the lower house but nevertheless decided to direct a writ of election "to such persons."9
Seymour and his council were right about the scarcity of population in St. Mary's City. At the beginning of the next session of the assembly the sheriff of St. Mary's County returned the writ of election for the city with the endorsement that he could find nobody there who could elect any delegates for it.10 The lower house filed the writ of election with its endorsement "with the rest of the Papers and Writs of Election until some Persons" moved there,11 and apparently nothing more was done. Apparently St. Mary's City was all but deserted, and apparently also the council had ordered the writ of election to be sent there only to fulfil the legal requirement of its charter12 but possibly also to provide legal evidence that there were no voters there.
After the council ordered the writ of election for St. Mary's City Seymour or one of the members of his council proposed that Annapolis be erected into a city with two delegates to the lower house and with "some other small priviledges" that Seymour and his council would agree on. The council decided that that would be very proper, since Annapolis was the seat of government, was "a growing place," and had "the most Buildings & People Inhabiting therein"13 -- meaning, apparently, the most buildings and people of any settlement in the province.
Determined that he would change the government of Annapolis, Seymour must already have had the first charter written up, since he issued it that very day.14 William Bladen and Wornell Hunt, two of Seymour's favorites, were elected as delegates to the lower house of the assembly.15 The assembly met on 27 September 1708;16 Bladen and Hunt were sworn the next day;17 and during the early part of the session both men actively participated in the business of the lower house.18
In issuing that first charter Seymour appears to have had at least three less-than-generous motives. First, by issuing it without consulting the delegates he pre-empted the lower house of the assembly and thus, if he had succeeded in his attempt, would have provided a precedent for the governor's acting on his own, with the advice of his council but without the participation of the delegates. The members of the upper house would still have participated with the governor because they were also members of his council. Seymour therefore appears to have been using the issuing of the charter as an opportunity to consolidate the political power of the governor and his council, which really means the governor,19 at the expense of the lower house and therefore of the voters of the province.20
Second, Seymour reduced participation in government simply by reducing the number of voters in Annapolis. Men who lived in the city and who had formerly been able to vote in elections for delegates from Anne Arundel County would lose the right to vote in those elections because Annapolis would have two delegates of its own, and these men would no longer be able to vote in elections for those delegates. Only the mayor, the recorder, the six aldermen, and the five senior of the ten members of the common council would have the right to participate in the election of delegates from the city.21
Nor would most of the "ffreemen and inhabitants" of Annapolis who had been able to vote in elections for commissioners of the city under the act of 1696 be allowed any longer to vote for local officials. Only the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and common council would participate in the annual choice of the mayor, who had to come from among the aldermen;22 on the death or "removall" of the mayor the aldermen would choose a replacement from among themselves;23 the mayor and the aldermen would chose future recorders and from the members of the common council fill vacancies among the aldermen;24 and the mayor, the recorder, and the six aldermen would choose the original ten common councillors from among the "inhabitants and freeholders" of the city and then would fill vacancies on the common council as they occurred.25 Thus even the members of the common council would have no voice in choosing the recorder or filling vacancies among the aldermen or on the common council itself, and only the five senior members of the common council would have a voice in choosing delegates. All special elections would be held within a month of the death or the "removal" of the official.26
This arrangement would restrict participation in government in Annapolis to sometimes six -- or even fewer if two or more of the eight leading officials died within a month of each other27 -- sometimes seven, sometimes eight, sometimes thirteen, and sometimes up to eighteen men, depending on what was being done, and therefore would solidify the power of a very narrow elite in the city, would keep "undesirables" out of government, and might even serve as a precedent for reducing participation in government throughout the province.
Third, by providing representation for Annapolis in the lower house Seymour might increase his influence there by getting two of his favorites elected as delegates from the city.28 William Bladen, an alderman, and Wornell Hunt, the recorder -- both of whom Seymour had appointed to their positions29 --, were in fact chosen as delegates.
Not everyone was happy with Seymour's new arrangement. Some of the residents of Annapolis objected to his charter, and in a petition to the lower house an unknown number challenged it.30 On the afternoon of Thursday, 30 September 1708, the Committee of Election and Privileges referred the petition "against the electing of Delegates to serve the said City" to the consideration of the whole House, where the petitioners had asked to be heard. The delegates decided to consider the petition the next morning and ordered the mayor, the recorder, and the aldermen of Annapolis to attend the House, "with the Record of their Charter by which they claim[ed] to send Delegates to the Assembly," to respond to the petition. They also ordered the petitioners to attend the House to explain and defend their petition.31
That wording in the record -- "their Charter by which they claim[ed] to send Delegates to the Assembly"32 --, might make it appear that the delegates were already upset at Seymour's issuing the charter on his own.
On Friday the delegates did not get to the charter until late in the day. Apparently as their last piece of business that day they read the charter, the petition, and the writ of election by which Hunt and Bladen had been elected; called into the House the mayor, the aldermen, and the members of the common council of Annapolis along with Thomas Macnemara, Thomas Docwra, and other, unidentified, petitioners against the charter; and heard the complaints of the petitioners.33 Since Macnemara would be their spokesman the next day,34 it appears likely that he presented their complaints on this day also.
The delegates' singling out Thomas Macnemara and Thomas Docwra when they mentioned the petitioners appears to mean that those two were the leaders in the campaign against the charter. At about this same time Docwra had the courage to challenge authority by objecting to the tax to support the Anglican church,35 and Macnemara not only had great courage but also had at least three good reasons to try to embarrass John Seymour.
Exactly one year earlier, on 30 September 1707, Seymour disbarred Macnemara at the same time that he hijacked the right to admit and suspend attorneys when he ruled that, in order to prevent their misbehavior and to guarantee that only those men who had "a Competent share of Learning honesty and Experience" would be admitted as attorneys, nobody would be admitted to practice in the province unless he had been "for some time" a member of one of the "Inns of Courts or Chancery in England" or had submitted to an examination of his ability, honesty, and good behavior before the governor and his council and had received "a Certificate of such Examination."36 Seymour's proclamation effectively disbarred every attorney in the province,37 but he immediately restored to practice every attorney who applied except Macnemara,38 who was still disbarred when Seymour issued his charter.
Four-and-a-half months later Seymour gave Macnemara a second cause for grievance. On 17 February 1707/8 the pauper Peter Perry complained to the governor and his council that Macnemara had demanded a fee from him as his attorney and refused to return it even though as a pauper he was not supposed to have to pay anything for legal counsel. After Macnemara responded with an impertinence when Josiah Wilson, the sheriff of Anne Arundel County,39 asked him whether this was true, Seymour ordered that for that "Sawcy Answer and other Audatious behaviour" he sit in the stocks for "one full hour bare Breeched." Later, however, Seymour did remit half an hour of the punishment when "a great Gust" arose.40 No other instance of this imaginative punishment has appeared so far in the records of colonial Maryland.
Third, in Macnemara's nasty dispute with his wife Margaret, which went on from August of 1707 or earlier until 19 February 1708/9, Seymour three times had ordered him jailed. Even before Seymour issued the first of these orders Macnemara might have spent some time in jail when he could not provide the bond of eight hundred pounds sterling to guarantee his good behavior toward his wife for one year from the date of the bond that Samuel Young, one of the justices of the provincial court, required of him after her complaint against him on 19 August 1707 or possibly earlier. On that date -- 19 August 1707 -- he again appeared before Young, and when he requested to be bailed Young cut his bond in half. This time he was able to find four sureties. 41 At the provincial court for September of 1707, which opened on the day on which Seymour disbarred Macnemara, the justices discharged that recognizance because they still considered it excessive and required him to enter a new one of only one hundred pounds sterling.42
On 13 October Margaret Macnemara petitioned the chancery court, with Seymour and John Hammond sitting as justices, for separate maintenance because of what she alleged were Macnemara's "Continued Intollerable Rigours, severitys and Unchristian Dealings," including scurrilous language, beatings, and even threats to her life, but Macnemara refused to respond to the petition. Seymour three times ordered his arrest, but twice Thomas Smithson, the chief justice of the provincial court, released him on writs of habeas corpus. Finally, on 19 February 1707/8 -- two days after sitting in the stocks bare-breeched -- Macnemara agreed to provide separate maintenance for his wife,43 and five weeks later, on 24 March 1707/8, Seymour and his council decided to remove Smithson from the provincial court for bailing Macnemara.44
So when Seymour issued his charter only six months after Macnemara spent half an hour sitting bare-breeched in the stocks in the middle of February, the feisty lawyer might have welcomed the opportunity to add a little stress to the governor's life. A desire for revenge might have magnified his concern for the rights of the petitioners, and a chance to take advantage of the delegates' already frosty relationship with Seymour might have been too enticing to pass up. In any case his unique punishment did not intimidate him. On Saturday -- 2 October 1708 -- the lower house allowed Hunt and Bladen to respond to the objections of the petitioners,45 and Macnemara then responded to Hunt and Bladen. The delegates next ordered the petitioners, Hunt and Bladen, the other aldermen, and the members of the common council of Annapolis to withdraw while they debated the issue.46 When "the Question was put whether or no the Governor had Power to grant the Charter in Manner and fform as it . . . [was] granted," the delegates unanimously voted that he did not.47 That vote unseated Bladen and Hunt.48
Since this petition has not survived, it is impossible to know exactly what the petitioners had demanded. One wording in the record -- "against the electing of Delegates to serve for the said City"49 -- might make it appear that they were upset only because they would have no part in electing the delegates from Annapolis. Other wording, however -- the "Petitioners against it [the charter] and the Election thereupon"50 and "the Objections against the Charter"51 -- makes it appear that they might have been concerned about more than that. However that may be, it is clear that by challenging both the "Manner and fform" in which Seymour issued the charter52 the delegates challenged both the contents of the charter itself and Seymour's right to issue it. Whether the concerns of the petitioners were similar to those that the delegates would express in their response to Seymour on the following Monday53 there is no way to know.
The delegates, who already had at least two serious grievances against Seymour, were primed for a fight. In the first place, they were still upset about Seymour's claiming the right to admit and suspend attorneys.54 Previously the county justices themselves had performed those functions,55 and of the forty delegates who were sitting in the lower house at the time of the vote on 2 October56 at least twenty -- and possibly as many as twenty-two -- were county justices,57 whose own power would be reduced if Seymour had his way.
If that was not enough, the delegates were also still smarting at Seymour's establishing the assizes, the circuit courts that he and his council created in February of 1707/8 without the participation of the lower house after the delegates rejected them.58 Seymour established two circuits, one for the counties on the Western Shore and one for those on the Eastern Shore, and two provincial justices would hold sessions in the counties of each of the two circuits twice a year. The delegates were suspicious:59 the provincial justices' holding court in the counties might reduce the power of the county justices, and therefore their prestige and influence in their counties, and during their two sessions in 1708 the delegates continued to refuse to support these courts.60
The delegates were right to be suspicious. Later, in a letter to the Board of Trade, Seymour made it clear that one of the functions of the justices of assize would be to impress the population at the expense of what he called the raw, ignorant, proud, and obstinate "natives" who he claimed monopolized the county courts as well as the lower house of the assembly. 61
Having usurped the power to admit and suspend attorneys, and having imposed on the delegates courts that they did not want, Seymour now was challenging the delegates' participation in controlling elections and the membership of the lower house. This participation the delegates had acquired only recently and thus was still fragile. In 1692, at the beginning of the royal period, the assembly gained control of elections when Governor Lionel Copley signed "An Act directing the Manner of Electing and Summoning Delegates and Representatives to serve in succeeding Assemblies,"62 and in 1704 Seymour himself signed a new act with the same title.63 In 1695 the assembly for the first time since it established Anne Arundel County way back in 165064 established a new county, Prince George's, and thereby added delegates to the lower house,65 and in 1706 it established Queen Anne's County and added more delegates.66 Except for Anne Arundel County, the earlier counties, when their origins are known, were established by the executive.67
For Annapolis, Seymour did have the proprietary precedent of Charles Calvert's granting a charter to St. Mary's City on 11 September 1671 and allowing the city to send two delegates to the lower house,68 but that came under the proprietor and long before the assembly passed the acts of 1692 and 1704.
The participation in establishing representation in the lower house was worth fighting for, and the delegates were none-too tactful in the way they went about the fight. After they unanimously decided on 2 October 1708 that Seymour did not have the power to issue the charter in the "Manner and fform" in which he had issued it69 and unseated Bladen and Hunt, they did not even honor him and the upper house with an official report of what they had done. When on Monday morning a delegate asked whether it was necessary to send Seymour and his council a message relating to the charter, the delegates decided that it was not.70
Seymour did not need a formal message from the lower house to know what was going on. As the last piece of business on Saturday afternoon he asked the members of the upper house whether, "considering how dilatory and irregular" the delegates had been, it would be convenient to prorogue the assembly to a later date. The upper house unanimously agreed that it would be convenient to prorogue the assembly to 29 November if Seymour thought that that would be a good idea.71
On Monday afternoon -- 4 October 1708 -- Seymour summoned the delegates to the council chamber and in his usual condescending fashion made his contempt for them clear. He was aware, he told them, that "in an Extrajudicial Way" they had taken it upon themselves to interpret his commission from the queen in a way contrary to its clear meaning. Exhibiting the arrogant paternalism that was characteristic of him and that must have been maddening to the delegates, who yielded to nobody in arrogance, Seymour told them that in good manners they might have allowed him to be a competent judge of that commission, since he had "worn it so many years."72 He could not avoid the conclusion, he continued illogically, that the delegates' action had resulted "from an ill grounded heat and Rashness not at all becoming the Station" they filled, since nobody pretended to control their "debates and Resolves concerning the Election of . . . [their] Members."
Apparently it did not occur to Seymour that if he conceded the right of the lower house to control their debates and resolutions on the election of delegates he must have been conceding their right to determine how the delegates from Annapolis would be elected and to expel Bladen and Hunt.
The delegates would have shown much more discretion, Seymour continued, if they had proceeded to the business of the House rather than in an unwarrantable manner to have expelled the delegates whose commission for sitting in the lower house was "derived from the same fountain of Authority" as their own.73 Since that awkward step of the lower house was derogatory to the queen's prerogative, the delegates could not blame him for the cost to the poor country for this unprofitable session.
All generosity, however, Seymour would give the delegates another chance. To "the many favourable concessions" that he had already made to them he would add one more: he would have them return to the lower house and seriously reflect on what they had done.74
The delegates obviously reflected on what they had done, but they did not back down, and in their response to Seymour that same afternoon they expressed their concerns. First, some of the "Freeholders and Inhabitants" of Annapolis believed that the charter deprived them of some of their rights and privileges as Englishmen, particularly of the right to vote for delegates to the lower house.75 Seymour had provided that the mayor, the recorder, and the aldermen together with the five senior members of the common council would elect the two delegates to the lower house,76 and therefore men who lived in Annapolis and who had been able to vote for delegates from Anne Arundel County would not be able to vote for delegates from either Anne Arundel County or Annapolis. Seymour was revoking a right that qualified Englishmen had had since 1430.77
Seymour's denial of the right to vote for delegates to men who had been able to vote for them earlier makes his first charter of Annapolis a reactionary document. In the provision on the election of delegates it was reactionary in a second way. Not only would men who had been allowed to vote for delegates from Anne Arundel County be unable to vote for delegates from Annapolis, but some, many, most, or all of those same men would have been allowed to vote for delegates from St. Mary's City under the second charter of that city thirty-seven years earlier. By that charter, dated 11 September 1671, Charles Calvert, the future third Lord Baltimore,78 allowed "free citizens" the right to vote for delegates when he provided that the mayor, recorder, aldermen, common council, "and ffree citizens" of St. Mary's City could elect two delegates to the lower house.79
Seymour's first charter was reactionary in the third place because men who had been able to vote for the commissioners of Annapolis under the act of 1696 would not be able to vote for local officials under the charter. In provisions similar to those in the second charter of St. Mary's City,80 Seymour had not only named the mayor, the recorder, and the six original aldermen of Annapolis and had provided that those officials would choose ten other "of the most sufficient of the Inhabitants and freeholders" of the city as the first common council,81 but he had also provided that in the future the mayor, the recorder, and the aldermen would fill vacancies on that body.82 The mayor, recorder, aldermen, and common council would choose future mayors, but only the mayor and aldermen would choose future recorders and fill vacancies among the aldermen.83 Aldermen would have to come from the common council, and the mayor would have to come from among the aldermen.84 Thus initially the government of Annapolis would be in the hands of eight of Seymour's favorites and ten other men who were acceptable to them and therefore to him, and the eight -- or even a portion of them in the case of multiple deaths among them - could perpetuate the oligarchy85 by choosing only their fellow-travelers to fill vacancies on the common council.86
A second problem with the charter, the delegates claimed, was that it made the residents of Annapolis "liable to be sued for small debts" that the laws of the province empowered "any Single Justice to hear and determine." This complaint resulted from Seymour's provision that the mayor, recorder, and aldermen or any three or more of them could hold a court of hustings in which they could try all civil cases in which the demand did not exceed £6.10.0 sterling or seventeen hundred pounds of tobacco, with no provision that any one of them alone could hear cases of small debts,87 as the county justices could.88 The absence of jurisdiction of the single justices would increase the costs of suits for small amounts. What proportion of legal actions this change would affect is impossible to know.
Third, the delegates argued, the charter took "from the publick those Lands and Buildings they . . . [had] purchased and erected."89 Here apparently the delegates were concerned about Seymour's giving the corporation control over the land that had already been laid out under the act of 1696. This included the town common and public pasture, which the people of the town had had to help pay for if they wanted to use it90 and the use of which they might now be denied unless they paid again. Another concern might have been that people who had built warehouses at the ends of the "rolling roads" 91 or had constructed keys, wharfs, and warehouses at docks 92 would lose their investments. The corporation itself, using public money, might also have built some warehouses at the ends of the rolling roads.93 The delegates might also have been expressing their fear that if Annapolis had a court of its own the Anne Arundel County court, as well possibly as the provincial court and the chancery court, would be moved out of the city 94 and that therefore the people who depended on the business that those courts brought to town would lose money.95
Fourth, according to the delegates, the charter deprived the people of Annapolis of unspecified "other Priviledges." One of the things the delegates might have been concerned about here is that Seymour had made Wornell Hunt the recorder of Annapolis even though he had not resided in the province for three years, as the "Act for the Advancement of the Natives and Residents of . . . [the] Province" required,96 and so had deprived some other citizen of Annapolis, who had been in the province for three years, of that employment.97
The delegates insisted on their participation in the granting of charters.98 It was not out of any disrespect for him or any desire to reduce the prerogative of the crown or the power that the queen had invested him, they assured Seymour, but they observed that his power to grant charters was not "plainly exprest" in his commission. When his power to grant charters was more plainly expressed, they promised, they would readily concur in the granting of a charter for Annapolis, but they included so many provisos that they actually were promising nothing. They would concur in the granting of the charter provided that "all the Inhabitants and Freeholders of Annapolis" requested it, that those inhabitants and freeholders retain "their equal priviledges in choosing their representatives" and all other privileges to which the laws of England and the province entitled them, and that "the publick Lands and Buildings" in Annapolis would be "Secured to the uses for which they were purchased and Erected."99
Surely when the delegates demanded that "all the Inhabitants and Freeholders of Annapolis" request a charter"100 they were not demanding that every resident -- every man, woman, and child -- join in the request. Rather the term "inhabitant" carried a very narrow definition.
Apparently the term "inhabitant" applied only to the free white adult male who had established a household in the city and who had a visible estate of at least twenty pounds sterling. In a petition to Seymour later the petitioners refer to "persons" who after the expiration "of their Time be Actually housekeepers and Inhabittants [sic]"101 of the city, and in the second charter Seymour used exactly the same wording.102 That wording makes it appear that to become an "inhabitant" a man first had to become a housekeeper or householder. The petitioners also include the requirement that the "inhabitant" had to have a visible estate of at least twenty pounds sterling, 103 and in his second charter Seymour establishes that requirement.104 Clearly, therefore, not every resident was an "inhabitant."105 Often used together, apparently the terms "inhabitant" and "freeholder" refer simply to two separate categories of voters, or, in the case of Annapolis after the first but before the second charter was issued, former voters.
The Commissioners of Trade and Plantations had instructed Seymour only to enquire into whether since Annapolis was the seat of the government it should have two delegates to the lower house and had said nothing about issuing it a charter,106 but if his instructions said nothing about his issuing a charter for Annapolis his commission, like those of the other royal governors of the province, gave him the power "to Erect raise and build . . . Cities Burroughs [and] Towns." Thus it is unclear why the delegates could say that in his commission his power to charter Annapolis was not "plainly exprest." The most likely possibility appears to be that they were distinguishing chartering, on the one hand, from erecting, raising, and building, on the other. In none of the commissions of the royal governors of Maryland is there a specific mention of chartering cities,107 and, when in their commissions to the governors the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations mention the erecting of cities, boroughs, and towns, they mention those powers in the context of defense rather than in the context of government. They gave each governor "full power and authority . . . to Erect raise and build" as many "Forts Platteforms108 Castles Cities Burroughs Towns and fortifications" as with the advice of his council he considered necessary and "to fortify and furnish [them] with Ordnance and Amunition [sic] and all sorts of Arms fitt and necessary for the security and Defence of" the province. Finally, he and his council could "demolish or dismantle" those "Forts Platteforms Castles Cities Burroughs Towns and fortification" "as . . . [might] be most Convenient."109
When the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations refer to establishing courts and appointing justices, on the other hand, they gave the governors the power to "Erect Constitute and Establish" courts and "to Constitute and appoint" judges, justices of the peace, and other necessary officers for administering justice.110 Thus while the word "erect" could be used to mean "to constitute or form into,"111 the delegates might have been arguing that the words "Erect raise and build" refer to the building of structures rather than to the creation or the reorganization of a political entity. If they were looking for a justification for challenging Seymour, they had to find it where they could. If they were challenging the wording of Seymour's commission, though, they were challenging the wording of those of the other royal governors as well.
Disgusted with the delegates over their challenge to his issuing the charter as well as over their other offensive proceedings, Seymour had had enough. On Tuesday morning he called them into the council chamber again and dissolved the assembly after a session of only nine days. There were several pieces of business to be done, he told them, but to his great sorrow they had refused to consider that business but had acted in such an unwarrantable and unparliamentary way that he knew not how to retrieve them. If he accepted their position he would leave to posterity precedents that not only would be prejudicial to the queen's prerogative and the privileges of her subjects but also would be a bad example to future assemblies.
Seymour listed the sins of the delegates. Before they had qualified themselves by taking the appropriate oaths they had chosen a Speaker, debated privileges, voted, rejected the clerk whom Seymour had appointed and who had been legally commissioned and had chosen a clerk themselves, and had adjourned "without any" -- without, apparently that is, a clerk whom Seymour had legally commissioned.112
Since there was "no Retrieving this Misfortune," which the "heats" of the delegates had led them into, Seymour dissolved the assembly and would order new elections."113
Before the assembly met again two months later Seymour, apparently realizing that the elections had added nothing to his influence in the lower house,114 decided that he would have to compromise. But he would concede as little as possible, and he would still act without the participation of the delegates. To accomplish this he would use the support of his dependents and other "acceptable" men of Annapolis.
If the delegates wanted "all the Inhabitants and Freeholders of Annapolis" to request a charter for the city, Seymour would pretend to accommodate them. In what appears clearly to have been a political contrivance inspired by Seymour himself, on 18 November 1708 or sometime earlier the mayor, the recorder, the six aldermen, the ten common-councilmen, and seventeen other "inhabitants" of the city115 petitioned him "to Enlarge the Charter."116
Since the wording in the record is insufficient to reveal exactly what the earlier petitioners to the lower house had petitioned for,117 we have no way of knowing whether Thomas Macnemara when he represented them before the delegates was asking only for a broader franchise in the city or also was asking for other changes. We do know, however, that while the delegates had voted unanimously that Seymour had no right to grant the charter in the "Manner and form" in which he had granted it118 and thus denied his right to issue it at all, the petitioners to Seymour directly endorsed his claim to the right to issue the charter and asked for only one concession: an expanded franchise in Annapolis. A request for only that one change in the charter, in a document that included an explicit acceptance of the authority he claimed, Seymour could accept.
Probably Seymour could accept the request for a broader franchise in Annapolis all the more quickly because he must have known that when in his first charter he had revoked a right that qualified men in England had had since 1430119 he was on very shaky ground. The Commissioners of Trade and Plantations might have had something to say to him about that.
On behalf of the gracious Queen Anne, the petitioners began in a document that the governor himself could have written, Seymour for the benefit of her dutiful subjects in Annapolis had been pleased to grant them a charter. Then, after pirating the arguments of the council from 16 August120 by pointing out that Annapolis was the seat of the government, was "the best scituated [sic] and most Convenient place for Trade," and had more "inhabitants" than any other "place" in the province, they asked Seymour "to Enlarge the Charter to increase the number of men in the city who could vote. Specifically they asked that any freeholder -- meaning, as the petitioners themselves defined the term, any person who owned a whole lot with a house built on it "according to Law"121 --; any person 122 "residing and Inhabitting" in the city and having a visible estate of twenty pounds sterling; and any person who after serving five years in any trade in the city and been free for three months, had became a "housekeeper and inhabitant,"123 and took the oath of a "free citizen" be allowed to vote for delegates to the lower house. Finally, they asked that all "freemen Inhabittants as aforesaid" be allowed to vote to fill vacancies on the common council. 124
What proportion of the free white adult male population of Annapolis the thirty-five petitioners constituted there is no way to know. According to the heading of the petition, it came from "the Corporacon of the City of Annapolis and the greater parte of the Inhabittants of the same,"125 but, again, not every resident of the city, nor even every white adult or every white adult male, was an "inhabitant."
Thus the seventeen men whom the petitioners refer to as "the greater parte of the Inhabittants" of the city126 might have been the majority of the free white adult males who had established households in the city and had visible estates of at least twenty pounds sterling but who were not officials of the corporation -- since in the heading of the petition the "Inhabittants" are distinguished from "the Corporacon"" -- rather than a majority of all of the free white adult male residents who were not officials of the corporation. Of course the officials of the corporation would have had to be "nhabitants" or freeholders to begin with.
Even under this limited definition of "inhabitant" Seymour did not meet the delegates' demand that "all the Inhabitants and Freeholders of Annapolis" request a charter. He got only "the greater parte" of them.
On 18 November Seymour granted the petition and ordered that "the Corporacon," which, again, must mean the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and common-councilmen whom Seymour had established by his first charter, prepare a charter accordingly.127
Since the differences between Seymour and the delegates could have been settled through discussions between the two houses, this petition appears quite clearly to have been a device to allow Seymour to save face, to concede as little as possible, and to ratify the isolation of the lower house. The petitioners would petition Seymour rather than the lower house and thus would endorse the governor's exiling of the delegates from participation in important political decisions; all of the principal officials of the city, whom Seymour himself had appointed, would join in the petition along with the members of the common council, who had been chosen by the officials whom Seymour had appointed; seventeen "inhabitants" of Annapolis who were acceptable to Seymour but who under his first charter were denied the franchise would also join in the petition; Seymour would grant the one concession that the petitioners requested; the officials themselves could write the charter of the city, no doubt with sufficient consultation with Seymour or his agent;128 and again the delegates would have no part in the process.
On 22 November, four days after he granted the petition, Seymour issued a new charter129 that is almost identical to the first one. The only differences are first, that as the petitioners requested he granted all freeholders and all "inhabitants" of Annapolis, including all former apprentices who had been free for at least three months and had acquired the visible estates of at least twenty pounds sterling required to become "inhabitants," the right to vote in elections for delegates and for members of the common council.130 A freeholder was any person131 who owned "a whole Lott of land" in the city with a house built on it "according to Law,"132 and therefore all freeholders in Annapolis, as Seymour defines them in the charter, had the right to vote.133
Second, even though the petitioners did not ask for it Seymour cut in half the property qualification for the freeman or the "inhabitant" who wanted to become a delegate from Annapolis. Under the first charter the prospective delegate had to have a freehold or a visible estate of forty pounds sterling, while under the second he had to have a freehold or a visible estate of only twenty pounds sterling. Under both charters the delegates had to live in the city.134
On 29 November the new assembly met,135 and trouble soon appeared. If Seymour's concessions satisfied the more privileged residents of Annapolis, the delegates were more difficult to please. In the new charter Seymour had confronted only their complaint about the franchise; he had left them out of the process; and he had done nothing to re-assure them about his authority to issue the charter.
Two days after the assembly met -- on 1 December -- the delegates took up the challenge. They informed Seymour that if he had any further instructions from the queen about granting charters and erecting cities they would like to see them.136
Seymour had no further instructions, but he and the members of the upper house tried to bluster through. Seymour was well satisfied, they told the delegates that same day, that he had ample authority from the queen to establish cities, boroughs, castles, and forts. Cities and boroughs were "to be Erected by Privileges & Grants from the Crown." What Seymour had done as a favor to Annapolis, the seat of government, he had done "with a true regard to the Interest & honour" of the province, and since he had acted on her Majesty's prerogative it was not for the delegates to question it. If he had made any irregular step he was answerable only to the queen.
Seymour and the members of the upper house hoped that the delegates would not delay other business of greater importance by continuing to question the governor's right to issue the charter. It was no dishonor, they lectured the delegates as though they were school-children, "for men of Reason to give up a groundless opinion on better Satisfaction." Seymour and the upper house did not provide any "better Satisfaction," however, but rather only reasserted their claim. It was plain that her Majesty had empowered Seymour to erect cities and boroughs, they told the delegates, but, apparently uncomfortable with the military context of this provision of Seymour's commission, they concluded that it was "not Walls but incorporating [that] makes them so."137
Tough as this language was, Seymour and the upper house were ready for a compromise, possibly because Seymour was too sick to keep fighting. During the entire session of 29 November to 17 December, he told the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations in his letter of 10 March 1708/9, he had been able to sit with the upper house for no more than three or four days, and since the end of the session he had been unable to leave his house.138
For whatever reason, when the delegates asked for a conference to discuss that last message Seymour and the upper house agreed.139 Thus presumably the issue before the conference committee would be whether Seymour had the right to issue the charter, but the delegates would not be content with that. According to an entry in the record of the lower house for later that same day the committee would consider "the Privileges granted by Charter to the City of Annapolis."140 The entire charter was on the delegates' agenda.
There is a hint in the record that reaching agreement might not have been easy. Early the next day, 2 December 1708, the conferees from the lower house reported "how far they had proceeded in the Business" and asked the House for permission to continue the conference. The House gave them the permission,141 and later that day the committee had its report ready.
By the compromise that came out of the committee the delegates got the right to participate in granting the charter and saw their concerns about it satisfied. While in the report there was no explicit challenge to Seymour's claim to the right to issue the charter, the committee did recommend that the assembly confirm it with an act by which it would guarantee the citizens of Annapolis the liberty and privileges mentioned in the new charter as long as they did not in any way "infringe the Liberty & Priviledges of the publick . . . in regard to publick Land or Buildings" that the public had purchased "and to which they . . . [were] lawfully and rightfully entituled." The public lands and buildings in Annapolis should continue to be used for the purposes for which they were purchased and designed, and the justices of Anne Arundel County should continue to hold their court in the statehouse and should continue to have jurisdiction in Annapolis. The laws made by the corporation should be binding only on the residents of Annapolis and non-residents who had dealings with the "citizens" of the city,142 and the delegates to the lower house from Annapolis should have only half the allowance of the delegates from the counties.
The conferees also suggested that the maximum tolls that the corporation could levy on goods sold at the fairs in Annapolis were excessive. Under Seymour's charter, they pointed out, if goods sold at fairs were worth two thousand pounds the toll could amount to one hundred pounds. They believed that it would be more beneficial to the city if no tolls were mentioned. Finally, the conferees pointed out that the person Seymour had appointed recorder of Annapolis -- Wornell Hunt -- was not qualified to hold that office, since he had not lived in the province for three years.143
The delegates accepted the report, suggested that "the Petitioners for the Charter" write up a bill to implement the suggestions of the committee, and requested the concurrence of the upper house.144 The upper house did agree and suggested only that the bill to confirm the charter include a clause to allow Wornell Hunt to be the recorder of Annapolis, since he was "very fitt" for that job. The delegates agreed.145
The assembly therefore passed "An Act Confirming and Explaining the Charter to the City of Annapolis." Together the new charter and the confirming act satisfied the delegates, who got almost everything they wanted. By the charter Seymour gave the "inhabitants" of Annapolis the franchise that the petitioners had asked for,146 and by the act confirming the charter the assembly provided that public lands and buildings would continue to be used as they had been used in the past and that the courts that had been held in Annapolis would continue to be held there. The justices and the sheriff of Anne Arundel County would continue to have jurisdiction in the city, thus guaranteeing that the individual county justices would continue to have jurisdiction in cases of small debts. The laws of the corporation would not be binding on anyone outside the city; the delegates from Annapolis would receive only one-half of the "wages"" of other delegates;147 and the town common would "be reserved & remaine to the Use of the proper owner or owners" unless they received proper satisfaction.
The assembly also changed Seymour's provision on the tolls the corporation could charge on goods sold at fairs. While by the second charter Seymour provided that the mayor and alderman could establish a toll of not more than six pence on every beast sold at a fair and one-twentieth of the value of any commodity sold148 -- the same provision as in Seymour's earlier charter149 --, the assembly provided that there would be no toll on animals or goods worth less than twenty shillings current money and limited to six pence the toll on animals or goods sold for five pounds or less and to twelve pence the toll on animals or goods sold for more than that amount.
Finally, the assembly specifically exempted Wornell Hunt from the provisions of the act for the advancement of natives and did allow him to remain recorder of Annapolis even though he had not lived in the province for three years.150
Thus both sides gave, and both sides got. The delegates conceded Seymour's right to issue the charter, and Seymour conceded the delegates' right to amend and confirm it. The delegates got a charter that with the amendments provided in the law satisfied them, and Seymour got Wornell Hunt as recorder of Annapolis. The freeholders and the other "inhabitants" of Annapolis, rather than only some of the officials of the corporation, got the right to vote to fill vacancies on the common council and for delegates to the lower house. But the delegates were the real winners: they had forced Seymour to allow them to participate in the chartering of Annapolis and in determining the structure of its government and the regulations by which it would be governed. When on 17 December 1708 Seymour signed the bill "Confirming and Explaining the Charter to the City of Annapolis" he consented to a precedent exactly the opposite of what he appears to have been aiming for when he issued the first charter.151
If Seymour ended up with less than he had hoped for, so also, according to the governor, did the mayor, recorder, and aldermen of Annapolis. In both charters he had given these officials the power "to rule, Order and govern" in the city just as justices of the peace were authorized to do in the counties and had provided that no other justices of the peace would have any jurisdiction in the city.152 In the law confirming and explaining the charter, however, the assembly provided that the justices and the sheriff of Anne Arundel County would continue also to have jurisdiction there.
In his notes on the laws that the assembly passed during the session that ended on 17 December 1708, which he included along with the second charter in his letter of 10 March 1708/9 to the Council of Trade and Plantations,153 Seymour claimed that the officials of Annapolis were so upset at having to share power with the sheriff and the justices of Anne Arundel County that the entire "Corporation" hoped that the queen would disallow the law confirming and explaining the charter. Seymour's wording here makes it appear that he himself was all but inviting the queen to do just that.154 A disallowance would have supported his claim that he had the power to issue the charter on his own, would have left power in Annapolis in the hands of a few of his favorites, and would have been a good lesson for the delegates. The queen, however, did not disallow the act, and the law and the charter survived.155
Wornell Hunt and Thomas Bordley had been elected delegates from Annapolis under the second charter,156 but the lower house, determined to perfect its precedent, would not admit them until after the bill confirming the charter was passed.157 Since Seymour did not sign the bill until the last day of the session,158 Annapolis was not represented in the lower house until the next session, which met on 25 October 1709.159
2 Archives of Maryland, hereafter Md. Arch. (72 vols.; Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1883-1972), XXVI, 39, 116. This instruction is item twenty-two of the twenty-three that Seymour mentions after telling the delegates that he and his council recommended their "Serious Considerations [of] several of her Majesties royal Instructions laid before ... [them] the last Assembly." Ibid., pp. 36-39, 113-116.
Some of the instructions that Seymour mentioned in the previous session -- 26 April to 3 May 1704 --, however, are quite different from those he mentioned in the later session, and the instruction on St. Mary's City and Annapolis is not included in the earlier list. Ibid., XXIV, 332-334, 368-371. Return to text
6 Apparently back in 1696, when they suggested to Governor Francis Nicholson that if he issued a charter for Annapolis he could grant the inhabitants "all reasonable priviledges and imunityes" that he considered appropriate, the delegates believed that chartering cities was a function of the governor. Ibid., XIX, 291-292, 303, 341, 341-342; Part 2, "The Act of 1696," at Notes 9-10. Return to text
14 First charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, pp. 590-594, especially p. 594. Elihu S. Riley has 10 August 1708 as the date of the first charter (Elihu S. Riley, "The Ancient City: A History of Annapolis, in Maryland, 1649-1887 (Annapolis: Record Printing Office, 1887), p. 85), but the date in Chancery Record 2, in the charter itself, is 16 August.
David Ridgely has the date of the first charter right, but he does not mention the second charter. David Ridgely, Annals of Annapolis . . . (Baltimore: Cushing & Brother, 1841), p. 110. Return to text
15 William Bladen was the attorney general of the province and one of the aldermen of Annapolis under the first charter (Owings, His Lordship's Patronage, pp. 133-134; Chancery Record 2, pp. 590-591; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 88), and Wornell Hunt was a lawyer and the recorder of Annapolis under the first charter (Chancery Record 2, p. 590; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 86), although the record of the lower house makes him one of the aldermen. Md. Arch., XXVII, 216. In the petition of the officials and other inhabitants of Annapolis to Seymour in November of 1708 Wornell Hunt is marked off with the aldermen. Chancery Record 2, p. 596. For this petition, see also Text below at Notes 115-127. Return to text
18 The delegates sent Wornell Hunt with Mathias Vanderheyden to the upper house to inform Seymour and the upper house -- the council -- that it had chosen Richard Dallam as its clerk (ibid., pp. 185, 200) and appointed William Bladen to the Committee of Election and Privileges. Ibid., p. 203. It sent Bladen with George Gale and Samuel Worthington to request that the upper house send members of the council to the lower house to swear the delegates (ibid., p. 184), and Bladen and Gale went to the upper house to get the writs of election so that the delegates could inspect them. Ibid., pp. 184-185. Hunt and John Hudson went to the upper house with John Rousby, the naval officer for the District of Patuxent, so that Rousby could prove -- swear to -- his public accounts. Ibid., pp. 186, 203.
Later the delegates sent Hunt with Walter Smith to the upper house to request a conference on the governor's recommendations "relating to the Dispersers of false news" (ibid., pp. 188, 206, 207) and appointed him to the conference committee that resulted from that request (ibid., p. 207), and Hunt went to the upper house with Robert Bradley to inform the members of the upper house that the members of the conference committee from the lower house were ready to meet. Ibid., p. 188. The conference committee also considered the acts concerning the "Gauge of Tobacco Hogsheads and against Masters of Ships cropping Tobacco Hogsheads." Ibid., p. 211. Return to text
19 The governor could control the members of his council. In a letter of 10 January 1708/9 Seymour told the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations that on the issue of whether Sir Thomas Lawrence should have the fees from licensing ordinaries he had "advised the Council not to agree with" the delegates. The National Archives (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series (40 vols.; Vaduz: Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1964), XXIV, No. 290 (p. 195). Return to text
20 Here it would be a mistake to use the term "freeman" instead of "voter." While by the eighteenth century the term "freeman" usually applied only to the person who had the right to vote (Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary: Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern (6th edition; St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1990), p. 665), even under Governor John Seymour's second charter for Annapolis not all freemen there would have that right. Thus it is very easy to get confused over the term "freeman."
Under Seymour's second charter the apprentice who had completed his service became a freeman but could not vote until he had been free for three months and had become a "housekeeper" and an "inhabitant" of the city. Voters for delegates from the city included the
Mayor Recorder Aldermen and Common Councilmen of the said Citty for the time being and their successors for ever and alsoe all Freeholders of the said Citty that is to say all persons owneing a whole Lott of land with a house built thereon according to Law and all persons Actually Resideing and Inhabitting in the said City haveing a visable [sic] Estate of the Vallue of twenty pounds ster att the least and likewise all persons that hereafter shall serve five years to any Trade . . . [within] this Citty and shall after the expiracon of their time be Actually housekeepers and Inhabitants in the same . . .,but, later on this same page, ". . . noe Freeman . . . not being a ffreeholder . . . shall have the libertie of such Vote as aforesaid untill free three months after such his freedom obtained. . . ." Second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 600; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 89. That last quote makes it clear that not all freemen could vote.
Apparently Seymour's saying that ". . . all persons that hereafter shall serve five years to any Trade . . . [within] this Citty and shall after the expiracon of their time be Actually housekeepers and Inhabitants in the same" (second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 600; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 89. Emphasis added.) means that the freeman did not become an "inhabitant" until he became a "housekeeper" with a visible estate of at least twenty pounds sterling. In order to vote the former apprentice had to become an inhabitant (second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 600, lines 6-8; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 89, lines 10-11 from bottom), and to become an inhabitant had to have a visible estate of twenty pounds sterling. Chancery Record 2, p. 600, lines 3-5; Riley, The Ancient City, lines 12-14 from bottom. And see Text below at Notes 100-105, 122.
In the counties voters included "all the ffreemen of . . . [the] County" who had within the county "a ffreehold of fifty acres of Land or a Visible Estate of forty pounds Sterling at the Least." 1708, c. 5, Md. Arch., XXVII, 353. Thus while in Annapolis all freeholders, by Seymour's definition, could vote for delegates, in the counties some of the less wealthy freeholders were excluded. Return to text
24 Ibid. pp. 591-592. The recorder had to be "learned in the Laws." He was "a certain magistrate or judge having criminal and civil jurisdiction in a city or borough." Oxford English Dictionary Online, definition 1.a. Return to text
26 Ibid., p. 591. This oligarchic government of boroughs was characteristic in England. F. W. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908), p. 290. Return to text
27 First charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 591. The eight leading officials were, of course, the mayor, the recorder, and the six aldermen. On the "decease or removall [sic]" of the mayor the aldermen would elect a replacement within one month. Ibid. On "any decease or deceases removall or removalls of the . . . recorder or Aldermen or any of them" the mayor and the remaining aldermen would choose a replacement or replacements within one month. Ibid. Thus if the mayor and an aldermen, or two aldermen, had died within a month of each other five men would choose the replacements. Return to text
28 For this last suggestion, see David W. Jordan, Foundations of Representative Government in Maryland, 1632-1715 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 224. Return to text
30 Since this petition to the lower house has not survived, there is no way to know who signed it or exactly what the petitioners said. Md. Arch., XXVII, 210, 213. The entry in the records of the lower house for 1 October 1708 appears to be sufficient evidence that Thomas Docwra and Thomas Macnemara had signed the petition. Ibid., p. 213. Those are the only petitioners whose names we know.
Whether the petitioners challenged only the provisions of the charter or also challenged Seymour's right to issue it is not noted, but the resolution of the delegates after they discussed the petition might make it appear that they challenged both. For the resolution, see Md. Arch., XXVII, 216, and Text below at Note 52. Return to text
32 Emphasis added here. Return to text
33 Ibid., p. 213. How many of the petitioners actually appeared there is no way to know. The summons does not mention the recorder, Wornell Hunt, but as a delegate he was already there. Return to text
35 Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, hereafter Biographical Dictionary (2 vols.: Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979,1985), I, 273. Return to text
37 We can say that Seymour's proclamation effectively disbarred every attorney in the province because he was not specific in how much time an attorney had to have spent in one of the Inns of Court in order to be excepted from the general disbarment. He said only that they had to have been a member of a member of one of the "Inns of Courts or Chancery in England" "for some time." Md. Arch., XXV, 224. William Bladen and Wornell Hunt had attended Inns of Court (Biographical Dictionary, I, 136, 472), but both still applied for readmission to the practice of law. Md. Arch., XXV, 226. Return to text
39 Anne Arundel County Court Judgment Record, Liber T. B., No. 1, pp. 672, 686. Return to text
41 Provincial Court Judgment Record, Liber P. L., No. 1, pp. 353-354. Return to text
42 Ibid. Return to text
45 Wornell Hunt and William Bladen requested that their responses be deposited in writing with the clerk of the lower house. Ibid., XXVII, 216. Apparently, however, the responses have not survived. Return to text
46 Either the mayor, Amos Garrett, did not appear at this session or the clerk neglected to mention him. Return to text
48 Ibid., pp. 218, 219. Elihu S. Riley says that in September of 1708 the lower house "Denied Admittance" to the delegates from Annapolis (Riley, The Ancient City, p. 92, in heading of new section), but later, quoting John V. L. McMahon, An Historical View of the Government of Maryland, from Its Colonization to the Present Day (Baltimore: F. Lucas, Jr. Cushing & Sons, and William & Joseph Neal, 1831; reprinted Spartanburg, S. C: The Reprint Company, 1968), p. 256, he says that they were expelled. Riley, The Ancient City, p. 92. Return to text
55 See for example Anne Arundel County Court Judgment Record, Liber G, p. 320; Prince George's County Court Record, Liber B, p. 289; Provincial Court Judgment Record, Liber T. L., No. 3, pp. 261, 266. Return to text
56 The four delegates from St. Mary's County were not allowed to sit because of irregularities in their election (Md. Arch., XXVII, 209, 210, 211, 213-214), and William Bladen and Wornell Hunt, the two delegates from Annapolis, were ordered to withdraw from the house before the vote was taken. Ibid., p. 216. Return to text
59 Ibid., XXV, 210, 216-217, 220, 236, 269-270; XXVII, 4-5, 11, 12, 17, 58, 63-64, 68-69, 73-74, 75, 76, 88, 113, 114; The National Archives (PRO), Colonial Office 5, Vol. 720, p. 18 (photocopy in Library of Congress). Return to text
60 Md. Arch., XXVII, 183, 199, 206, 227, 235, 236, 239, 268-269, 279, 281-282, 285-286. For the quarrel between Seymour and the delegates over the assizes, see also C. Ashley Ellefson, The County Courts and the Provincial Court in Maryland, 1733-1763 (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1990), pp. 76-90. Return to text
68 See Text below at Notes 78-79. This was the second charter to St. Mary's City. The first, dated 2 November 1668, did not provide for delegates to the lower house. Md. Arch., LI, 567-570. Return to text
73 Seymour's sentence here does not make sense. He says that the delegates would have shown more discretion if they had "wholly proceeded thereon" rather than expel the two delegates from Annapolis, but he has no clear reference for "thereon." Presumably he meant that the delegates should have accepted his claim that he had a right to issue the charter and should have proceeded to the business of the lower house, but possibly he meant that if the delegates had proceeded to a discussion of the whole basis of the authority for their elections they would have decided that the delegates from Annapolis had as much right to sit in the lower house as the other delegates did.
But Seymour did not say either of those things. I have used the interpretation that appears to me to make the more sense. Return to text
74 Md. Arch., XXVII, 191. The clerk of the lower house, Richard Dallam, might have been expressing his opinion of Seymour by only summarizing Seymour's speech rather than including it in full. Ibid., pp. 219-220. Dallam had not been Seymour's preference as clerk of the lower house. See Note 112 below.
77 8 Henry VI, c. 7, in Danby Pickering, The Statutes at Large (109 vols.; Cambridge: Joseph Bentham and Others, 1762-1869), III, 119-121; Maitland, The Constitutional History of England, pp. 173, 239-240, 290. Return to text
79 Second charter of St. Mary's City, in Md. Arch., LI, p. 389. How many of the men who were denied the vote for delegates in Annapolis would have been able to vote in St. Mary's City depends on whether there was a difference between the qualifications for becoming a "free citizen" of St. Mary's City and those for becoming an "inhabitant" of Annapolis. Return to text
81 First charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 591. Charles Calvert chose the seven members of the first common council of St. Mary's City. Second charter of St. Mary's City, in Md. Arch., LI, 387. Return to text
86 For the fear of a broad electorate in England in the last half of the seventeenth-century, see J. H. Plumb, The Origins of Political Stability: England, 1675-1725 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1967), pp. 40-41. Return to text
88 By an act of 1704, the single county justice could hear any civil case in which the "reall Debt or Damages" did not exceed two hundred pounds of tobacco or £0.16.8 in money. 1704, c. 31, Md. Arch., XXVI, 284. Return to text
95 Jane McWilliams suggests that in the delegates' complaint "public" means "province" and points out that "the legislature had paid for a number of amenities in the city, upkeep of some fences and gates," as well as for public buildings such as the statehouse and St. Anne's church. She suggests that the delegates were "objecting to what they . . . [saw] as another entity controlling a city in which the 'public,' i. e. [the] province, had made an investment." Personal communication, 4 December 2006. Return to text
97 Jane McWilliams suggests that "other Priviledges" "sounds like one of those 'cover anything I haven't thought of yet' kinds of phrases." Personal communication, 4 December 2006. Return to text
98 By the last half of the seventeenth century in England, according to Frederic William Maitland, the house of commons was claiming the right to decide "whether a borough had the right to send members" to parliament. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England, p. 290. Return to text
100 Emphasis added. Return to text
101 "Housekeeper" appears to have been used as a synonym of "householder." Return to text
105 For the difference between a "resident" and an "inhabitant," see again Black's Law Dictionary (6th edition), p. 782. Return to text
107 For the commissions of royal governors of Maryland, see Md. Arch., VIII, 263-270 (Lionel Copley); XX, 83-91 (Francis Nicholson); Provincial Court Land Record, Liber W.R.C. (1687-1700), pp. 887-891 (Nehemiah Blakiston); Liber T.L., No. 2 (1699-1707), pp. 740-749 (John Seymour); Liber T. P., No. 4 (1709-1719), pp. 259-269 (John Hart). Return to text
108 The definition of "platform" that fits best here is "a permanent or temporary base for the mounting of guns." Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1981). Return to text
109 Seymour's commission, dated 12 February 1702/03, in Provincial Court Land Records, Liber T. L., No. 2 (1699-1707), p. 746. For this provision in the commissions of the other royal governors of Maryland, see Md. Arch., VIII, 267 (Copley); XX, 87-88 (Nicholson); Provincial Court Land Records, Liber W. R. C. (1687-1700), pp. 889 (Blakiston); Liber T. P., No. 4 (1709-1719), p. 266 (Hart). Return to text
110 Provincial Court Land Records, Liber T. L., No. 2 (1699-1707), p. 744 (Seymour). For this provision in the commissions of the other royal governors of Maryland, see Md. Arch., VIII, 266 (Copley); XX, 86 (Nicholson); Provincial Court Land Record, Liber W. R. C. (1676-1700), p. 888 (Blakiston); Liber T. P., No. 4 (1709-1719), pp. 263-264 (Hart). Return to text
111 Oxford English Dictionary, Online edition, definition 10: "1718 Col. Rec. Penn. III. 58 The sd. town might be Erected into a Borough by a Charter, etc." [Visited 3 August 2007] Return to text
112 Seymour had appointed a clerk for the lower house, but on the twenty-eighth, the second day of the session, the delegates sent Wornell Hunt and Matthias Vanderheyden along with Richard Dallam to the upper house with the request that he and his council approve Dallam as their clerk. Seymour and his council required the delegates to put their request in writing; the delegates did; and Seymour and his council responded that though the delegates had no right to choose their own clerk they would accept him in order to avoid the delay of the business of the country. At the same time they expressed their resentment that the delegates rejected, without giving any reason, the clerk whom Seymour appointed. The delegates thanked Seymour, and Dallam took the appropriate oaths. Md. Arch., XXVII, 185-186, 201.
What Seymour must have meant by saying that the delegates had chosen a clerk themselves and had adjourned "without any," therefore, is that though Dallam had taken the required oaths as clerk Seymour had issued no commission for him. Whom Seymour had appointed clerk of the lower house does not appear. Return to text
In a letter to the Council of Trade and Plantations on 10 January 1708/9, writing about the session of the assembly of 27 September to 5 October 1708, Seymour expressed his view that the delegates "disputed what they had no cognizance of, vizt. the legality of a charter I granted to the Citty of Annapolis (by the advice of H. M. Councill). . . ." The National Archives (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series (40 vols.; Vaduz: Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1964), XXIV, No. 290 (p. 195). Return to text
114John Seymour to Council of Trade and Plantations, 10 January 1708/9, in TNA (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series XXIV, No. 290 (p. 195); David W. Jordan, "Political Stability and the Emergence of a Native Elite in Maryland," in Thad W. Tate and David L. Ammerman, eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century: Essays on Anglo-American Society (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1979), pp. 260-261; Jordan, "Elections and Voting in Early Colonial Maryland," pp. 250-251; Jordan, Foundations of Representative Government in Maryland, 1632-1715, pp. 224-225. Return to text
115Elihu S. Riley misreads the list of petitioners, and in doing so he has twelve common-councilmen rather than ten. If he had not left out John Beale, whose name should appear between those of Matthew Beard and Thomas Jones, he would have had thirteen common-councilmen.
The lists of the petitioners to Seymour, with letters before the names that Riley has wrong:
By the charter of 22 November 1708 the mayor, the recorder, and the aldermen were the same as in the first charter, and again they would elect the ten original members of the common council. Chancery Record 2, pp. 590-591, 597-598; Riley, The Ancient City, pp. 87-88. Return to text
116 It is impossible to tell for sure when these thirty-five men presented this petition to Seymour. The pages in the Chancery Record immediately before the two charters and the petition are entered are for 10, 17, and 18 February 1707/8. Chancery Record 2, pp. 588-589. Seymour granted the petition on 18 November 1708 (ibid., p. 596), and the next record is for 13 July 1708 (ibid., pp. 603-606), then 26 November 1708. Ibid. pp. 606-612. Return to text
119 8 Henry VI, c. 7, in Pickering, The Statutes at Large, III, 119-121; Maitland, The Constitutional History of England, pp. 173, 239-240, 290. Return to text
122 Until we find some positive evidence otherwise, probably it is safe to assume here, as throughout, that "person" meant "white adult male" and that neither women nor free blacks were voting in Maryland during the first two decades of the eighteenth century. When we have no evidence one way or the other it appears safest to judge by the economic, social, and political values of the society. Return to text
123 The wording in the petition is plural, and so the words are "housekeepers and Inhabittants." Return to text
124 Chancery Record 2, pp. 595-596; Riley, The Ancient City, pp. 86-87. The petitioners' asking that the "freemen Inhabittants as aforesaid" be allowed to vote in elections of the members of the common council must mean that they were asking that for the apprentice who had served his time and had lived in the city for three months the qualifications for voting be the same as for others and that therefore they were not asking that the freed apprentice receive the franchise immediately and therefore were not asking for a broader franchise in elections of members of the common council than in elections of delegates.
In discussing the act confirming and explaining the charter in his report to the Council of Trade and Plantations Seymour does not mention the petition to him but rather mentions only the petition to the delegates: ". . . some troublesome persons not being Satisfied therewith [the first charter of Annapolis] petitioned the late Convention. . . ." "The Titles of the Severall Laws made the Last Session of Assembly in December 1708 with Remarques thereon," in "Unpublished Provincial Records," Maryland Historical Magazine, XVII, No. 2 (June 1922), pp. 221-222; "Some Remarques on Several Acts of Assembly made the Last Session," in "Unpublished Provincial Records," ibid., XVII, No. 3 (September 1922), pp. 289-290.
Seymour sent a copy of these notes to the Council of Trade and Plantations with his letter of 10 March 1708/9. TNA (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series, XXIV, No. 410 (p. 252). Return to text
127 Chancery Record 2, p. 596; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 87. Riley creates the wrong implication when he says that the petitioners were asking for a charter for Annapolis. Riley, The Ancient City, p. 86. Actually they were asking for a change in the charter that Seymour had already issued. Return to text
128 The second charter would turn out to be mostly a combination of Seymour's first charter and the petition to him. Return to text
In a news story on the Tricentennial Celebration of the charters of Annapolis an unidentified source is quoted as saying "It [the second charter] allowed property owners -- even if they were free blacks -- to vote. . . ." Earl Kelly, "City kicks off its 300th anniversary celebration," [http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2006/04_23-49/TOP], The Evening Capital Online, 23 April 2006 [visited 24 April 2006].
As readers here will note, I believe that, as much as we might like to believe that that is true, the economic, social, and political structure of the time would have prevented it. I have spent a fair amount of time trying to discover who first made this claim that free blacks with sufficient property could vote but have had no success. Like many myths we would like to believe, it probably originated anonymously way back when. Return to text
135 Md. Arch., XXVII, 225, 265. Carl N. Everstine says that "the two houses in conference worked out a suitable compromise" during the session that opened on 29 November 1708 (Carl N. Everstine, The General Assembly of Maryland, 1634-1776 (Charlottesville, Va.: The Michie Company, 1980), p. 197), but it appears clear that the compromise on the franchise in Annapolis was worked out between Seymour and some of the "inhabitants" of Annapolis before the next session of the assembly ever met. Seymour issued the second charter on 22 November, while the assembly did not meet until the twenty-ninth.
138 TNA (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series, XXIV, No. 410 (p. 251). Actually Seymour attended the upper house on the first seven days of the session, missed the next eight days, and attended on the last day only to close the session. Md. Arch., XXIV, 225, 228, 229, 230, 235, 238, 239 (present); 241, 242, 243, 245, 247, 248, 250, 255, 257 (absent); 259-262 (attended only to close session).
The eight delegates on the committee were Charles Greenberry and Daniel Mariarte of Anne Arundel County, John Mackall and Robert Skinner of Calvert County, George Gale and Samuel Worthington of Somerset County, and Nicholas Lowe and Robert Ungle of Talbot County. Ibid., pp. 267, 273.
For the counties of these delegates, see Biographical Dictionary, I, 39. Return to text
142 The ordinances of Annapolis would "be not otherwise biding to Any other the Inhabitants of the Province Save only in relation to the Citizens of Annapolis." Ibid., pp. 233, 275. So here apparently the committee is using both "inhabitants" and "citizens" as synonymous with "residents." Return to text
143Ibid., pp. 232-233, 274-275. The complaint about the toll is not understandable from the statement of the conferees alone but requires a reference to the second charter, by which Seymour provided that the corporation could levy a tax not exceeding six pence on every beast and five percent of the value of any commodity sold at a fair. Second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p, 601; Riley, The Ancient City p. 90. That tax was the same as in the first charter. First charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, p. 594. See Text below at Notes 148 and 149. Return to text
146 Second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, pp. 598-599, 599-600; Riley, The Ancient City, pp. 88, 89-90. Thus while Seymour had tried to restrict the voting for delegates from Annapolis to the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and the five senior members of the common council, in the end the franchise for the election of delegates from Annapolis appears to have been quite similar to what it had been in St. Mary's City. The second charter of St. Mary's City refers to "ffree citizens," while in the second charter of Annapolis Seymour defines the voters. Second charter of St. Mary's City, in Md. Arch., LI, 389; second charter of Annapolis, in Chancery Record 2, pp. 599-600; Riley, The Ancient City, p. 89. Return to text
147 By an act of 1704 the delegates would receive 140 pounds of tobacco for every day they attended the assembly. They also would be reimbursed for their itinerant charges, the costs of getting to and from Annapolis. 1704, c. 70, Md. Arch., XXVI, 352-353. Return to text
1501708, c. 7, Md. Arch., XXVII, 358-360. For a brief mention of the dispute over the charter of Annapolis, see Jordan, "Elections and Voting in Early Colonial Maryland," pp. 250-251. Jordan is similarly brief in Foundations of Representative Government in Maryland, 1632-1715, p. 225.
Charles B. Clark's treatment of Seymour's granting of the charter of Annapolis is confusing. Charles B. Clark, "The Career of John Seymour, Governor of Maryland, 1704-1708," Maryland Historical Magazine, XLVIII, No. 2 (June 1953), pp. 156-157. Return to text
This legislation effectively concluded the Assembly's efforts to assert full control over all elections. Representation couldJordan, "Elections and Voting in Early Colonial Maryland," p. 251. For Seymour's signing the bill on 17 December 1708, see Md. Arch., XXVII, 358-360. Return to text
153 TNA (PRO), Calendar of State Papers: Colonial Series, XXIV, Nos. 410, 410.i, 410.ii. Return to text
154 "The Titles of the Severall Laws made the Last Session of Assembly in December 1708 with Remarques thereon," in "Unpublished Provincial Records," Maryland Historical Magazine, XVII, No. 2 (June 1922), pp. 221-222. Return to text
157 On Tuesday afternoon -- 30 November 1708 - the Committee of Elections and Privileges reported "that as to the Members returned for the City of Annapolis they leave the Consideration of them to the House." Ibid., p. 270. But it was not until Friday, 3 December, that the lower house informed Hunt and Bordley that it would not admit them as delegates until the bill was passed. Ibid., p. 278. That was the day after the two houses reached their compromise. See Text above at Notes 139-145.
The session lasted from 29 November of 17 December 1708. Ibid., pp. 225, 259, 265, 334. Some of the headers in the published Archives are wrong, as is the title page for each house. Ibid., pp. 223, 263. Return to text
159 Ibid., pp. 377, 409. At the session of the assembly that began on 25 October 1709 Wornell Hunt continued to have his problems. While the delegates would allow him to be the recorder of Annapolis, they ruled that he was not eligible to sit in the lower house because he had not lived in the province for three years before he was elected (Md. Arch., XXVII, 414), as the law required. 1694, c. 1, Md. Arch., XIX, 100-101; 1704, c. 93, Md. Arch., XXVI, 429-430.
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