Papenfuse remarks - Colonial Society Essay Contest -1996
Maryland Day, March 25, 1996


It is always a pleasure for me to work with Lois Jones and the Maryland Colonial Society on their annual essay contest:

The introductions that Lois writes each year are always wonderfully composed and inspiring.

These are Lois Jones' words:

The objective this year was to encourage the teachers and their students to explore the mutually beneficial exchanges between the Native Americans and the European settlers in those first years of settlement in Maryland.

Cecil Calvert, the subject of a plaque that the Pride will be delivering to London, to his last resting place; had a vision of what Maryland ought to be.

I had the privilege with the Archives staff, of choosing the images that are carved into the Plaque which you will be hearing about shortly. It is engraved with one of my favorite quotes about Cecil Calvert's achievement, a tribute written during Cecil Calvert's lifetime.

Educating people to be quiet and still follow their conscience-is no easy task.

It is perhaps even more difficult today than it was 362 years ago. Cecil Calvert-in a rare pamphlet-published in 1633 made it clear that his goal was to bring religion and education to the natives.

He sent Father Andrew White who was so successful in teaching the Indians and trading for their land, that Cecil Calvert had reminded him rather strongly that temporal matters belonged to the Calverts and not to the Jesuits.

Balancing the temporal and the spiritual was not easy either.

In his very first instruction to those 200 or so colonists who left the Isle of Wight on St. Cecelius Day in 1633, Cecil Calvert wrote: "His lordship requires his said governor and commissioners that in their voyage to Maryland they be very careful to preserve unity and peace amongst all the passengers..."

Father White and Cecil Calvert would be proud of Amy Kirkley and her teacher Gretchen Benzinger of Severn School. At the age of 14 and in the 9th grade, Amy's essay addresses more than the initial encounter and indicates her understanding of both the positive sharing between cultures that took place, and the subsequent dark side of european settlement that ultimately led to the near extinction of a distinctive Native American way of life in Maryland. Amy is a skillful writer who presents her thoughts clearly and concisely. We are pleased to add her essay to the Archives WEB site along with that of last year's winner where it is accessible to students and teachers world-wide.

The balance, the peace and great enjoyment that Cecil Calvert and Father Andrew White sought did not come easily. It is a goal that forever must be placed firmly before us-and persistently sought.

At 14, Amy recognizes the good that can come from trying, as well as the evil that can flow from ceasing to try.

Amy on behalf of the Maryland Colonial Society it is my pleasure to present you with this check as the first prize in the 1996 Maryland Colonial Society Essay Contest for your essay entitled "The Native Americans of Maryland: Great Contributors Underappreciated."

Return to Colonial Essay Contest page


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