Bulldog, January, 1994-July 25, 1994
Bulldog, August 29, 1994 - December 10, 1994
THE ARCHIVISTSí BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 1 January 10, 1994
by Pat Melville
Like other slaveholding states after the Civil War, Maryland enacted legislation providing for the legitimization of marriages that previously had occurred between blacks (Chap. 413, Laws of 1867). "All marriages, heretofore made and celebrated in this State by and between colored people are hereby confirmed and made valid ... from the time of the celebration of such marriages ...; provided, that in every case the parties claiming to have been married, by a competent person, shall by sufficient proof before some Justice of the Peace establish the fact of having been so married, a certificate of which shall be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County in which said marriage was celebrated, or the Court of Common Pleas of Baltimore City, and be preserved with the Register of Marriage Licenses in the office of said clerk."
I looked through the Baltimore City marriage records for 1867 to 1869, but found no example of anyone using this law to record a marriage. [I did find a marriage taking place in the Baltimore City jail.] Whether the law was ever used or even whether it was known to the black community is unclear. Or, it may have been too difficult to establish "sufficient proof" of marriage.
by Pat Melville
Many of the clerks who recorded documents in record books took pride in their penmanship. Some viewed their work as art and created some fine line art work within the records. Or maybe they were bored and added interest to their workday by doodling. Carson Gibb in the course of his research discovered a series of drawings of animal and human figures in LAND OFFICE (Patent Record, Original) 1678-1681 WC 3, pp. 378-391 [MSA S920]. The information, but not the art work, was transcribed into (Patent Record) 21 [MSA S11].
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 4 February 14, 1994 SERIES OF THE WEEK
by Heather Cockerham The following series were compared for similarities and differences: BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (Criminal Docket, _____ District) 1863-1961 [MSA C2109 - C2117] and DISTRICT COURT 1 BC (Docket) 1956-1971 [MSA T231].
When a patron comes to the State Archives in search of a Baltimore City criminal case that pre-dates the District Court, we have two confusingly similar groups of criminal dockets to recommend. Both groups of criminal dockets originated in the Baltimore City Municipal Court. The Municipal Court judges sat in the police stations, and consequently, the dockets are arranged and identified by police district: Central, Eastern, Northeastern, etc. The criminal dockets record the name of the person arrested, the charges against him or her, the dates of actions in the court, what the defendant pleaded, the disposition of the case, and the judge who presided. The charges range from driving a taxi without a license to manslaughter. There are no papers associated with these books.
The Archives lists one group of dockets under the Baltimore City Police Department and divides them into series according to police district [MSA C2109-2117]. These criminal dockets begin as early as 1863 and end as late as 1961. To conduct an efficient search, a patron needs to know the date of the arrest and the police district in which the defendant was arrested.
The Archives lists the other group of dockets under District Court 1, BC. The series [MSA T231] covers all the books, regardless of police district. However, within T231, the guide is divided by police district. In general, these dockets begin in 1960 or 1961 and go through June 1971. The District Court takes over in July 1971. Again, to conduct an efficient search, a patron needs to know the date of the arrest and the police district in which the defendant was arrested.
In several instances, the dates on the dockets under the Police Department overlap the dates on the dockets under the District Court. A good example of this occurs in the Western District where MSA C2114 goes from 1959 to 1961 and MSA T231 goes from 1959 to 1971. Closer examination shows gaps in the months covered by both series. The first book in C2114 goes from 8/31/59 to 11/1/59. The sequence continues by jumping to T231. The first book in T231 goes from 11/2/59 to 1/6/60. Then C2114 continues the sequence with its next book covering the dates 1/7/60 to 3/13/60. Essentially, the Western District in T231 is the same series as C2114. For all the districts, the dockets under the Police Department mesh with the dockets under the District Court to form a single series.
The Archives lists these dockets under two different agencies because the records were received in two batches. The Archives rescued one batch from the basements and corners of the police stations, and so listed the Baltimore City Police Department as the creator of the records. The Police Department had earlier given some records to the District Court, who later transferred them to us. Thus for these the Archives listed District Court 1, BC as the agency of origin. Actually, we should combine the dockets under a single agency, the Baltimore City Municipal Court, which will be undertaken at the next stage of processing.
While investigating instances of overlapping dates, I came across a mistake in our series descriptions. The dockets in BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (Criminal Docket, Northeastern District) [MSA C2110] from 8/1959 to 4/1961 are really Eastern District dockets and fit neatly at the end of the Eastern District series guide [MSA C2111]. If you are using the Northeastern dockets, go to MSA T231 for 8/1959 and later. Pat plans to revise the guide so we do not have to remember all this. But in the meantime, if you are trying to pull Northeastern books and keep getting Eastern books, it is not because you are going nuts, it is because the guide is wrong.
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 8 March 21, 1994
by Pat Melville
Recently published was The Constitution in the Making: Perspectives of the Original Thirteen State, edited by A.E. Dick Howard and sponsored by the Conference of Chief Justices, National Center for State Courts. One chapter, "Maryland and the Constitution: Changing Perceptions of Home Rules and Who Should Rule at Home," written by The Honorable Robert C. Murphy, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and Chair of the Hall of Records Commission, and Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse.
In the latest issue of Humanities, March/April 1994, Vol. 15, No. 2, is an article entitled "The National Road: Life into Landscape," by Karl Raitz. He discusses the establishment of this first federal road and its effect on economic and social developments as the highway systems and modes of transportation change through time. Accompanying the article are photographs including two from SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Leo Beachy Collection) [MSA SC 3602]. They were acquired through our telephone reference program. NEH has funded an interdisciplinary group "who will define, document, and illustrate how the National Road landscape has become a record of American life." The final product will a two-volume publication that will trace "the political, cultural, and technological history of the road's construction and use, and how these processes mirror large national trends" and "that will guide traveler or reader along each road segment and explain how the contemporary roadside landscape accumulates evidence of past events."
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 9 March 28, 1994
SERIES OF THE WEEK
by Pat Melville
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1967, HISTORIAN (General File) 1967-1968 [MSA S870] contains administrative files used to develop disposition plans for convention records. The files contain copies of the proposed constitution, intraconvention memoranda, correspondence, information on the record inventory process, and biographical information on Sherrod B. East, convention historian. Included is a folder of convention humor, containing limericks, memoranda, and "delegate proposals".
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 10 April 4, 1994
HALL OF RECORDS COMMISSION MEETING
The Hall of Records Commission met on Tuesday, March 29. in the Archives's conference room. The Commission, chaired by Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy of the Maryland Court of Appeals, advises the Archives on budget and policy matters.
Dr. Papenfuse discussed the recent transfer of the old Hall of Records building to St. John's College and detailed support the college is providing to the Archives's internship program.
Dr. Papenfuse mentioned that staff activities and recent accessions are reported in the Archives's in-house newsletter, the Bulldog. The Commission approved a motion to incorporate the Bulldog into the official minutes of the Commission.
The Commission discussed the management and preservation of electronic records, a complex issue that will have budget implications in future years. Electronic records are fragile, and both proprietary software and hardware must be transferred with the archival record. The Archives has drafted regulations covering permanent electronic records that should soon receive approval for implementation.
Dr. Papenfuse described the Archives's newspaper preservation project, which is far short of the goal of preserving on microfilm all historic Maryland newspapers. Additional grant assistance must be secured to finish the project. A bibliography of all Maryland newspapers will be published in the next few months. Dr. Papenfuse reported on completion of the NEH-funded project to analyze the preservation needs of the state and the NHPRC-funded project to write series descriptions of state records in the Archives's custody. Final reports on both projects will be issued soon.
Historical and educational programs continue at the Archives, despite insufficient state funding. The Commission approved Archives's support for a series pamphlet series being produced for the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Annapolis becoming Maryland's capital. Dr. Papenfuse briefed the Commission on the two-year NEH grant to support a Teacher's Institute built around using documents in the classroom and the ongoing Abell Foundation-supported program in Baltimore city schools. The Commission was advised that this summer's internship program will focus on researching Civil War veterans, and that several colleges are collaborating on the project. Dr. Papenfuse emphasized that these educational programs were beyond the Archives's "baseline" activities that are funded from the state budget; outside support has to be found to support each of them.
Finally, Dr. Papenfuse reported on the Archives's budget submission for FY 1995. While the budget was not cut in the legislative committees, it represents only about 50 percent of the amount needed to support Archives's programs. The Archives is therefore facing the prospect of another tight budget year in which considerable outside funding will have to be raised to continue above-the-baseline programs.
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 12 April 18, 1994
REMARKS AT MARYLAND DAY, ST. MARY'S CITY COMMISSION, MARCH 27
by Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse
Take heart! The weather today is nothing compared to the discouragement George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore, felt 365 years ago this August.
He had just barely survived a harsh and hostile winter in Newfoundland and was about to depart for the warmer climate of Virginia.
He despaired of what the future might hold for his dream of a colony in the New World and for his son Leonard. With my son Leonard I know not what to do, now we have peace with our neighbors for which, nevertheless, I praise God, and do not desire wars to maintain my children upon the spoils.
George Calvert need not have worried then, (nor, should we today). Even if The First Lord Baltimore would not live to see his colony established in the New World, his children would, and did so with a success that none could have predicted. Indeed Leonard became the first Governor and led the first expedition to the Chesapeake.
The Calvert children proved a credit not only to their father George, but to their mother Anne Mynne Calvert, whose cross buttoned (familiarly known as a Cross Botany) became such an important symbol of the Maryland venture. Today it is joined with the Calvert Shield on the Great Seal of Maryland. It is her cross that the Governor will soon be proudly wearing as a gift presented to him by Ben Bradley of the Saint Mary's City Commission.
We meet today in our annual renewal of our commitment to the interpretation of sacred ground, ground sacred to the meaning of the evolution of American Democracy, and to the meaning of Toleration in American Society.
Out in that muddy field are the remains of the First State House, the first Courthouse, in Maryland.
In those days the Governor's house was big enough to host the meetings of the legislature and, probably, the provincial court. Imagine today's General Assembly and the Court of Appeals meeting in the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis.
From that muddy site is coming an understanding of our past, shaped by the careful historical research of Lois Carr, and the able archeological investigation of the Governor's field led by Henry Miller. It is a remarkable story in which Maryland rightfully takes great pride.
It is a story of the first colony in North America to have imbedded in its charter the positive right to representative government. The first colony in North America to attempt to imbed religious toleration in the very being of its government.
Much of the action, much of the early deliberation, of Maryland Government was centered there from the days it was Leonard Calvert's home through the occupancy of Governor Stone, until the move to the new brick State House in 1676.
Indeed, the very essence of Maryland government was to be found at work in the wooden structure that Leonard Calvert built in that field.
As we symbolically place this wreath on that now muddy spot, let us remember the devotion of Leonard Calvert, and his family as they struggled to make a go of this little city in the wilderness called St. Mary's. The lessons they taught us, ought not to lead us to despair, but to hope, hope for the Sun that comes after the rain hope for a future that understands and appreciates the struggles of those who preceded us.
Sometime in the late 1630s or early 1640s, Leonard Calvert's older brother, the Second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, had a silver medal struck with a map of the colony encircled by a latin motto which is as appropriate for today's ground breaking, as perhaps it is as a new State Motto:
Translated it reads:
"As the Sun thou shalt enlighten America"
May the words here on the Governor's Field, in the Chapel and in the interpretation of Marylands first capitol-continue to be "As the Sun" enlightening America.
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 16 May 16, 1994
by Richard Richardson
THE HUNDREDS OF MARYLAND
WASHINGTON COUNTY (created by resolve of the Constitutional Convention, 1776 [Convention of Maryland (Proceedings) 1776, pp. 48-49 Washington County, September 6, 1776 MSA S 68-6, MdHR 10,617, 1-1-4-45])
Source: GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HOUSE OF DELEGATES (Assessment Record) 1783 Washington County [MSA S1161, MdHR 1161-10-8/9; 11-1/4, 1-4-5-53/54]
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 22 July 11, 1994
ANNAPOLIS TRICENTENNIAL, PART I
by Greg Stiverson
Annapolis has been called "an ancient jewel in a modern setting." As you walk around the city, you see modern stores and offices comfortably intermingled with tangible reminders of life here 100, 200, even 300 years ago. Most of the oldest surviving buildings in Annapolis date from the eighteenth century, but the names of many of the town's streets, and the design of the city itself, harken back to the town's very beginnings as the provincial capital of Maryland.
Annapolis - or what then was called "Anne Arundell Town" - was named Maryland's capital in 1694. In a sense, Annapolis is an aberration in the colonial history of Maryland. Maryland was a proprietary colony, the private preserve of the Calvert family. King Charles I gave Maryland to George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore, after George announced his conversion to Roman Catholicism and had to resign his high public office in the royal court. All the king asked in return for the 7.1 million-acre grant was an annual rent of two Indian arrowheads, payable at his castle at Eastertime.
The Maryland charter gave the Calverts kinglike powers over the colony, and as the province grew from its original beginnings in 1634 in St. Mary's City, the names the Calvert gave to new counties established in Maryland show just how much a family affair the colony was. The first county, St. Mary's, was named after the Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of the Calverts's Catholic faith, but later counties were named to perpetuate the memory of themselves or their close relatives: Cecil County, named for the founding proprietor, Cecil, 2nd Lord Baltimore; Charles County, named for Cecil's son Charles, the third Lord Baltimore; Baltimore County, named after the Irish Barony given to George Calvert by the king and the source of the hereditary title carried by him and his successors; Calvert County, named for the proprietary family itself; Frederick County, the namesake of Frederick, sixth and last Lord Baltimore; and Harford County, named after Frederick's illegitimate son and heir.
Calvert relatives and friends also are memorialized in Maryland county names - our own county, Anne Arundel, named for Anne of Arundell, wife of Cecil, 2nd Lord Baltimore; Dorchester, after the Earl of Dorset, a close friend of Cecil Calvert; Talbott, named for Grace Talbot, Cecil's sister; and Somerset, named after Mary Somerset, Cecil's sister-in-law.
The names of Maryland's counties reflect the very personal stamp the Calverts placed on Maryland during their proprietorship. And as mentioned earlier, in this sense Annapolis is something of an aberration. If Annapolis had been established as the provincial capital by the Calverts, it probably would be named Charles Town, after the then proprietor, Charles, third Lord Baltimore, and its streets and squares probably would have borne names drawn from an assortment of saints and sinners - the latter composed principally of Calvert friends, relatives, and children, both legitimate and otherwise.
Instead, Annapolis was established as the capital during a quarter-century period when control of Maryland was forcibly taken from the Calvert family. This came about because the British king at the time, James II, had married as his second wife a Roman Catholic, after which he himself had also converted to Catholicism. This was awkward, of course, since as king he was head of the Protestant Church of England, the established religion in Britain.
The leaders of Parliament and the Anglican Church were willing to tolerate James's apostasy, however, since he and his Catholic wife had had only one child, a son who was born in 1677 and died the same year. With no male heirs, the king well into his 50s, and the queen no spring chicken herself any more, the threat of a Catholic successor to James II appeared remote.
Then in 1688, to the astonishment and joy of the Royal Family and the chagrin of just about everyone else, a Catholic prince and heir was born. Parliament took prompt action, legislating the forced abdication of James II and inviting his protestant daughter Mary, a product of his first marriage, to assume the throne with her husband, William of Orange.
This bloodless revolution in Britain, known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688, had immediate repercussions in Maryland as well. Protestants, who had long desired to free the colony from its control by the Roman Catholic Calvert family, staged a coup, overthrowing the proprietary government. The victorious Protestants immediately petitioned the new British monarchs, William and Mary, asking that the Calvert Charter be revoked and that a royal government be instituted instead. This petition was granted in 1692, and from that year until 1715, when the colony was returned to the Anglican convert, Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Lord Baltimore, Maryland was a royal colony administered by governors appointed by the Crown.
It was the second of these royal governors, Francis Nicholson, who decided that the provincial capital should be moved from St. Mary's City to a more central, and less Roman Catholic, location in the colony. The place he selected was here, on the banks of the Severn River. The area had originally been settled in 1649 by Puritans expelled from Virginia. Their initial settlement, called Providence, was located on the north side of the Severn River, but by the early 1650s Puritans had begun taking up land on the site of what is now Annapolis. By the 1690s there was a little town on the site of what later became Annapolis - known as Anne Arundel Town - and this was where Royal Governor Francis Nicholson decided to built a new provincial capital.
The people in St. Mary's City were not thrilled with the idea. The mayor and other top officials of St. Mary's drafted a petition to Governor Nicholson, listing sixteen reasons why St. Mary's should remain the capital. Among them were that St. Mary's was the original and only capital of Maryland and that it had "for above sixty years" been the ancient and chief seat of Government. In addition, the town was "most healthful and naturally commodious". being plentifully and well watered with good and wholesome springs, and almost encompassed around with harbor for shipping, where five hundred sail of ship, at least, may securely ride at anchor before the city.
The St. Mary's City fathers also reminded the governor that less than 20 years before, the colony had spent 300,000 pounds of tobacco on a new state house and jail, and that the inhabitants of St. Mary's had voluntarily raised another 100,000 pounds of tobacco to build a new house for the proprietor adjacent to the city. They also noted that St. Mary's was close to Virginia, with whom mutual intercourse and correspondence is most undeniably necessary and material. To counter the argument put forward by proponents of the move that St. Mary's was too difficult to get to, since there was no public transportation to the town, the city officials offered "a coach or caravan, or both, to go at all times of public meeting of Assemblies and Provincial Courts" and also to keep constantly on hand a dozen horses, at least, with suitable furniture.
And finally, the St. Mary's petition said that the argument that St. Mary's was too far from the center of population in the colony to be a suitable capital was ridiculous, citing London, England, Boston, Massachusetts, Jamestown, Virginia, and Port Royal, Jamaica, as other capitals that were far from the center of their respective populations.
By the 1690s, St. Mary's City was, in fact, far removed from most of the population of Maryland, making it difficult for many people to attend sessions of the Assembly and Provincial Court. Far more damaging to the St. Mary's officials' prospects for keeping the capital, however, was the fact that the government of Maryland was now firmly in control of Protestants, and St. Mary's remained a Catholic stronghold. Governor Nicholson thought a capital more convenient to the people was desirable, but he also wanted a capital that was far removed from the colony's influential Catholic minority.
Governor Nicholson referred the St. Mary's petition to the Lower House, which was dominated by rabid Protestants, giving them free reign to be unmerciful in their response.
The Lower House didn't disappoint the governor. The response they drafted termed St. Mary's City "this corner and poorest place in the province," and said that the reasons cited for keeping the capital in St. Mary's were "hardly deserving [of] any answer at all," many of them being "against the plain matter of fact, some against reason, and all against [the] Generall good and wellfaire of the province." The Lower House said that despite the vast sums of money spent on the capital city, it remained "a Blemish upon all the rest of the province in the Judgment of all discerning strangers."
As to the petition's promise of improved transportation to the city, the House retorted that such promises had been made and broken before, adding that "the general welfare of the province ought to take [the] place of that sugar plum [offered] of all the Mayor's coaches, who, as yet, has not [a single] one." Finally, the House snorted at the St. Mary's officials's comparison of their city with other world capitals, noting that "St. Maries is very unequally rankt with London, Boston, Port Royall, &c., &c."
Nicholson heartily approved of the House response to the St. Mary's petition, and without elaboration accepted it. With that, the die was cast: within twenty years St. Mary's would be but a memory; when the capital moved, there no longer was a reason for St. Mary's City to exist.
The actual move of the capital occurred during the fall and winter of 1694-95. In September of 1694, the General Assembly met for its last session in St. Mary's City. A law passed by that Assembly provided for the move of the capital from St. Mary's to Anne Arundel Town. On October 18, the Assembly adjourned, and on November 15, the Provincial Court finished its last session in St. Mary's City. On February 12, 1695, a committee inspected the colony's records stored in the State House and a week later turned them over to the people charged with transferring them to the new capital. The records had reached Anne Arundel Town by February 28, 1695, and on that day the governor and council met and the General Assembly convened its first session in the new capital. And, in May of 1695, the Assembly passed a law renaming Anne Arundel Town "Annapolis."
THE ARCHIVISTS BULLDOG
Vol. 8, No. 23 July 25, 1994
ANNAPOLIS TRICENTENNIAL, PART II
by Greg Stiverson
Annapolis was a tiny town of just a couple dozen houses when the capital moved here, but Governor Nicholson had big plans. Nicholson was an accomplished administrator and bureaucrat, and an amateur town planner, who was enamored with the Baroque town plans popular in Europe at the time. He therefore did something that had never been done before in America - he laid out the new capital of Annapolis around two great circles, with streets radiating out from them. The largest circle encompassed the highest point of ground in the town - on this Nicholson built the first statehouse. On the second highest point of ground another circle defined the location for the Anglican church. On part of State House hill, Nicholson set aside a lot for a school. State, church, and education. By making these three institutions an integral part of the town plan for the new capital, Nicholson hoped to leave an enduring legacy for Annapolis and its citizens. And indeed he did. The circles with streets radiating from them that Nicholson used to emphasize the importance of state, church, and education today are the source of the monumental traffic jams that Annapolis experiences during so much of the year.
Since the Calverts had been given king-like powers over Maryland by the charter, they did not have to worry too much about currying favor with the reigning monarch in Britain. Therefore, as we have seen, when they named new places in Maryland they generally used the names of family members and friends. Governor Francis Nicholson, on the other hand, was an employee of the Crown and served at its pleasure. He therefore used the new town of Annapolis as a way to kiss up to the sovereigns, both reigning and anticipated, in a very big way.
Anne Arundel Town got its new name of Annapolis from the Princess Anne, the sister of Queen Mary, who had died the year before Nicholson moved the capital from St. Mary's to the banks of the Severn. Since William and his late queen Mary had no children, the heir-apparent to the British throne was Mary's sister, Anne.
The educational institution Nicholson planned for the new capital was named King William's School, after the widowed king. Prince George Street was named for Prince George of Denmark, husband of the Princess Anne. The main street from the planned market house to Spa Creek was named Duke of Gloucester, after William, the son and heir-apparent of Prince George and the Princess Anne. William, the Duke of Glouchester, unfortunately died in 1700, just after his eleventh birthday, thereby eliminating any potential royal favor that Annapolis, and Governor Nicholson, might have derived from having one of its main thoroughfares named for a future king.
While Nicholson's thoughts as he named the streets of Annapolis focused on flattering British Royals, he could not resist leaving a personal reference on the town's plan as well. He named the short street radiating up from Main Street to the State House "Francis Street" after himself. We do not know why Nicholson chose his first name rather than his last for the name of this street - perhaps he did not want to overshadow the royal personages whose names he had bestowed on other streets and places in the town. Or perhaps he simply intended it as a bit of a challenge - to see whether history would remember who this Francis was and what he had done to warrant having a street named after him.
After less than four years, Governor Francis Nicholson left Maryland to become governor of Virginia. He left behind in Maryland a new capital city, which would grow and prosper and which would, despite the passage of time, forever bear in its streets, and squares, and circles the indelible mark of his brief governorship of the colony of Maryland.
Two hundred years ago, in 1894, the people of Annapolis celebrated the bicentennial of this town becoming Maryland's capital city. They had a street parade, a masquerade, and a ball, and in the evening, candles placed in the windows of all the public and private buildings in town created what was termed "a grand illumination." The grand illumination proved especially effective since "an accident at the electric light works" that evening plunged the city into darkness. The evening of the parade was marred by one other mishap. To men on horseback collided on West Street. The "horse wreck" knocked both men senseless and resulted in the death of both horses.
In the nineteenth century, no civic event was complete without a formal program, featuring long prayers by local clergy and even longer speeches by local politicians. For this event in 1894, two programs were held - one in the State House and the other at St. John's College. Speakers marvelled at the growth and progress of Annapolis - by 1894 the population of the town, including the Naval Academy and suburbs, had reached nearly 9,000. And, it was noted, because it was the seat of state, county, and city government, Annapolis could boast a greater proportion than most towns of "politicians, lawyers, legislators," which at the time, it seems, was considered an asset.
My favorite speech from the 1894 bicentennial celebration was one given by H. Kyd Douglas, the Adjutant General of Maryland. Douglas used the occasion to lament that there were so few good histories of Annapolis, or of the state of Maryland, for that matter. "The sins of the literary sons of Maryland have been those of omission," Kid said, because despite Maryland's long history and abundant historical records, "they seem to have lacked either the pride, or patriotism, or industry, to do what they might have done to place our State in its proper position upon the shelves of interesting historical literature." Maryland's history," Douglas continued, "should be brought forth and given to our people and the people of other States". The history of Maryland is brilliant with glories in forum and field - splendid examples in the records of Church and State." "Perhaps," Douglas concluded, "there is some one in this audience who will catch the inspiration from this day's proceedings and hereafter build his own monument in the history of his native State."
A century has passed since H. Kyd Douglas used the 200th anniversary of Annapolis becoming Maryland's capital to issue his challenge for someone to built a monument to Maryland's history, but, in truth, not much has been done in the century since his words were spoken. Maryland was the third permanent English colony in what became the United States. Annapolis is the second oldest state capital, and the city was, for a critical time at the end of the Revolution, the capital of the entire country. And yet, when a visitor comes to Annapolis, or a new family moves to town, we have no museum to send them to so they can learn the history of this city and state, and the best book on Annapolis is still Elihu Riley's The Ancient City, published in 1887, seven years before the 1894 bicentennial!
Later this year and on into the next as we mark the 300th anniversary of Annapolis as Maryland's capital, there could be no better way of celebrating this milestone in our city's history than by finally accepting Adjutant General H. Kyd Douglas's challenge of a century ago. We should use Annapolis's 300th anniversary as an opportunity to learn about the history of our city and state and to write it down so that others today, and those of future generations, will know and understand what is so special about this "ancient jewel in a modern setting" that we call Annapolis.
Elihu Riley and the Florid School of Maryland History 1994 is a celebratory year in Annapolis. It was 300 years ago that the fair city on the Severn assumed its preeminent position as the capital of Maryland. Plans are underway to celebrate this anniversary, so it is appropriate to spend some time with a long-forgotten state publication produced in 1894 when Annapolis last held such a celebration. Published under the authority of the House of Delegates and edited by Elihu Riley, the record of the 1894 events is a memorial volume entitled Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Removal of the Capital of Maryland from St. Mary's to Annapolis. In it, one can find some of the loftiest language ever used to describe history. Now this reviewer occasionally has been accused of hyperbolic excess when reporting on the historic events that occur on the softball field, so I know a master of the bombastic style when I see one, and Elihu Riley surely must rate as one of the true expositors of what can only be called the Florid School of Maryland History. Just read his first paragraph in the Preface which states:
...the Maryland Legislature of 1894 expurgates itself from the standing indictment that Marylanders, with a proud and noble history, have been culpably indifferent to preserving the records of it, and in transmitting to posterity, unimpaired, these sources of wisdom and inspiration to heroic deeds and righteous government.
Surely that statement would make any archivist in Maryland feel important about preserving the record of the past!
Getting into the spirit of the occasion, a comparison of Maryland's
historiography to that of the northern states was made in a speech
at St. John's College by Adjutant General Henry Kyd Douglas who
...those [states] founded by [Maryland's] early Puritan rivals, where skillful and partisan historians have well imitated the French cook who can make soup enough for twenty people out of the hind leg of a frog (p. 48).
One wonders if this opinion was at all colored by Douglas' former service in the Confederate Army which he described in I Rode With Stonewall.
Not to be outdone, Riley wades again onto the stage of rhetorical flamboyance when he provides this assessment of Maryland's history:
In them all, the halo of honor that surrounds the chronicles of our State, increases in brilliancy as we draw nigh the temples of our history, and inspect with keener vision the noble lives of Maryland men, and place the annals of Maryland's colonists alongside contemporaneous American settlements, or challenge even the records of time itself to present a land larger in liberality than that founded by the Pilgrim Fathers of Maryland (pp. 99-100).
In this one magnificently tortured sentence, Riley has destroyed centuries of careful instruction in sentence structure and demonstrated that it is not what you say but how you say it! The reader of this slim volume can find many additional examples of the Florid School of Maryland History at its apogee.
So that is the challenge to this year's planners of the celebration in Annapolis. Who will step forward to match the brilliance of Elihu Riley with his heroic vision of the lessons of history or Henry Kyd Douglas' stylish culinary metaphors? Will Annapolis settle for the prosaic or will we see History return like Caesar's conquering legions dragging the chained captives of Ignorance and Gastronomic Depravity through the triumphal arch of Pure Reason festooned with garlands proclaiming the victory of Maryland's shining standard reducing all imitators to toadish sycophancy?
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