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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1687/8-1693
Volume 8, Preface 5   View pdf image (33K)
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The present volume continues the Council records without a break,
down to the outburst of that sedition, the result of which was to take
the government of Maryland from the Proprietary and place it in the
hands of the King. In the chaotic times that immediately followed, no
regular record equivalent to a council journal seems to have been kept,
or at least none has been preserved; so we have endeavored to throw
what light we could upon the occurrences of the years 1689-92, by the
help of documents in the Public Record Office, London.

It was unfortunate for the Proprietary that the killing of the King's
collector, Rousby, by Talbot, not long before, and that of another
collector, Payne, in a private brawl, gave color to the charge of disloy-
alty brought against the Proprietary government. It is true, these men
belonged to a class with whom it is hard to have dealings without
experiencing homicidal temptations, and of whom one made it his open
boast that for twenty-five years he had lived on the curses of the people;
but it must be admitted that the remedy was somewhat drastic. It was
unfortunate, too, that the proclamation of William and Mary was
delayed by the death of the messenger. Yet, from the circumstantial
narratives of Darnall, Bertrand, Sayer and others, it is evident that the
Maryland revolution of 1689 was not in the beginning a popular move-
ment at all, but the work of a few malcontents and fishers in troubled
waters, with the apostate Coode at their head, who played upon the
credulity, the fears, and the ignorance of the people. Taking advantage
of the isolation of the settlements and plantations, these men found it
easy to alarm the people at Mattapany with a report that the Senecas
and Papists were preparing to massacre the Protestants at Patuxent,
and to terrify those in Anne Arundel with accounts that the Nanticokes
and Papists were cutting throats at Mattapany.

The country being thrown thus into a panic of excitement, Coode
and his coadjutors stepped forward in the character of protectors of the
Protestants and preservers of order, imprisoned or frightened away
those who resisted them, and made themselves masters of the Province,
which they hastened to hand over to the King, in the name of all the
Protestants in the Province. William, nothing loth to strike a blow at
the Proprietary colonies, which had long been felt to be anomalies, and
fortified by the hesitating opinion of Chief Justice Holt, that the pro-
ceeding, if not strictly lawful, was expedient, took the government into


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Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1687/8-1693
Volume 8, Preface 5   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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