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Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, 1757-1761
Volume 9, Preface 8   View pdf image (33K)
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            viii Preface.


       in many respects. Our House of Commons stands upon its own laws,

       the lex Parliamenti, whereas assemblies in the colonies are regulated

       by their respective charters, usages, and the common law of England,

       and will never be allowed to assume all those privileges which the

       House of Commons are entitled to justly here, upon principles that

       neither can nor must be applied to the assemblies of the colonies.”

         Pratt ends his opinion with the general advice to Baltimore,” that in

       this disposition of the Lower House to assume to themselves any priv

       ilege which the English House of Commons enjoy here, his Lordship

       should resist all such attempts when they are unreasonable, with firm

       ness, and should never allow any encroachment to be established upon

       the weight of that argument singly, for I am satisfied neither the Crown

       nor the Parliament will ever suffer those assemblies to erect themselves

       into the power and authority of the House of Commons.”

         The stubbornness of the controversy is shown in the following pages.

       Nine times the bill was passed in the Lower House and as often rejected

       in the other, and Sharpe himself despaired of getting anything out of

       the Province unless Parliament would interfere directly. It was perhaps

       fortunate for Maryland that both the colonial troops and the colonies

       themselves were held of such small account in England, that what they

       did or refused to do was pretty much a matter of indifference to Parlia

       ment, so long as they did not meddle with commerce and put on no airs.

         The narrow-mindedness of the Lower House is shown in their perse

       cuting temper toward the Catholics, whom they were always eager to

       oppress and calumniate, though but one-thirteenth of the population.

       Sharpe, though a Protestant, was above such bigotry, and he bears

       strong testimony to the inoffensiveness and good character of those of

       that faith. Indeed it would have been little surprising had there been

       discontent and disaffection among men who were treated as an

       inferior and stigmatized class, secret enemies of their fellow-citizens,

       and traitors at heart, only waiting an opportunity.

         A somewhat better feeling might have prevailed in the Assembly had

       the Proprietary been a man of different stamp. But, as Sharpe inti

       mates, he seemed to care nothing for his Province except as a source of

       revenue, and as it afforded him the means of gratifying favorites of his

       own with offices or with gifts not drawn from his own pocket. It was

       fortunate for him that he was represented by a man of Sharpe's char

       acter, whose firmness, good sense, and conspicuous integrity compelled

       respect even from his enemies.




         In the preface to the preceding volume the editor confessed his

       inability to explain the phrase “the fifth quarter of beef,” and the word

       “calavances.” He has since received light on these points. The “fifth

       quarter” is the hide, tallow, etc., of the animal, which were the butcher's

       perquisites; and “calavances” (probably a corruption of Span. garbanzos)

       are dried beans or pease used as army-stores.















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Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, 1757-1761
Volume 9, Preface 8   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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