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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1663-1666
Volume 49, Preface 10   View pdf image (33K)
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           xiv           Letter of Transmittal,

           chancellor has been found. In September 1661, when Charles Calvert was
           commissioned governor, his commission specifically provided that his uncle,
           Philip Calvert, whom he succeeded as governor, should retain the office of
           chancellor (Arch. Md. III, 439). The High Court of Chancery as a separate
           entity therefore dates from the year 1661. We find Philip Calvert recommis
           sioned as chancellor in 1665 (Arch. Md. XV, 12). He is said to have held
           the office until 1689, and as chancellor was the Keeper of the Great Seal. He
           was also a member of the Upper House and of the Council, one of the judges
           of the Provincial Court, and after 1676 Commissary General for the probate
           of wills. When Phillip Calvert ceased to be chancellor in 1689, this office again
           became vested in the governor, but with the later history of the Court of Chancery
           we are not here concerned. For the first seven years of Philip Calvert's chan
           cellorship, we find as in previous years, the chancery cases scattered about in
           the Provincial Court record books. Beginning with the year 1668, however, the
           Court of Chancery began to keep its own books of record, which continue
           unbroken until the Court ceased to exist in 1855. It would appear that at least one
           or two justices of the Provincial Court always sat with the chancellor when equity
           cases were heard, and very often the entire bench. The connection between the
           two courts was a close one. It seems probable that at times they had the same
           clerk for even after separate series of record books for the two courts were
           opened it is not unusual until towards the close of the century to find entries
           of sessions of the Provincial Court as such, recorded in the Chancery Court
           libers, and what were obviously equity cases were sometimes heard in the
           Provincial Court. The records of the Court of Chancery in the seventeenth and
           early eighteenth centuries are much less voluminous than are the records of the
           Provincial Court. It is hoped that it will be possible to publish as a single
           volume of the Archives the proceedings of this court from 1668 to 1699.
             The publication of the records of the county courts of Maryland presents
           great difficulty. Fire and neglect have taken a heavy toll. The county clerks
           usually preserved with great care the land records and the testamentary rec
           ords, but sadly neglected the proceedings or minutes of the county courts, which
           were seldom called for after they were a few decades old. The comparatively
           few seventeenth century court minutes which have been preserved doubtless
           owe their existence to the fact that until towards the end of the century it was
           the custom of the county courts to record deeds to land in the same books in
           which the minutes of the court were kept. After the deeds in these early rec
           ords had been transcribed into separate libers, as was done in many counties
           early in the next century, the original volumes suffered neglect. The result is
           that there are many breaks in the court proceedings in most of the counties. The
           extent of these breaks has been recently brought out by Mr. Louis Dow Scisco,
           who has made a very careful survey of the records of the various counties
           during the colonial period, and published the results of his study in recent
           numbers of the Maryland Historical Magazine. An examination of these lists
           shows that the earliest county court proceedings which have been preserved are
           those of Kent, Charles, Somerset and Talbot counties. Prior to about 1675 the
           records of only the three first named counties even approach completeness. It

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1663-1666
Volume 49, Preface 10   View pdf image (33K)
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