clear space clear space clear space white space
 r c h i v e s   o f   M a r y l a n d   O n l i n e

PLEASE NOTE: The searchable text below was computer generated and may contain typographical errors. Numerical typos are particularly troubling. Click “View pdf” to see the original document.

  Maryland State Archives | Index | Help | Search
search for:
clear space
white space
Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 34   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space

     xxxiv       The First Century of the Court of Chancery.

       and other instruments were to be issued in the name of the Lord Proprietary
       and not in the name of the King. It was further provided that all civil causes
       in any other court in which any judge (unless he be the Governor) of that court
       was a party, should be tried in the Court of Chancery (Arch. Md., 1, 49-50).
         Although the act for erecting a Court of Chancery failed of passage for the
       reason just given, it seems certain that the provisions of the bill were an expres-
       sion of the lines along which equity jurisdiction was then developing in the
       Province and that it continued to develop along these same lines.
         At the session of July, 1642, however, “An Act for Rule of Judicature”
       was passed. This act, which did not go into details of court organization,
       declared as to equity that” right and just shall be determined according to equity
       and good conscience * * * according to the law of the Province, or in defect
       of certain Law then they may be determined according to the best discretion of
       the Judge or Judges judging, as neer as Conveniently may be to the laudable
       law or usage of England” (Arch. Md., i, 147). It has been said by Bernard C.
       Steiner that the distinction between law and equity was recognized in Maryland
       from the early settlement in a way that was not to be found in the other colonies
       (Maryland's First Courts, Amer. Hist. Assoc. Report 1901, p. 227).
         Although the jurisdiction of the court was similar to that of the High Court
       of Chancery of England, the organization and form of the Maryland court
       differed widely from the English court as we find it at the time of the founding
       of Maryland. While all writs were issued under the seal of the Chancellor in the
       name of the Proprietary, and the authority of the Chancellor as Keeper of the
       Great Seal was similar to that of the English Chancellor, the Maryland Court of
       Chancery at this period in its judicial capacity was not a one-man court where
       causes were heard and decided by the Chancellor as in the English court. Nor
       need we concern ourselves here with the view held by some, that the English
       Chancery should not be considered a one-man court because of the fact that the
       Chancellor regularily referred cases before him for advice to the various mas-
       ters in Chancery, of which there were twelve attached to the court, and at
       least one of whom, the Master of the Rolls, had definite, although limited,
       judicial functions. The general conception of the court, however, certainly
       was, that the Chancery was the court of the Chancellor alone. The Chancellor
       of Maryland during the seventeenth century, unless he was at the same time
       Governor, did not even preside in the Court of Chancery except in the Gov-
       ernor's absence, ana his vote counted for no more than did that of any other
       associate member of the court.
         To find the English prototype of the Maryland Court of Chancery as it
       appears in the seventeenth century we must go back to the medieval Chancery
       Court of England when it was merely a committee of the King's Privy Council,
       and at a somewhat later date to the Court of Chancery of the Palatinate of
       Durham, as it was found at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It will be
       recalled that the Maryland Charter gave to the Proprietary all the powers then
       exercised, or which ever had been exercised, by the Bishop of Durham. On
       account of its exposed position on the borders of Scotland and its distance from
       London, the broad powers of a count palatine had been conferred upon the

clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 34   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

An Archives of Maryland electronic publication.
For information contact

©Copyright  October 06, 2023
Maryland State Archives