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Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 58   View pdf image (33K)
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      lviii       The First Century of the Court of Chancery.

        they should turn over to assistants or masters for investigation and recom-
        mendation questions before the court.
          With the passage of the acts of 1718 and 1720, extending the right of appeal
        from the Chancery to the Court of Appeals, the time may have seemed oppor-
        tune to take openly the final step to centralize all the judicial authority of the
        court in one person with a minimum offence to public opinion. And the desig-
        nation of Edward Lloyd of “Wye “, and as the result of his death of \Villiam
        Holland, both native Marylanders, to fill the office of Chancellor with its now
        added prestige, was a politic move on the part of the Proprietary.
          Down to this time the Court of Chancery was in session only at certain stated
        times, and was not in theory always open to the public, as was said of the English
        Court of Chancery (Bland's Md. High Court of Chanc. i, 59; ii, 597). An in-
        teresting reference to this is to be found during the time when Philip Calvert was
        Chancellor, when in 1681, in a petition addressed to Charles, the Lord
        Proprietary, then living in Maryland and acting as Governor, in the case in
        Chancery of Nicholas Painter and wife against Samuel Lane, Painter avers
        “that the Court of Chancery is and ought to be always open as to the proceed-
        ings therein But your Lopp. haveing not yet Impowered your Chancellor or
        Chief Justice of your said Court to Answer Petitions or make Oathes touching
        the proceedings (as is used in England) without a full Court of four at least “,
        it is necessary that this petition for immediate relief be made directly to the Lord
        Proprietary (Chanc. Proc. C. D., 307).
          With Col. William Holland's appointment in 1720, the Chancellor assumed
        the important judicial character which he continued to hold until this office and
        the court were abolished in 1854. The Chancery of Maryland now became a
        one-man court with f till powers centered in the Chancellor alone, and according
        to Bland, was thereafter at least in theory open at all times to the public, and
        not merely at certain stated seasons (Md. High Court Chanc., i, 597; ii, 59).
        The office became one of great dignity, the highest judicial position in Maryland,
        and was no longer largely sought, as it had been in the past, because of the fees
        which came to the Chancellor as Keeper of the Great Seal.
          Of the legal abilities of Col. William Holland (d. 1732) of Anne Arundel
        County, not much has been learned. He seems to have exercised the functions
        of his office in an entirely satisfactory manner, although he does not appear to
        have been a lawyer by profession, and was doubtless advised as to technical
        legal questions by the Attorney-General and the judges of the Provincial Court,
        as had been his predecessors, and were to be his successors, during the colonial
        period. He was a large landowner, and had been a member of the Governor's
        Council, and had sat as an associate justice of the Court of Chancery for several
        years. Holland held his first court, April 11, 1720, and five more courts were
        held by him in this and in the following year. His last appearance in the
        Chancery Court was on July 18, 1721 (Chanc. Proc. P. L., 494, 524, 542, 590,
        594, 613, 650). Holland was a member of the Council from 1701 to 1731,
        and as such a judge of the Court of Appeals. He was also a justice of the Pro-
        vincial Court, and its Chief Judge from 1709 to 1721.

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Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-1679
Volume 51, Preface 58   View pdf image (33K)
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