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 Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 18   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space

         xviii                Introduction.

         ceeding admissions were in the usual form: Richard Carville sworn in, Decem-
         ber 14, 1669; Thomas Jones and Keneim Cheseldyne of St. Mary's County,
         April i 2, 1670; Matthew Ward of Talbot County, George Parker of Calvert
         County, and Vincent Lowe, on December 13, 1670, and on the same day Lowe
         was sworn in as the new Attorney-General; and John Rousby of Calvert
         County, December 17, 1670. We thus find that seventeen attorneys were
         admitted to practice in the higher courts of the Province in this five year period.
         Attorneys of the court, like the justices, when they were litigants, had a pre-
         ferred status in their own courts, and we find writs issued in their interest styled
         “writs of privilege”.
          With the institution of a professional bar the names of casual practitioners
         in the higher courts disappear from the record. Beginning with the period
         covered by this record, Morecroft and Jenifer at first, the latter then the clerk,
         largely monopolized practice before the Provincial Court. During the five
         years covered by our record, Morecroft appears in almost every important suit,
         and it may be added won nearly all of those in which he figured. Jenifer's
         name ranks next to Morecroft's, with William Calvert, Notley, Rozer, and
         Carville following with about the same proportion of cases, and with the
         remainder trailing rather far behind. Beginning with the year 1669 when
         separate record books began to be kept for the same justices sitting as the
         Provincial Court and as the Court of Chancery, although attorneys were
         sworn in separately in each of the two courts, the same men are to be found
         practicing in both.
          In the county courts where civil cases involving not more than 3000 pounds
         of tobacco might be heard, the qualifications for practice at this period were
         under less rigid control; and it was not until 1674 that there was passed an
         act to correct abuses of persons practicing as “Attorneys, Councillors, & Soli-
         citors at Law in this Province”. Prior to this date various individuals, usually
         more or less prominent planters in their several communities, represented
         litigants in the county courts, and are to be considered rather attorneys-in-fact
         than attorneys at law, although frequently, especially in the counties near St.
         Mary's City, attorneys practicing before the provincial courts appeared in
         county courts. The act of 1674, just cited, provided that only those admitted
         to practice by the Governor or by the courts of each county, should have the
         privilege of practicing in Maryland courts (Arch. Md. II; 409). This act
         was obviously not directed towards practice in the courts at St. Mary's City
         where the Governor and Council were in complete control, but to the distant
         county courts where supervision was more difficult.
          Attorneys appeared in court only to represent litigants in civil suits. It was
         not until the next century that those brought into court on criminal charges
         could be represented by counsel. An example of the improved status of an
         attorney came up in an interesting way in the case of Chivers vs. Gunby at
         the February, 1668/9, session of the Provincial Court, when the defendant
         himself came into court, his attorney not being then present, and confessed
         judgment in a suit for debt. The plaintiff's attorney, Daniel Jenifer, however,
         refused to agree to this procedure, and insisted that this “bee done by an

clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 18   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