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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1670/1-1675
Volume 65, Preface 12   View pdf image (33K)
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           of the opening of each session shows that this was the case. The Court was
           “to Keepe the peace in the Province of Maryland aforesaid, moreover to
           heare and Determine diverse fellonyes & transgressions and other misdemeanors
           in the said Province perpetrated” (post, pp. 1, 8, 11, 16, 22, 30, 33, 43, 58).
           It is true that these criminal sessions occupy the final forty-eight folios in
           Liber JJ of the Court records, but this is due to the Court itself; the clerk
           did no more than take advantage of a fact. In Liber MM there is but one
           mention of criminal cases (post, p. 91) and none of the recorded openings of the
           Court speaks of them. All the cases heard from then on were civil, and the greater
           part of them were some form of debt. Most of the cases were original: there
           are only seven cases coming up on appeal and three on writ of error. This is
           less than half the number recorded in the sessions immediately preceding
           (Archives, LVII, p. xxiii). No cases at all were appealed from Anne Arundel,
           Baltimore, Charles, Kent, Talbot and Worcester Counties.
             The Court consisted of the Governor and Chief Justice and nine other
           justices, but the sessions were seldom, indeed, never, attended by all the mem
           bers. On one occasion nine in all were present; at no other time were there more
           than six. To constitute a session, there must be at least four members present
           (post, p. 91), of whom one must be a member of the quorum. Of twenty ses
           sions, the Governor and William Calvert were present at seventeen, and Baker
           Brooke at fourteen. Only Chancellor Philip Calvert was always in attendance.
           William Talbot, who returned to England in 1673 and did not come hack, came
           to court only twice. Thomas Taylour, who appeared for the first time on
           April TO, 1673 (post, p. 91), came to only three more sessions. He was sheriff of
           Dorchester County; perhaps that explains his absence from Court sessions on the
           western shore. Thomas Truman, who attended seven sessions, did not come
           at all after February 1674/5, though he did not cease to be a member of the
           Court. Edward Fitzherbert, sworn in on December 15, 1670 (Archives, LVII,
           576) was regular in his attendance until December io, 1672, when he seems
           to have left the Court. Samuel Chew, of Anne Arundel, was intermittent and
           infrequent in his attendance though he did not cease to be a member of the
           Court until 1677. Dr. Jesse Wharton, who does not appear until December 10,
           1672, attended regularly until the end of this period.
             The clerk of the Court when the February 1670/1 session began was
           Robert Ridge!y, who took the oath of office on January 19, 1670/1 (Archives,
           V, 82), succeeding Thomas Cabewood (or Cakewood), discharged for mis
           demeanor. The clerk was also register of the Court of Chancery, keeper of the
           lesser seal and chief clerk of the secretary's office (ibid., pp. 88-90). He was
           an attorney of the Provincial Court, and he appeared before it in that capacity,
           both while he was clerk and after he left the clerkship.
             On March 23, 1673/4, John Blomfeild took the oath of office to succeed
           Ridgely as clerk (ibid., 124). He had been clerk earlier, from May 5, 1669 to
           July 21, 1670, and he had been removed because he was “unfit any Longer to
           be employed in that Office by Breach of the Peace and other misdemeanors”
           (ibid., p. 66). Like the justices themselves the clerk of the Court was a man
           of many offices. He was “chief Clerk . . . of the Secretaries Office Provin

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1670/1-1675
Volume 65, Preface 12   View pdf image (33K)
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