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The Charter of Maryland, June 20, 1632
Volume 549, Page 3   View pdf image (33K)
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by Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist

    George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore, was deeply
committed to founding a colony in the New World.
In 1623 he received a charter for land in Newfound-
land called Avalon. The Charter to Avalon granted
him extensive powers and seemingly secured him a
comfortable existence in America away from the
pressures of Court and growing anti-Catholic
sentiment in England. One harsh winter in New-
foundland was enough to dispel any such hopes. In
August 1629 Calvert wrote King Charles I that he
had "met with greater difficulties" than he had
expected. He lamented that "from the midst of
October to the midst of May there is a sad face of
winter upon all this land. Both sea and land [are] so
frozen for the greatest part of the time." It was im-
possible to fish. Plants would not grow for eight
months of the year and during the winter the air
was "so intolerable as it is hardly to be endured."
Calvert pleaded with the King to grant him lands
in a warmer climate, preferably Virginia, and permit
him to leave "this place to fishermen that are able
to encounter storms and hard weather."

    George Calvert undoubtedly had read Captain
John Smith's account of Virginia. Smith explored
the Chesapeake Bay in 1608. His glowing report
of the region's prospects for settlement, first pub-
lished in 1612, proclaimed it "a country that may
have the prerogrative over the most pleasant place


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The Charter of Maryland, June 20, 1632
Volume 549, Page 3   View pdf image (33K)
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