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Volume 662, Page 32   View pdf image (33K)
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mentary source of revenue. Yet the legality of this branch of his
income was never clearly established, and from time to time it was
publicly challenged.

Apparently the Governor appointed county clerks prior to 1668,
usually in commissions to the local court and without reference
to the Secretary. In 1668, 1669, and 1670 the Governor was him-
self Secretary; and from that time until 1682/3 he appointed
county clerks at the Secretary's nomination and during that officer's
pleasure. 8 After 1682/3 the Secretary himself appointed the
clerks except in rare emergencies. However, under His Lordship's
orders of February 22, 1738/9, and later, such appointments re-
quired the Governor's approval. Under further orders of April
17, 1754, the clerks were to hold office only during Baltimore's
pleasure. 9 The state Constitution of 1776 was to give the appoint-
ment of such clerks to the justices of each county court.

The Secretary's sale of clerkships began in the first proprietary
period, for we find that, as early as 1671, Secretary Sir William
Talbot could grant his deputy " the liberty to sell, vend and dis-
pose of any County Clerk's Place.... " 10 Although this practice
was forbidden to Sir Thomas Lawrence, the first Crown Secretary,
he chose to continue it. 11 However, in the eighteenth century, as
the clerk's tenure became more secure and long incumbencies
became the rule, opportunities for sale of these offices became less
frequent. When a clerkship did fall vacant, the Secretary might
give it away to a friend or relative, or sell it to someone else for
a sum proportionate to its value. 12

In his instructions of December 21, 1691, Secretary Lawrence
was allowed, because he had to give security for the clerk's be-
havior, " to receive yearly a fee or Gratuity of the tenth part of
one years Value... of each place from such Clerks as shall be
nominated by him, the said Value to be estimated by the Governor
and Council upon a vacancy. " 13 Actually Sir Thomas demanded

8 Cf. Ibid., V, 87-89.

9 Ibid., XL, 595; Calvert Paper No. 525 (MS. Md. Historical Society).

10 Archives, V, 89.

11 Indeed Sir Thomas valued the mere disposition of clerkships at £ 1000 sterling.
Cf. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1689-92, art. 2562; 1693-96, art. 263;
Archives, VIII, 384-86, 401-03, 409; XXVII, 435; XXIX, 64.

12 The practices of Deputy Secretary Edmund Jenings (1733-54) and Deputy
Secretary Benjamin Tasker (1756-60) are described in Daniel Dulany, "The Case
of Mr. Dennis Dulany, " 1760 (Dulany Papers, Md. Historical Society).

13 Archives, VIII, 409.


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