The Negro in Maryland: A Study of the Institution of Slavery

The Negro in Maryland: A Study of the Institution of Slavery

The Negro in Maryland: A Study of the Institution of Slavery

The Negro in Maryland: A Study of the Institution of Slavery

Excerpt

The Colony of Maryland was settled in 1634, under the proprietary government of Lord Baltimore. The royal charter, we may mention as passing, spoke not only of the spread of English territory, but, as charters usually did, of the zeal of the founder for spreading religion among a savage people who knew not God. The right to initiate all laws was soon secured to the Assembly by the Proprietor, and, although legislation remained subject to veto, the authorities in England interfered little in those internal affairs of the Colony which interest us most. Several cases of this interference we shall have to note, later. We begin with the little settlement, of some few hundred persons, about St. Mary's, on a peninsula by the lower Potomac. There met the Governor, the appointee and representative of the Proprietor, the half dozen councilmen, and the freemen or their representatives, in assembly.

The colonists at once, on landing, met with the Indians, a heathen race unknown to them in England. These pagans, as the white men called them, seemed friendly, and intercourse between the races began auspiciously. But the Indian saw with aversion the spread of the settlement, and the whites lost property and finally even a few lives at their hands. In 1639, it was declared a penal offence for anyone, without the consent of the government, to leave the English plantations . . .

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