The Foundations of American Nationality

By Evarts Boutell Greene | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE CHESAPEAKE COLONIES, 1632 TO 1688

WHILE Virginia was taking shape as a royal province, a different experiment was tried across the Potomac. The overthrow of the Virginia Company did not after all mean a complete change in English policy. In a long series of colonial charters, Charles I and Charles II gave away to private individuals or corporations the right to govern English subjects in the New World. Of the proprietary provinces thus established, one of the most important was Maryland, given in 1632 to Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, who in that year secured by a royal charter certain rights already promised to his father. It was this father, George, first Lord Baltimore, who was the real originator of the Maryland colony.

Proprietary provinces.

The Maryland charter.

George Calvert was an Oxford graduate, a successful courtier, a member of the court party in Parliament, and finally in 1619 one of the King's "principal secretaries of state." His chance of a career in politics was closed later by his conversion to Catholicism, for the oath of supremacy administered to officeholders would have required him to renounce the authority of the Pope; but he found some compensation for this sacrifice in the continued good will of King Charles, who gave him a place in the Irish peerage as Baron Baltimore. Meantime he had shown in various ways his interest in trade and colonization, having been associated with the East India Company, the Virginia Company, and the Council for New England. After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a province of his own in

George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore.

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