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St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

"...for the good and happy Government"

Governing

 
 
"...for the good and happy Government" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. "...for the good and happy Government" Marker
Inscription.  In 1632, King Charles I granted proprietorship of the Maryland colony to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. As Proprietor, Calvert was the sole owner. The carter gave him the powers necessary to defend, develop, administer and fully govern his province as he saw fit, but the laws and structure of government had to be similar to those in England.

An Assembly governed the colony. It had two houses, similar to that of England's Houses of Lords and Commons. The Governor and his Council, both appointed by the Proprietor, acted as the Upper House. Free men representing each county gathered as the Lower House.

No laws could be made or repealed without consent of both houses of the Assembly. The Assembly had various powers including the ability to levy taxes, which were based on the number of men—servant, free, or enslaved—in each household. The topic of taxation often sparked furious debate at the Assembly's meeting in St. Mary's City.

[Captions:]
The original State House was the meeting place for the Upper and Lower Houses of the Assembly who determined legislation for the colony.
"...for the good and happy Government" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
2. "...for the good and happy Government" Marker
The building was also the home of the Provincial Court, which heard trials for major crimes and civil actions. Colonists came to the State House to register documents such as land records, wills, and inventories with the clerk. Public arms and gunpowder for the militia were kept under lock and key in the attic.

The 1632 Charter of Maryland specified the powers and responsibilities granted to the Proprietor by the King.

Because labor was scarce in colonial Maryland, punishments tended to impose humiliation, through branding or whipping, rather than death.

Early residents frequently settled their disputes in the courts. Cases involving charges for pig theft and slander were common.

All eligible men between the ages of 16 and 66 could be called for militia duty for the protection of the colony. Today, Historic St. Mary's City's volunteers militia re-enactors include families and individuals who participate in special events at the museum.

"...the said ordinances [new laws of Maryland] be consonant to Reason and be not repugnant nor contrary, but (so far as conveniently may be done) agreeable to the Laws, Statutes, or Rights of our Kingdom of England: And so that the same Ordinances do not in any Sort, extend to oblige, bind, charge, or take away the Right or Interest of any person or Persons..."
Maryland's
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Charter granted by King Charles I to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, 1637


[Timeline:]
1632 Maryland Charter Granted
1634 140 Colonists Arrive in Maryland
1661 Calvert House Becomes First Official State House
1676 Brick State House Built
1685 Protestant Rebellion in Maryland
1692 First Royal Governor Arrives in Maryland
1695 Capital Moves to Annapolis

 
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
 
Location. 38° 11.18′ N, 76° 26.074′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Old State House Road west of Point Lookout Road (Maryland Route 5), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 47414 Old State House Road, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Welcome to the Waterfront (a few steps from this marker); Watery Highways (within shouting distance of this marker); Out the Door (within shouting distance of this marker); Upon This Shore (within shouting distance of this marker); "have Their houses near the Watters" (within shouting distance of this marker); All Things Fit for a Capital
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to the Maryland Dove (within shouting distance of this marker); Taking Sail, Taking Chances (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
 
Categories. Colonial EraSettlements & Settlers
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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