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A History of American Christianity by Bacon

Brothers of the lord proprietor


The

first Lord Baltimore died three months before the charter of Maryland received the great seal, but his son Cecilius took up the business with energy and great liberality of investment. The cost of fitting out the first emigration was estimated at not less than forty thousand pounds. The company consisted of "three hundred laboring men, well provided in all things," headed by Leonard and George Calvert, brothers of the lord proprietor, "with very near twenty other gentlemen of very good fashion." Two earnest Jesuit priests were quietly added to the expedition as it passed the Isle of Wight, but in general it was a Protestant emigration under Catholic patronage. It was stipulated in the charter that all liege subjects of the English king might freely transport themselves and their families to Maryland. To discriminate against any religious body in England would have been for the proprietor to limit his hope of rapid colonization and revenue and to embroil himself with political enemies at home. His own and his father's intimate acquaintance with failure in the planting of Virginia and of Newfoundland had taught him what not to do in such enterprises. If the proprietor meant to succeed (and he _did_ mean to) he was shut up without alternative to the policy of impartial non-interference with religious differences among his colonists, and the promotion of mutual forbearance among sects. Lord Baltimore may not have been a profound political philosopher nor a prophet of the coming era
of religious liberty, but he was an adroit courtier, like his father before him, and he was a man of practical good sense engaged in an enormous land speculation in which his whole fortune was embarked, and he was not in the least disposed to allow his religious predilections to interfere with business. Nothing would have brought speedier ruin to his enterprise than to have it suspected, as his enemies were always ready to allege, that it was governed in the interest of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a suspicion he took the most effective means of averting. He kept his promises to his colonists in this matter in good faith, and had his reward in the notable prosperity of his colony.[57:1]

The two priests of the first Maryland company began their work with characteristic earnestness and diligence. Finding no immediate access to the Indians, they gave the more constant attention to their own countrymen, both Catholic and Protestant, and were soon able to give thanks that by God's blessing on their labors almost all the Protestants of that year's arrival had been converted, besides many others. In 1640 the first-fruits of their mission work among the savages were gathered in; the chief of an Indian village on the Potomac nearly opposite Mount Vernon, and his wife and child, were baptized with solemn pomp, in which the governor and secretary of the colony took part.

The first start of the Maryland colony was of a sort to give promise of feuds and border strifes with the neighbor colony of Virginia, and the promise was abundantly fulfilled. The conflict over boundary questions came to bloody collisions by land and sea. It is needless to say that religious differences were at once drawn into the dispute. The vigorous proselytism of the Jesuit fathers, the only Christian ministers in the colony, under the patronage of the lord


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