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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (1)
(2015)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi


Page xxxvii

INTRODUCTION
did not impress Loyalists in Worcester and Somerset, both counties on
the Eastern Shore, where insurrection eventually erupted in February
1777 and lasted at least until April. General William Smallwood of
Charles County, Maryland, later the governor under whom the state
adopted the U.S. Constitution, was directed by Congress to assist Mary-
land's General Assembly in quelling the Eastern Shore disturbances.
Some Worcester and Somerset Loyalists doubted that the Revolution
would last, and they sent their wives and children to weather the storm
in New York, where British troops remained stationed for the duration
of the war. Others removed to Britain. Because of their location, Loy-
alists on the Eastern Shore benefited from a degree of British protec-
tion, and they in turn aided the British cause in Maryland, resorting
to arms and providing counsel to British commanders. Many other
Maryland Loyalists, particularly those who once held high posts in the
colonial government and a significant contingent of Anglican clergy,
abandoned the fray early on and made their way to Great Britain, per-
haps hoping to return one day. Those Loyalists who left risked signifi-
cant economic loss. Some who stayed shared their fate.37
As early as November 1777, Congress recommended that the states
confiscate and sell off Loyalists' property. The basis of a resolution that
emerged in Congress on 27 November was that Loyalists had forfeited
not only their property, real and personal, by allying with Britain in the
civil war, but also had given up "the right to the protection of their
respective states." The protection of property was not owed to those
who purportedly turned their backs on the American cause. Congress
went a step further, though. In the same resolution it advocated that
proceeds from the sale of Loyalist estates be invested in "continental
loan office certificates." Loyalists would not simply lose their property,
but the sale of their property would be one of several ways to finance
the American war effort. The violation of property rights did not sit well
with some Marylanders, especially members of the elite state Senate.
The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate found themselves locked
in a perennial dispute on opposite sides of the question of confiscation
following the congressional resolution.38
Between 1779 and 1780, the two houses of the Maryland Assembly
could not agree on the confiscation of Loyalist properties. The House
had unanimously supported a confiscation bill in December 1779, and
the Senate rejected the "extraordinary" bill on the grounds of insuf-
ficient time for debate, which an "abstruse, difficult, and important"
matter deserved. Circumstances had prevented the bill from receiving
"more mature deliberation." Inclement winter weather might soon im-
pede travel across the Chesapeake, and the Senate adjourned to allow
XXXV11


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