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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)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi

Page xxxviii

members from the Eastern Shore to make their way home. The Senate
questioned the House's support for a bill that would, in the Senate's
estimation, only enrich speculators and other unscrupulous persons,
who would acquire properties on too lenient terms. The Senate again
rejected a confiscation bill from the House in the April session of
In January 1781, when the Senate finally conceded to a bill providing
for the confiscation of Loyalists' property, senators stipulated by amend-
ment that debts owed to British citizens and Loyalists would be ex-
empted from confiscation. In other words, Americans could not justly
escape paying their debts because of the ongoing conflict. The question
of debts owed to British citizens brought with it a unique problem.
Would debts paid in depreciated continental currency be held as legit-
imate? A "black list" including the names of men who paid depreciated
currency into the Maryland treasury in 1781 aroused contention
throughout the state and played into Maryland politics up to April
1788, when elections to the state ratifying convention were held. Once
the two houses agreed on a bill, the sale of Loyalist properties in Mary-
land was initially entrusted to three commissioners. Following the res-
ignation of several commissioners, the sale of the property would be
put in the hands of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, who was serving as
intendant of the revenue and, after that post had been terminated, as
special agent of Maryland's governor and council. The confiscated es-
tates, the bulk of which would be sold before 1788, were sold under
Jenifer's tenure in these two positions.40
By the mid-1780s, Maryland's confiscation of Loyalist estates had
grown entangled with the issues of paper money and debt relief in the
state. "Paper money and debtor relief were the major political issues
in Maryland during the mid-1780s," writes Gregory Stiverson. The sen-
sitive nature of these already complicated fiscal and political questions
was exacerbated by the debt associated with the sale of Loyalist estates.
Disputes over the issues were primarily legislative in nature, and they
developed in a way that eventually led to government stalemate. The
Senate, which was not directly elected by the people, and the House
of Delegates, which was more accountable through annual direct elec-
tions, repeatedly found themselves in conflict over debt relief, much as
they had been during the stalemate over confiscation. Conflict between
the two houses was heightened by a general state of tension about the
postwar economy, particularly the burden of wartime debts and the
hardship of redeeming paper currency that had been issued to fund
the war. Additionally, the weight of a nationwide depression was crush-
ing the potential for economic development in all the states.41

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