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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 (2)
12 (2015)

Appendix IV: The Constitutional Convention and the controversy over kingly government,   pp. 820-830


Page 820

Appendix IV
The Constitutional Convention and the
Controversy over Kingly Government
The Maryland General Assembly met in Annapolis in November and De-
cember 1787. On 23 November the House of Delegates requested that the
state's five Constitutional Convention delegates appear before the house on
29 November and report on the Convention's proceedings. Daniel Carroll,
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Luther Martin, and James McHenry appeared
before the house on 29 November, but there is no official record that the fifth
delegate, John Francis Mercer, ever reported. However, a statement made by
Daniel Carroll reveals that Mercer was in Annapolis while the Assembly was
meeting. (See below.)
On 29 November Luther Martin addressed the House of Delegates, describ-
ing three parties in the Constitutional Convention duringJune andJuly 1787.
One party, a "Monarchical Party," wanted to abolish all state governments;
another party sought a government that would favor particular states; and a
final party was "truly Federal, and acting for general Equallity." Martin re-
iterated these ideas in his Genuine Information II, Baltimore Maryland Gazette,
1 January 1788 (RCS:Md., 135-36). On another occasion, he asserted that
Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, who refused to sign the Constitution, believed
that the Constitution would annihilate the states and lead to "the introduction
of a kingly government" (Maryland Journal, 18 January [RCS:Md., 193, 194]).
According to Daniel Carroll, whether or not a party supporting a kingly
government had existed in the Constitutional Convention became an issue
"Some time after the breaking up of the [Maryland General] Assembly" on
17 December 1787. Carroll, who was also a member of the Maryland Senate,
informed James Madison that it had "come to light that Luther Martin in his
Tavern harangues among the members during the sitting of that Assembly had
informed many of them that more than 20 Members of the Convention were
in favor of a Kingly Government, and that he receivd the information from
Mr McHenry who had a list of their names on the 1st printed report of the
Coihittee of Detail [6 August 1787]" (28 May 1788, RCS:Md., 825). The list
indicating those "for" or "against" monarchy had been created byJohn Fran-
cis Mercer on a blank page of his copy of the report of the Committee of
Detail. Martin and McHenry made copies of that list. No list has been found.
The correspondence of the major players printed here reveals that there
was little agreement among them on this issue. McHenry copied the list onto
his printed copy of the Committee of Detail's report. According to McHenry,
when he asked Mercer to explain the meaning of "for" or "against," Mercer
replied that "for" favored a kingly or national government. In a statement that
Mercer made to Daniel Carroll, he denied ever having used either term. Mer-
cer also assured Carroll that he never said that Carroll himself had supported
a kingly government. Martin had publicly reported that Carroll was a monar-
chist, a charge that Carroll greatly resented. In particular, Carroll registered
his resentment on 28 May 1788 in a lengthy letter about Maryland politics that
he wrote to James Madison. (See also Carroll's 11 June letter to his brother
820


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