University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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)
11 (2015)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi


Page xlii

INTRODUCTION
Sea" (i.e., the Pacific Ocean). Maryland considered itself "justly enti-
tled to a right in common with the other members of the Union" to
the "extensive tract of country" to the west of the U.S. frontiers. The
land would be secured from Britain or the Indians "by the blood and
treasure of all" and, for that reason, should "be granted out on terms
beneficial to all the United States."50
Maryland's protest over western lands was the only contentious point
among the state's three resolutions, and some observers, even one of
Maryland's congressional delegates, had doubts whether the state would
succeed in its objection. On 2 March 1778, John Henry, part of Mary-
land's delegation, wrote to Nicholas Thomas, who was then serving as
speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, that he despaired of the
delegates achieving their aim. There was little promise in light of other
states' likely opposition. On 10 March, the date originally established by
Congress for a decision on the Articles, Henry wrote to Governor Thomas
Johnson hoping that the issue of western lands would be decided soon.
He concluded regretfully, "I fear it never will [be decided] in our fa-
vour." In a second letter to Nicholas Thomas, on 17 March, Henry con-
cluded that his fellow delegates had made up their minds on the subject,
suggesting that "all attempts" to invest Congress with power to fix the
states' western boundaries would be "vain and fruitless." The likelihood
that the states would cede their western lands to Congress was not great,
Henry noted. "The bare mentioning of the Subject rouses Virginia, and
conscious of her own importance, she views her vast Dominion with the
surest expectations of holding it unimpaired."5'
Because so few states were represented in Congress in March 1778,
when that body originally called for ratification of the Articles, and
because some delegates had not received instructions from their leg-
islatures, Congress delayed further action on the Articles until 20 June,
when it resolved that the delegates would present their instructions two
days later, on 22 June. At that time no amendments but those presented
by a state would be considered. In anticipation of that date, the Mary-
land Assembly renewed the instructions given at its October session.
The delegates were "bound" by those former instructions, according
to the June session of the legislature, and were unable to ratify the
Articles until the Assembly received a response to its concerns and gave
its delegates "express authority" to ratify.52
On 22 June 1778, Maryland's delegates tendered their instructions
to Congress, and Congress rejected all three amendments. The amend-
ments recommended by six other states were also rejected between 22
and 25 June. Following debate on 25 June, Congress appointed a com-
mittee to draft a form of ratification to appear after Article XIII, the
xlii


Go up to Top of Page