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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)
11 (2015)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi


Page xxviii

INTRODUCTION
doing an about-face by arguing, in Carroll's estimation, that magistrates
were above the law. Carroll compared Governor Eden's proclamation
of 1770 to Charles I's extortion of ship-money, a tax that had been
levied to strengthen naval defenses from alleged pirates. Dulany was on
the defense, and he repeatedly contended that a fundamental differ-
ence existed between fees and taxes. Within the course of the debate
the exchanges became personal, with Dulany arguing that Carroll's Ca-
tholicism made his political views inherently suspect and even untrust-
worthy. Carroll wasted no time calling into question Dulany's veracity.
Could such a man who "Attempts to rouse popular prejudices" be
trusted, Carroll wanted to know. Carroll gave as good as he got, attrib-
uting considerable mischief to Dulany as a minister of government and
arguing that Dulany had corrupted others by his artifices.'7
Aside from highlighting the two men's legal prowess, the Dulany-
Carroll debates attracted significant popular attention in the pages of
the Annapolis Maryland Gazette. The exchange enthralled Marylanders.
By the debate's conclusion, and even before, a large majority of colo-
nists were probably sympathetic with Carroll's critique of bloated gov-
ernment and self-serving ministers. Carroll seized the high ground by
convincing readers that the issue was neither narrow nor legal. The
matter of fees was one that affected their lives, and its importance could
not be overstated if people intended to preserve their liberty against
the unjust-and, in some minds, unlawful-encroachment of powerful
political insiders. Those who sympathized with Carroll's "First Citizen"
won a decisive victory in the elections for members of the House of
Delegates that took place while the debate was raging. The new legis-
lature that met in June 1773, however, was characterized by modera-
tion, with the House merely adopting a resolution condemning the fee
proclamation at the end of the session. The fee issue remained unre-
solved, and the tension between the country and proprietary parties
continued.'8
In 1774, the year following Dulany and Carroll's notable debate, "an
event of immense political importance" occurred in Annapolis harbor:
the burning of the merchant vessel Peggy Stewart. "No other single act
in Maryland," Hoffman argues, "played a greater role in shaping the
attitudes individuals adopted toward the political conflicts both within
the empire and at home." After the imposition of the Tea Act in 1773,
colonists in several towns-Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, in par-
ticular-banded together to oppose imports, and to do so violently if
necessary. Anthony Stewart, partner in a Maryland shipping company
that was in difficult financial straits, recognized the danger in harboring
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