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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 xxxiii

INTRODUCTION
backlash. Maryland's elites, many of them merchants, had much to lose
from the uncertainty of conflict. Broken commercial ties could easily
jeopardize the health of the up-and-coming community.26
The Ninth Convention that was called to draft Maryland's state con-
stitution began its work on 14 August 1776. Three days later, the del-
egates "took into consideration the resolution of congress declaring
the United Colonies free and independent states" and then "unani-
mously" resolved that the "convention will maintain the freedom and
independency of the United States with their lives and fortunes." Im-
mediately thereafter, Samuel Chase moved that "a committee be ap-
pointed to prepare a declaration on and charter of rights, and a plan
of government agreeable to such rights." By day's end, the Convention
"proceeded to ballot" for a committee to draft a plan of government
and a declaration and charter of rights. Matthew Tilghman, a delegate
from Talbot County who had been unanimously elected as president
of the Convention, along with representatives of Maryland's commer-
cial interests-Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Charles Carroll, Barrister,
William Paca, George Plater, Robert Goldsborough, and Chase-com-
prised the seven-man committee.27
On 27 August 1776, George Plater reported a declaration and char-
ter of rights, and about two weeks later, on 10 September, he presented
a constitution and form of government. After three weeks of delibera-
tion, on 3 November, Maryland's delegates agreed to a slightly amended
form of the declaration of rights, and five days later, on 8 November,
the Convention "having gone through the form of government para-
graph by paragraph," the constitution was adopted in a form that varied
negligibly from the committee's original draft. Aside from the Conven-
tion's selection of a council of safety on 10 November, the Convention's
last major action, on 11 November, was to order that the declaration
of rights and constitution "be immediately printed" and disseminated
to each of Maryland's counties-twenty-two copies to each county "by
express." The Convention also ordered that its journal be printed "as
soon as conveniently may be" and be sent to each of the Convention
delegates. The Constitution was not submitted to the people for their
assent. For this reason among others, Maryland's constitution of 1776
represented, in Philip Crowl's words, "the most conservative of all of
the state constitutions framed in 1776-1777."28
Maryland Under the Constitution of 1776
The Maryland constitution provided for a bicameral legislature, the
General Assembly, which was to meet at least once a year, on the first
Monday in November, and consisted of the Senate and the House of
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