Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

and power to determine the western boundary of such States as claim to the Mississippi and lay out the land beyond this boundary into separate and independenț States from time to time, as the number and circumstances of the people may require. This would compel Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts to surrender their claims to the vast interior and thus create a domain to be owned by the Confederacy until new States grew up and should be admitted into it. Maryland alone voted for this bold centralization. The States protested against the attitude of Maryland. Here and there leading men were heard to threaten to divide the little State on the Chesapeake among her neighbors and then declare the confederation complete.

All other States had ratified the Articles when, in May, 1779, Maryland again communicated to the Congress her unalterable resolve not to concur until she received definite assurances that the Northwest Territory should become the common property of the United States, “subject to be parceled out by Congress into free, convenient, and independent governments.” New York first yielded. Daniel Carroll and JOHN HANSON, from Maryland, persistently pressed this demand of their State, and in September, 1780, Congress, yielding, recommended all States claiming Western lands to cede them to the Confederation. A month later Congress advanced further, and adopted the Maryland plan, declaring that from the ceded lands in due season sovereign States, like the thirteen, should be admitted into the Union.

Virginia and Connecticut yielded their claims and long after Massachusetts abandoned her shadowy claims to the Western lands. The area of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio thus became the common property of the Confederation. And so HANSON and Daniel Carroll, after this triumph had been secured largely by their efforts, signed the Articles of Confederation. It was Maryland that during the period of HASON's service led the way to acquire a national domain, and thus laid broad and deep the foundation of our Federal Union. For his share in this pregnant service John HANSON's name will be associated forever with laying the corner stone of our great nation. Out of this first ordinance grew the Ordinance of 1784, and later the great Ordinance of 1787, and later the Constitution and the United States of America. For this act alone JOHN HANSON is worthy of his place in the goodly com pany gathered in the old Hall of Representatives. The confederation of the States was now complete, and on November 5, 1781, JOHN HANSON was elected the first president of the Congress of the Confederation.

This elevation to the Presidency was a signal compliment and a great honor to Maryland. It has a much larger meaning as we look back now over the stately procession of the great Commonwealths successively entering the Union. The persistent refusal of Maryland to consent to the Confederation until she won from her reluctant associated States consent that the western territory should be dedicated to the Union, made smooth the pathway for Vermont, Kentucky, and Maine to enter the Union as independent States, carved out of the magnificent domain Maryland directly secured to the Union, the great Commonwealths of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and determined for all coming time that the after acquired territory of the United States should in due time by Congress be fashioned and admitted as States, augmenting the power of the Republic and the grandeur of the American Union.

By this election to the Presidency of Congress John HANSON became in a political sense the foremost person in the United States, and represented its dignity. His title was “President of the United States in Congress assembled.” After the decisive victory at Yorktown President HANSON had the felicity to welcome General Washington and present him to Congress, then sitting in Philadelphia.

On November 4, 1782, President HANSON's term expired. The war was ended, the last British soldier was soon to sail away from New York. Peace was in sight. At 68 years of age HANSON was worn out in the public service. His health was broken. He refused to accept further public service. He died November 22, 1783, in the State he loved, and his State, one hundred and twenty years after his death, bestows upon his name the highest honor whereby an American State can commemorate an illustrious citizen.

CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON.

CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton was born at Annapolis, September 19, 1737. His grandfather, Charles Carroll, the attorney-general of the province, came over to Maryland in 1688. His father, Charles Carroll, was one of the richest men of his day and country. It was the custom of wealthy colonists to send their sons over the sea for education and trave'. So young CARROLL, sent as a boy of eleven years to the Jesuit College at St. Omers, and later to colleges at Rheims and Paris, was a student at the Temple in London at twenty. Eight years of London life to an accomplished young colonist, who at the “Crown and Anchor" more than once met Dr. Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds, now and then dined with Burke, heard Charles Fox expatiate upon liberty, or time and again listened to the eloquence and saw Parliament bow before the greatness of the elder Pitt, inspired young CARROLL with the ideals of the noblest Englishmen. He came home to Annapolis at twentyeight years of age. The news of the stamp act of 1765 soon stirred with unwonted anger against their King the pleasureloving colonists of the little capital and of the province.

Young CARROLL had been strongly moved by the words of Pitt, the first English orator whose words were a power over Parliament, over the nation, and over the colonies. Though passionate, Pitt's eloquence was the eloquence of a statesman. Perchance the law student at the Temple had sat in the gallery and heard Pitt's trumpet tongue declare “Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power. The taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation the three estates of the realm are alike concerned; but the concurrence of the peers and Crown is only necessary to clothe it with the form of law. The gift and grant is of the Commons alone."

When the wave of good feeling after the repeal of the stamp act had been rudely checked by Charles Townshend's threepence tax on tea, young CARROLL must have rejoiced that Pitt had said: “In my opinion this Kingdom has no right to lay a tax on the colonies. America is almost in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted.”

Already one of the wealthiest of the colonists, CARROLL'S religion debarred him from holding office. The Sons of Liberty were organized. CARROLL joined them. He wore homespun. He counseled resistance to tyranny, and in a discussion with Daniel Dulaney, the ablest lawyer in the colony, CARROLL, in a series of letters signed “First Citizen,” won a signal victory over his brilliant adversary and a high place in public confidence, ranking as a popular leader alongside Chase, Paca, and Stone.

Annapolis, at the mouth of the beautiful Severn, under sunny skies in a mild climate, had grown to be one of the centers of social life and refinement on the continent. Ships from all lands came to its harbor and brought to the young city the chief trade of the Province. Theaters, race courses, balls, and social assemblies spread the fame of the enjoyable life at the Maryland capital. The wealthy planters wintered there in capacious mansions. The officials of the province, with the popular Governor Eden at their head, extended their hospitality to make life joyous.

The provincial assembly, the assize, and higher courts added features to the life. From other colonies visitors came and lingered, and among them now and then was Col. George Washington. Daniel Dulaney, unrivaled lawyer and scholar, lived here. William Pinkney, the foremost orator and lawyer of his time and country, was here growing to manhood. Charles Wilson Peale, born here, had returned from England to this wealthy capital of a fruitful land to paint the portraits of Maryland's gentry and the worthies of the Revolution. The wide circles, the narrow streets, with enduring brick mansions of the time of the Georges, still leave Annapolis the most quaint and interesting capital in our country, as it is among the most beautiful. May these historic landmarks survive the perils of its present rapid growth.

On October 19, 1774, when the people of the neighboring counties thronged in Annapolis and denounced "the Boston port bill,” the brig Peggy Stewart, from London, came into port with 2,000 pounds of tea. In June the provincial assembly had forbidden all importations of “that detestable weed, tea.” The irritated populace threatened violence to Anthony Stewart, the owner; Williams, the consignee, and the ship itself. Stewart and Williams confessed to the people's committee that they had been guilty of a daring insult, an act of the most pernicious tendency, to the leaders of America," and offered to burn the tea. When they sought aid from CHARLES CARROJ.L of Carrollton he promptly advised that Stewart must set fire to both ship and tea. So Stewart reluctantly went on board and set fire to his ship, and with her sails set and colors flying, in the presence of the patriotic multitude, the Peggy Stewart burned to the water's edge. In Maryland the 19th of October is a holiday to commemorate the day when pacific Maryland placed herself in line with stubborn Boston and Massachusetts Bay. In December news of the burning of the Peggy Stewart reached London, to the great alarm of the merchants of Threadneedle street, and the House of Commons began to take America inore seriously.

In January, 1775, CARROLL became a member of the first committee of observation at Annapolis, and was elected a delegate to represent Anne Arundel County in the provincial convention, which soon named him upon the committee of safety.

S. Doc. 13- 2

« ПредишнаНапред »