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OLD MARYLAND MANORS.
A striking contrast between the North and the South is presented by the small landholdings of the former and the great estates of the latter. Tracts of thousands of acres were not at all uncommon in colonial Maryland, and sometimes land-grants included even tens of thousands. These great estates had a strong shaping influence on the life of early Maryland. Separating their owners by wide intervals, they prevented that association of interests and feelings that was strong in the towns of the northern colonies. The man who lived in the center of a tract of ten thousand acres must necessarily have been thrown largely upon his own resources for amusement and for culture. The coöperation which makes schools and libraries of easy attainment in a thickly settled community was absent among such people. Consequently education could be obtained only at great cost and inconvenience. The planter who was determined to have his children well taught had to send them abroad, as was done in the case of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.
There were some towns founded in Maryland, it is true, in the earliest days. The vanished city of St. Mary's, the lost Joppa, and others that have disappeared as completely as the "cities of the plain," furnished a stimulus to civilization in some parts of the colony. But in spite of these instances, it is true that most of the life of Maryland in the latter half of the seventeenth and the whole of the eighteenth century, was country life. And it was a country life that presented many analogies to the country life of Englishmen during the same period.
The first generation of Maryland planters led that sort of hand-to-mouth, happy-go-lucky existence that marked the beginning of all the colonies. Until means became adapted to ends, but little comfort and still less culture, were to be found. Many of the earliest settlers of high consideration made their cross-mark on titles, deeds and conveyances. Their ignorance, however, was the knowledge of the class from which the best born of them sprang-the English country gentry of the seventeenth century.
The share of Maryland planters in the conveniences of life does not appear to have been large at first, though even then they made an attempt at good living. In the inventory accompanying the will of Governor Leonard Calvert, the item of a silver sack-cup follows that of two pairs of socks. Sack probably occupied far more personal attention than did wear-ing apparel. Indeed, one of our historians ventures the statement that this potent liquor is oftener mentioned in the records of Maryland than in the pages of Shakespeare. Beds in the early days were lamentably lacking. Travellers either deprived the host of his, or slept upon deer skins or fodder piled upon the floor. All the appointments of a household were necessarily meagre.
But after this early period had passed and Marylanders had learned for good and all of what their soil and their climate were capable, a settled order of things began, which continued into the present century. The life of the Maryland planter of this second period was such as left few traces in the written accounts that have come down to us. In the few letters and journals of the colonial epoch-few, because so rarely the colonists had the knowledge, and more rarely still the taste to write either letters or journals-in these few are to be found historrical suggestions. Of the famous estates of the colonial era, a small number are still in the hands of the descendants of colonial families. An idea of the former condition of things can be obtained by visiting these localities. There are still found the ancient houses, the chapels, the out-buildings, that have
remained from colonial times. There, more clearly than elsewhere, we may see the vestiges of the old aristocratic spirit which has almost disappeared under the democratic attrition. of more than a century. These traces will not last much longer, and if any record of this old system is to be kept, it should be made at once.
The Calverts desired to found in Maryland a new landed aristocracy. Though the "Bill for Baronies" never passed the Assembly, the Proprietor was able to establish manors, and to give to the manorial lords rights of jurisdiction over their tenants. The lord of the manor thus became a person of prime importance. While his wealth as a large landholder gave him one element of consideration, his judicial dignity gave him another.
The reason the settlers consented to the introduction of this system is not hard to find. Our Maryland ancestors, following the example of certain great proprietors, proposed to live in scattered, rural ways, on large estates. The manorial system, which had been used for a like purpose in the old country, lay ready to their hands and they adopted it. Similarly, the men of New England, proposing to live in close communities, adopted the township system. Once taken up, the manorial system became general, so that English manors, English halls, English lords of the manor were scattered all over our State.
In accordance with his charter right,* the Proprietary, in 1636, issued instructions that every two thousand acres given to any adventurer should be erected into a manor, with "a Court Barron and a Court Leet, to be from time to time held within every such mannor respectively." These instructions were repeated many times, and the records are filled with such grants. Capt. George Evelin, Lord of the Manor of Evelinton, in St. Mary's county; Marmaduke Tilden, Lord
* See Charter of Maryland, Art. 19.
Kilty, p. 31. Conditions of Plantation, 1636:
of Great Oak Manor, and Major James Ringgold, Lord of the Manor on Eastern Neck, both in Kent; Giles Brent, Lord of Kent Fort, on Kent Island; George Talbot, of Susquehanna Manor, in Cecil county; these are a few names picked at random. In the Library of the Maryland Historical Society is to be found a conveyance dated 1734 for a parcel of land to be held "as of the Manor of Nanticoke." In the same collection are preserved the rent-roll of Queen Anne's Manor, and a statement of the sale, in 1767, of twenty-seven manors, embracing one hundred thousand acres. In 1776, there were still unsold seventy thousand acres of proprietary manors lying in nine counties. * In the Maryland Reports † is to be found a notable law suit over Anne Arundel Manor. The Proprietor, Lord Frederick Calvert, sought by means of a common recovery to break the entail upon the manor, and thus prevent its passing into the hands of a natural son of the former Proprietor.
At the present day we find many estates called manors. Those that have attracted most notice are My Lady's Manor and Bohemia Manor. At the beautiful and historic seat of the Hon. John Lee Carroll, Doughoregan Manor, the name, the mansion, the chapel, the grounds, all still show surviving evidences of the original state of affairs. But it is with the social side of this system that we are here concerned. Its civic aspect will be treated in a subsequent part of this paper. It is, however, rather the patriarchal than the feudal type of society that is presented at the period we have materials for describing. It is not easy to picture the combined elegance and simplicity of those old homesteads-the appearance they presented of aristocratic state mingled with republican goodfellowship. The entrance to the place was, perhaps, through a wood of old oaks and chestnuts, that had passed their sapling growth a century before George Calvert, first Baron of Balti
* Scharf II., p. 104.
2 Harris & McHenry, p. 279.