controverted; that the earlier license to traffic did not
vest in Clayborne
any rights which were valid against the charter; and therefore that the Isle of Kent
belonged absolutely to Lord Baltimore, who alone could permit plantations to be established, or commerce with the Indians to be conducted, within the limits of his territory.1
Yet the people of Maryland
were not content with vindicating the limits of their province; they were jealous of their liberties.
The charter had secured to them the right of advising and approving in legislation.
Did Lord Baltimore alone possess the right of originating laws?
The people of Maryland
rejected the code which the proprietary, as if holding the exclusive privilege of proposing statutes, had prepared for their government; and, asserting their equal rights of legislation, they, in their turn, enacted a body of laws, which they proposed for the assent of the proprietary:—so uniformly active in America
was the spirit of popular liberty.
How discreetly it was exercised, cannot now be known; for the laws, which were then enacted, were never ratified, and are therefore not to be found in the provincial records.2
In the early history of the United States
, nothing is
more remarkable than the uniform attachment of each colony to its franchises; and popular assemblies burst every where into life with a consciousness of their importance, and an immediate capacity for efficient legislation.
The first assembly of Maryland had vindicated the jurisdiction of the colony; the second had asserted its claims to original legislation; the third,