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[255] almost as feeble as that of the king. The other colo-
Chap VII.}
nies took advantage of the period to secure and advance their liberties: in Maryland, the effect was rather to encourage the insubordination of the restless; and Clayborne was able to excite an insurrection.
1644
Early in 1645, the rebels were triumphant; unpre-
1645
pared for an attack, the governor was compelled to fly, and more than a year elapsed before the assistance
1646 Dec.
of the well-disposed could enable him to resume his power and restore tranquillity. The insurgents distinguished the period of their dominion by disorder and misrule, and most of the records were then lost or embezzled.1 Peace was confirmed by the wise clemency
1647 to 1649
of the government; the offences of the rebellion were concealed by a general amnesty;2 and the province was rescued, though not without expense,3 from the distresses and confusion which had followed a short but vindictive and successful insurrection.

The controversy between the king and the par-

1649 April
liament advanced; the overthrow of the monarchy seemed about to confer unlimited power in England upon the imbittered enemies of the Romish church; and, as if with a foresight of impending danger, and an earnest desire to stay its approach, the Roman Catholics of Maryland, with the earnest concurrence of their governor and of the proprietary, determined to place upon their statute-book an act for the religious
April 21.
freedom which had ever been sacred on their soil. ‘And whereas the enforcing of the conscience in matters of religion’—such was the sublime tenor of a part of the statute—‘hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in those commonwealths where it ’

1 Bacon's Preface. Chalmers, 217, 218. Burk, II. 112. McMacon, 202.

2 Bacon, 1650, c. XXIV.

3 Ibid. 1649. c. IX.

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