Confiscations of Loyalists' Holdings documents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of one bound holographic ledger containing copies of petitions from citizens who hoped to purchase lots and estates in Maryland, 1787-1801. The properties named in the petitions were those formerly held by persons loyal to the British crown during the period of the American Revolution. There are 76 pages in the ledger, all legible, except for damage in the front. One page of the index appears to have damage from fire.
Location and descriptions of confiscated properties are given in the petitions, and they are largely listed in chronological order. The inquiries were addressed to Randolph B. Latimer, agent for the State of Maryland, and to John Eager Howard, governor. If a property was sold or if there was a question relating to the legality of confiscation, that information is noted.
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Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
In 1779, during the war for independence from Great Britain, many states in the newly formed United States of America found the cost of prosecuting the war to be overwhelming. As the cost of war escalated and resources were strained, the new American patriots advocated confiscation of property of those persons who remained loyal to the royal cause. Many wealthy men in Maryland were known to have given aid to the British, and some legislators began an effort to confiscate their estates as "spoils of war."
In 1780, the public debt in Maryland had risen to $23,700,000, an amount impossible to raise by taxation. Petitions were received in the Maryland Assembly from all parts of the state urging the adoption of a law allowing for the legal seizure of property owned by the loyalists. Among the legislators who strongly opposed the bill were Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1732-1832), Matthew Tilghman, William Hindman (1743-1822), and Joseph Sim. Advocates for the bill included T. B. Worthington, Richard Barnes, and Upton Sheredine.
A bill for the confiscation of British property was passed by both Houses of the Maryland Legislature in October 1780. Another Act was passed appointing William Paca (1740-1799), Uriah Forrest, and Clement Hollyday "Commissioners to preserve confiscated British property," and all property belonging to persons outlawed for treason. Various other Acts were passed for the sale of confiscated British property, and one to continue the "treble tax" on non-jurors or those who refused "to take the oath or affirmation required by the Act for the better security of the government."
0.32 Cubic Feet (1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches))
Language of Materials
The collection consists of one bound holographic ledger (1787-1801) containing copies of petitions from citizens who hoped to purchase lots and estates in Maryland formerly held by persons loyal to the British crown during the period of the American Revolution.
The collection was transferred from Rare Books in 1995. The Accession Number is 95-96.9.
- Maryland. General Assembly. Proceedings of the two Houses of Assembly of the state of Maryland, on the subject of confiscation of British property. [microform] Annapolis: Printed by Frederick Green, printer to the state . (Micro-fiche C no. 1240 Evans 16830)
- Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Maryland. Vol. II. Hatboro, Pennsylvania: Tradition Press, 1967. (F 181 .S 31 1967)
Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in March 1996.
- Confiscations of Loyalists' Holdings documents
- Language of description
- Script of description
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