|The Maryland Protestant Revolution of 1689
Charges and Counter Charges
Last updated 25 Mar 2005
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In the summer of 1689, the Rev. Col. John COODE, an ordained minister of the Church of England, forever changed the course of Maryland's history - whether from religious fanaticism, greed or political power still unknown (most likely a combination of all three?). On the other hand, there's no debating that his tactics were brilliant, that he moved swiftly, decisively and very successfully in his quest to reclaim the province of Mary-Lande for the new Protestant King. By late 169, however, it is possible that the anti-Coode Protestants were making headway given that their numbers in London were growing, as were their charges, and it may even be this which was the primary purpose for the Rev. Col. John Coode himself having set sail for England sometime in 1690.
The humble Petition of several of your Maties
Loyal Protestant Subjects, and ancient Inhabitants
of your Province of Maryland, and lately from
thence here arrived, in behalf of themselves and
most of the Inhabitants of the said Province.
That your Petrs have for many years enjoy'd the blessing of Peace under the mild Government of the Lord Baltemore and his Father and have been equal partakers of their Justice as well as favours with your Majties subjects there of other perswasions, untill of late your Petrs have been by the malicious designs and wicked Practices of one John COODE and his Accomplices disturbed and deprived of their long continued happiness and yor Majties peaceable and Dutifull subjects have been most barbarously and inhumanly treated by them, having not only in a Tumultuous manner wrested the Government into their owne hands, seizing the Publick Records wherein is the security of your Petitioners Estates and reposing them in the hands of unfitt persons that arbitrarily seized and plundered your Petr's estates and imprisoned their Persons to the ruine of themselves and families, and have violently perverted the Laws of the Province having done what their own wicked Wills suggested which they maintain by force seeking to shelter their oppressions from your Majesties Ears by covering their Actions with the pretence of Zeale for your Majties service, not regarding your Majesties gracious coffiands by your Royal Letter of the first of February in the first year of your Reigne for the preservation of the peace of the said Province; and unjustly stileing those who will not join with them Traytors to your MLs Government Notwithstanding your Petitionrs (as like wise several hundreds of your Majesties Protestant subjects of that your Province and who abhor the Actions of the said Coode and his Complices) no sooner received notice of your Majesties happy Accession to the Crowne but that they shewed themselves with all possible Demonstrations of Joys and only waited your Majesties Orders for your being proclaimed, The Declaration of the said Coode. and eight more persons, which he falsely says to be that of your Majestie's Protestant subjects of Maryland being most notoriously false as were also the subscriptions to the Addresses they presented to your Majtic forged as your Petitioner can make appear; Which persons have also levied Taxes on us illegally. Those and many other grievances and Irregularities which are set forth in several Addresses of your Majties subjects of that your Province (and here ready in all humble manner to be tendred to your Majtie) will inevitably in a short time bring that your Mats flourishing Province into Ruine and Confusion, unless your Majtie shall in your princely wisdom interpose your Royall Authority to put a stop thereto.
Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray your Majtie That you will graciously be pleased to give your Orders that the said John COODE together with one Kenelm CHESELYN, who is one of his Accomplices and are both now here in London. may be sent for before your Majtie to answer the Complaints occasioned by the aforesaid oppressions of your Petitioner, and that your Majtie will be pleased to grant such Redress to your Petr against the said COODE and his Accomplices as upon making appear our said Grievances to your Majtie your Majtie in your Princely Justice and wisdome shall think fit.
And your Petr (as in duty bound) shall ever
(Archives of Maryland, Vol. 8:212-4)
Rev. Col. Coode and Kenelm Cheseldyne responded with the following:
The Answer of John Coode and Kenelm Cheseldine
Agents and Commissioners from the late Convention
of their Majesties Province of Maryland on behalfe of
the said Convention and themselves to a Paper Exhibitted
against them: To the Kings most Excellent
Majesty by Richard Hill Henry Coursey George Wells
George Lingham, Edward Dorsey &c: The Chief and
most of which were the Protestants that opposed their
present Majesties Right and Tytle to the Allegiance
Obedience and subjection of their said Majesties subjects
in the said Province.
3 of the Peticrs
As to the first Allegation in the said Paper, that they petition on behalfe of themselves and most of the Inhabitants of the said Province is false For they can produce no power or qualification from any other persons whatsoever. The whole Province (as by Addresses from the severall Counties heretofore delivered in and now ready to be delivered to their Majesties fully manifesting the contrary as well as severall persons (viva voce) to testify the same.
As to the second Allegation That the Province hath in his Lordspp and his Father's time enjoyed a continuall peace and that persons of all perswasions have enjoyed equall favours from the Government is also untrue. Witness the Insurrec tion at the Clifts occasioned by his Lordspps Writts of Elleccon comanding Four Representatives for each County to be elected as an Assembly out of which Four, his Lordspp afterwards called only two that he thought most fitt for his Interest to be an Assembly who laid the greatest Levy upon the People that ever was laid in that Province. Which they refused to pay as not being laid by their legall Representatives and for which three of them were condemned and two of them executed. Witness also the Comotions in the said Province upon his Lordspps arrivall there in the time of the Popish Plott. As also upon the Indians killing divers English at the Lower end of the Towne (being a place there so called) and ever since have the people beene in continuall feares and jealousies of the French and Northern Indians who often pass by the Confines of the said Province with French Priests who were acquainted with the English and Irish Preists there inhabiting, and as to the equall enjoyment of favours as is pretended. It is well known that of late yeares there have not been any Protestants preferred to Offices were there were Papists fitt to enjoy the same That of all perswasions there, the Church of England have had the least encouragement and respect.
And as to that Clause, in the said Paper wherein they maliciously charge the said John Coode and his Accomplices to be the Disturbers of the Province and changers of the Government These Respondts do deny that either he the said Cood or any by his order or Privity ever unjustly disturbed or changed the same But do say that five moneths after their present Majesties were settled in the Throne and the generality of their dominions had submitted to them and after they were proclaimed in Virginia the adjacent Country and all other their Majesties Colonies in America of which the Popish Gov ernment of Maryland were as well assured as they could be of any matter of Fact. The said Deputy Governours (with the Papists and severall of the aforesaid Petitioners their Adherents) disclaiming their Allegiance to their Majesties and politickly disarmeing the Protestants denying to call the Assembly to examine the Confederacy charged on them by Indians by whom they were accused as well as the English useing daily invectives against their Majesties persons and Government and all the Protestant Peers of the Realm con niveing at and encourageing all others to do the same, binding Protestants to their good behaviour endeavouring to imprison others for the least shew of their allegiance sending Warrants for such as but read or heard any of their Majesties Proclamacon or the Parliament Papers termeing them Treason able Papers and those that read or heard them or should but say God Bless the King Traitors daily broaching lyeing news (as they pretended sent to the Preists and Jesuitts from all parts of the French Kings invinceable Army to conquer England and the late King James his Victory in Scotland and Ireland and his great party in England to joyn with them to subdue the Rebells as they termed the Protestants as also the great strength of the French and Canada Indians if occasion served to invade the Province and other their Majesties Protestant Colonies in those Parts praying publickly in their Popish Chappells for the Irish and French success against the English and daily drinking health to the same wishing the arrivall of that golden day as they termed it To the great terrour of the Protestants and encouragement of the Papists The Protestants standing continually upon their guards and some flying for fear into Virginia so enraged the people as that it was not easy to restraine them from riseing tho they had no armes nor amunition to defend themselves and the more thinking men were plunged in their minds what course to take For Armes and Ammunition they had not to defend themselves and to depart the Province was to ruine their Estates and Familyes and stay they could not with safety without owneing their Allegiance to the late King James and fidelity to that present Popish Government thereby denying their Faith Allegiance Mary land and subjection to their present Majesties which would have been high Treason and adhereing to their Enemies against the conscience and interest of all good Protestants and to involve them into the same crimes of Disloyalty with their Enemies and subject them to the penaltyes of the Law for High Treason. Whereupon the most eminent Protestants in the Province associated themselves with this Resolution That as God Almighty had given their Majesties a just call to the Crown to whom their Faith and Allegiance was due so according to their Duty and the Laws of the land they would with their lives and fortunes mainteyne their Majesties Right and Title to the Faith and Allegiance Obedience and subjec tion of their subjects in the said Province.
Thus matters stood untill towards the latter part of July 1689 at which time the people of Virginia did often threaten us and were ready (in great numbers) to come over into Maryland to reduce us alleadging wee were Rebells for not Proclaimeing their Majesties in the mean time news being brought to some of the aforesaid Protestants that the Deputy Governors were fortifying the Court house at St Maries and Matapany garrison and raiseing men to keep the same; they sent over to the Magistrates in Virginia desireing them to restrain the pro ceedings and designes aforesaid of their people. And there upon about two hundred and fifty Protestants tho very badly provided with Armes and Ammunition marched down to the City of St Maries to know the truth of the aforesaid Report and to desire the Deputy Governors to call an Assembly which had been for a long time prorogued against the desires of all honest men. That speedy course might be taken for the satisfaction of both Protestants and Papists untill orders from England. But when they arrived there they found the said Court house full of armed men made a garrison ready to oppose them. Whereupon they sent into the said Fort the Protestant Declaration demanding to have King William and Queen Mary to be proclaimed and submitted To which they refuseing to do the said Protestants marched up resolutely to the said Garrison and haveing gained the Doores and Windows and being ready to enter Those within did surrender takeing with them their private armes and leaveing the publick armes to the Protestants and then they marched to Matapany Fort about eight miles distant where about four hundred men were in Garrison and demanded surrender of the same to the use of King William and Queen Mary the which they refused for sometime to do. But finding the number of the Protestants to encrease and resolveing to attacke the same They surrendered upon Articles and thereupon a convention of the cheife of the Protestants kept all the said Articles inviolable yet notwithstanding the said Deputy Governors endeavoured by all wicked meanes possible to pervert and draw the people from their Allegiance to their Majesties and stirr them up to Rebel lion and obstruct the said Convention from settling the Coun trey in Peace and quietness untill order from their Majesties which notwithstanding they proceeded unto. And first of all pursuant to their Duty they caused their Majesties to be pro claimed and drew up an Address to them and then proceeded to settle the Province untill Orders from them, as first to settle the Military and civill Officers continueing all Protestants in their places and removeing all Papists and putting Protestants in their Rooms pursuant to their Majesties Declaration and continued all the Tempoary Laws in the Province laid the publique Levy which (notwithstanding the great occasion) was the least that had beene in that Province for many yeares tho they also paid the debts of the old Governmt out of the same and then drew all up into an Ordinance of Assembly whereby those matters do more fully appeare, after which the Deputy Governts and severall of the Petitioners their Adherents (being of the Lord Baltemores Comission) did on the behalfe of King James endeavour all they could to raise Rebellion against their Majesties in all the parts of the Province In the opposeing of which if any received Damage it is more then those Re spondts know or ever heard of before there being none done by them or their Order And do verily beleive there was none done by any other But if any such there were lett them prove the same agat those that did it, and the Law is open for their Remedy the Convention never giveing authority thereto.
As to that other part of the charge in the said Paper of acting contrary to their Majesties Letter These Respondts humbly conceive that the Convention hath given sufficient Answer in their last Letter to their Majesties unto which they do in all humility desire to be referred.
As to the generall charge of Forgery in the latter part of the aforesaid Petition to his Majesty These Respondts know not to whom it relates and do therefore look upon it to be a notori ous Falsehood forged by themselves
And the Respondts do humbly desire that the Depositions Evidences and Papers relateing to the prmisses ready to bee produced to this Right Honble Board may be read and heard.
Mr Coode &c:—
Answere to the petition
Read the 22d Dee: 1690.
(Archives of Maryland, Vol. 8:225-8)
Some of those who signed the charges against the Rev. Col. John COODE were also described in Lord Baltimore's memorial:
My Lord Baltemore's Memll for
the Members to be summoned.
7th Janry 1689/90.
A List of Inhabitants & Traders
to Maryland give by Ld Baltemore.
|} Old Inhabitants.
|Mr Lillingston a Minister of the Church of England and has many years been an Inhabitt
|Mr Henry Coursey Junr
|} Natives of Maryland.
|Mr George Robing an Inhabitant.
|Mr Sam. Groom
|} Merchants & Traders to Maryland.
(Archives of Maryland, Vol. 8:129-30)
Among those who filed the charges was George LINGAN was a planter from Calvert County, and one of the signers of the 1689 Calvert County Petition. In 1665 Enoch COMBES assigned his transportation rights to Mr. LINGAN.
The Maryland Protestant Revolution of 1689
Edited and proofed by Combs Researchers from Archives of Maryland, Vol. VIII, Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1687/8-1693, "Letters Illustrating the History of Maryland in the Years 90," William Hand Browne, Editor, Maryland Historical Society, 1890.