Calvert, George

, descended from the ancient and noble house of Calvert, in the earldom of Flanders, and afterwards created lord Baltimore, was born at Kipling in Yorkshire, about 1582. In 1593 he became a commoner of Trinity college, Oxford, and in Feb. 1597 he took the degree of B. A. At his return from his travels he was made secretary to Robert Cecil, one of the principal secretaries of state to James I. who continued him in his service when he was raised to the office of lord high -treasurer. On Aug. 30, 1605, when king James was entertained by the university of Oxford, he was created M. A. with several noblemen and gentlemen. Afterwards he was made one of the clerks of the privy council, and in 1617 received the honour of knighthood, and in Feb. 1619 he was appointed to be one of the principal secretaries of state. Thinking the duke of Buckingham had been the chief instrument of his preferment, he presented him with a jewel of great value; but the duke returned it, acknowledging he had no hand in his advancement, for that his majesty alone had made choice of him on account of his great abilities. In May 1620 the king granted him a yearly pension of 1000l. out of the customs. After having held the seals about five years, he resigned them in 1624, frankly owning to the king, that he was become a Roman catholic. The king, nevertheless, continued him a privy counsellor all his reign; and in Feb. 1625 created him (by the name of sir George Calvert of Danbywiske in Yorkshire, knight) baron of Baltimore in the county of Longford in Ireland. He was at that time a representative in parliament for the university of Oxford.

While he was secretary of state, he had obtained a patent for him and his heirs to be absolute lord and proprietor (with the royalties of a count-palatine) of the province of Avalon in Newfoundland. This name he gave it from Avalon in Somersetshire, whereon Glastonbury stands, the first-fruits of Christianity in Britain, as the other was in that part of America. He laid out 2500l. in advancing this new plantation, and built a handsome house in Ferryland. After the death of king James he went twice to Newfoundland. When M. de PArade, with three French men of | war, had reduced the English fishermen there to great extremity, lord Baltimore, with two ships manned at his own expence, drove away the French, taking sixty of them prisoners, and relieved the English; but still finding his plantation very much exposed to the insults of the French, he at last determined to abandon it. He then went to Virginia; and having viewed the neighbouring country, returned to England, and obtained from Charles I. (who had as great a regard for him as James had) a patent to him and his heirs for Maryland on the north of Virginia. He died at London, April 15, 1632, before the grant was made out; but his son Cecil Calvert, lord Baltimore, who had been at Virginia, took it out in his own name, and the patent bears date June 20, 1632. He was to hold it of the crown of England in common soccage> as of the manor of Windsor; paying yearly, on Easter r l uesday, two Indian arrows of those parts at the castle of Windsor, and the fifth part of the gold and silver ore that should be found therein. King Charles himself gave that province the name of Maryland, in honour of his queen Henrietta Maria. The first colony sent thither consisted of about 200 people, Roman catholics, the chief of whom were gentlemen of good families. The Baltimore family were in danger of losing their property on account of their religion, by the act which requires all Roman catholic heirs to profess the protestant religion, on pain of being deprived of their estates: but this was prevented by their professing the protesunt religion.

George, the first lord, was buried in the chancel of Su Dunstan’s in the west, in Fleet-street. As to his character, Lloyd says, “he was the only statesman, that, being engaged to a decried party (the Roman catholics), managed his business with that great respect for all sides, that all who knew him applauded him, and none that had any thing to do with him complained of him.” But archbishop Abbot, in a letter to sir Thomas Roe (Roe’s Letters, p. 372) seems to impute his turning Roman catholic to political discontent. This nobleman wrote, 1. “Carmen funebre in D. Hen. Untonum ad Gallos bis h-gatuiu, ibique nuper fato functum.” 2. “Speeches in Parliament.” 3. “Various Letters of State.” 4. “The Answer of Tom Tell Truth.” 5. “The Practice of Princes” and 6. “The Lamentation of the Kirk.” There are some of his letters | in the Harleian ms collection, and some in Howard’s collection, 4to, p. 53—61. 1


Biog. Brit.—Ath. Ox. I.