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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Colonial Maryland Slave Laws 1 - 6: Bacon's Laws of Maryland

1.  All Negroes and other Slaves, and their Issue,
shall be Slaves during their natural Lives. 1715,
ch. 44, §. 23.

2.  No Negro, by receiving the Holy Sacrament of 
Baptism, is hereby manumitted, nor hath any Right
to Freedom more than he had before.  Ibid.  §. 24.

3.  Any White Woman, suffering herself to be got
with Child by a Negro, or other Slave, or by a Free
Negro, shall, if Free, become a Servant for Seven
Years; if a Servant, shall finish her Servitude, together
with Satisfaction for Damage, and shall again become 
a Servant for Seven Years.  Ibid.  §. 26.

4.  Any Free Negro, begetting such Child, shall become
a Servant for Seven years; and the Children of
such inordinate Copulations shall be Servants till
Thirty-one Years of Age.  Ibid.  §. 27.

5.  Any White Man begetting any Negro Woman
with Child, (whether Free Woman or Servant) shall
undergo the same Penalties as White Women.  Ibid.§. 28.

6.  These Times of Servitude (by Art. 3, 4, 5,)
shall be disposed of by the County Court; and the
Produce appropriated towards defraying the County
Charge.  Ibid.

Bacon's Laws of Maryland . Vol 75 page 689 Maryland Archives

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Slave Insurrection In Prince George's County Maryland December 1739

1. Historic American Buildings Survey John O. Brostrup, Photographer April 21, 1936 11:15 A. M. VIEW FROM NORTHEAST (front)

               A few miles south of Upper Marlborough  just to the west of the mid 20th century highway US 301 near Frank Tippet Road lie the lands of a colonial Maryland plantation then known as "Poplar Neck".  Today there is nothing to see, the historic plantation house pictured above having been demolished to make way for the now silent buildings of a 20th century Naval facility that once housed communication arrays for the United States in World War II through the end of the Cold War.

               272 years ago a number of slaves began to formulate their plot to rise up and throw off the chains of oppression. The number of slaves involved according to a letter written by a prominent Annapolis lawyer to an eastern shore planter was around 200 although the court records show that only 6 were indicted and tried. The slaves had planned to kill the white male slave owners, and because of the shortage of female slaves keep the women for wives, according to lawyer Bordley's report. The insurrection would march to Annapolis and after destroying the government and any resistance take over the government of the land. The rebellion was revealed to a planter's wife by a slave woman who had overheard the plotting, though at first the enslaved servant was not believed.

               Slaves from Croom and Upper Marlborough through an area now known as Cheltenham to Piscataway plantations may have been involved. Led by a 40 to 50 year old slave named John "Jack" Ransom, the insurrection included slaves born in Maryland of mixed race such as Ransom may have been as well as slaves born in Africa recently brought unwillingly to the fields and farms of the western shore of the lower Chesapeake. Some of the reports of the time suggest that the date of the insurrection was put off several times due to wet rainy Sundays. The visit of the Reverend George Whitefield, the internationally famous evangelist, preaching in Upper Marlborough at the beginning of December 1739 may have inspired or upset the freedom fighters' plans. Certainly Whitefield's visit as part of the Great Awakening gave a message of hope that would have to wait another two centuries to be realized.[1]

[1] NEWS AND NOTES FROM The Prince George's County Historical Society.
Vol. VIII, no. 1 [accessed December 26, 2011]

Sources: Savelle, Max. Seeds of Liberty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1948           pp 59 61 (including the quote from Benjamin Franklin, from his Writings).
               Whitefield, George. George Whitefield’s Journals. The Banner of Truth Trust. 1960.


Thursday, Dec. 6 Had an opportunity of writing some letters last night and this morning to England. Waited on Governor Ogle [Samuel Ogle, of Belair, Prince George's County], and was received with much civility....

Friday, Dec. 7. A visible alteration has taken place in the behaviour of the people of the house. Preached in the morning and evening to small polite auditories. The Governor put aside his court to come to morning service, and at noon, upon an invitation sent last night, I and my friends dined with him....

Upper Marlborough

Saturday, Dec. 8. Had more last night come to family prayer. Left Annapolis this morning. Baited at Upper Marlborough, about fifteen miles distant, intending to go further; but being desired by some gentlemen to stay and preach on the morrow, I was prevailed upon, and spent the remainder of the day in sweet conversation with my friends, and in writing letters to some under convictions at Philadelphia. I supped with a gentleman who kindly entertained both me and my fellow travellers. Our talk ran upon the fall of man. I fear Deism has spread much in these parts. I cannot say I have yet met with many here Min seem truly to have the fear of God before their eyes.

Upper Marlborough, Port Tobacco

Sunday, Dec. 9. Preached at Upper Marlborough, to a small, polite, and seemingly very curious audience. Dined with the gentleman with whom we supped last night. There being no sermon in the, afternoon, we took horse, and went a Sabbath day's journey as far as Piscataway, where we were kindly entertained. Wrote some letters to our English friends. Conversed to the use of edifying, and felt an uncommon freedom and sweetness in each other's spirits. Well might our Lord say, "The Kingdom of God is within you;" for they who are truly born of God, carry Heaven in their hearts.

'From Piscataway Whitefield travelled on to Port Tobacco and there he crossed the river into Virginia. While his brief tour through Maryland could not be considered a success in terms of the size of the audience he had reached, his earlier tours through the northern and middle colonies had been. There he spoke to hundreds at a time.           Alan Virta

Sources:               Savelle, Max. Seeds of Liberty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1948            pp 59 61 (including the quote from Benjamin Franklin, from his Writings).

               Whitefield, George. George Whitefield’s Journals. The Banner of Truth Trust. 1960. .
               The arrest of the slaves and the resulting panic among the slave owning white population resulted in a flurry of hyperbolic political activity on the part of local and state government officials that resulted in a reinvigorated militia (local policing authority  governing the movement and conduct of enslaved workers in the colony of Maryland) as well as attempts to use the conspiracy to raise the alarm about a possible Spanish invasion. Attempts to suggest the involvement of Catholic priest in the rebellion did not come to anything, though reflect the continuing religious tension of the day. The State did however notify county officials to enforce laws against slave meetings. Trial records show that some of the indicted slaves turned state's witness and in the end only one man was condemned to be hanged in chains, Jack Ransom after a trail in mid Spring of 1740. 

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Quartering - The Penalty for Slave Insurrection In Colonial Maryland

34.  Any Negro, or other Slave, convict of Petit-Treason, Murder, or wilfully burning of Dwelling-houses, shall have Judgment to have the Right Hand cut off, to be hanged, quartered, and the Head and Quarters set up in the most public Places of the County.
1729, ch. 4, §. 1. [1]

[1] Bacon's Laws of Maryland. Maryland Archives.

A Proclamation On Slave Insurrection in Prince George's County, By His Excellency Samuel Ogle,Governor, Maryland

By His Excellency Samuel Ogle Esqr Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Province of Maryland

Whereas a Wicked and Dangerous Conspiracy hath been discovered to have been lately entered into by several Negroes in Prince Georges County to kill and Murder the white people within the said County and other parts of this province several of which Conspirators are now Actually in prison and Informations given against many others not yet Apprehended In Order therefore to Avert so great and Eminent A Danger and as much as in me lies to secure his Majestys Subjects in their Lives and Propertys and to prevent their being Sacrificed to the rage and fury of merciless and Barbarous Slaves I have thought fit with the Advice of his Lordships Council of State to Issue this my Proclamation Strictly Commanding and requiring all Officers as well Civil as Military within this province in their Several and respective Stations to be particularly careful in putting the several Laws in Execution to prevent the Tumultuous meeting of Slaves and all other Laws for the Safety of the People and to Apprehend all such Slaves as shall be found wandering who cannot give a good and Satisfactory Account of themselves and to Secure them that they may be Amesnable to Justice and dealt with according to Law, And to require all Persons to be aiding and assisting to the several Officers in the due and faithful Execution of their duty in the Premises, And also to Exhort all his Majestys Subjects to be upon their guard and to prepare in the best and most Expeditious manner they can for the defence of themselves and their Neighbours and for the better exacting an Obedience from the Civil Officers in the Execution of their Duty in the Premises I hereby earnestly recommend to the Magistrates of the several Counties a Careful and strict Observance and notice of such Civil Officers as may be negligent or remiss in their said Several Dutys In Order for their Punishment according to Law, And I do hereby Strictly charge and require the several Sheriffs of this province to make this my Proclamation publick in their said Counties in the usual manner as they will Answer the Contrary at their Peril Given at the City of Annapolis this 24th day of January in the 25th year of his Lordships Dominion Anno Domini 1739
the following Commission being produced by the Honble Col" Charles Hammond is ordered to be Entered [1}

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Current State of Congressional Redistricting

            The current ten year redistrictingmap proposed for Maryland finds me at odds with myself. The proposed map as I understand it does everything possible to distort any sense of local community. The thin swirls of the proposed congressional districts look like a tort created by master chefs. The elongated gyrations that reach across historic, geographic and political boundaries have no bearing on the views and needs of local communities other than political control of the elected few.
            Who actually expects Donna Edwards and the core of the 4th District to find common ground between her urban established Washington DC suburban county needs and dreams with those of rural agrarian southern Anne Arundel County with its historic eye towards the bay and Baltimore. Of course there are some common goals but it is in the minutia of needs that a Congressperson works, and this plan is a recipe for divided loyalties, divided time and resulting critique of performance from all sides.
            I would have expected that at the very least, if the 4th was to lose Montgomery County that it would have picked up the eastern wide of the Potomac River down in Southern Maryland. Of course I am skirting the problem of Hoyer's 5th which hooks up into Prince George's County along the western side of the Patuxent River. Many I assume would have thought that the 4th should have included as much of Prince George's county as possible thereby creating a compact cohesive unit.
            And here is my conflicted state of mind for as a grass root advocate for the people and programs of USDA ARS BARC and NAL I am delighted to see Mr. Hoyer keep the federal faculties in his district. As far as Prince George's County is concern BARC and NAL are on the other side of the moon. There is no visible interest, no desire to support and no recognition of the 300 million plus that these federal agencies pump into the region which, in the case of BARC, has been provided at some level for over 100 years. When is the last time a County Executive visited the world's largest research center? Not in the last 15 plus years; and so I succumb to narrow focused parochial interest - support of world class research recognized around the world everywhere except for right here in the county - the same kind of interests which I think are  in some small part at the heart of the current, contorted congressional redistricting maps of Maryland now before us.