Monday, March 30, 2009

Dulany & Baltimore - A Turning Point 1732

Daniel Dulany’s life changed in the 1730s. Up to this point, his primary focus was on his law practice with particular attention paid to the politics of maintaining a strong representation for the tobacco farmers or “Country Gentry”. Because of his large holdings and great gain from his own farms, it made sense that Daniel would be very active in directing the path of lawmakers in favor of this political class. Up to this point, Daniel was relatively well liked in Maryland.

In 1731, Samuel Ogle landed in Annapolis. He had been sent by Lord Baltimore to survey the landscape and to determine what would have to be done to “set things right”. According to Aubrey Land, Ogle sent confidential reports back to Lord Baltimore one of which named Dulany and Bodeley as men who were capable of doing Lord Baltimore either a great deal of good or a great deal of harm.

Charles Calvert, Daniel’s friend, notified Daniel of plans by Lord Baltimore to return to Annapolis in the fall of 1732. At some time during the festivities of Baltimore’ visit, possibly during meetings in the counsel chamber or in the corner during a party, Dulany and Baltimore came to an agreement. “They exchanged views, and proposals were made and accepted,” according to Land. The understanding between them committed the families of both to a course interrupted only by the great Revolution, still forty years in the future.”

The visit from Lord Baltimore and the plans he put into place changed the course of Daniel Dulany’s life and the lives of his descendents forever. It is understandable that some might call the later confiscation of the Dulany holdings an “appropriate action” considering Dulany loyalty to the Crown; however, it is interesting to note that Dulany never raised a hand to a revolutionary soldier or did anything to harm the revolution. It appears that his belief that the colonies should hold fast to England’s support could have come from his understanding that without a major power at her side, the USA would be in grave danger of invasion or could not support itself at this early stage in its existence. His experience in Ireland would have greatly influenced this belief since Ireland had, for years, attempted to obtain independence with little success. It is very possible that in addition to Daniel’s concern for his own assets, he felt that the colonies were not sufficiently strengthened to maintain a lasting government.

Obviously he was wrong if he did believe this to be true; nonetheless, his great wealth vaporized as the colonies won their independence. His family, after this point, is very difficult to track. As Don Dulaney points out, “It is easy to understand why our family line is so confusing, those were very confusing times for everyone.” I could not say it better myself.

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