To return to CWPublisher homepage, click on http://www.angelfire.com/un/cwp/
NOTE: This is an HTML-formatted copy of the 2011 edition. That edition had 196 pages of text, with an additional 24 pages of front material, which includes a title page, a listing of contents, acknowledgments and preface. The illustrations are omitted. They can be seen in the PDF edition, which is available on-line. Page numbers have been inserted in this HTML edition that correspond with the numbering in the original edition. But in some cases these page numbers do not exactly correspond with the page numbers listed in the index. If the item listed in the index is not found on the listed page, it will be in the preceding or following page. In order to make the book reader-friendly, the publishers cataloging-in-publication data has been placed at the end of the document.
Liberation Theology Along the Potomac:
Labor's Golden Rule
in Early American Catholicism
Silver Spring, Maryland
[FRONT MATERIAL, 2011 ed., p. iii]
List of Illustrations and Maps. v
Maryland Scholarship. ix
Chapter 1 The European
Working-Class Background. 1
Liberation Theology's Celebration of Labor. 2
Working-Class Clergy. 6
Agrarian Antinomianism. 16
Cecil Calvert Levelled. 19
Enclosures Levelled. 24
Revolution Against Capitalist Theology: Racism. 27
Capitalist Theology: Obedience and Labor. 30
Chapter 2 Labor Value: Crux of Liberation
Theology and the Golden Rule. 37
The Maryland Catholics. 37
A Charism of "Hard Labor." 39
Work Life. 41
Indian Work Life. 45
Labor's Celebration 46
Labor Value. 49
Class (Distributive) Justice: Collective Economics & Token Alms. 52
Just Price. 61
Chap. 3 Grass-Roots Antinomianism: Agrarian Reform & Subsistence
Agrarian Reform. 65
Sharecropping and Wage Labor. 69
Subsistence Farming. 70
Dealing on Labor's Terms. 75
Labor Reform. 78
Contracting on Labor's Terms. 81
Chapter 4 Collective
Antinomianism: Labor’s Golden Governmental Rule. 85
A Parliamentary Model. 86
The Golden Rule and The Royalists' "Time of Troubles" (1644-1646). 88
Parliamentary Rage and Fury: 1650s. 92
Antinomian Judiciary. 96
Chapter 5 Antinomianism’s Golden
Rule in the Church. 105
The Clergy. 105
[FRONT MATERIAL, 2011 ed., p. iv]
Praemunire: No Church Courts or
Canon Law. 109
Episcopacy Outlawed. 115
Regulation of Convents, Mortmain and Tithes. 118
Pastoral Legislation. 122
Resistance to Clerical Capitalism. 131
Chapter 6 Resistance to Landlord
Blood and Family Racism. 135
Indian-European National Chauvinism. 141
Chapter 7 Conclusion. 153
Figure 0-1: A 1641 woodcut showing how the people took the law into their own hands against monopolists like Cecil Calvert. The caption above it reads, "The manner and form how projectors and patentors have rode a tilting in parliament time.”
[FRONT MATERIAL, 2011 ed., p. v]
List of Illustrations and Maps
Figure 0-1: Protest against Monopoly. iv
Figure 0-2: Soldiers. v
Figure 0-3: William Sampson, S.J. vi
Figure 0-4: Weights and Money. xxi
Figure 1-1: Tobacco Farmer. 36
Figure 2-1: Laboring Trades. 64
Figure 3-1: Leveling of Calvert’s In-Laws. 84
Figure 4-1: Leveling the Monarchy: Charles I ‘s Execution. 104
Figure 5-1: Landlord Catholicism 134
Figure 6-1: Algonquian Boatmakers 152
Figure 7-1: Tobacco Husbandry. 157
Figure 7-2: Map of Europe, Africa and America. 158
Figure 8-1: Old St. Pauls, London. 177
Figure 8-2: Maryland Indian Locations in the Seventeenth Century. 178
Figure 9-1: Post-in-the Ground House Construction 191
Figure 9-2: Map of Spain in the Time of Ignatius Loyola. 192
Figure 9-3: Map of Civil War Period Catholic England, Wales and Ireland. 196
Figure 0-2: Blue and white soldier series on Dutch delftware tiles similar to tiles recovered from Civil War Maryland housing.
[FRONT MATERIAL, 2011 ed., p. vi]
I would like to acknowledge those who helped in making this study: Betty Clark, Maryanne Finkelstein, George Hampsch, Christopher Hill, Pat Knight, Gary Nash, Irma Pazmiño, Dean Richards, Stephen and Krystyna Panusz Startari, Terry Sullivan, Dean Taylor, E. F. Terrar, Jr., Hazel, David, Celine, Antoine, and Alexia Terrar and the Los Angeles Maryknoll community. Those acknowledged are in no way responsible for errors of fact or interpretation.
If this study were dedicated to anyone, it would be to William Sampson, S.J., my friend since youth. Had he still been with us, his editorial assistance would have improved it. My politics were lost on him, but his example in living the evangelical councils of perfection, which included a life of resistance to his religious order, was not lost on me.
William Sampson, S.J. (1928-2000)
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. vii]
Liberation theology is what Catholic working people operating in their Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) in Latin America, Africa and Asia have been calling their beliefs in recent years. The term reflects their conviction that the fight for class justice is fundamental to their life, family and relations with others. The term is new, but the argument here is that the belief in class struggle being at the heart of religion has been around for as long as there have been classes.
This is a history of such beliefs and the resulting conflict in early America. Specifically, it is about colonial Maryland in the first-half of the 17th century. This was the period of the English Civil War (1640-1660) and of the early European settlement in North America. The Catholics established a society and a theology along the Potomac River that abolished the class system. The basis of their religion and society was labor. Through revolutionary conflict their agrarian, labor and nationality programs triumphed at the grass roots and at the provincial level in church and state over both local capitalism and foreign imperialism. Their descendants who struggle with similar problems and a federal government along the Potomac can find guidance and courage in looking at their roots.
In looking at the roots, one can see that capitalism's hatred for working-class theology in the 17th century was no less than it is now. In the 17th century, Cecil Calvert (1605-1675), a would-be land monopolist, was typical. He called worker beliefs "atheism," "pretended religion" and enslaving. In 1649 he baited the Maryland assembly on the evil of its theology for defending the "people's liberty":
By woeful experience it has been found in divers nations that no one thing has so certainly betrayed the people into true slavery indeed, as the deceitful suggestions of subtle machiavellians pretending religion, and an extraordinary care of the people's liberty. Such religion possesses them with fears and jealousies of slavery, thereby to alienate their affections from the present government. The common way to atheism is by a pretended reformation in matters of religion, so the direct road to bondage is usually found in specious pretenses of preservation of liberty.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. viii]
What the wealthy hated about worker religion was that it was as much about the here-and-now as about the here-after. If the monopolists had had their way, worker religion would have dealt only with "safe" themes like "praising, reverencing, and serving" God, as found in sources such as Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises (1548), which Calvert promoted in Maryland. The present-day theologian, Juan Luis Segundo, S.J. notes that these safe themes are "devoid of christological influence," that is, of class justice.
In Segundo’s analysis, "praising" and "reverencing" are not human responses to a concrete love but the first prehuman consequence of the creature's discovery of its condition as a creature, wherein human freedom plays no positive role. The "service" in such is considered a means to an ahistorical end. It is not seen as a vocation to build a just society, but a goal or test envisioned to save one's soul. The conception of life-as-test, which has circulated at least since the book of Wisdom, makes the only important moment in life to be the moment of death, when the test ends and one either passes or fails. "Service" and its equation with life-as-test makes the avoidance of sin and the attainment of heaven of supreme importance. The concept of sin is individual. This was not the case, argues liberation theology, for the historical Jesus, for whom sin was social. Sin involved every fault that posed an obstacle to the reign of God on earth.
What avoidance of sin meant for the capitalist class and groups like the Jesuit clergy, as Segundo has shown of his own religious order, was a lack of corporate commitment to contribute creatively to establishing God's reign on earth. Segundo writes, "Jesus took an interest in concrete human affairs. . . This sin of omission by the Jesuits is crucial, especially as society depends on complex mechanisms that operate (and even kill) by themselves." Segundo is burdened with his order’s own version of the “Big Lie.” They live communist lives and enjoy the benefits: free education, food, housing, transportation, health care, a guaranteed job and security in old age, yet they would deny communism to the class whose labor creates these benefits.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. ix]
Maryland's early Catholics often resisted ahistorical doctrines and made complex mechanisms such as the market and politics serve justice. They did not accept the "hardship" associated with the class system and which the landlords mystified by doctrines such as the cross, the passion, poverty, insults, hunger, thirst, cold, death, and abuses. Segundo's comments about Ignatius Loyola also apply to the class system from which he obtained his beliefs:
Loyola lost sight of the fact that nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus appear to go out looking for poverty, abuses, or death. He accepts them because his mission confronts him with the alternative of enduring them or giving up that mission. . . This preference of God's for the poor does not lead Jesus to make himself even poorer but rather to introduce a terrible conflict into Israel by shouldering the cause of the poor.
Loyola’s religion had its "safe" doctrines. The Maryland workers had their own doctrines that resulted in "terrible conflict" and a more just society.
Maryland Scholarship. This history of Potomac theology is a condensation of a longer work on the same subject published in 1996. John Brown, another student of Potomac theology, confessed shortly before being hung, that he was "yet too young to understand" the justice of the established order:
Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends - either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class - and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.
This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them (Luke 6:3). It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them (Hebrews 6:3). I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, is no wrong but right.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. x]
This present essayist is likewise “yet too young” to unlearn the labor theory of value, which was the golden rule of his ancestors: Charity and Barbary (Jones) Stafford, Claude, Edmunds and Adjer Hogan, Edward Luther Terrar, Edward Francis Terrar, David and Anne (Elias) Terrar, Peter Gergen and Ray and Rosie Horney.
The theology of liberation challenges the Disney World accounts that dominate academic history and bookstore chains. Capitalism likes to exaggerate the importance of the conflicts that are of a religious, racial, or sexual nature, and to deny that there are basic class differences and extol class cooperation. Even working-class partisan academics, such as the Oxford English Civil War historian Christopher Hill, have been fooled. Hill discussed this when commenting on an earlier draft of this present essay. He noted that in the past he had over- emphasized religion in explaining Catholic history at the expense of a more common sense class explanation. He wrote:
In a valuable recent study Edward Terrar has challenged easy generalizations like “the North and South-West of England were preponderantly Catholic and therefore royalist during the civil war”—of which among others I have been guilty. Poor Catholic peasants were no less able than poor Protestants to perceive when they were being exploited; and they formed at least 80 per cent of the Catholic population. Some among them may have found aspects of Parliament’s politics attractive—abolition of Ship Money, for instance—and have sympathized with radical ideas like abolition of tithes and opposition to monopolies and enclosure. Many Catholic tenants seized the opportunity of the civil war to refuse to pay rents and to loot landlord property, irrespective of creed. This seems common sense once it is stated, and Dr. Terrar is to be congratulated on drawing our attention to it, and providing a good deal of evidence to back up his case. Catholicism, as Pascal’s tirades against the Jesuits show, could adapt itself to a commercial society no less than Protestantism could, given the appropriate circumstances. Terrar’s study is a very good start here, but we may perhaps push it a little further than he does. Need we think only of Catholic peasants?
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xi]
In contrast to capitalist religion, working people know that class, not religious, conflicts are basic, and cannot be resolved as long as classes with opposing relationships to property exist. Capitalists like the Rockefellers tried to buy off art and undermine socialist realism in the 1930s by funding social conservatives to produce abstract art. The historical counterpart was the funding of projects like the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and schools such as the University of Chicago that celebrated capitalism, racism and clericalism. A more accurate history of Colonial Williamsburg can be found not in the William and Mary Quarterly but in the present-day history of Local 25 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employers Union in Williamsburg.
The working class artist, Philip Bonosky commented on the similar calculated philistinism in World War II Germany:
The most successful force at the command of any tyranny to suppress independent thought is not primarily a police force armed to the teeth, though that helps - not concentration camps - not even firing squads. The most powerful force at the disposal of any ruling class to dull the consciousness, and even the wits of its peoples, is calculated philistinism, built up from childhood. It was not the SS threat which stilled the German middle-class consciousness. It was a sausage; it was the philistinism of a bourgeois life.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xii]
An army of academic historians allow their wits to be dulled in exchange for sausage. They are like the "invincibly ignorant" Protestants, who the pre-Vatican II hierarchy told Catholics need not be proselytized. Scripture describes them as "whitewashed tombs," which outwardly look beautiful, but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of defilement and lawlessness (Mt. 23:27-28).
This essay follows the example of those working people who rely on their theological traditions and history as a guide for living. Theology which ignores history does not liberate but enslaves. Illustrative of such mis-guided theology is that of the Catholic priest Tissa Balasuriya at Aquinas University College in Sri Lanka. He writes:
Communism is a medium through which the values of the West, such as those of Greek civilization, Roman order, the European renaissance, the industrial and technological revolutions, the secularist humanism and Judaeo-Christian messianism, present themselves to Asia without the repulsive odor of Western colonialism and economic imperialism or the humiliating foreignness of the Christian missionary methods. Historical Marxism is essentially a serious-minded, humanist, collectivist reaction against the individualistic, sentimental, asocial, pietistic Christianity of 19th-century Europe.
Balasuriya has something to learn about both his Catholic and communist traditions. Class struggle in Asia did not start in the 19th century. The colonialism, economic imperialism and humiliating foreignness of capital was being fought by the Asian working class a millennium before the Europeans appeared. To the extent the rank and file assimilated Catholicism, which started in the 15th century, if not earlier, it was on their own terms, not those of the individualistic, sentimental, asocial, pietistic capitalists. Nor was communism a medium for values such as "Greek civilization, Roman order, European renaissance, secularist humanism and Judaeo-Christian messianism." Communism celebrated the slave revolts against "Greek civilization," the agrarian reform of the "Roman order," the peasant revolts against the religion and political-economy of the European renaissance and the religious, not secular humanism of the working class.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xiii]
Anti-Catholicism. Capitalist historiography in emphasizing religious, racial and sexual conflict and in denying basic class differences and extolling class cooperation, makes much of anti-Catholicism. Nevertheless, since World War II a number of historians dealing with Civil-War England and Maryland on a county level have found an absence of religious conflict. As historian Caroline Hibbard comments:
The great value of the county studies has been to demonstrate in detail how mistaken this picture [of anti-Catholicism and anti-Protestantism] was, and how normal, even uneventful, was the life led by many English Catholics. Religion served as a pretext for occasional legal or even physical attacks upon Catholic gentry, but investigations of such incidents usually turn up the familiar motives for local feuding--personality, property, and prestige.
To the extent there was animosity against the hierarchy, it was largely a reflection of class differences. Catholic working people no less than Protestant workers promoted this "anti-Catholicism," which included rejecting the claims of the papacy to anything but a fraternal (not paternal or superior) relation. Such "anti-Catholicism" was an English tradition. The claim of the Roman emperor and later of Charlemagne and his successors to be above the law had never been a popular doctrine. The papacy’s attempts to make law on its own was likewise rejected.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xiv]
The popular theology embodied in the "penal" laws against Roman landlord interference in the English church had been on the books for centuries prior to the Reformation. The First Statute of Praemunire was enacted in 1353. It outlawed legal appeals to Rome and the extension of Roman law to England. Penalties included outlawry, forfeiture, imprisonment, and banishment. Pope Martin V (ruled 1417-1431) protested that the laws against the Jews and Saracens did not have such dire consequences as these.
The "Second Statute of Praemunire" (1393) made it treason for anyone to allow Rome to interfere with the election of bishops. The same purpose had been served prior to praemunire by common law writs of prohibition, of quare impedit, of quare non admisit, of quare non-permittit, and by the long-established right, reaffirmed by an ordinance in 1343, of forbidding the introduction into England of papal bulls prejudicial to the church. The popular nature of the English Catholic "penal" tradition was commented on at the time by one who disliked it. Robert Persons, S.J. (1546-1610), an English Jesuit, remarked:
If we caste back our eyes unto the former times in England, we shall find that for above five hundred years, even from the Conquest and entrance of the Normans and French Governors over our country, they have ever continued a certain faction and emulation of the laity against the clergy, which did make the path by little and little unto that open schism, heresy and apostasy, whereunto at length it fell.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xv]
In emphasizing religion and in denying class conflict, capitalist historians make much of Catholic martyr and “siege history.” Overly relying on the gentry's pamphlets, especially from the period of the 1688 revolution, it maintains that anti-Catholicism was "the strongest, most widespread, and most persistent ideology in the life and thought of the seventeenth-century British and constituted one of the forces making for national unity." But as noted, recent local studies on the subject do not support this conclusion. There was as much class-based disunity on religious, economic, and political issues as there was unity. The disunity was great enough to bring civil war. It was not Catholics who the Independents and levelers purged from Parliament in 1648. The Independents went after the Presbyterian gentry, who were seeking a settlement with the crown without satisfying the demands of the laboring people that in large part made up the New Model Army.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xvi]
The local studies question the strength of anti-Catholicism by showing that Catholics were included in the various coalitions that were formed during the era. The Presbyterian gentry formed a coalition with Catholic Royalists and the French government. This included starting in 1646 a plot with the Catholic queen, Henrietta Maria against the Independents. Similarly, the levelers in 1649 opposed Cromwell's invasion of Ireland. They stated that the Irish Catholics were not their enemy, but the London merchants and English gentry who wished to weaken the power of the laboring people by sending off to Ireland their most effective protector, the army. The leveler William Walwyn suggested that the English should look to "honest papists . . . to learn civility, humanity, simplicity of heart; yea, charity and Christianity."
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xvii]
The Catholic inclusion in various coalitions was matched, as local historian Robin Clifton points out, by the tendency of the pamphleteers to abandon anti-Catholicism as a stock propaganda theme early in the war. This was because the majority of English readers knew better and could not be manipulated by it. As Clifton comments, "Why should a writer in such evident need pass over a stock propaganda theme [as anti-Catholicism] unless he knew its value to be debased?" Notable was the inability of the Presbyterian capitalists in Parliament to enact legislation that would have solemnized Guy Fawkes Day.
The study of the failure to enforce penal legislation is another way local historians have undermined the siege history. Caroline Hibbard remarks that "the existence of harsh legislation was often mistaken for evidence that it was enforced." She notes that the penal laws were enacted at times of national emergency, such as the 1588 attack of the Spanish Armada. In these periods England was at risk from Catholic powers. The English Catholics were just as "anti-Catholic" in opposing the efforts of Spain to rule England through the pope as were the Protestants. The lax enforcement of the legislation was in part a recognition of this.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xviii]
Local historians maintain that had the penal legislation which started in 1559 been enforced, there would have been no recusants by the Civil War. A 1581 act imposed a fine of £20 per month on recusants to be paid directly to the exchequer. Most recusants did not make half that amount in a year. Had it been enforced, they would all have died in debtor's prison. Another penal law imposed a 12d weekly fine. It too was not enforced because it would have forced most recusants into pauperdom. The parish enforcers of the 12d fine would then have had to support the recusant paupers from parish funds. Hugh Aveling remarks, "The exaction of the 12d fine was pretty universally disregarded by parochial officers, presumably because exaction meant distraint on the household goods of the poor, pauperdom, and a charge on the parish." Local historians also find that in connection with the penal laws as much as 80 percent of the Catholics were church Catholics. By partial conformity to the Anglican church they were not made subject to the penal laws.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xix]
Capitalist historiography in emphasizing religion rather than class also focuses on Catholic anti-Protestantism. But the country studies find this was not a significant factor among Catholics. This is not to deny that anti-Protestantism was a doctrine of Roman clericalism and that there was an extensive controversial literature between the Catholic and Protestant clergy. But this literature did not arise from the ranks of the laboring Catholics or of the Catholic clergy who were engaged in the pastoral and congregational ministry.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xx]
Not a little of Rome's "anti-Protestantism" was directed at Catholics, their clergy and their liberation theology, rather than at Protestants. For example, Thomas Sanchez, S.J. and Robert Persons, S.J. taught that partial conformers and the clergy who served them were apostates, schismatics, and excommunicate. Contemporary academics continue Rome’s prejudices. John Krugler, in commenting on the 1996 edition of this present study, writes:
Recent studies reveal that Catholic response to the penal legislation or the destruction of the Catholic hierarchy in England was not uniform. Family-by-family and county-by-county investigations provide an appreciation of what it meant to be a Catholic at this time and demonstrate the complexity of the responses. These studies put Calvert’s religious life in perspective. Determining the number of Catholics in England is a function of definition. . . For example, Edward Terrar’s expansive definition leads him to overstate the number of English Catholics who survived.
If one accepted Rome’s prejudices, which is Krugler’s bent, there were no Catholics in England once the hierarchy was chased out. Catholics in his view were not the working people, but the hierarchy that lived off them.
The class nature of Rome’s anti-Protestantism can be seen in the history of its relation to the English monarchy. In 1570 Pope Pius V issued his bull Regnans in Excelsis, which excommunicated the queen as heretical and gave license for her overthrow. However, eighty years later when Parliament actually achieved the overthrow of the still-Protestant monarchy, the pope censured the Maryland Jesuit missionary, Andrew White, S.J. and the Catholics in England who sided with the overthrow. For the Roman hierarchy, Protestant monarchy was preferable to popular rule.
[PREFACE, 2011 ed., p. xxi]
Maryland’s farmers in living out the evangelical counsels, rejected the reduction of Catholic theology to the beliefs of the gentry and Roman establishment. The Catholics were laboring people with beliefs that served their political, economic, and religious needs. They could not be easily manipulated. Where Catholicism did best in England and America, it was not because of clerical doctrines but because the Catholic clergy served the pastoral needs of those who were neglected by the Protestant clergy. This is not to say that Catholics had any lack of doctrines. But their doctrines centered on the value of labor. The Catholics were Catholics because of their clergy who served them in their Basic Christian Communities. But much of the substance of their religion, which encompassed their way of life and not merely their occasional cultic activity, came from themselves, not from the clergy. Many of the clergy, however, shared in their beliefs.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 1]
The European Working-Class Background
The first generation of Maryland Catholics grew up in what liberation theology calls Basic Christian Communities (BCCs). These were in Europe. The migrants learned their liberation theology there. This study begins by looking at this European background and the doctrines they learned there. The Maryland Catholics came from England, with some also from Germany, the Low Countries, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Virginia, Ireland, Africa, the West Indies and New England. In the 17th century, there were about 500,000 Catholics in England, out of a total population of 5 million. The English Catholics were concentrated in the north and west, such as in Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Northern High Peake district, and Monmouthshire on the South Wales border, and in urban centers, such as London, Bristol, Norwich, Newcastle and York.
In the rural areas the Catholics were farmers and laborers. Some working-class congregations or BCCs owned their own chapel or held services in barns and farmyards. Some congregations numbered up to 200 people. In and about Lancashire there were Catholic chapels, some of which are still in use, at Brindle, Chorley, Claughton, Gillmoss, Little Crosby, Liverpool Lytham, Manchester, Pleasington, Preston, Wigan, and Woolton. Some villages were entirely Catholic in population. Catholics in some Yorkshire districts forced their landlords, such as the Constable, Gascoigne, and Fairfaxe families, who had their own house chaplains, to pay for the services of a second priest to serve themselves.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 2]
Hugh Aveling has studied the BCC congregational structure of the Catholic community in York, which was similar to that in Maryland. In the Langbaurgh district of York there were eight Catholic congregations in 1642, with a total membership of about 500. In the North Riding district of York there were 28 self-supporting congregations served by both secular and ordered clergy. In some villages the school master or catechist were Catholics, either licensed or as in the case of Thomas Wood at Leake and Emmanuel Dawson at Lanmouth, unlicensed. They taught the rudiments of religion as well as English and Latin. Women who had been educated in the seventeen English language continental convents also served as school teachers and catechists in these villages. In 1637 Mary Ward established a community of women at Newby, Ripon, which made its living as teachers. In 1639 three English Franciscan nuns established a convent in York to teach school.
Liberation Theology's Celebration of Labor. The basis of the European workers' life and of their liberation theology was labor. They spoke of labor as God's work, a religious activity. As their scripture put it, "The handiwork of their craft is their prayer" (Ecclesiasticus 38:34). Labor took up most of their day. It allowed them to have a family and gave them dignity and pride. It was the source of their political and economic power and of their cultural and social life. Their politics, economics and religion talked of their labor as the means of establishing God's reign on earth.
Among the places in which labor was discussed was their media. For example, the English Catholic secular priest, Thomas White published a catechism in 1637, which was republished several times during the Civil War period. White pictured God as a laborer, the maker of the universe. Along with God as a laborer, the Catholic pamphleteers of the Civil War period pictured Jesus and his followers as working people. "Each in scripture has a trade and exercises it daily," Paul the tentmaker, Peter the fisherman, Joseph the carpenter. Catholic masons had God as the master mason complete with a pair of scales. Kings, bishops, and popes claimed their positions were based on God's charism. Catholic laboring people countered by claiming their own skills were God's charism:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 3]
The virtuous industrious are to be cherished, yea, God himself (the only best pattern of governors) has made it known, that mechanical qualities are his special gifts and his infused, as it were charismata.
Along the same lines, Edward Bolton, a Catholic worker in London wrote a treatise in 1629 called Cities Advocate. In it he attacked capital for glorifying itself. Instead, he held up for emulation Martin Calthorpe, who started out as an apprentice, became mayor of London, and to whose skills even Queen Elizabeth had paid homage:
Queen Elizabeth acknowledged Martin Calthorpe, the Lord Mayor of London, who started as apprentice. I pray to resemble the worthies of this city, out of whatever obscure parentage, than being descended of great nobles, to fall by vice far beneath the reckoning of the poorest prentiser.
One finds in the pamphlets of working-class Catholics a Bible that rejected capitalism and that was filled with working people and their role in establishing a just society. Scripture that was quoted included that about Noah, the ark builder, and Genesis 4:20, which honored Jabel (Iabel), the father of agricultural husbandry: "Moses put into eternal monuments that Jabel was pater pastorum, the most ancient of increase." At one point Bolton compiled a list of various "secondary" trades given praise in the Bible, such as iron workers, hammer-smiths, engravers, furniture makers and metal founders. He remarked that if these non-essentials were delighted in by God, how much more were the essential trades to be honored:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 3]
If then such honor be done by God not only to those which are necessary hand-crafts, but to those also which are but the handmaid of magnificence and outward splendor, as engravers, metal founders and the like, he shall be very hardy who shall embrace honest industry with disgraceful censures, and too unjust who shall not cherish, or encourage it with praise and worship.
Along with their Bible and catechisms, 17th-century liberation theology's celebration of labor included both Roman figures, and working-class patron saints, clergy, street pageants, pilgrimages, prayers and feast days. In rural areas the symbolic rituals of the BCCs were related to the harvest year. These rituals glorified labor and productivity. Lady Day (March 25) marked the initiation of sowing and was the first day of the year in the old calendar. Michaelmas (September 29) was the beginning of reaping. Martinmas (November 11) was the original harvest and thanksgiving day celebrating filled barns and stocked larders. Farming people went to mass on Martinmass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of which was the traditional roasted goose (Martin's goose). The symbolic rituals included a cycle of eight feast-days, distributed throughout the year at intervals of about six weeks: Christmas, the first Sunday of lent, Easter, Whitsun, St. Peter and Paul (June 29), the Assumption (August 15), Michaelmas (September 29), and All Saints (November 1).
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 4]
Working-class religion, unlike the religion of the landlords, was characterized by work-related songs, ballads, and jigs, which were sung while laboring. These songs concerned among other things, cultivated crops set in straight rows, well-kept homesteads, and satisfaction with the completion of the day's labor. Also in the category of celebrating workers and productivity were the Whitsun Ales, may-poles, morris dancing, village pipers, plays and drama, and pilgrimages. The May festival commemorated full spring and nature's triumph, when trees stood in their early foliage and flowers blossomed in abundance. Cottages were adorned with flowers and the branches of pale-green tender leaves. A "May Queen" was chosen by vote of the young men, who led a procession to the place of the spring festival, where she presided over the celebration. She was crowned with a wreath of flowers and held a wooden scepter adorned with flowers in her hand. These worker customs were strong in Catholic areas, such as Lancashire and North Riding.
Liberation theology turned capital's hatred of labor on its head. In capital's view, the more productive a person's trade, the lower was the person's spiritual worth. At the bottom in the landlord theology of Aquinas's hierarchy were the most productive, the agricultural laborers (laborantium in agris), whom he called vile people (vilis populus). Above them were artisans and merchants. Neither of these were honorable people (populus honorabilis). A pamphleteer for the magnates in following the logic of the early capitalist writers divided creation into three types of existence: vegetable, animal, and intellectual. The existence of the working class was vegetable and animal. It was common for workers whose children attended Jesuit institutions to complain about the contempt for labor which was taught their children.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 6]
Working-Class Clergy. The European rank and file and their BCCs had their own clergy and nuns. Although the wealthy monopolized clerical services, there were clergy who came from the working class, especially among the secular clergy, who identified with labor. Such clergy refused to act as the landlords' live-in chaplains and tutors. More than half the 750 Catholic clergy worked for the small percentage of the Catholic population that had property. Such work brought them £20 to £25 per year, twice what laboring Catholics who supported families made. Leander Jones noted in 1634 that being a priest was a good way to gain a comfortable living.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 7]
What is surprising is that labor was able to obtain the number of clergy that it did, despite the landlords' money. Typical of the clergy who took the side of the working class in establishing God's reign was Ralph Corby, S.J. (1598-1644). A report discussed the esteem in which he was held, "He was so beloved of the poor people and so reverenced and esteemed for his pious labors and functions that he was commonly called by them apostle of the country." Henry Foley, S.J. writes:
He pursued a moderate and poor style of living with the laboring class of men, and always visited the neighboring places on foot. In the neighborhood where he lived, were many Catholics of narrow means and obscure station. There he always thought it his duty to administer the sacraments and to visit among their villages and in their houses. He used to go without a cloak, in a very humble dress, so that he might have been taken for a servant, a farm-bailiff or letter-carrier. His reception too and manner of living was such as is usually to be met with among the laboring classes. He did not visit by appointment, but casually. And he was as much delighted with chance fare as with the greatest luxuries.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 7]
Another of the BCC priests was Nicholas Postgate who served in the Cleveland section of Yorkshire. He reported, "at this moment I have quite 600 penitents, and could have more if I wished; or rather, what I lack is not will, but help; I am working to the limits of my strength." The Benedictine Ambrose Barlow (d. 1641) served 23 years at Leigh in Lancashire. From a neighborhood family, he spent one week in circuit for every three he spent at home. On circuit he lived with the country farmers, wore country dress, walked, not rode, and ate the meatless diet of whitemeats such as cheese and eggs and the garden produce of the working class. The circuits of some clergy, such as that of the Jesuit, Thomas Gascoigne, extended for 200 miles and took a month to complete. At his home base, Gascoigne lived in a cottage and chopped his own wood for fire.
For the Civil War farmers such clergy embodied the essence of Catholic social doctrine, the evangelical counsels of perfection (poverty, chastity and obedience). Biblical scholar Francis Moloney has commented in more recent times, these virtues are incumbent upon all and have a class dimension. Most importantly, evangelical chastity in its celibate form, as St. Paul in 1 Co. 7:7–8, 32–35 observed, is the highest vocation, freeing the person for undivided work in God’s reign, which in a class system means being a revolutionary.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 9]
Labor-Value. The crux of liberation theology's conflict with capital was over the fruits of labor. Worker religion maintained that laboring people were the source of value and of a just society. The classical political economists expressed this idea in the "labor theory of value." That is, labor, not capital, produced value and should receive the benefits from it. St. Paul (2 Th. 3:10) put it negatively: those who do not work, which to 17th-century workers meant capitalists, should not eat. The Catholics were not concerned about formulating a theory of economic activity, but as Ronald Meek points out, throughout the period the "habit of thinking of `value' in terms of producers' cost remained firmly rooted in the consciousness of the direct producers themselves."
The Catholic-educated 17th-century English revolutionary, William Petty (1623-1687), summed up the labor theory of value, "Labor is the father and active principle of wealth." He viewed landlords as parasitical and tenants as producers. He worked for the establishment of a tax system that would transfer wealth "from the landlord and lazy, to the crafts and industrious." Likewise, Richard Weston, a Catholic farmer in Surrey, who wrote a scientific treatise in 1650 on how to increase crop productivity in sandy soil by planting flax, turnips, and clover, summed up the universal agrarian belief that God had made labor, not capital, the root of all riches.
In defending labor-value, one 17th-century liberation theologian commented, "The demeaning of work has filled our England with more vices and sacrificed more souls to sinful life, than perhaps anyone other uncivil opinion whatsoever. They [capitalist] hold it better to rob by land or sea than to labor." The same writer contended that the "paragon gentry" in comparing themselves with laboring people, much overrated themselves:
Aristotle held that only the Greeks were free and all the barbarians, that is, non-Greeks, were bad. Some among us seem Aristotelians in this point, who as he gloriously over-valued his countrymen, so these overvalue the paragon-gentry, and repute none more worthy of honor but themselves.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 10]
The English Catholic Thomas Hawkins (d. 1639) in taking exception to the religious practices promoted by the capitalists, similarly attacked their contempt for labor:
One may wear a scapular, say everyday some beads or some famous prayer without restoring things ill got. These are the devotions that people love. From thence come the exterior devotion to the blessed sacrament. Since the work of hands has ceased, they have extremely praised mental prayer.
Labor value was both the basis of the conflict with capital and the source of the class unity among workers that liberation theology celebrated. Class unity included gender equality; working women like working men carried their own weight and the dignity that went along with it. This contrasted with capitalist religion which demeaned not only working class men and women, but capitalist women as well. Capital set the goal for its women as marrying "well," being obedient to the domestic role, and bearing a male heir. Political, economic, and other rights were minimized. Among the arguments which capitalist literature offered for women's subordination was the biblical passage about eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden and the special curse upon Eve for inducing her husband to sin. A popular landlord devotion, the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, in its guidelines for discernment compared the devil to a woman.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 11]
Antinomianism. In England 70% of the wealth was, from the levelers' perspective, stolen by the 1% of the population that did no labor. It was a class-divided society. The corollary to liberation theology's celebration of labor was revolution against the class system and the theft of labor-value. In 17th-century terms, the theological class conflict waged by labor was called antinomianism. Meaning literally "those against the law," antinomians challenged the capitalist order in church and state. As Thomas Collier wrote in 1646, "believers are a law unto themselves." The leveler Gerrard Winstanley (1609-1652) used antinomianism to agitate for rent-free land. The Presbyterian-dominated Parliament in 1646 called treasonous the teaching of antinomianism and enacted capital punishment against it. The Presbyterian capitalists did not fear antinomianism because of otherworldly considerations, but because, as occurred in Pride's Purge in 1648, the antinomians obtained political power at the expense of the Presbyterians. During the Roman Empire the profession of Christianity had similarly been declared crimen maiestatis or high treason against the security of the state. This was because early Christian communism threatened the security of capitalist landlords.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 12]
While Winstanley and Collier were Protestants, what is of interest is that working-class Catholicism was also antinomian. The Catholics, like the Protestants, did not use the term "antinomianism" to describe their beliefs. The term was used to insult political revolutionaries during the war by their enemies. The Maryland Catholics in 1649, during the period they were revolting against both Crown and Parliament, outlawed the use of the term in their Act Concerning Religion. The Catholics did not call their beliefs antinomian, but those who have studied the Catholics of the period have used the term about them.
Catholic antinomians included pamphleteers and clergy, such as Thomas White, Augustine Baker (d. 1641), the English Benedictine nun Gertrude More (d. 1633), William Rushworth (d. 1636), John Austin (1613-1669) and Henry Holden. Among the antinomian themes developed by these writers were universal grace, an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, eschatology, and the necessity to look to the "inner light," the "inward voice," "the illumination of God's Holy Spirit," and "the liberty of the Spirit," as opposed to the dictates of the established order. Historian James Gaffney labeled the program of the English Benedictine priest Augustine Baker (d. 1641) "a virtual antinomianism predicated on the belief that nothing is finally normative for human behavior but the personal experience of what is taken to be a divine inspiration."
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 13]
Simon Strong in his study of the Peruvian communism describes similar Catholic antinomianism in more recent times. In the early Andean religious cosmology, there were five ages. By 1700 under Catholic influence this had been reduced to three. These were the age of the Father and Son, which were the pre-Hispanic and post-conquest eras, and the age of the Holy Ghost, which would be inaugurated with the end of the world and last judgment (pachacutec). The Indians who joined the Communist Party of Peru maintained the revolution they were leading was the end of the world, the last judgment and the beginning of the age of the Holy Ghost, in which justice would finally be established. The apocalyptic belief in the imminent end of the world and second coming of Jesus is a powerful force. The Peruvian revolutionary war was brutal. The government killed off the populations of whole villages, using U.S.-supplied napalm and saturation bombing on entire regions. It took strong beliefs such as that about the second coming to fight back and sometimes die.
The 17th-century Catholic antinomians taught that God wanted no class system, but rather its leveling. The only obedience owed was to their class interests. Against the claim that the capitalist-worker relation was God-ordained, unchangeable, and not subject to contractual rights by laboring people, Thomas White responded, "None think a husbandman, who is hired to till or fence a piece of ground, obeys the hirer more than he that sells a piece of cloth obeys the buyer, because he takes his money; but they are said to contract and perform their part of the bargain."
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 14]
Antinomian clergy advised working people to revolt against wealth, as one Catholic priest put it, "seeing their labors disposed on to people, of whom they have opinion that they are idle, vicious and unworthy, therefore desire freedom from such a yoke and become masters of their own goods and labors." While capital wanted labor to be like oxen that could be butchered for profit, the antinomians looked to turn the tables:
What are people better than a herd of sheep or oxen, if they be owned, like them, by masters? What difference is there between their masters selling them to the butcher, and obliging them to venture their lives and livelihoods for his private interest?
Antinomian doctrine maintained it was not obedience but disobedience to the class system that was a virtue:
It is a fallacious principle, though maintained by many, that obedience is one of the most eminent virtues and that it is the greatest sacrifice we can offer to God, to renounce our own wills, because our will is the chiefest good we have. . . To renounce any natural faculty or the legitimate and fitting use of it, under pretense of pleasing God, is a folly, not a virtue.
As in Galatians 2 and Romans 6:1, antinomian justification was by faith, not by works, laws or kings. This doctrine was as much against state and landlord legalism as against church legalism. In place of the landlord preference for Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, free or human will, good works and legalism, that were taught in the Jesuit schools, liberation theology was about justification of the working people based on God’s providence, predestination and grace. In the cosmological order of things, working people would prevail because of this preferential option.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 15]
The rank and file put into practice their antinomian doctrine with frequency. During the first-half of the 17th century, there were rebellions and revolutions involving laboring people in behalf of establishing God's reign on earth and against economic monopoly in every Catholic nation and city-state of Europe: France, Florence, the Kingdom of Naples, Spain, the Low Countries, and Germany. In England Catholic laboring people took a leading role at the local and national level in the 20-year Civil War that overthrew the government, leveled capital and brought agrarian reforms such as the repudiation of lease agreements, the refusal to pay rent, the knocking down of landlord fences and the cultivating of liberated land. The employers' world was so turned up-side-down that they complained of being the slaves of their employees. An illustration of a Catholic worker who turned the tables on his boss is given in the following account:
There were obvious dangers in sending away discontented servants at a time of national tension. One Lancashire servant "was required to go, as did his master and mistress, to hear a Jesuit preach. He did not go." He was presumably dismissed as a consequence. Naturally enough he turned informer. "As these times go," one lord was told by his son in similar circumstances, "all servants are masters, and we their slaves."
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 16]
Prominent among the Catholic employers who were confronted by their employees was Inigo Jones (d. 1652). As a youth, he had started out as an apprentice joiner and ended up a London architect and surveyor in the employment of the Crown and nobility. Among his achievements was an addition to London's St. Paul's Cathedral in the 1620s. He was a Royalist and at the beginning of the war, to avoid taxes and confiscation, he had his four servants bury his money in a secret place near his home in Scotland Yard. As the war continued, however, his servants showed sympathy for Parliament. Jones, in his 70s, correctly feared that they would turn him and his money into Parliament. He managed to dig up and rebury his money in Lambeth Marsh before being arrested. He saved his money but spent part of the war in prison.
Agrarian Antinomianism. If an antinomian conflict with capital came out of the labor theory of value, agrarian reform was liberation theology's solution for establishing the golden rule. Catholic agrarianism traced its roots back to and celebrated the classical period of slave insurrections and overthrows of landlord empires. Solon (638-559 B.C.) in 594 B.C. at the lead of the Athenian farmers who were being sold into slavery for debt, overthrew the landlords and outlawed borrowing on the security of the person of the debtor. He also canceled all debts, including mortgages on land. Similarly, during the period of the Peloponesian War in the 5th and 4th century B.C., the helots (slaves) took the opportunity to establish an agrarian reform in Sparta as a result of fleeing by the thousands and conducting armed struggle against the wealthy.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 17]
The period of the Roman Republic between 510 and 27 B.C. was especially popular with 17-century agrarian reformers. The Roman plebeians, that is, the working class, had battled state laws which attempted to give the wealthy unlimited rights. The landlords of the period justified their monopoly as being part of the "natural law." The working class countered with their own "natural law," and complained that they were "nominally lords of the earth, while not possessing one lump of earth." For hundreds of years they fought for and achieved the redistribution of the land to the producers. Their agrarian reforms (lex agraria) were greatest during the period of Spurius Cassius in 486 B.C. and the tribuneship of Tiberius Gracchus in 133 B.C. Machiavelli, a landlord, called the lex agraria the first cause of the destruction of the Roman Republic. The English working people themselves had a long history of struggle for agrarian reform in Roman-occupied eastern England. The aboriginal Britons (Gaelics) finally allied themselves with the Saxons in liberating England. John Davies remarked about the struggle:
It is possible that the lower classes did not regret the passing of the Empire; its last years in Gaul were accompanied by revolts of serfs and peasants. To them, the English in Kent or Sussex may have appeared less oppressive than the civitates, which were led by men concerned to perpetuate the Roman system.
In their 17th-century battle for agrarian reform, the Catholic antinomians rejected the established authorities. One such authority was Pseudo-Dionysius, an early Christian writer, who was said by 17th-century monopolists to have been a personal friend of Jesus and representative of his teaching on the subject. Pseudo-Dionysius rebuked as contrary to the divine order Demophilus' advocacy of agrarian reform:
It is not for Demophilus to correct these things. If theology exhorts us to pursue just things justly, and if the pursuit of justice is to will the distribution of what is fitting to each, it must be pursued justly by all, not contrary to the merit or rank of each; for justice is distributed even to angels according to merit, but not by us.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 18]
It was not the traditions of Rome's agrarian reformers and abolitionists or the communism in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:42-47; 5:32) that one learned about in the landlord schools, but rather Aristotle, Livy, and Cicero, who fought reform. The Roman and canon law, as well as Gregory the Great were used by capital as authorities for the view that landlord property rights were based in natural law and thus part of God's law and not susceptible to agrarian reform measures.
During the Civil War period, the Catholics antinomians through grass-roots struggle established a golden rule at the local level by agrarian reform against both Catholic and Protestant, royalist and parliamentary landlords. Illustrative was the manor of Sowerby Thirsk in Yorkshire. Sowerby Thirsk had enough Catholics that it had its own Catholic school. The manor was owned by the Catholic Thomas Meynell, a "radical encloser" who had been censured by his Catholic tenants and the quarter sessions court as a depopulator. His Catholic tenants included the families of Lawrence Brown and Christopher Hawe, who stopped paying rent all together during the Civil War period. His other tenants turned over their rent to the county committee instead of to Meynell. Meynell disliked this. His income was about £500 per year and was normally understated as £40 per year for tax purposes. Meynell was unable to dodge his taxes when his tenants handed over their rent directly to the county committee. In 1647 he called his tenants "vulgar plebeians" because they "presumed to assess the true landlord. . . as thought he had been one of their coridons. . . The lord's rent at Sowerby was never assessed or questioned until these late new times. The bushhopper tenants were never so unkind or foolish to access their lords' rent." Meynell appealed to the county committee, but it took the side of the tenants.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 19]
What the "bushhopper" tenants at the Sowerby Thirsk manor did in abolishing the capitalist squeeze on the value which they produced was normative during the Civil War both in England and Maryland. Manors were governed by assemblies of tenants, which as David Allen points out, required wide participation in government. Manors dominated in areas of open field production, such as the north and west of England, where Catholics had their greatest strength. Allen takes note that the Massachusetts towns, including Cambridge, Ipswich, and Watertown were settled by those from the eastern part of England, where government was not as "democratic - in the sense of offering wide participation." As will be seen, the liberation theology of the Maryland Catholics was more revolutionary in establishing God's reign than their Massachusetts counterparts. The Catholics brought their revolutionary religion with them. It had no toleration for capitalism.
Cecil Calvert Leveled. Among the English capitalists against whom antinomian reform was achieved by their Catholic tenants at the grass roots was Cecil Calvert, the Maryland proprietor. He was what the Catholic dramatist Philip Massinger called a "parasite of the kingdom." He never visited Maryland but was, at least from the view of the class system, its chief landlord. Maryland's classless society denied his authority. Calvert got what claim he had to Maryland from his father, George Calvert (d. 1632), a place-seeking politician for the Stuart monarchy. The Stuarts in the 17th century, like their present-day capitalist counterparts on the Potomac, turned licensed corporations and patents from being effective governmental regulatory devices into mere money-raising expedients. The Stuarts ruled for their own narrow benefit and spent money without the consent of Parliament. George Calvert's career consisted of turning public corporations into royal fund-raising schemes.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 20]
George Calvert's early career and role in gaining the Maryland patent resembled that of his better-known friend, Thomas Wentworth. Both Wentworth and Calvert came from non-noble families. They had ambitions of being nobles but had no significant revenue-producing estates. The Calverts lived on a confiscated monastic estate that resulted from the one type of agrarian reform with which they had sympathy. Therefore they advanced themselves, as John Eliot put it in 1628, by going into the service of the Crown against the interests of the nation and of their own class. In return for promoting crown monopolies and similar activities, they eventually obtained peerages and offices. As lord lieutenant of Ireland in the 1630s Wentworth confiscated Irish land and had a concession on the tobacco trade that earned him £23,000 annually. Part of his service, like that of George Calvert, included helping the Crown plot the overthrow of Parliament. About this, Thomas Macaulay remarked that Wentworth was one "to whom a peerage was a sacrament of infamy, a baptism into the communion of corruption, which destroys nations."
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 21]
During the 1620s George Calvert's personal profiting from the public trust came to £2,000 annually. He also gained landholdings of 2,300 acres in County Longford, Ireland, 2,700 acres in County Wexford, Ireland, and a title in the Irish peerage (Lord Baltimore). Calvert lost his office at court in the late 1620s because he sided with the group that wanted to betray the country to the Hapsburg empire through a Spanish marriage for Charles I. Those in the Spanish party had desired that Charles I make such a Spanish marriage. Most in the party received regular pensions or bribes from the Spanish government. George Goring (d. 1663), Earl of Norwich and Richard Boyle, earl of Cork, ended up negotiating the marriage of Prince Charles to Henrietta Maria of France. Goring owned the farm of the tobacco custom for England, which meant all colonial tobacco sold in England and Ireland passed through his hands.
George Goring was resentful of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford and of James Butler, Earl of Ormonde (d. 1688), who were allies of George and Cecil Calvert. Ormonde was the Calverts' proxy in the Irish Parliament in 1634. Wentworth in the 1630s managed to obtain the tobacco custom farm in Ireland, which eliminated Goring's income from that source. More tobacco was sold in Ireland than in England. Because of Wentworth's profiteering in the 1630s in Ireland and because he had built up a powerful papist army in Ireland that scared many in England, Parliament impeached and executed him for treason in 1641. Beginning in October of that same year, the Irish landlords, following the example of the Scottish Presbyterian rebellion in 1637, rose up against the English imperialists, including against Cecil Calvert.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 22]
When George Calvert died in April 1632, he had an estate worth about £10,000. But for his early death, he would have been granted the Maryland patent. Cecil Calvert was the god-son and name-sake of the original promoter of Stuart capitalism, Robert Cecil. Cecil had been secretary of state from 1596 to 1608 and had helped in securing the Stuart succession. Cecil Calvert used the same court connections, including Thomas Wentworth, that his father had cultivated. Wentworth was the principal advisor to Charles I between 1639 and 1641.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 23]
Cecil Calvert's main residence was not in Ireland but near his Arundell in-laws in southwest Wiltshire where they had large estates. Both Arundell and Calvert were leveled by their antinomian Irish and Wiltshire tenants during the war. Derek Hirst finds that assaults on the landlord's houses were a pretext for forays against the manorial records. Tenants took the war as an opportunity to settle economic grievances around the issue of labor value. The leveling in May 1643 of Wardour castle, which was the Arundell's residence, was precipitated by the siege there of Edward Hungerford, Edmund Ludlow, and their parliamentary troops. Arundell's Catholic tenants took back what the class system had squeezed out of their labor. From the castle and its surrounding lands they confiscated £100,000 worth of cattle, farm animals, tools, furniture, cartloads of fish from ponds that were drained dry, and oak and elms worth £5 per tree that were felled and sold at 4d per tree. Thousands of such landlord houses, woods, and parks were plundered and at least 200 houses "of major importance" were reduced to ruins. This looting was directed at both royalist and parliamentary, Catholic and Protestant landlords, and the beneficiaries included the Catholic tenantry and laborers.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 24]
Likewise, Cecil Calvert's tenants turned the Civil War into a grass-roots rebellion against him. After he was sequestered in November 1645 by the parliamentary Wiltshire County committee, his tenants questioned and refused his right to hold a manor court, impose the homager's oath, or receive the economic benefits that went along with such rights. In addition to their refusal to pay rent or their payment of less than was customary, tenants such as those on Calvert's land, ploughed up their landlords' pastures, put in improper crops, and neglected normal manuring and repairs. Christopher Clay comments, "Tenants threw up their farms, pressed for reductions in rent, ignored husbandry covenants, and encroached on their landlord's rights in other ways." J. P. Cooper documents the "irrecoverable rent arrears piling up." David Underdown quotes as not unusual the complaint by a landlord at seeing the "massive arrears" in rents being run up:
Now men are are lawless, trees and hedges are carried away without controlment; tenants use their landlord how they list for their rents, taking this to be a time of liberty.
Most landlords were forced to sell land because of lack of rental income in order to pay their debts and taxes. Many were bankrupted and in counties such as Lancashire that had many Catholics, about half the capitalist families disappeared permanently.
Enclosures Leveled. An aspect of the monopoly system which especially had obstructed the establishment of labor's golden rule was the enclosing or fencing of cultivated land and turning it into pasture to raise sheep. Enclosures and depopulation were long-standing grievances of copyholders and tenants-at-will in areas with heavy Catholic concentrations, such as the western part of England. Merchant-dominated courts and parliamentary legislation allowed land to be confiscated by landlords and turned into pasture. In these areas there was more profit for the landlord in wool production than in the income that could be gained by a tenant's production of grain crops. The complaint against enclosures was part of the Grand Remonstrance in 1641. According to R. C. Richardson, "the central agrarian issue in the English Revolution was whether the landlords or the small farmers should control and develop the wastes."
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 25]
During the 1620s and 1630s more profits for Catholic capitalists like John Wintour and Basil Brooke because of enclosures meant the loss of livelihood for their Catholic tenants. The Catholic dramatist Philip Massinger in his antinomian plays wrote against those such as Wintour and Brooke who "intrude on their poor neighbor's right" and "enclose what was common land, to their use." During the Civil War, it was the tenants who profited and Wintour and Brooke who were evicted. Wintour, several of whose sons migrated to Maryland for short periods, held a monopoly on royal leases in Gloucestershire's Forest of Dean. These leases were in Lydney and 28 other parishes as well as in several dozen manors. "Forest" did not mean a wooded area, but an area under the Crown's ownership and under forest law, rather than common law. Wintour's leases involved some 18,000 acres of arable land, timber, iron mills, and coal mines, much of which had been enclosed in the years prior to the war. The revenues from these leases was so great that Wintour had acted as a financier for the Crown during the 1630s when the king had ruled without Parliament.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 26]
Wintour's displaced Catholic tenants used the war as an opportunity to stage a widespread, grass-roots agrarian reform. They tore down some 17 miles of enclosures standing 4½ feet high worth £1,000. They burned structures used for coal mining. At one point 3,000 people assembled including 8 score Welshmen and staged a mock Catholic funeral for Wintour. Armed with guns and pikes they carried his effigy accompanied by two drums, two colors, and a fife. Among the leaders were a cobbler, a glover, and a husbandman. Since 800 A.D. the Catholic people of Dean had held land in common for their hogs and cattle to graze upon. They fought to preserve their rights. What Wintour's tenants achieved in establishing their golden rule was a common occurrence in areas of forests and fens during the period, as Buchanan Sharp documents:
As soon as the members of England's elite found themselves preoccupied with the political crisis that led to Civil War, the inhabitants of forests and fens took advantage of the times to riot once again and destroy the works of enclosers and drainers. In the years between 1642 and 1649 riots erupted in all those western forests which had been the scenes of the riots between 1626 and 1632.
The liberation theology of non-agriculturalists such as mineworkers, ironmakers, textile weavers, carpenters and sailors, no less than that of the agrarians focused on obtaining full value for labor. One of the Catholics' weapons in struggling for honest pay and labor conditions was holy days. For example, Yorkshire coalminers had 52 yearly saints or feast-days, which they took off as holidays. This was in addition to the 52 Sundays which they took off. The strength of Catholicism in the northern coal-mining communities was attributed by historian John Bossy to the traditional working-class weapons like the observance of saints' days. Catholic workers in each trade had feast-days on which they celebrated their craft skills at church or in the common hall of their companies and guilds. At the same time the capitalists were seeking to reduce the number of feast-days and to promote their program of keeping wages at a minimum and hours of labor at the maximum of physical subsistence.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 27]
Revolution Against Capitalist Theology: Racism. Liberation theology's defense of labor's golden rule was spiritual as well as material. For each doctrine of capitalist theology justifying the theft of labor, the workers had an antinomian doctrine advocating revolution. For example, central to capitalist spirituality were doctrines based on race, language, national origins, religion and color, which then as now, were used to divide the working class and conquer it. In the 17th century, the gentry maintained that God had constituted their blood a separate, non-laboring race, distinct from and better than the working class. The blood which flowed in capital's veins was said to be the source of their supposed beauty, impetuosity, leadership, and martial qualities. One had to have noble blood in order to ride and control a horse well. The following illustrates the Catholic gentry’s racial propaganda:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 28]
Great men have many more talents from God, for the traffic of virtues than others have. The bodies of nobles and gentlemen are ordinarily better composed, and as it were more delicately molded by the artful hands of nature. They have their senses more subtle, their spirits more agile, their members better proportioned, their garb more gentle and grace more accomplished, and all these prepare a safe shop for the soul to exercise her functions with greater liberty.
The history of these beliefs about the racial superiority of the capitalist went back at least to the slave system of classical antiquity in which people of different race, language, national origin and religion were attacked. The Greek and Roman slavocracy taught that certain people were by nature destined to be slaves. As set forth in Aristotle and Cicero these people, along with women, were justifiably subordinated because by nature the landlord class was superior in reasoning ability.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 29]
Liberation theology turned such genealogy upside-down to honor laboring people. As one worker put it, "Scripture not only makes the skill of laboring people immortally famous, but puts down their parentage, and birth places in contrast to that of many princes. Thus in Hiram's case (1 Kings 7:13-47; 2 Chronicles 2:14), the brass-founder's family is recorded." According to Bolton, Solomon was satisfied with nothing less than the best in building the temple because there was a religious quality in work well done. Thus Hiram, who was not even a Jew, but was an artisan of great skill, was asked to come from Tyre to make the bronze pillars for the temple.
Coats-of-arms, like genealogy, were used by the landlord class to glorify its "race." And as with genealogy, the working class turned coats-of-arms to its own honor: cloth workers had a coat of arms with a tezel on it, taylors had one with a robe, grocers a clove, sailors an anchor. This religion of class unity dated back to the pre-Reformation era, the guild system, and confraternities. Guild priests were employed by the guild and looked to the needs of laboring people. In the spirituality of the working class and embodied in their coats-of-arms was the belief that their labor was what accounted for progress and civilization. It was said that without those like Tubal Cain, the iron worker, hammer-smith, and founder of the guild of metal-workers, described in Genesis 4:22 and Ecclesiasticus, "there can be no civilization." Labor was an honor:
Some say London is a place of vice and should be reduced to servility. But they are wrong. Industry and civil virtue are the lawful things of this life. Their nearest object is honor and honest wealth. It is a foul note to brand them as associated with bondage, or give them any the least disparagement at all. The ancient excellent policy of England did and does constitute corporations of artisans and adorns companies with banners of arms.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 30]
Capitalist Theology: Obedience and Labor. Besides racism and its variants, a second doctrine of gentry theology against which liberation theology did spiritual combat in defending labor's golden rule was the virtue of obedience. This was touched upon earlier. The doctrine of revolution itself, antinomianism, was a theological rejection of the idea that God wanted laboring people to be obedient to predation, that is, that they should suffer their "cross and passion" with humility, self-denial, and meekness. The chief offense in the view of landlord religion was pride, as manifested by ambition for leveling the wealth and life style of the magnates. God's will for labor, said Robert Persons, S.J., was the "old simplicity, both in apparel, diet, innocency of life, and plainness of dealing and conversation." Persons wanted to restore the system of feudal servitude and overthrow the farmers and workers who had advanced their economic rights. His obedience doctrine was a one-way street: when labor was in power, there was no virtue in submission.
A second area of spiritual struggle that has also been touched upon was labor value. The working-class biblical texts, feast days, songs and saints discussed earlier each arose in the context of struggle against gentry propaganda about unearned wealth being a sacred windfall from God, something that did not come from laboring people. Illustrative of such propaganda were the writings of the Catholic landlord Thomas Meynell of North Kilvington in Yorkshire. He gave thanks in his commonplace book because "God" had always maintained him in his landlord status. In addition to being a windfall, his class maintained wealth was also a reward to them for being morally superior to the working class, "Our ancestors who raised their titles upon noble actions were men of heaven." The wealthy held themselves up as "a type of the heavenly lord," the "image and splendor of the lord's divinity." One apologist, said by bibliographer Joseph Gillow to have been "for many years in great favor, especially among [gentry] Catholics," summarized the landlords' glorification of their idleness:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 31]
O you noble men, God uses you as Adam in terrestrial paradise, he suffereth you to eat the corn at ease, which others have sowed, and the wine which others pressed; he causes your meat to come to your table, as if it were borne by certain invisible engines; he holds the elements, creatures, and men in breath, to supply your necessities.
It was against such mystification that revolutionary theologians like Bolton, Petty, White and Hawkins directed their propaganda in behalf of labor-value. Labor's celebration of the texts about slave abolition and agrarian reform among the ancient Romans and the communist passages from the Acts of the Apostles was also in the context of spiritual class struggle. Gentry literature in behalf of unearned wealth cited as authority the Roman landlord classics and the early Christian writers such as the slave-owning pope, Gregory the Great, who taught that God made producers lowly. God did this, according to Gregory, in order to punish workers for being sinners. Gregory, in his theology of slavery, as developed in The Pastoral Care, wrote that the working class was predetermined to evil. It was because of their propensity to sin that working people had to have landlords on their back:
Sin (culpa) subordinates some to others in accordance with the variable order of merits; this diversity, which arises from vice is established by divine judgment. Man is not intended to live in equality.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 32]
Elsewhere Gregory remarked, "Nature begets all men equal, but by reason of their varying merits, a mysterious dispensation sets some beneath others. This diversity in condition, which is due to sin, is rightly ordained by the judgment of God." Gregory was from a Roman capitalist family. Even as pope he resided on his family's property and owned slaves. In contrast to Gregory, liberation theology taught that labor was good and capitalism was sin.
Along with Gregory, 17th-century antinomians contended with the writings of Catholic gentry John Abbott, Robert Wintour, and their Protestant counterpart, the Laudian Henry Hammond. These men found in their "esteemed" classics, such as Augustine, Aquinas, Isidore of Seville (560-636 AD), Pope Gregory VII (1020-1085, Hildebrand), and John of Salisbury (d. 1180), that the origin of productive labor was in the Fall, in sin, in the devil, in evil, and in biblical characters like Cain, who was ignoble to his brother and Noah's son Shem, who was a "churl" to his father. The class system was both punishment for sin and a way to occupy laboring people and keep them from further sin. In Latin America and Africa the slave theology which imperialism and its clergy taught at the time was that Indians and Africans were enserfed and enslaved because of their sinfulness. Augustine in City of God Against the Pagans wrote, "The prime cause of servitude is sin, which brings people under the dominion of others, which does not happen save by the judgment of God, with whom there is no unrighteousness, and who knows how to award fit punishments to every variety of offense." A gentry pamphlet commented about the Adam and Eve origins of labor and laboring people:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 33]
The world was as yet in her cradle, and man was no more than borne, when God making a place of justice of terrestrial paradise, pronounced against him the sentence of labor and pain, and afterwards wrote, you shall eat your bread with the sweat of your brow.
As noted, liberation theology used the labor-value, agrarian reform and slave abolition classics that began with ancient Rome to argue against the gentry classics. But it was with Thomas Aquinas that the levelers especially did battle, as he was most frequently cited in the writings of landlords like George Calvert, the Maryland proprietor's father. Aquinas was from the landlord class. The Council of Trent (1545-1564) had sparked a revival of interest in him and his repetition of Aristotle's conservative views of society. He was more authoritative with the 17th-century gentry than he had been in his own time. One does not find in Aquinas a justification for the doctrines that had been taught by liberation theology from ancient times. Instead it was said that landlords collected the rent as "God's elected stewards of His goods." Heaven was the ideal that should be imitated on earth, a place both of contemplation (mental prayer, the "beatific vision") and of military orders of angels, but not of productive labor. The further from the material, the closer to God.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 34]
The preference of the 17-century landlords for Aquinas was matched by a dislike for his materialist rival, William of Ockham (1280-1349), a Franciscan priest from a farming family near London. As a materialist, Ockham rejected the philosophic idealism of Aristotle and of his 12th and 13th-century followers, such as Aquinas. Like many Franciscans, Ockham identified with the poor and battled against the efforts of the French landlord class and of their papal puppet to force the Franciscan order to become landlords. In Ockham's view, power came from the people. They had the right of revolution in church and state. Ockham gave his support to the overthrow the French Pope, John XXII at Avignon. Frederick Engels paid his respects to Ockham's materialism:
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 35]
Materialism is the natural-born son of Great Britain. The British schoolman, Duns Scotus [meaning William of Ockham] had already asked, "Whether it was impossible for matter to think." In order to effect this miracle, he took refuge in God's omnipotence, i.e., he made theology preach materialism. Moreover, he was a nominalist. Nominalism, the first form of materialism is chiefly found among the English schoolmen.
[CHAPTER ONE, 2011 ed., p. 36]
Conclusion. To sum up, this chapter has outlined the European background of Maryland's liberation theology. Working class religion grew out of and defended labor's golden rule. It was characterized by the celebration of labor and by both a material and spiritual revolution against capital. For each doctrine of gentry religion, the working class had its own doctrine, which as Segundo points out, was in line with the gospel of Jesus. The wealthy identified their class system with God's order, the people's theology taught revolution, leveling and agrarian and labor reform in order to achieve a classless society. Landlordism was racist, labor was class conscious and hated racism. Capital taught that labor and laboring people were evil. Liberation theology said it was good. The gentry maintained their wealth was from God, labor that it was from theft. During the Civil War period the English working class made considerable progress in establishing its golden rule at the grass-roots and in large measure at the national level.
Figure 1-1: Chesapeake tobacco farmer working his field
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 37]
Labor Value: Crux of Liberation Theology and the Golden Rule
The Catholics who came to America brought with them the "atheism and pretended religion," about which the capitalist Cecil Calvert complained. This liberation theology had been part of their lives and the just society for which they had battled in Europe. In Maryland they established a similar golden rule both in their personal lives and at the provincial level. This chapter describes their lives and beliefs.
The Maryland Catholics. The first permanent European settlement in the Chesapeake Bay area was established in 1607 at Jamestown. The Maryland settlement began in 1634 at St. Mary's City. By 1660 about 4,000 Catholics and Protestants had migrated to Maryland, 95% of whom were working class. A quarter of the migrants were Catholic. Catholics came to Maryland in greater proportion than to the other North American colonies because they were actively recruited by land-speculator Cecil Calvert. He and the Catholic clergy ran a London-based migration office in the 1630s. If the desire to get out from underneath the class system in Europe pushed the Catholics toward America, the presence of Catholic clergy during much of the period pulled them specifically to Maryland.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 38]
Even Catholics who had settled earlier in New England, Brazil, Virginia, and the West Indies, such as Richard Gardiner (1616-1651), re-located to Maryland. Gardiner came from Virginia in 1637 with his wife, four children, and two youths whom he employed as field-hands. Into the Catholic ranks also came the Maryland Protestants and Indians who converted. The Protestants converted because there was often no Protestant clergy. Indians joined because the Europeans interested them in forming Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) in their villages or because they married Catholics or lived in close proximity to or worked for Catholics. Some learned English and attended European services. They liked the singing, baroque liturgy, spirituality, educated clergy and liberation theology. By 1642 there were several hundred Indian Catholics out of a total Maryland Indian population of between 5,000 and 7,000. The total figure included about 1,665 Conoy (Piscataway, Yeocomico), 300 Patuxent, and 1,000 Accomac. From the 17th century to the present, Catholicism has had a continuous existence among the Conoy.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 39]
A Charism of "Hard Labor." The work lives of the Catholics involved "hard labor" and a bountiful return. As noted, liberation theology called work a charism from God. The anonymous worker who authored the pamphlet, Complaint from Heaven with a Hue and Cry (1676), looking back to the first-half of the 17th century, summarized his work life:
We confess a great many of us came in servants to others, but we adventured our lives for it, and got our poor living with hard labor out of the ground in a terrible wilderness, and soon have advanced ourselves much thereby.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 40]
In 1649 the Catholic laborer Nicholas Keiting described his farm work with pride as "truly accomplished." The Chesapeake was, as pamphleteer Gerrard Winstanley put it, an Eden with labor (usufruct) its foundation.
Indian as well as European Catholics had a love for their labor. One of the Europeans in 1635 wrote of the Catholic Indians, "The werowance [king or leader] himself plants corn, makes his own bow and arrows, his canoe, his mantle, shoes, and whatever else belongs unto him, as any other common Indian." Similarly the Conoy "queen" did the normal labor of a woman, which included field work, preparing meals, dressing meat, baking bread, and weaving baskets and mats from rushes. The mats were used as beds and to cover the houses. The Conoy took nothing for free, as one account put it, "You can do them no favor, but they will return it." The Maryland Indians were part of the Algonquian language group and had been farming in the Chesapeake region since at least 800 A.D. They traded their tobacco, corn, bean, pumpkin, and deer skin surplus for beaver pelts and other products throughout northeast America with tribes such as the Iroquois-speaking Susquehannock, as well as with tribes to the west and south.
Maryland Catholics never lacked for the necessities. At the same time, because they had little money, they stayed at home, worked in the fields, sat in their yards in the warm months and before their fire in the cold months and talked, read the Bible, pamphlets and books, sang hymns and ballards, visited the neighbors and relatives, chewed or smoked tobacco, fished, trapped and swam. On Sundays and some 40 feast days they had religious services and celebrations. Periodically throughout the year they met at the provincial level for court, market and assembly days and for militia musters. Women as well as men between ages 14 and 40 were part of the militia, drilled monthly and had their own arms and ammunition.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 41]
By 1640 the Catholics had set up 5 congregations or BCCs. The one at St. Mary's City included a chapel built in 1638. The second was at Newton on St. Clement's Bay. Starting in 1638 it met at the home of Luke Gardiner. A chapel was built there in 1661. The third Catholic community was at Port Tobacco Hundred in what is now Charles County. As at Newton, no chapel was built at Port Tobacco until the 1660s, but Andrew White, S.J. (1579-1656) was ministering there by 1640. There were also several BCCs among the Catholic Indians.
The positive view of the Maryland Catholics towards labor differed from that of the get-rich-quick capitalists in early Virginia. The Virginians from their landing in 1607 until well into the 1630s were dependent on the Virginia Company, the Dutch, and the Powhatans for food. Historian Helen Rountree found that early Virginia was weighed down with "gentlemen" and "adverse to labor." The first corn crop planted in Virginia was in 1611, five years after settlement. It was put in by Indian captives, not by Europeans. In 1618 the Europeans started planting tobacco because it brought a substantial financial return. But in emphasizing tobacco, the Virginians neglected to plant food crops. This resulted in frequent raids against their neighboring Powhatans to steal grain supplies, especially in years of poor harvest.
Work Life. The labor charism of the Maryland farmers involved subsistence and market farming of crops such as grain, beans, pumpkins, tobacco, livestock, and cider. From the start the Catholics were self-sufficient in food production. Men, women, and children age 11 and up did field labor. During the growing season, they were out from 6:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening. At midday when the heat was intense there would be a prolonged (2 hours or more) rest period, when lunch (dinner) would be eaten and a nap taken. On Saturdays they would work half a day, and in slack seasons there would be no Saturday work.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 42]
Women and older children were at no disadvantage in doing the work involved in tobacco and corn husbandry. Hilary Beckles writes that even in the more demanding work of sugar production in the Caribbean, the indentured and slave women "worked together in the same gangs with men from sun-up til sun-down." The work required stamina but not great strength. At least in Barbados, the women worked in the fields until "far gone in their pregnancy." They were back at work within two weeks of delivery, their babies strapped to their backs or looked after by their older brothers or sisters. Indian historian Helen Rountree maintains that because Indian women were both food producers and food preparers, they had a higher status in their society than the European women. Rountree may be accurate that Indians women carried their own weight, but she is not correct that the European women in Maryland worked any less than the Indians.
The work of a family would typically include planting two or three acres of corn (2,420 hills) yielding 7 barrels. This was enough to feed a household for a year. In addition to their subsistence, most Maryland farmers also planted a market crop of tobacco. Tobacco was labor intensive, requiring diligence for ten months of the year. It involved more work per unit of output than any other commercial crop except flax and rice. It did not do well under gang labor, like sugar or cotton. A latter-day farmer commented on the work demanded by tobacco:
It would startle even an old planter to see an exact account of the labor devoured by an acre of tobacco, and the preparation of the crop for market. . . Farmers would be astonished to discover how often he had passed over the land, and the tobacco through their hands, in fallowing, hilling, cutting off hills, planting and replantings, toppings, succerings, weedings, cuttings, picking up, removing out of ground by hand, hanging, striking, stripping, stemming, and prizing.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 43]
Three acres of tobacco was the maximum a family could farm. It took several months between April and June to prepare some 9,000 hills about four feet apart at 320 hills per day. On these hills were planted 3,000 to 10,000 tobacco plants. Families would rush out of bed when it rained at transplanting time in early June. During the growing season the family had to keep the ground clear of weeds by continuous hoeing. Tobacco worms had to be picked off daily. Within a month of transplanting, the plant grew to a foot high. After the plants had put out about nine leaves, they were topped to prevent flowering and to force maximum growth in the existing leaves. The workers' large thumb nail, hardened in a candle, served as a tool for the topping process. The family cut down the entire plant in September. The stalks were then taken to specially built houses where they were pegged and hung to cure in the air. It could take six weeks for the tobacco to reach the proper texture. Finally, the plants were "struck" down and packed in moist weather when the leaves were made pliable by the dampness. They were stripped off the stalks, bundled into "hands," and packed into hogsheads. Families would stay up late at night involved in the stripping, stemming and packing. Average tobacco production rose from 700 pounds per family in the 1630s to 1,300 (4 hogsheads) in the 1650s. The total provincial value of the tobacco as it left the farm in the 1640s was worth between £800 and £1,200. A family's average yearly income came to between £5 and £10 per year.
Tobacco farming took both muscle power and brain power. Brain-power involved being knowledgeable about soils, rainfall, mean temperatures, planting, tending, curing, and packing tobacco. Gloria Main comments on the skill demanded in tobacco production:
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 44]
The success of tobacco culture demands the kind of knowledge acquired only through long experience and diligent attention to detail. Failure to make a proper judgment at any one of the crucial steps in harvesting, curing, and packing might not only reduce the quality of the product but even damage it beyond salvage by inducing fermentation and ultimate spoilage.
Frequent court cases testified to the skill needed in production and the lack thereof.
Along with their field crops, the work-life of the Maryland Catholics included other tasks such as tending the poultry, hogs, and cattle, making butter and cheese, pounding corn in a mortar into meal, spinning flax and wool, winding silk from the worms, gathering fruits, looking after the house and children, washing, cooking, tending the herb and salad garden, and gathering greens in the wild. A 50-acre Maryland farm consisted of one-half the land in woods, one-fourth in pasture, one-tenth under cultivation, and the rest fallow and waste.
The seriousness with which the Catholics took their work can be gagged from their government records. Moist days in spring and early summer were good for planting. On such days, they canceled their governmental business to do their farming. Thus, a court day at St. Marys on June 25, 1650, broke up "upon the earnest motion of the inhabitants to be discharged, it being very like to be plantable weather." Similarly, a message from the Maryland assembly to Cecil Calvert in England declared the legislators had no time to argue with him about his proposals, which they rejected, as they had to be about their farm work, "Most of us are forced upon necessary employment in a crop at this time of year, most of us having no other means of subsistence."
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 45]
Another illustration of the seriousness with which they took their work was their response to the depression in prices for tobacco and other farm products between 1638 and 1645 in tobacco prices. They successfully continued subsistence farming for self-consumption, which included making their own textiles with sheep and wool cards, flax and hackles, and spinning wheels. Most also responded "creatively" to the depression, as one study put it. Instead of "retreating into only subsistence and riding out the storm," they improved productivity and increased output per worker in the middle decades of the seventeenth century. Tighter and more-careful packaging led to permanent savings in shipping costs. They experimented with new exports like grain, pelts, meat, and wood products. They were not unlike their English counterparts who, in the words of historian Robert Allen, created a revolution in agricultural productivity in the 16th and 17th century by the introduction of new seed varieties and labor-intensive innovations.
Indian Work Life. The work life of the Catholic Indians was similar to their European counterparts. Some Indians worked as wage laborers and artisans among the Europeans, just as some Europeans lived and worked in the Indian villages. For the most part, however, the Conoy were and had been prior to the European arrival, sedentary agrarians, which did not exclude them from foraging like the Europeans for berries, fruits such as persimmon, and nuts such as hickory, walnuts, chestnuts, chinquapin, and beech. Both Europeans and Indians also foraged for fiber for cordage, for roots and plants such as arrow drum and its tuckahoe root and for wild greens in the meadows. The Indians raised their crops, assimilated iron technology, and sold their surplus, not unlike the European workers. Between 1632 and 1638 the Indian village on Kent Island sold to the London ships some 2,843 bushels of maize worth £568 at 4s per bushel, 6,348 pounds of tobacco worth £106 at 4d per pound, and 7,488 pounds of beaver pelts worth £4,493 at 12s per pound. Because of the warmer climate, the Maryland beaver pelts were not of high quality. It was the Susquehannocks to the North and their Iroquois trading partners on the Great Lakes who excelled in this. But the Conoy learned to cure deer skins which they traded to the Europeans.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 46]
Because there was a division of labor with the Conoy men doing most of the hunting and fishing and the women doing much of the agricultural work, Europeans often assumed the men were lazy and did not have positive views about labor. But as Helen Rountree notes, "the men had their hands full being hunters and fishers; yet the English persisted for centuries in viewing them as lazy." Besides white-tailed deer, which were hunted by individual men year-round and by whole villages in communal hunts in the late fall, they also trapped raccoons, opossums, muskrats, wild turkeys, and brown bears. At night they hunted with fire in a canoe to attract fish. The Conoy were a riverine people and the construction of weirs for fishing and of dugout canoes was among their skills.
Labor's Celebration. For the Maryland Catholics, both white and Indian, like for their counterparts in England, labor was as much the center of their religious life as of their work life. They celebrated their work in their personal devotions and in their collective liturgical services and feast days. The inclusion of labor themes in their collectives was enhanced because working people (lay readers) often led the BCCs. An example of worker leadership was recorded by a priest in 1648. At the moment of his returning to Maryland after being absent for several years, the priest found the Catholics gathered together on a Sunday engaged in a prayer and marriage service being conducted by the laity. In some years during the Civil War period Catholics had as many as three clergy, but at other times several years would pass without clergy. Both clergy and workers helped in the festivities which included parades, processions and fireworks. Among the first activities when the Catholics landed in Maryland on March 25, 1634 was a procession.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 47]
The baptisms, weddings, funerals and other liturgy of the Maryland Catholics, in celebrating labor, productivity, fertility and husbandry, followed the traditional eight feast-day agrarian cycle. A festival came every six weeks: Christmas, the first Sunday in Lent, Easter, Whitsun, Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29), the Assumption (August 15), Michaelmas (September 29), and All Saints (November 1). The tobacco, corn and similar crop cycles of growing, curing, and packing were integrated with the liturgical cycle and celebrated by it. The first part of the tobacco and corn cycle began with lent and Lady Day (March 25) in early spring. The family made seedbeds and sowed tobacco seeds kept from the previous year. By Whitsun in early June the plants had grown to three inches and were transplanted. Growing ended at Michelmas (September 29) when the second part of the tobacco and corn cycle, the harvesting and for tobacco the curing process, began. The third part of the cycle, packing, coincided with the period around All Saints (November 1) and Martinmas (November 11).
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 48]
Besides the feastday liturgical cycle, the Catholics celebrated other work-related agrarian customs: Whitsun ales (the seventh Sunday after Easter), may-poles, Morris dancing, pageants, BCC pipers, plays and drama, dancing around a bonfire and singing, as on the feast of St. John, ringing bells, shooting off guns, lighting candles, raising cheers, drinking and banqueting, and patron saints such as St. Anne, who brought fertility and protected pregnant mothers, especially in childbirth. The writings of the Catholic humanist, Desiderius Erasmus (d. 1536), which circulated in the 17th-century Chesapeake, praised the vernacular scriptures because they allowed "The farmer to sing some portion of them at the plow, the weaver to hum some part of them to the movement of his shuttle and the traveler to lighten the weariness of the journey with stories of this kind!" Typical of their celebrations was the feast of Ignatius Loyola on July 31. Loyola was the founder of the Jesuit order which ministered in Maryland. The following describes the nocturnal part of the festival at St. Mary's in 1646:
"Mindful" runs the record, "of the solemn custom, the anniversary of the holy father being ended, they wanted the night also consecrated to the honor of the same by continued discharge of artillery." Accordingly they kept up the cannonade throughout the whole night.
As in Europe, the theology of the Maryland working class reversed the gentry beliefs about labor. In the 17th-century Thomistic-influenced landlord pamphlets, the heavenly order was held to resemble the Platonic ideal - changeless and motionless. Prayer and religious practices, and even public service, meaning ruling and soldiering, were compatible with the Platonic ideal, but not manual labor. God himself and the angels were warriors who combined contemplation and war. Catholic capitalists like Garrat Barry lived the tradition of the monk-knights and militarized prayer. They praised themselves for "their excellence of war-like virtue," or what one of their critics called "heroic laziness." Catholic landlords like Richard Gerard came to Maryland from Lancashire in 1634 but left within six months to follow the "honorable" career of a soldier in the Spanish army against the Dutch. Manual labor was not honorable.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 49]
Labor Value. As was seen in England, worker religion, reflecting life's experience, centered on labor as the source of value and the corollary, that labor should enjoy its fruits. The working people were not concerned about formulating a theory of economic activity, but the idea that God wanted a society in which they enjoyed the benefits of their labor was basic to their theology and to their government. They quoted the the commandment against theft and the biblical admonition: if you do not work, you do not eat (2 Th. 3:10). The later passage was incorporated into the first Soviet Constitution and, as in Maryland, became the foundation of their society. Capitalist parasitism was not allowed. Historian Aron Gurevich has remarked, "In a class society, the commandment `Thou shalt not steal' protected property in a way that was much in the interests of the `haves'." But in Maryland, where the society was dominated by labor, the commandment was used to justify the confiscation of wealth that labor had created and capital had appropriated.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 50]
A significant aspect of the Catholics' labor theory of value was their belief about land ownership, which carried on the common land tradition among both the English and Gaelic laboring people and the American Indians. Their land belief based on labor (usufruct), and rejection of land speculation or profit from buying and selling land. Deserted fields could be used by anyone who wanted to use them. What one authority said concerning Indian title applied equally to the Maryland Catholics' title, "Indian title was originally one of aboriginal use and occupancy." A contemporary account stated in 1635 that the Conoy "show no great desire of heaping wealth. If they were Christians and would live so free from covetousness, and many other vices which abound in Christendom, they would be a brave people." Like the Maryland Catholics, the Conoy had no objection to wealth but, as another contemporary observed, they found collective rather than individual wealth to be in their interests. Wealth such as tobacco and corn was held in common warehouses and storage pits.
The labor theory of value reversed capitalist religion and its justification of the class system. The proponents of capitalist theology, as championed by magnates such as the Calverts, were Thomas Aquinas and the other scholastics. Andrew White, S.J., a professor of Thomistic theology at Valladolid and Seville in Spain prior to his arrival in Maryland, followed the morality of Aquinas in advising Calvert in 1639 to pursue a monopolistic course that would have impoverished the Maryland workers. White wrote:
As in France, Spain, and Italy, the sovereigns appropriate the sale of certain things for themselves, so I conceive your lordship for a time to monopolize certain trades as bringing in a brickman to serve you for years and obliging all to take so many bricks of him. . . and for this a convenient price may be set on the thousand, no man permitted to make bricks. . . The like I say of carpenters, hatters, sawyers, coopers, smiths, etc.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 51]
At another point White advised Calvert to set up a store in Maryland like the Duke of Florence did in his colony. The store would have had a monopoly in selling all commodities shipped into the country. This would bring "a very great gain" to Calvert.
Thomistic philosophy was favored by capitalism because, as Barry Gordon points out, it emphasized commutative (individualistic), not distributive (class) justice. Commutative (from commutatio or transaction) justice was the classical Greek and scholastic term for the government of relations of individual to individual. Distributive justice was the term for class justice, that is, for the obligation of the community to the individual. Historian Keith Luria has shown that the spirituality of laboring people generally was, as might be expected, sensitive to the class and collective needs that grew out of the labor theory of value.
Gordon has written about the absence of the labor theory of value from Aquinas, "Because he related economic analysis mainly to questions of commutative [individualistic] rather than distributive justice, Aquinas offers little by way of insight into the theory of income distribution." The wealth produced by laboring people in Aquinas' day ended up disproportionately monopolized by the small percentage that were landlords and capitalists. This was the nature of the class system and capitalist theology was not concerned about changing it. In one of his earliest works, Commentary on the Sentences (of Peter Lombard), Aquinas did concur with Lombard, for whom commutative and distributive exchange were linked together by one general end, the transfer of the necessities of life. However, 16 years later when he started writing his main work, the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas had abandoned that approach.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 52]
Class (Distributive) Justice: Collective Economics and Token Almsgiving. Labor value's golden rule in Maryland had a place neither for the narrow individualism of scholastic theology nor for the various doctrines which 17th-century capitalism associated with commutative (individualistic) exchange, such as token almsgiving and just price.
Token almsgiving, which dated back to the classical writers, involved the superficial redistribution of the labor value stolen by capital. As described in seventeenth-century pamphlets, this type of almsgiving was characterized by funeral almsgiving, feast-day donations, and giving succor to a ritual number of poor, usually twelve. Such charity was inefficient and little adapted to material needs. It was meant to satisfy the conscience and propaganda of the gentry, not to address the issue of labor value and the class system. While injunctions by landlord clergy to give generously to the poor had in some periods brought a cumulative redistribution of wealth, it was in the direction of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and monasteries. The hierarchy, which was among Europe's largest landlords, called itself the "poorest of the poor" and took a preference in alms. The redistribution did not reduce but increased the monopoly of wealth. Nicholas Caussin, an English priest in the scholastic tradition illustrated in 1634 the type of income distribution favored by capital:
If you wish to magnify charity toward persons necessitious, cast your eye upon Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland. She was accustomed to serve twelve poor people every Monday. This was the very same day she yielded her soul up to God. When she had scarcely so much left as a little breath on her lips, she asked that she might once more wait on the poor at dinner, and that death might close her eyes when she opened her hands to charity.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 53]
The scholastic authority Domingo de Soto at the University of Salamanca, as well as Gregory the Great and Salvian of Marseille condemned working class efforts to substantially address capital's theft of labor's value and the poverty it caused, saying removal of the indigent from the streets would result in grave spiritual harm by denying the faithful the opportunity of practicing charity. Contrary to the theology of the working class which made rebellion endemic in Maryland, as it had been in the middle ages, Aquinas said that poverty was inevitable and could be an opportunity for virtue. Monastic landlords had set the norm for capitalist almsgiving by doling out in alms about 3% of the revenue which they received from their tenants and a similar amount in less formal charity. About problems such as homelessness and healthcare the monks did nothing. Guest houses served rich travelers, not the homeless.
Symbolic of present-day token almsgiving was Mother Teresa (Agnes Bojaxhiu of Albania, 1910-1998), the hero of India's Congress party. The Congress capitalists did not want social services in the hands of the people. Congress sought to reduce taxation, limit state services, and to substitute charity for the few in the form of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs were funded by foundations, individuals and foreign sources like the World Bank. This charity industry favored by the Congress party was not for the benefit of the people but to cover over the greed of the imperialist-capitalist system.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 54]
Mother Teresa was centered in Calcutta, the communist-led capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. The local Communist Catholics criticized her for promoting privatized health care, education and nutrition. Her health care organization eliminated normal medical practices like blood tests to distinguish ailments (malaria from other illnesses) and the curable from the incurable. For the terminally ill her nuns offered no relief for pain. Her brand of Catholicism was the cult of death and suffering with the passivity and abjection of working people being a virtue. Mother Teresa's token health care contrasted with that of 17th-century Maryland, where the assembly's socialized regulation of medical fees defeated corporate attempts at health-care monopolization for profit.
Mother Teresa's health care also contrasts with the approach of the Sisters of Charity in Cuba. Fidel Castro expressed his admiration for the Catholic religious workers whose spiritual values made them "model communists" for every party member:
There's a center for congenitally subnormal children in Havana. Nuns and Communists work shoulder to shoulder in that hospital. I greatly admire the work those religious Sisters are doing, and I'm not just saying this to you; I've said it publicly. Sometimes, I've made comparisons. Some of the old people's homes that are run by nuns are more efficient and economical than those that are run by our own administrators. Is it because we lack people who are willing to work round the clock? No. It would be unfair if I failed to say that there are thousands of nurses, doctors, health technicians and other hospital employees who do hard, difficult work with love and dedication, exactly as a Sister of Charity does.
However, in addition to working with love, the Sisters of Charity and those of other religious Orders are very strict about the use of resources; they're very thrifty, and the institutions they run are very economical. I say this because we're glad to help those institutions. . . During a session of the National Assembly, I spoke about those old people's homes and, making a comparative analysis of the costs, said that the nuns were model Communists - it was broadcast on television all over the country. I've always spoken of the nuns as a model for Communists to follow, because I think they have all the qualities we'd like our Party members to have.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 55]
Another example of tokenism in recent times deals with the abortion politics of the church hierarchy. In Italy many Catholic communists believe abortion is wrong and work to eliminate its economic causes. Among these isGiglia Tedesco a leader in the Italian senate. In World War II she served as the military commander of the resistance against fascism at Ponte Marmaro near Rome. She joined the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano, PCI) and after the war was elected to the party's central committee. In the 1960s and 1970s she served as a Catholic-communist senator in the 315-member senate and later was the senate vice-president. She helped enact legislation for single women who headed families that gave them free day care, health care and housing along with full employment and wages equal to men. This took away the cause of abortion, the economic motive.
In contrast the pope and his capitalist masters in the Christian Democratic Party (Partito Democrazia Cristiana, DC) verbalized anti-abortion language because it cost them no money to do so. But they opposed the communist program that made abortion economically unnecessary because that did cost them money. Tedesco commented that the communists, unlike the Christian Democrats, rejected the substitution of consumerism and narrow individualism in place of class solidarity:
The main thrust of our efforts was to overcome exaggerated individualism and likewise the closed personalistic understanding of Christianity. We did so because we were then, and we still are, convinced that at the base of the capitalistic ideology and the reality of capitalism lies the most unrestrained, frentic form of individualism and the most irrational rejection of any form of limitations so as to be able to realize one's own personal-ego for one's own self. At the basis of capitalist ideology lies the exasperated search and the infuriating desire of success, of immediate happiness, of wealth and of money.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 56]
Tedesco argued in addition that “unmolded and unbounded individualism which is the real cancer that is corrupting the fibers of our society. It is precisely this uncontrollable and intemperate individualism which is the cause of the moral deprivation, the cultural pollution and the decay of ideals in our families, in our society, and in our common living together, and in the whole of our very Western civilization.”
In criticizing the capitalist culture that necessitates abortion, Tedesco observed further, “I ask myself, and I ask you, whether it isn't the unleashing of this irrational, intemperate individualism which leads to other irrational and intemperate corporate-sector interests which are closed in upon themselves. The same is true of neighborhoods, zones and areas which look exclusively to their own interests. They look completely in upon only themselves. This frantic tendency toward sector or corporate interests as opposed to global interests increases the areas or zones of social exclusion. Is it not this thinking about only one's self, looking in upon one's own navel, which has brought about the protest of the third and fourth worlds, of the socially excluded, of those on the margin of society and of those who have been forced into poverty? Is this not due to the loss of every form of human solidarity and the disinterest for the common well being?”
It was to solve the problems which individualism and tokenism ignored that Catholics in Italy joined the communist movement. Some 200,000 PCI rank-and-filers are Catholics. Half of the active parish members in working-class dioceses such as Florence are party members and one-third of the Italian population in the recent past voted PCI.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 57]
Similarly in Colombia Catholic revolutionaries like the priest Camilo Torres, took a stand against the health care, housing, education and job security tokenism of his country, finding even in Thomas Aquinas a justification for his politics:
In Catholicism the principal foundation is love for neighbor. "If you love your fellow man, you have carried out your obligations." In order to be true, this love must search for effectiveness. If the beneficence, the alms, the few free schools, the few housing projects - everything that has been given the name "charity" - does not succeed in feeding the majority of the hungary, or clothing the majority of the naked, or teaching the majority of the illiterate, then we must search for effective means to bring about the welfare of the majority.
The privileged minority which holds power is not going to look for such means because, generally, effective means will oblige the minority to sacrifice its privileges. For example, in order to see to it that there is more employment in Colombia, it would be better for them not to take their capital out of the country in dollars but rather to invest it in sources of employment. But as the Colombian peso is devalued day after day, those with money and power will never prohibit the export of money because in this way they escape the consequences of devaluation.
It is necessary, then, to take power away from the privileged minority in order to give it to the poor majority. This, done rapidly, is the essence of the revolution. The revolution can be peaceful, if the minority does not give violent resistance.
Torres advocated that revolution was the way to obtain a government which would feed the hungry, clothe the naked and teach the ignorant. He maintained that revolution was not only permitted, it was obligatory for Christians, since it was the only effective and complete way to achieve love for all. Quoting Aquinas, he stated:
It is certain that "there is no authority except from God" (Romans 13:1), but St. Thomas says that the concrete assignment of authority comes from the people. When an authority is against the people, that authority is not legitimate and is called tyranny. Christians can and must fight against tyranny. The present government is tyrannical because only twenty percent of the electorate supports it and because its decisions come from the privileged minority.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 58]
Torres pointed out that the “temporal defects of the Church must not scandalize us. The Church is human. What is important is to believe that it is also divine and that, if we Christians fulfill our obligation of love of neighbor effectively, we are strengthening the Church. I have left the duties and the privileges of the clergy, but I have not stopped being a priest. I believe that I have given myself to the revolution out of love of my neighbor. I have stopped saying Mass in order to realize that love of neighbor in the temporal, economic and social sphere. When I have accomplished the revolution, I will again offer Mass, if God permits. I believe that thus I am following the command of Christ. ‘So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first and then come back and present your offering.’" (Matthew 5:23-24).
In the liberation theology of the Maryland Catholics, poverty, ineffectiveness and passivity were neither inevitable or desirable. All were workers and their brothers' keepers. Neighbors prevented impoverishment at the local level by helping each other in framing buildings, hunting, gathering corn, and housing and packing tobacco. They lent tools and exchanged salt, corn, liquor, meat, and cloth from family stocks when needed. Family and neighborhood networks along with assembly funding provided for the elderly, disabled and orphans. Historian Michael Graham writes:
These [good neighbor] patterns can be seen over and over in the lives of the Catholic men who worshiped at the Newton church. For example, they publicly supported one another through the signing of one another's documents; that they did so signals the importance of the informal relationships upon which these more formal, legal relationships were based. . . Death especially called upon friends to stand by one another.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 59]
At the provincial level Catholics used their collective muscle in the assembly to protect their class from being impoverished. Like the communist community in the Acts of the Apostles, in the monastic communities and in the early Plymouth settlement, which had legislation that provided for the community of goods and provision, Maryland's assembly made provisions outlawing various capitalist practices, such as hoarding, engrossing and forestalling. In England too, the English revolution achieved a system of working class economic security. The levelers in their newsletters, pamphlets and marches on Parliament demanded that all the "ancient rights and donations belonging to the poor, such as alms houses, enclosed commons, etc. throughout all parts of the land, now embezzled and converted to other uses, may forthwith be returned to the ancient public use and services of the poor, in whose hands soever they be detained." The system of economic security that resulted from the leveling in England was rooted in local political struggle involving some 10,000 parish governments. These local governments were empowered to provide full employment and poor relief.
Historian F. G. Emmison commented on the philosophy of the Civil War reformers, "It was the duty of everyone to work. It was equally the responsibility of the parish to help them get work." Parish governments established a “planned economy” by not only providing employment but job training through the spinning and weaving of wool, fisheries, the establishment of municipal brewhouses, the draining of fens, clearing of wasteland, working up of flax, and the distribution of confiscated royal estates to the landless for farming. The rank and file made it possible that in their senior years they would not have to worry about their necessities.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 60]
Full employment and poor relief programs in the 17th century were part of what historian Derek Hirst has called the philosophy of the "ordered, inter-dependent commonwealth." Liberation theologian Thomas White spoke at the time of full-employment regulations and economic cooperation being part of the natural law:
God and nature have so managed humanity, that none have as much as they desire, but regularly abound in one kind of goods, and want some others which their neighbor has. Hence they mutually assist society to be accommodated with such necessities, as they cannot have but by communication one with another."
White had little use for capitalist monopolies passing themselves off as being in the commonwealth tradition. His twentieth-century counterpart, the Irish-American revolutionary, James Connolly (1870-1916), made the same point:
It is not socialism but capitalism that is opposed to religion; capitalism is social cannibalism, the devouring of man by man, and under capitalism those who have the most of the pious attributes which are required for a truly deeply religious nature are the greatest failures and the heaviest sufferers.
Religion, I hope, is not bound up with a system founded on buying human labor in the cheapest market, and selling its product in the dearest; when the organized socialist working class tramples upon the capitalist class it will not be trampling upon a pillar of God's church but upon a blasphemous defiler of the sanctuary, it will be rescuing the Faith from the impious vermin who made it noisome to the really religious men and women.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 61]
Just as for White and Connolly, also for the present-day biblical scholar Francis Moloney, distributive justice, as made concrete in the evangelical counsels of perfection are the essence of Catholic social doctrine. He observes that the evangelical poverty taught in the Bible and by St. Francis of Assisi, was a vocation to work and to share. It did not involve impoverishment. About the communist nature of this sharing he comments:
All that I have I give to the community, and all that I need I receive from the community. . . This, ultimately, was the sense of Luke’s ideal presentation of the church in his portrait of the apostolic community in the Acts of the Apostles: “There was not a needy person among them.” (Acts, 4:34).
The evangelical poverty of the Civil War Potomac community seems in large measure to have embodied Luke’s ideal.
Just Price. “Just price” was another gentry doctrine for which the Maryland migrants had little regard. Like token almsgiving, "just price" was associated with commutative (individualistic) exchange; it dated back to the classical writers and it ignored labor value. In defending this doctrine, the magnates argued that the just price did not favor the weathy. A just price presumed a free market. Only prices set by a monopolized market would favor the capitalist and this would violate the doctrine. This was Aquinas' point in the following:
In a just exchange the medium does not vary with the social position of the persons involved, but only with regard to the quality of the goods. For instance, whoever buys a thing must pay what the thing is worth whether the person buys from a pauper or from a rich person.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 62]
Aquinas accepted that the "free" market set the price for "what the thing is worth." He insisted only that poor and rich both receive the same market price.
But the free market doctrine in Maryland was rejected. Commutative justice in focusing on the relation of individual to individual ignored the unequal economic position of working people who were forced to pay the same price as the wealthy. The wealthy wet the price by outbidding the working people. It was a system of rationing that gave the capitalist a monopoly. The just price doctrine was acceptable to the gentry because it ignored the class system and viewed the market, as did Aquinas, in terms of narrow individualism. Just price, like token almsgiving, required no substantive reduction in the class system. Barry Gordon comments about Aquinas's just price doctrine:
Aquinas does not confront the issue of the relationship of commutation and distribution. . . There is no guarantee that the achievement of justice in pricing will ensure justice in distribution.
The seventeenth-century liberation theologian Thomas White made the same point in defending collective justice against narrow individualism:
When I see the same person work for a commonwealth, in a free way doing it good, and again for a private person, I see a vast distance between his pretended ends. There is an eminent generosity in one over the other. Whence, I believe it comes that heroes and heroical virtues are chiefly taken in respect of doing good to the whole society.
When I see it thought that good is the same, I find it an intricate labyrinth of equivocation wherein we endless err. To cry the common good is a mere deceit and flattery of words unless we can show that the common good is as great to us as we make it sound.
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 63]
Thomas White and his liberation theology had a following in Maryland. In the early 1640s the Maryland Catholics petitioned him to come join them as their pastor. The Jesuits, who were then serving in Maryland, had come as the result of their dealings with Calvert and were not well regarded by some of the working people. White was popular because, as Robert Pugh, an apologist for the merchants, complained, he took the side of the "meanest of the commons, against the just rights of the king, the nobility, and a great part of the gentry." Another of the gentry, Roger Coke commented that White spoke for those with "plough-holding" hands. White's "socially-minded" theology had small regard for the Thomistic theology of personal devotion, token almsgiving and just price.
The Maryland Catholics regulated their land, corn, tobacco, and other markets to protect themselves from predation. The "just price" unregulated market desired by Calvert, the local landlords and foreign imperialists was a free market only in the sense of the wealthy having freedom to monopolize it for their benefit. Between capital and labor, it was freedom which oppressed and Maryland law which liberated. The Maryland farmers did not allow the free market to become a fetish in which the landlord could stand reality on its head by calling getting rich off the labor of others "paying a just price." The farmers required that labor be the central element in Maryland’s economy. Twentieth-century liberation theology similarly rejected “just price” economics. In Poland, for example, the Pax Association was a Catholic revolutionary organization that fought on the Soviet side in World War II and after their victory replaced "just price" capitalism with a planned, working-class economy. Zygmunt Przetakiewicz (b. 1917), a Pax activist, commented in 1954 on the decadence of Thomistic economics:
[CHAPTER TWO, 2011 ed., p. 64]
Labor, intended by God to become a continuation of the act of creation, was depicted by Aquinas as punishment for the original sin, the value of time was closed within the limits of individual life, societies and nations were disregarded and real existence was acknowledged only in the individual. Religion and social progress were artificially contradicted. Christianity was made to passively accept earthly injustice as a permanent feature of the world.
Conclusion. To sum up, the Maryland Catholics were mainly working people. They established a golden rule in their personal lives and collectively, which was based on hard labor. Their religion reflected the value they placed on labor and their rejection of doctrines the class system and doctrines such as token almsgiving and just price. In Juan Luis Segundo's terms they established God's antinomian reign on earth. Their antinomianism will be taken up in the following chapters.
Figure 2-1: Seventeenth-century trades, including weaving, candle making, fishing with line and net, carpentry, spinning, potting, iron smithing, furniture making, tailoring, printing, plowing and porter.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 65]
Antinomianism at the Grass-Roots: Agrarian Reform and Subsistence Farming
Maryland's golden rule along the Potomac and its liberation theology grew out of the lives of the laboring people and the value they created. Antinomianism, as noted earlier, meant revolutionary resistance to the landlord doctrine of obedience and was characteristic of the tenantry’s religion and their Basic Christian Communities (BCCs). The Maryland Jesuits complained to their superiors in Europe that the Catholic workers, like the New England Puritans, allowed no rights "except such as can be proved from scripture." This chapter will examine the antinomianism against landlord Calvert and then the struggle against local capitalists and foreign imperialism. From the antinomian perspective, as set forth in the leveler tracts, the liberation from exploitative conditions brought the kingdom of God to earth.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 66]
Agrarian Reform. The "people's liberties," as Cecil Calvert contemptuously called agrarian antinomianism, started in the first place with the workers' decision to abandon Europe. Migration was an agrarian reform. It helped the workers avoid the thievery of the class system: the rent collector, high taxes, low wages, lack of chances, inequality, small yields and trap of low-paying seasonal jobs aimed at keeping the gentry in comfort. Gerrard Winstanley, whose pamphlets circulated in the Chesapeake, summarized the migrants' theology:
This existing [capitalist] law is the extremity of the curse, and yet this is the law that everyone now dotes upon; when the plain truth is, the law of property is the shameful nakedness of humanity, and as far from the law of Christ, as light from darkness.
The doubling of the population in England between 1500-1650, land enclosure, urban growth, and market-oriented farming and manufacturing, had created social crisis. The widespread displacement of the rural population, poverty, vagabondage, unemployment, and economic depression meant that one-quarter to one-half the population was chronically without a job, underfed and without permanent housing.
After their arrival in Maryland the migrants resisted every attempt to re-establish the class system. Their first act upon arrival was to launch a permanent rent strike against obedience to the main landlord. The strike took different forms depending on the arrival status of the worker. About half the Maryland workers paid the £5 transportation costs to America and arrived without debt. Between 1633 and 1641, and from 1649 to 1656, Cecil Calvert, sought to give these workers a "free" 100-acre tract. The problem was that it was not free. Calvert wanted to collect a yearly fee on it called a "quit rent." In addition, his secretary sought to collect a fee of 500 pounds of tobacco for registering (patenting) each 100 acre tract. This was equal to five months labor or £5. By 1642 after almost a decade of settlement, 76% of the farmers entitled to "free land" had refused to accept it.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 67]
The only ones who patented land were the small percentage who themselves had ambitions of being landlords, such as the clergy, the governor, and the secretary. In 1642 four speculators owned 69% of the patented land. These individuals came to regret having claimed the land. It made them susceptible to Calvert's quit rent. For example, Thomas Greene was induced to migrate in the first ship of settlers in return for a 10,000-acre grant from Calvert. According to Greene's calculations, the ten barrels of corn valued at between £15 and £30 he paid yearly in quit rent to Calvert was worth more than the value of the entire tract. In 1639 he was contemplating deserting the province. In a similar situation was Thomas Gerard (1608-1673). He had borrowed £200 from his brother-in-law to obtain a land grant in Maryland. After a life of diligent farming, he died in 1673. The value of his estate came to £242, not much more than his original loan, which he never re-paid.
Thomas Copley, S.J., summarized the problem of would-be-landlords with "headstrong workers" in a 1638 letter:
A payment of one barrel of corn for every one hundred acres of ground yearly is perhaps not very heavy to one who getting a mate and laboring faithfully himself, and taking but one hundred acres, will have no great difficulty to pay it, but to a gentleman, who has a company of headstrong servants who in the beginning especially shall scarcely maintain themselves, this burden will come heavy.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 68]
Squatting. The rent-striking antinominans employed several methods to farm the land without accepting ownership to it from Calvert. One approach was to squat. This was universal during much of the period. In this they shared, as noted earlier, the usufruct land tenure philosophy of the English, Gaelic and American Indian common land system and of other societies then and now committed to a classless economic system. It was because their religion sanctioned such land tenure that Calvert denigrated it.
The farmers collectively protected their squatting rights by refusing to enact a recording statute. In this Maryland differed from Massachusetts, where the general court quickly established a land recording system. As a result, in disputes over land ownership in Massachusetts, the courts gave priority to recorded deeds. In Maryland, a recording act would have opened the squatters to Calvert's revenue demands. The Maryland provincial court consistently held that priority in land disputes did not go to the recorded deed.
It was also in defense of squatting that the assembly refused, as will be studied more closely in Chapter 4, to recognize Calvert's prerogative judicial jurisdiction, crown patent or right to collect fees. In 1641, for example, Calvert sought to legislate a regulation by prerogative decree that would have required squatters to take out a patent within one year of a claim arising or the claims would be lost. But it was impossible for him to enforce the regulation, since the assembly did not recognize it. In January 1648 by unanimous vote except for his nominal governor and secretary, the assembly refused Calvert's request to give a confirmation of his proprietorship and "ordered that the said bill should be thrown out of the house by all the freemen then assembled." Not allowed to use the Maryland courts, Calvert attempted to make those who used public services, be required to take an oath of obedience (fealty) to him. In this oath the taker was supposed to acknowledge Calvert as landlord and promise to pay survey, patent, quitrent, and other fees. The assembly rebuked him, ordering him to stop sending over such proposals: "Experience teaches us that a great occasion is given to much perjury when swearing becomes common. Oaths little prevail upon men of little conscience."
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 69]
As a result of their squatter reform, what John Smith (d. 1631) said of Virginia in 1616, also summarized Maryland's classless society, "In the colonies there are no hard landlords to rack us with high rents, nor tedious pleas in law to consume us with their many years disputation for justice. Here every person may be master of their own labor and land." Similarly applicable to Maryland was William Hilton's comment in 1621 about Plymouth plantation, "We are all free-holders, the rent day does not trouble us."
Sharecropping and Wage Labor. Other measures used to avoid Calvert's quit rent, besides squatting, were sharecropping for one of the few local landlords or wage labor. Some migrants did this during their first years in Maryland before setting up on their own. Work for a local landlord was for a "full share" or about £10 pounds per year. This was the same amount the workers could make by farming on their own account. Full-share employees did not work in the fields, but engaged in profitable sidelines. Those with specialized skills did even better. During the 1630s, Maryland carpenters earned wages that were two to three times higher than in England and Ireland, plus food. Historian Garry Stone comments about wage laborers:
Hiring free labor was prohibitively expensive unless Lewger had some profitable sideline requiring labor. Free laborers' wages ranged from 1,000 to 1,500 plus pounds of tobacco a year. In 1642, he hired a laborer with the promise of a cow.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 70]
Among women workers who avoided Calvert's quit rent were Elizabeth Willan and the Irish-born Audrey Daly, who were tailors, the Catholics, Mrs. Fenwick, who ran a public ferry near her house and Katherine Hebden, who worked as a physician during the 1640s and 1650s.
Some younger workers used another type of arrangement to avoid Calvert's rent and fees. They paid 100 pounds of tobacco per year to farm a 100-acre tract that was patented by a local landlord. Such sharecropping avoided property ownership and gave the workers access to tools, know-how and shelter during their first years in Maryland. This was useful as they had much to learn and do initially. Besides growing a crop, they had to build a house, barn, and other outbuildings, and accumulate capital to trade for seed, cooking gear, hardware, tools, cloth, nails, and farm animals. The hardware for a dirt-floored cottage from 10 feet by 10 feet to 15 by 30 feet, depending on size, cost from 60 to 500 pounds of tobacco.
Subsistence Farming. The antinomianism against Calvert's landlordism was also directed against obedience to other foreign imperialists and to would-be local gentry. The key to maintaining their resistance to these enemies was subsistence farming. In self-sufficiently providing their necessities, subsistence farming allowed them to be economically as well as spiritually independent of landlordism. As a result, to the extent they engaged in market farming, it was on their own terms. Labor's idea of subsistence farming had a similar name but an opposite significance from that promoted by 17th-century capitalism. The landlords wanted production by slavery, which meant the physical minimum of subsistence for laboring people or what the economic liberals in the eighteenth century called the iron law of wages.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 71]
The significance of the antinomian subsistence defense can be appreciated by comparing Maryland with other nations and regions. Capitalist forces in Ireland, Latin America, Africa, New England, and in early seventeenth-century Virginia drove farmers to neglect their own nutritional needs or those of their employees and tenants. Ireland's population declined from 1.5 to .9 million between 1641 and 1652 because of famine. This resulted largely because cash crops such as wool production were substituted for food crops.
On a smaller scale many died just north of Maryland in the the mid-1640s at Fort Christiana, which is now Wilmington, Delaware. The New Sweden Trading Company which established the fort in 1637 emphasized pelt trading. It employed one person to grow corn for each eight pelt traders. But in the early period, it required eight corn growers to feed just one pelt trader. Not only to the 17th but to the 21st century, Maryland's subsistence antinomianism was a model of farmer rule. For seventeenth-century working people, capitalism, with its calculated lack of nutrition, sanitation, health care and housing was a system of murder. The liberation theologian, Jose Miranda, in discussing malnutrition comments about capital's profit-driven inherent (structural) violence:
I refer principally to the aggression committed by the capitalist system itself, which is far more evil than that by the police and military. Millions of children die in the world each year from simple malnutrition. And many more are mentally deficient all their lives from the same cause. And many millions of humans have their lifetimes cut in half from the same cause. It is not as if the resources presently existing in the world were inadequate to produce sufficient nutrition for all. What is happening is that capitalism as a system does not permit existing resources to be directed to the satisfaction of needs, because the purpose it imposes upon them is the augmentation of capital.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 72]
Unless a demand of buying power is foreseen which makes a profit likely, there is no production; but the world's most tragic and urgent needs are without buying power and consequently cannot translate into demand. Capitalism has seized the resources of humanity, and physically kills millions of human beings day-by-day with hunger or leaves them lifelong mental defectives. Would it be more violent to shoot them than to prevent them from eating? Where did this definition of violence come from? The aggression is right here, right now in the form of genocide, and it is constant. The Bible (Gen. 9:6) teaches:
Who spills the people's
by the people will that person's blood be spilled,
for the people were made to God's image.
Among the Maryland Catholics there was no starvation. Some farmers did make the mistake of going into debt, but when the squeeze came, they merely defaulted on their debts. They never lacked for food or other necessities. For example, Giles Brent was not able to pay a debt of 8,000 pounds of tobacco and John Lewger, Calvert's secretary, had to mortgage his farm for 10,000 pounds of tobacco or about £83 to meet his debt to a London capitalist. This meant they were not planting enough tobacco to keep up with their improvident loans, but they were planting enough corn to keep up with their own needs. Between 1638 and 1646 there was an economic depression in Europe and colonial North America. The price for cash crops like tobacco and pelts dropped but the price of imported goods stayed the same or increased. For those dependent on the market system, it meant hardship and bankruptcy. But the Maryland subsistence farmers prospered.
Labor gave collective voice to their subsistence defense through the assembly. They needed strength against Maryland's few landlords who were driven by the capitalist system to maximize their profit by forcing contract workers and tenants to labor entirely for the market and starve nutritionally. The assembly stopped this by enacting corn laws. Corn was Maryland's main food. Assembly codes between 1639 and 1654 required that "Every person planting tobacco shall tend two acres of corn." Each day and each acre spent in corn production was a day and an acre that the landlord could not squeeze tobacco production from contract workers and tenants. The capitalist cleric Thomas Copley complained that the Maryland corn laws were forcing even the clergy into productive labor:
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 73]
It is expected that every head plant two acres of corn, whereas already we find by experience that we cannot possibly employ half our number in planting and therefore we must turn planters ourselves.
In tandem with their minimum planting requirements, the farmers enforced their subsistence defense against local landlordism by outlawing some fundamentals of the free market system, including the exporting grain in times of scarcity, especially during the winter months. It was between October and February when the province was most dependent on corn for its nutritional needs. It was in these months that the best prices and profits could have been gained by speculators selling to Virginia or New England. As in the case of corn planting legislation, there was opposition among the would-be gentry, including Thomas Copley, who wanted to speculate. The corn regulation required that private stores of corn be inspected by officials to prevent hoarding of an amount greater than the necessary sustenance for each household. Rationing, as carried out in the winter of 1647-1648, involved confiscating Calvert's entire supply, despite his objections. The assembly stated, "Since there is a scarcity of corn and since some considerable amount of corn is by diverse persons concealed for their private interests which if it were purchased of the owner and distributed" would end the scarcity, therefore the government "is authorized to view and measure each person's corn."
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 74]
Along with grain hoarding, other gentry practices that were outlawed included monopolization and profiteering on day-to-day goods and services. Monopolizing the market in the 17th century was called "engrossing" commodities, and profiteering was called "forestalling" or speculating, that is, buying goods before public sale and later selling them at higher prices. The prohibition on forestalling stated:
It is prohibited for any person to go aboard any vessel wherein are imported goods to be retailed or to treat, deal or give intelligence to or with the skipper, factor or any seaman in any such vessel touching any goods, or the rates or quantity of tobacco or want of goods within the colony before liberty of trade is proclaimed at the fort. Even then there shall be no trade at any higher or greater rate than shall be proclaimed.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 75]
The farmers were particularly vigilant in protecting the subsistence of the weakest members of their class, such as those with alcohol problems. Merchants normally profited from those whose improvident consumption of alcohol made them forget the basic necessities of their family. The assembly limited such profiteering by making debts for wine and "hot waters" subordinate to the claims of other creditors. The main target of this legislation was the London merchant John Smith and his Maryland agent, John Lewger. They exported liquor valued at £100 to Maryland in 1639. This was equal in value to 10% of Maryland's gross tobacco production, which amounted to between £800 and £1,200 per year. The subordination of liquor debts made it impossible to collect them. Liquor-speculator Lewger had to mortgage his farm to pay back his London partner.
In more recent years working people in Poland enacted similar restrictions to protect again predation. Helping to achieve these measures in the 1940s and 1950s was the 500 member Polish Patriotic Priests Committee, which was part of the 650,000 strong Association of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy (Zwiazek Bojownikow o Wolnose i Demokracje, ZBoWiD), a World War II partisans' and army veterans' organization. The Patriotic Priests petitioned for a papal encyclical that would support communism and condemn the market system. In their pulpits they preached against Polish capitalism for seeking decentralization of the economy, consumer goods, only a moderate rate of investment, corporate agriculture, the expansion of economic ties with capitalist nations and the minimization of ties to communist nations.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 76]
Dealing on Labor's Terms. Subsistence farming allowed the antinomians, to the extent they dealt with the market system, as in tobacco and pelt trading, to do so on their own terms. Their success in this was acknowledged in 1642 by the biggest monopolist in England, Charles I, who complained that the Chesapeake farmers were "constraining merchants to take tobacco at any price, in exchange for their wares." The Catholics engaged in the tobacco trade on their own terms through tobacco regulations. Notable was the legislation enacted by the fourth assembly in October 1640, which established an inspection system to destroy "bad tobacco" and limit production in order to increase the price paid to the farmer. Bad tobacco, which had a market in good times, was defined as "ground leaves, second crops, leaves notably bruised, or worm eaten, or leaves sun burnt, frost bitten, or weather beaten." Another type of legislation reduced the cost of shipping by increasing the standard size of the hogshead in which tobacco was transported to Europe. The standard weight in 1640 was 250 pounds. By 1660 it was nearing 400 pounds.
The Crown, London capitalists and shipowners protested Maryland's tobacco regulations. Imperialism wanted maximum volume, because custom taxes and freight revenue were dependent on this. Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, who loaned Calvert £500 in 1639, was typical of those hurt by the regulation. Wentworth was the place-seeker discussed in the last chapter who was lord deputy and then lord lieutenant of Ireland. His tobacco policy in Ireland was to flood the market, which meant maximum importation from Maryland and elsewhere. By doing this he maximized his personal income. He owned the custom farm for Ireland starting in 1637. All of the tobacco imported into Ireland passed through his custom house at the port of Kinsale. He charged a per pound custom duty of 1s/6d and an impost tax of 6d. The price of tobacco to the Irish consumer was 2s/4d per pound. Between 1637 and 1640 the value of tobacco imported was £80,000. In a remonstrance Wentworth was accused by the Irish House of Commons of "uttering tobacco at high prices" so that "thousands of families in Ireland and the colonies were utterly destroyed."
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 77]
In regulating tobacco to obtain a more honest return on their labor, the Maryland Catholics established a tradition for future tobacco antinomianism. In 1682 the Virginia workers took the law into their own hands and rioted after the Virginia legislature, dominated by merchants, failed to enact tobacco regulations. The riot included the establishment of grass-roots regulations that required the destruction of three-fourths of the Virginia tobacco crop.
The independence which their subsistence farming gave them from the market allowed Maryland farmers to also deal with the pelt trade on their own terms. This was a lucrative industry in the early years. Both in prerogative proclamations, in the proposed codes which he sent, and in the various wars which he sought to wage against the Susquehannock, Calvert claimed the right to monopolize the pelt market for his own benefit. The assembly code in 1638 outlawed Calvert's attempt to "rake out of mens necessities" by "confirming the trade with the Indians for all commodities to be exported." Maryland farmers each bought two or three pelts per year from the Indians and resold them to trading ships. Such trade brought £2 or £3 of additional yearly income. The New England population similarly refused to permit a pelt monopoly to the magnates there.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 78]
Labor Reform. Along with subsistence farming, the migrants used antinomian labor reforms to inhibit local and merchant predation. The second largest group of migrants in Maryland after those who arrived with no debt were contract workers. They did not have the money to pay for their passage. They made an indenture or contract with the local landlords. They were mainly teenagers. In exchange for their passage and other benefits, they agreed to work for the landlord until adulthood. Between 1634 and 1639, but not afterwards, a majority of the Maryland population were contract workers.
The antinomian beliefs of these young migrants about obedience to their contracts was frequently manifested. Given the monopoly on transportation held by the merchants, the contracts were the only way those without funds could migrate. Once in Maryland, large numbers of workers made self-help labor reforms by unilaterally ending or modifying their contracts. They ran off to live in nearby Indian villages or in Virginia, New York, Delaware, New England, the Caribbean or back to England. They rejected landlord attempts to impose a feudal system in which migrants would have been prohibited from leaving Maryland. The assembly took the side of the workers in refusing to enact legislation proposed by Calvert that would have made it illegal for tenants and workers to leave the province without the governor's permission. Historian Eugene McCormac writes that running away was characteristic of contract workers and that it cut into profits:
One of the most noticeable features of indentured servants, and one which greatly impeded the successful operation of the institution, was the large number of runaways. There is abundant evidence that large numbers of servants deserted the service of their masters.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 79]
Those who did not end their contracts by running away used other forms of rebellion against obedience to the local landlords. This included laziness, feigned sickness, theft, refusal to work, breaking and losing tools, mistreating and maiming animals, fighting, arson, alcohol abuse, murder, vexatious lawsuits, and suicide. The Catholic Thomas Allen in 1648 abused two Irish contract workers, Nick and Mark. Allen made a will in April of that year stating that if he died unexpectedly to suspect the pair. Later that year Allen's body washed up on shore at Point Look Out with three holes under the right shoulder and a broken skull. Historian Abbott Smith in his study of Maryland's contract workers, referred to them as "at best irresponsible, lazy, and ungoverned, and at worse frankly criminal in character." Another writer commented similarly that contract workers were "unruly and difficult to discipline."
Contract workers in the other English colonies and in England also showed antinomian views about obedience to employers. At St. Kitts and Nevis, they betrayed their employers to Spanish fleets; those in Barbados staged an island-wide rebellion. Timothy Nourse wrote of the "pride" held by the contract workers whom he encountered, "There is not a more insolent and proud, a more intractable, perfidious, and a more churlish sort of people breathing, than the generality of our servants." Historians Richard Dunn and Warren Billings remark on the tendency among contract workers in Virginia to be lazy and rebellious. Dunn finds the laboring people were not opposed to labor but disliked not receiving the fruit of their labor, "They worked unwillingly because they could see no personal gain in their work." Timothy Breen argues that the militancy of the Tidewater farmers at the time of the American Revolution was related to their fear of losing their personal autonomy because of debt to the London creditors. Their seventeenth-century ancestors had similar sentiments.
Arguably, it was because laboring people knew their value and resisted exploitation that the French in establishing settlements in Canada had the home government pay the passage and subsidize laboring people in their farming. In eighteenth-century South Carolina, the provincial government also paid the passage for migrants and subsidized their farming.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 80]
Out of the regard for their own value came the antinomian support of contract workers for the leveling of Calvert and the local Maryland landlords in the 1640s and 1650s, which will be taken up in the next chapter. Tenants and contract workers were only 20% of the population in this period, but they led in the leveling. Catholic tenants William Lewis, Henry Hooper, and Robert Percy became squatters and stopped paying the three barrels of corn in annual rent on their 21-year leases. Catholic worker Elena Stephenson ran off from her employer. Some contract workers and tenants divided up their landlords' cattle, tools, grain, and household goods for their own use. In the 1640s some 200 head of cattle were expropriated by the tenantry. Each was worth a full years labor to those who took them. Years later landlords were still trying to reclaim cattle from those who had changed the markings on them.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 81]
Contracting on Labor's Terms. Because antinomianism dominated early Maryland, labor contracts were generally on terms favorable to the workers. Adding to the migrant belief in the value of their labor, was that their initial years in America were dangerous from the medical perspective. One-third of the population died within the first several years of arrival because of sicknesses like malaria, dysentery and cholorea. Having an established source of food, clothing, shelter and medical care, as demanded by the labor contracts was necessary to maximize chances at survival. When written contracts were inadequate or non-existent, the workers had unwritten contracts, called “customs of the country." These contracts required that they be given land in order to plant their own crops and raise their own pigs, calves, and other farm animals, which they kept at the end of their employment. The customary contracts, which were enforced by the court, also required the employer at the end of the employment to give the worker 50 acres of land, five of which were cultivated, along with clothes and tools. Such concessions were made by landlords to induce workers not to unilaterally terminate their contracts.
Contracting on labor’s terms not only meant adequate food and similar benefits, but freedom from laboring for the landlord on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and about forty feast days. Saturday afternoons and Sundays were the days contract workers customarily tended to their own crops, as well as to hunting, fowling, fishing, militia drills and spiritual and social needs. Contract workers were members of the militia. They had to be provided with arms and periodic training at the expense of the employer.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 82]
Women contract workers appear to have been treated equally with men. Equal treatment began with the assembly code which enforced the right of women to contract in the first place and included a guarantee for the payment of their Atlantic passage, initial maintenance, and the granting of head rights and freedom dues. The code added to the freedom dues given to men a new petty coat, a pair of new stockings, waist coat, a new smock, a pair of new shoes, as well as a hilling hoe, weeding hoe, falling ax, new cloth suit, new monmouth cap, and a years provision (3 barrels) of corn. Some contracts also gave women the right to an education, as in the case of Mary Howell, daughter of Blanch and Humphrey Howell. Her parents contracted on August 8, 1648 for her to serve Thomas Copley, S.J. for 10 years in exchange for an education, as well as for food, clothing, and other customary benefits.
During the depression in tobacco and other farm prices between 1636 and 1645, the local landlords complained that it cost more to maintain workers than the value that they produced in cash crops. By 1642 the number of contract workers had dropped to between 13 and 37 percent of the total population, depending on how one calculates it. Few contract workers were brought in after 1638 because it was unprofitable. The local landlords were reduced to asking their former contract workers to stay on to work for full shares of the tobacco and corn crops. In return, the tenants would help with the other chores.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 83]
Most contract workers established their own farms within a short time after reaching adulthood. Like those who arrived with no debt, they squatted. They had no belief in permanent employment under a landlord. Russell Menard wrote of them, "Men who had arrived without capital were establishing households with ease. Twenty to twenty-five men who arrived in Maryland as indentured workers or poor migrants had become freeholders by 1642." By 1652 74% (16 out of 25) of the former Catholic contract workers were farming for their own account.
Conclusion. In the introduction to this study, the gentry’s testing-ground, virtue-of-suffering theology was discussed. In this theology, labor was supposed to have no hope of making life decent. It was the working people, not the world promoted by the gentry, that was being tested. Maryland’s migrants, however, had contempt for such self-serving theology. The only testing and suffering in Maryland was that which they imposed on the landlords.
[CHAPTER THREE, 2011 ed., p. 84]
The Maryland Catholics, like the levelers in England, did not spell out a communist theory about abolishing property rights but their activity was to distribute property to those whose work had produced it. They saw no virtue in suffering from capitalist theft. The English levelers complained that they were "levelers, falsely so called." One pamphlet stated, "We profess we never had it in our thoughts to level men's estates, it being the utmost of our aim that the commonwealth be reduced to such a pass that every man may with as much security as may be enjoy his property." A. L. Morton points out that at the time laboring people saw the small property of the workers menaced "not by the poor but by the rich -- by monopolists, greedy entrepreneurs, and enclosing landlords." It was against these that security was needed. The levelers represented and appealed in the main to the working class. The same concerns stood behind Maryland's defense of its golden rule. It was Calvert that threatened property rights and imperialism that leveled working people.
Just as the levelers were on the side of security for working class property, they were likewise on the side of obedience when it came to working class authority. In more recent times, the biblical scholar Francis Moloney, in his study of the evangelical counsels of perfection (poverty, chastity and obedience) makes the same point. Evangelical obedience entails obedience to God’s reign, but resistance to that which obstructs this reign. About evangelical obedience Moloney summarizes:
Religious obedience, lived out in the heart of the Church, is the obedience of a prophet. We must be seen as living under the divine urgency to go away from ourselves, and to lose ourselves in the mysterious plan of a mysterious God. In this way we will continue to proclaim to the people among whom we live, the freedom which a radical openness to God can create. We will also act as a thorn in the side of an over-confident, over-organized, over-institutionalized Church. The quality of our free but obedient lives must keep posing the question to our Church: Just why were you—the Institution—instituted in the first place?
Figure 3-1: An engraving showing the leveling of Wardour Castle, which was owned by Cecil Calvert's landlord in-laws.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 85]
Collective Antinomianism: Labor's Golden Governmental Rule
The labor theory of value is at the heart of liberation theology. The Maryland assembly spent much of its time defending the labor value of the migrants. Its antinomian activities reflected collectively what the workers were doing individually. The Crown, Calvert and the would-be landlords in Maryland, Virginia and England wanted acquiescence to the institutionalized theft of the labor value. The Maryland antinomians, however, waged, in Juan Luis Segundo's words, "a terrible conflict" to maintain their "classless society."
Despite capital's claims to the contrary, the migrants were not anarchists. They merely looked at obedience from a class perspective. They were faithful to the essence of the Mosaic law - its political and moral content - but cleared the way for its realization, which the gentry prevented. God wanted no obedience to a system that robbed workers for the comfort of landlords. Historian Christopher Hill described the monopolistic nature of the English economy:
A typical English family lived in a house built with monopoly bricks, heated by monopoly coal. Their clothes were held up by monopoly belts, monopoly buttons, and monopoly pins. They ate monopoly butter, monopoly currants, monopoly herrings, monopoly salmon, and monopoly lobsters.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 86]
A Parliamentary Model. Maryland’s revolutionary government established by the Catholics in the 1630s anticipated the antinomian reforms made by the English Parliament in the 1640s and 1650s. From the beginning Maryland's assembly, judiciary and tax system established themselves as a law unto themselves, the exclusive law in Maryland, above the Crown and its charter, which had given them no right to initiate legislation. In 1638 the assembly enacted a forty-two law code. The proprietor, Cecil Calvert, who never set foot in America, sent over that year from England his own twelve-law landlord code. The assembly, which was little more than a town meeting, ignored it. If the assembly was like the village assemblies in England and New England, the women as well as men had a voice. It was not unusual to hear antinomian women during the Civil War speak of themselves as being "above the apostles." George Fox used an antinomian argument to make the same point, "If you be led of the spirit, then you are not under the law."
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 87]
In most of the assemblies during the Civil War period, Calvert proposed legislation, which was voted down or, more frequently, ignored. In the third assembly of March 1639, the Catholics, who had an absolute majority, rejected several of Calvert's proposed laws. In the first session of the fourth assembly in October 1640, ten bills proposed by Calvert were voted down. Among the rejected bills were those that would have provided for the "Proprietor's Prerogatives," that is, for his landlord rights. Similarly, in the second session of the fourth assembly on August 12, 1641, the migrants refused the "confirmation of his lordship's patent," which meant they rejected his claim to being a landlord and his right to collect rent. Such legislation reflected Maryland’s chronic rent strike.
The Catholics' belief about being a law unto themselves was expressed in a letter which the 11th assembly sent to Calvert in April 1649. This was at the same time that Calvert was attacking the migrants for their atheism, "pretended religion" and care for the "people's liberties." The assembly's letter was inspired by Parliament's execution of Charles I on January 30, 1649: "We request your lordship hereafter to send us no more such bodies of laws which serve little other end than to fill our heads with suspicious jealousies and dislikes." Like the English antinomians, they went on to inform him that they rejected his use of the terms "absolute lord and proprietary," and "royal jurisdiction."
The farmers’ belief in their right to establish a golden rule by initiating their own legal codes included various collateral rights that had counterparts in Parliament and in the British county and parish governments. One collateral right involved the calling of assemblies. Cecil Calvert, like the Crown, wanted to have the sole right to call assemblies. The Crown in the 1630s had ruled without Parliament simply by not calling a parliament. One of the reforms, which the Long Parliament enacted on May 10, 1641, was the Triennial Act. It required a parliament to meet at least every three years. Several years prior to the Parliamentary Triennial Act, the Maryland assembly in 1639 had shown Parliament the way by enacting a provision that its code would lapse after three years. This necessitated an assembly at least every three years. The fifth Maryland assembly in March 1642 repeated the language of the parliamentary Triennial Act in declaring, "the house of assembly may not be adjourned or prorogued but by and with the consent of the house."
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 88]
Another of the antinomian liberties in which the assembly led the way for Parliament was in restricting those receiving Calvert's patronage from interference in its deliberations. The sixth assembly of July 1642 proposed, and the ninth assembly of 1646 and twelfth assembly of 1650, enacted legislation that required a separate house for elected representatives. This kept the nominal governor, secretary, and councilors who were on Calvert's patronage and who were not elected, from having a vote in the farmers’ assembly. The twelfth assembly added an oath of secrecy, which further insulated the assembly deliberations from Calvert and his agents. It was not until 1649 that Parliament took similar action by abolishing the House of Lords to prevent that non-elected body from interfering with the legislative process.
The Golden Rule and The Royalists' "Time of Troubles" (1644-1646). The Maryland antinomians had to defend their rule from multiple counterrevolutionary military assaults during the 1640s and 1650s, not unlike the Cuban communists over the past 40 years. One assault came from the Royalists - Calvert, the Crown, and their Virginia allies between 1644 and 1646. In July 1643, the Royalists secured the port of Bristol, which became a rival to the port of London. By November 1643 Calvert took up residence at Bristol. In January 1644, he went to Oxford, where the Crown, the royal parliament and its military forces had taken refuge from the army of the London parliament.
At Oxford Calvert obtained a commission from Charles I to turn Maryland into a royalist monopoly. It was not loyalty to the Crown that promoted Calvert to obtain the commission. He switched sides several times during the Civil War. What Calvert wanted was the Crown's help in overthrowing Maryland's antinomian government. Calvert proposed to construct military fortifications and custom houses in the Chesapeake, to establish a royalist armed force, and along with the royalist Virginia governor, William Berkeley, to overthrow labor's golden rule and to seize all ships, goods, and debts belonging to any person in rebellion. The estates of those who resisted were to be plundered. One-half of all seized property was to go to the king and Calvert was to receive part of the customs revenue.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 89]
For several years prior to Calvert's royal commission of 1644, the Crown itself had been plotting to shut down the economic support which the "impious" Maryland workers had been giving to the rebels and their "unnatural war." The Crown had complained that "Our rebellious subjects of the city of London drive a great trade" in the Chesapeake, "receiving daily great advantage from thence which they impiously spend in vast contributions towards the maintenance of an unnatural war against us."
After obtaining his royal commission in January 1644, Calvert sought to have his nominal governor limit trade exclusively to Bristol's ships. He wanted parliamentary-aligned London ships to be seized and brought back to Bristol as prizes. When the Maryland workers learned in the Fall of 1644 of Calvert's counter-revolutionary coalition with the Crown against their government, they denounced it. A deposition described the assembly's action and the leading role of several Catholics:
Mr. Calvert [the governor] had a commission from the king. . . The first assembly after [Leonard] Calvert's arrival declared they would have free trade with Londoners and others under the protection of Parliament and that they would not receive any commission to the contrary and thus Copley or Giles Brent or one of them did write a letter to Ingle from Calvert telling him of the good affection of the inhabitants of Maryland to the Parliament and their desire of free trade with Ingle or other Londoners. Thomas Cornwallis also wrote a letter to Ingle as aforesaid which letters are in the possession of Richard Ingle or John Durford.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 90]
In obtaining the royal commission, Calvert expected the royalist Virginia governor's help in mounting the attack against Maryland. Matthew Andrews writes about the visit of Calvert's governor to Virginia in late 1644 in connection with the commission:
Governor Leonard Calvert had gone to Virginia in order either to come to some eclaircissement or to apply to the government of Virginia, which was still opposed to the Parliamentarians, for its interference on behalf of his province.
However, before he could obtain military help from the Virginia Royalists, the Maryland revolutionaries on February 13, 1645 turned Calvert's plan upside-down by aligning with the Virginia Parliamentarians to level Calvert's nominal governor and the local landlords. Four years prior to the execution of Charles I and the establishment of the English republic, the Maryland Catholics showed Parliament the way. Calvert's governor spent two years in exile with the Royalists in Virginia. The leveling in Maryland was helped by Richard Ingle, a London ship captain. Only three Catholics, two of whom were under his patronage, came to Calvert's defense at the time of the leveling.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 91]
The great majority of what Stephen Crow called the "disgruntled Catholics" joined in the leveling. Of the eleven Maryland levelers known by name, four were Catholic and only one was Protestant. That not only the four documented Catholics but the entire Catholic population were levelers was indicated by Calvert in December 1646. At that point he was trying to restore his nominal governor, and he offered a general pardon to the entire population, including the Catholics, "for their former rebellion." Not much later Calvert called "atheistic" the liberation theology of the Catholic revolutionaries.
During the 1644-1646 period, most of Maryland’s local landlords, both Protestant and Catholic, received the same leveling treatment given to Calvert. For example, Thomas Cornwallis was expropriated by his sixteen indentured workers, including four Africans, and his debtors. Thomas Harrison, a cooper, was one of Cornwallis's workers with five years to run on his indenture. He took his contract from Cornwallis's house and destroyed it. One account stated that "account books, bills, notes, and papers were always destroyed, whether they belonged to Giles Brent, Cornwallis, Thomas Copley, the Speagle, or others." Such leveling was common, as was seen in Chapter 1, in England against the royalist and parliamentary capitalists, including Cecil Calvert himself. Another of the Maryland landlords who was reduced to nothing was Thomas Gerard. His tenants, some or all of whom were Catholic, took the occasion to stop paying rent on their 21-year leases.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 92]
In the 1644-1646 period, the thirty known Catholic members and leaders of Maryland's seven militia districts, along with their Protestant counterparts, prevented Calvert from re-establishing his governor. While Calvert and the Royalists called it a "time of troubles," it was a time of prosperity for Maryland workers. Because of the leveling and the Dutch trade, there was a boom in tobacco prices and tobacco production beginning in 1645. There was no grain shortage. The workers planted their crops. The province was not laid waste. The assembly met as usual in February, March, and December 1646 with a majority of the delegates with known religion being Catholics. When Calvert's nominal governor finally returned to Maryland in December 1646, it was not with the aid of Catholics but with the protection of mercenaries hired in Virginia and led by a Presbyterian, Richard Bennett. The mercenaries had an agreement with Calvert that they would plunder the Catholics and Protestants if there was resistance.
Parliamentary Rage and Fury: 1650s. Maryland's antinomians collectively defended themselves against military aggression both from Calvert and the Crown in the 1640s, and later from Parliament and the London magnates in the 1650s. Like Calvert and the Crown, Parliament sought to establish a monopoly on Maryland's trade from the first year of settlement. In response the Maryland workers linked with the Dutch and literally sent the London merchants begging. There were instances when London ships had to return empty to England because there was no cargo for them. George Goring (1583-1663), who owned the custom farm on tobacco was bitter against the Maryland farmers. He wanted all Maryland tobacco to be landed in London and pass through his hands. The London capitalists had been in opposition to the Dutch in the Chesapeake from Maryland's original establishment. The Seven United Provinces of the Free Netherlands was the leading maritime power in the first-half of the 17th century and handled much of the shipping to the English settlements in the Chesapeake throughout the 17th century.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 93]
The original reason the Crown had granted the Maryland charter to Calvert in 1634 was to prevent further Dutch encroachment between Virginia and New England. London’s merchants were also behind monopolistic parliamentary and crown measures, such as prohibitions on "trucking for merchandise whatsoever with any ship other than his majesty's subjects," which were issued with regularity, as in 1635, 1642, 1650, and 1651. On July 22, 1643 Parliament made an ordinance establishing a duty or "excise" of 2s on each pound of tobacco brought into England but suspended it as long as the particular settlement traded only with English ships. During the war, the London merchants were also responsible for the Navigation Acts of 1650 and 1651 and for a war waged against the Dutch from 1652 to 1654. London customs farmers Abraham Dawes and John Wolsterholme and the merchant Maurice Thompson obtained parliamentary permission to attack Dutch shipping in 1644.
At the same time Parliament was prohibiting the Dutch trade, Maryland's revolutionary assembly was sanctioning it. the Catholic Edward Packer and the Protestant Henry Fleet on July 17, 1644 were given a commission by the assembly to trade with the Dutch. This was because the Dutch gave better prices than the English for tobacco. The Dutch had larger ships and cheaper transportation charges. This drove up the cost and lowered the profit for the British merchants. Typical of London's hatred against the Dutch trade was Richard Ingle, the London ship captain, who later aided in the leveling of Calvert. On arriving in Maryland on Dec. 29, 1644, he heard of Dutch ships doing trade in Maryland. "In a rage and fury" he immediately set sail for Virginia. A contemporary described it:
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 94]
I had heard that Ingle arrived in Maryland on Dec. 29, 1644, and hearing of a Dutch ship there trading in the port, then did in a rage and fury without license of the governor thereupon presently sail back to Virginia, but why I do not know. I was told about this by one of the passengers then on board Ingle's ship.
Despite opposition from both the Royalists and Parliamentarians, Maryland's trade with the Dutch expanded during the Civil War period. In the 1650s, this required the Maryland farmers to make war against the parliamentary merchants to defend their trade. London had employed Richard Bennett, a Virginia mercenary, to make war on the Dutch trade. Earlier Bennett, at Calvert's request, had led 300 Presbyterian families to migrate from the Nansemond River area of Virginia to what is now Annapolis. Calvert hoped the Presbyterians would subvert the antinomian government at St. Mary's. The Presbyterians had been dissatisfied in Virginia because the royalist governor there had forced their clergy to exit the province and otherwise raised a "persecution" against them. The new community in Northern Maryland formed itself into a county, Anne Arundell in 1650.
In 1652 Richard Bennett led a coup d'etat against the royalist governor in Virginia and named himself to that office. He then helped in the bloodless overthrow of the Maryland governor. It turned out the Annapolis community no less than the St. Mary's community objected to Calvert's claims for land fees, quit rents and loyalty oaths. William Stone (1603-1660) and Thomas Hatton (d. 1655) who had been employed in 1648 by Calvert as his governor and secretary, retained their positions after Bennett's coup, but they functioned as a sub-district of Virginia, not as Calvert's agents. Both Stone and Hutton were Virginia Protestants with ties to the parliamentary merchants. Calvert by 1648 had sided with Parliament with hopes of overthrowing the Maryland farmers.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 95]
Liberation theology taught the farmers to have no loyalty to Calvert but rather supported taking up arms against him in the 1640s. It should be no surprise that Catholics were also a part of the 13th assembly of June 24-28, 1652, which supported Bennett's overthrow of Calvert. Nevertheless, in 1655 after Bennett attempted to enforce the ban desired by Parliament on trade with the Dutch, the Catholics again revolted. Maryland was shipping most of its tobacco to Holland, not to England. During the Anglo-Dutch War between 1652 and 1654, the assembly sided with the Dutch. Because of their rejection of Parliament and the London merchants, Bennett attempted to exclude Catholics from the Maryland assembly in 1654. As a result in 1655 the southern Maryland farmers took up arms against Annapolis to stop its interference with their Dutch trade.
An armed struggle was also waged by Northampton County on Virginia's eastern shore against Bennett for the same reason. Northampton, which was a neighbor to southern Maryland, stopped sending delegates and paying taxes to the Virginia House of Burgesses in the 1650s. Massachusetts in a similar manner defended itself against interference with the Dutch trade in its harbors. The Massachusetts legislature as early as November 4, 1646, had declared it owed to Parliament the same allegiance as the free Hanse Towns rended to the Empire, that is, no allegiance. The Massachusetts legislature made death the penalty for any who asserted the supremacy of the English Parliament.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 96]
Antinomian Judiciary. As in the assembly, Maryland's liberation theology supported the Catholics in using their judiciary against the theft of their labor value. Calvert's charter from the Crown purported to grant him an exclusive right to establish courts. Courts established by the executive were called prerogative courts and were one of the institutions abolished in England during the Civil War reforms. A prerogative court was one of the provisions in the code of laws which Calvert sent over in 1638 and which the assembly rejected. Calvert's nominal governor and secretary from time to time throughout the period unsuccessfully attempted to exercise a prerogative judicial power.
Beginning with its first meetings, the Maryland assembly authored a judiciary act establishing a worker's provincial court which became a law unto itself. The judiciary act was renewed in the third assembly of 1639 and in later assemblies. The provincial court took full jurisdiction in testamentary and other civil matters, as well as in criminal, ecclesiastical, maritime, and equity cases. It provided for the incorporation of English common law and usages, including the jury system. The people maintained ultimate control over the judiciary by having the assembly act as a trial court in important cases. They also maintained their domination over the judges, sheriff, secretary and other public officials by controlling their fees. The provincial court was similar to but had more jurisdiction than the quarter sessions county courts in England.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 97]
Illustrative of the agrarians control of the judiciary was the fourth assembly in October 1640. This assembly which included six Catholics, voted down a bill proposed by Calvert to authorize the appeal of court cases to himself. Instead the assembly enacted several judicial measures of its own. The antinomian nature of the judiciary can be seen in several cases brought against Calvert by Maryland workers. In January 1645 the Catholic Giles Brent, who was then the judge, granted a judgment against Calvert and his governor in a case involving the large sum of 100,000 pounds of tobacco or £200. The governor called this judicial leveling "a crime against the dignity and dominion of the right honorable the lord proprietor of this province."
Calvert lost an even larger amount when the "atheistic" assembly, as Calvert called it, refused to allow him to assert his fundamental landlord right to use the provincial court to attach the property of squatters in order to force them to pay rent. The assembly provided just the opposite: "no attachment is allowed on goods or chattels of any inhabitant of the province except when the true owner [that is, Calvert] is not resident or dwelling in the province." This allowed Calvert's property to be attached by the Maryland residents, since he did not dwell in Maryland, but not the property of the residents. Calvert complained on hearing of the legislation, "We be less master of our estate than the meanest planter there."
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 98]
Another major case in which the revolutionaries used the judiciary to maintain their golden rule began on January 18, 1644. As noted earlier Calvert at this point was siding with the Royalists and had a commission to overthrow the farmers’ government. In forwarding his scheme, his governor in January 1644 attempted to arrest the ship captain Richard Ingle. Ingle had been in Maryland carrying on trading activities. The agrarians’ loyalty was to themselves. This meant trading with whoever gave the best return: Parliament, Crown or Dutch. Within a day of the governor's arrest of Ingle, the Maryland agrarians freed him in defiance of the Crown. Three of the known liberators were Catholic. According to Calvert's secretary, they were on the side which was in "high treason to his majesty." The governor, along with the royalist Protestant William Hardidge, then brought charges in the provincial court of treason, jail break, piracy, mutiny, trespass, contempt, and misdemeanors against Ingle, who was still trading in Maryland. Seven successive juries requested by the governor refused to return an indictment. The migrants had no loyalty to the Crown or Calvert.
Taxation. Like the assembly and judiciary, Maryland's tax policy was part of labor's defense against the theft of their surplus value. In England tax policy was a long-standing area of contention. In the 1620s, Parliament had been adamant in refusing to enact revenue measures desired by the Crown. As a result, the Crown ruled without Parliament in the 1630s and levied illegal taxes. Against these taxes the Catholic playwright Philip Massinger (d. 1640) protested in his play The King and the Subject (1636), which the Crown called "insolent" and refused to license. The following lines were put into the tyrannical king's mouth:
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 99]
Money? We'le raise supplies what way we
And force you to subscribe to the blanks, in which
We'le mulct you as we shall think fit. The Caesars
In Rome were wise, acknowledging no laws
But what their swords did ratify.
The illegal taxes hurt working people but those in the court party, including the proprietor's father, enjoyed crown patronage. They profited from and supported the illegal taxation.
The Maryland Catholics were among those hurt by crown taxation. Chesapeake tobacco was squeezed by a 2d crown tax on each pound of tobacco imported into England in the 1630s. At £150,000 per year, the custom revenue was the Crown's largest source of income. The tax raised the tobacco prices in England and cut sales. The large size of the tax can be appreciated when it is considered that farmers were receiving a market price of as little as 3d per pound. When Parliament took charge of revenue collection in the 1640s and made a combination property and poll tax the main source of revenue, the port duty was reduced to 1d.
Because the Crown's tax schemes were unpopular in Maryland, Cecil Calvert did not even suggest extending the "Catholic Collection of 1639" to the province. This was a revenue effort to raise funds without Parliament's consent for the Northern War against the Scots. Cecil Calvert was one of 149 English Catholic gentry who served on the national committee which took up a collection within the Catholic community. He was co-chair for the collection committee in his county of Wiltshire. His failure to extend the collection to Maryland contrasted with that of his colleague, Thomas Wentworth. As deputy lieutenant in Ireland at the time, Wentworth obtained a tax of £180,000 from the Catholics there for the 1639 war.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 100]
As in England, the greatest Maryland tax expenditure was for the defense budget. To the extent the Crown raised revenue it carried on illegal imperialist wars against its rivals. In contrast the Maryland farmers used their leveling tax policy to stop Calvert's war against his commercial rivals. The assembly kept defense expenditures low by repeatedly rejecting Calvert's requests in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh assemblies that a military campaign be mounted against the Susquehannock Indians who resided to the north of the province. As noted earlier Calvert claimed and wanted to enforce an exclusive right to the lucrative pelt monopoly. He did not want the Susquehannock to deal with the Virginians, Dutch, and Swedes. The unsympathetic Catholics replied to Calvert's imperialist designs that "military decisions are not to be left to the discretion of the governor and council," that is, those dependent on Calvert's patronage. When Calvert claimed the charter gave him the power to wage war, the assembly responded by asking "to have the patent to peruse." In the end it was against Calvert that the assembly waged war.
The rejection of poll taxes was another of Maryland's leveling tax policies. In 1642 the English Parliament replaced the poll tax, that is, a type of income tax on each person, with an assessment or property tax, which fell only on landlords. The poll tax was always unpopular with laboring people because it fell on them rather than on the landlords. Wat Tyler, a tiler of Essex, and a communist priest, John Bull, had helped lead a peasant revolt in 1381 against the poll-income tax, which resulted in its abolition for 200 years. Illustrative of John Bull's liberation theology was the following in which he attacked the class system that promoted the tax:
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 101]
Good people, things cannot go right in England and never will, until goods are held in common and there are no more villeins and gentlefolk, but we are all one and the same. In what way are those whom we call lords greater masters than ourselves? How have they deserved it? Why do they hold us in bondage? If we all spring from a single father and mother, Adam and Eve, how can they claim or prove that they are lords more than us, except by making us produce and grow the wealth which they spend.
In England during 1639 and 1640 there was a general refusal to pay the poll tax, which undermined the Crown's warmaking in the north.
However, in Maryland from the beginning the poll tax was rejected. Each head of household was taxed, not each poll. This put the burden on landlords. As historian Edgar Johnson states, Maryland's revenue scheme in effect was a property tax, because it was placed on the number of workers in a landlord's household and because it was made proportional to the amount of land a person owned. Unlike Maryland and New England, which used the property tax, Virginia relied on the poll tax. This was because of the power of gentry there. Of this, Johnson remarked, "The poor classes protested against a poll tax. . . As a consequence, a long struggle arose between the small and large landowners, which led to violence in Bacon's rebellion."
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 102]
Along with the property tax, Maryland's revenue came from a tax placed on tobacco sold to the Dutch. The assembly provided that the Dutch pay a 5% custom tax on the tobacco which they purchased. This was the province's largest source of tax revenue. Establishing a custom tax independent of and in opposition to Parliament was revolutionary. Maryland made war at one time or another on the Crown, the Parliament, Calvert and the London capitalists in order to maintain their lucrative trade with the Dutch. The tax revenue from that trade paid for their warmaking.
A final example of how the agrarians’ revolutionary tax policy helped maintain a golden rule had to do with the February 1645 leveling of Maryland's landlords. Several years after the leveling, Calvert's governor hired a band of Virginia mercenaries to attempt to retake the province. In Calvert's contempt for the farmers, he later asked them to pay for the cost of the mercenary invasion. But the Maryland levelers had an equal contempt for Calvert and they controlled tax policy. The tenth assembly of 1648 confiscated Calvert's personal estate in Maryland to buy-off the mercenaries. There were twelve documented Catholics voting for the confiscation, along with nine Protestants and nine of unknown religion. When even Calvert's newly appointed governor, the Catholic, Thomas Greene, went along with the confiscation, Calvert fired him. The assembly also refused to give proprietor any part of the Dutch custom to pay the mercenaries.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 103]
Conclusion. Maryland's antinomian Catholics used their assembly, judiciary and tax policy to reduce merchant theft. No local or foreign capitalist was able to establish the type of monopoly in Maryland which the Dutch West India Company had over New Amsterdam. There were frequent complaints from New Amsterdam during the 1640s about the company's monopoly, which resulted in unjustified high prices. No such monopoly was allowed in Maryland. Some scholars with conservative social views maintain that the Maryland Catholics and the English levelers did not wish to abolish the capitalist system. However, leveling of Calvert and the Maryland landlords, like the leveler elimination of the peerage and episcopacy, the pillars of the capitalist class, argues against this. The labor theory of value and the doctrine of antinomianism that were part of Maryland's liberation theology argue against a desire on their part to retain a system based on birth and unearned wealth.
Historian Stephen Crow, voicing the conservative interpretation of Maryland history, stated that "placed besides the Levelers, Diggers, and Fifth Monarchy Men, the colonists were a conservative lot, indeed." But in fact the Catholics' golden rule anticipated and set an example for the diggers program: taxes that were small and non-existent on food and other necessities, an annual parliament, a wide franchise, equal constituencies, nutritional sufficiency, a simplified legal system, no imprisonment for debt, no landlords, no enclosures and as we shall see in the next chapter, no tithes or bishops. The Catholics were an American version of the English diggers. A.L. Morton's remarks about capitalist historians and their minimizing the English levelers apply to those who would downplay the Maryland Catholics:
A party that held the center of the stage for three of the most crucial years in our nation's history, voiced the aspiration of the unprivileged masses, and was able to express with such force ideas that have been behind every great social advance since their time, cannot be regarded as wholly a failure or deserve to be wholly forgotten.
[CHAPTER FOUR, 2011 ed., p. 104]
The argument here is that communism did not die out with the early church or prove to be unworkable. It has always been part of the working-class tradition. The Acts of the Apostles recorded that communism was successful in preventing economic need in the early church. Monasticism is an example of communism at a later stage in church history. Monasticism, as in the Benedictine ethic, ora et labora (work and pray) has been held up for the past 1500 years as an ideal. The religious orders have common ownership of property. Like any modern-day communist society, they provided health care, housing, education and jobs to all their members without cost. St. Thomas More reflected the accepted belief of the middle ages when he wrote in Utopia (1516) that communism was basic to a decent society. The golden rule of the Potomac Catholics was likewise part of the communist tradition.
Figure 4-1: The leveling of the monarchy. Charles I lost his head on January 30, 1649.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 105]
It was argued in Chapter 2 that the Maryland Church belonged to the workers. Their liturgy, holidays and customs centered on labor. They celebrated their religion in their homes and families, as well as in their Basic Christian Communities (BCCs). Following the labor theory of value, their religion had a preference for farmers, sailors, miners and teamsters rather than monks and landlords. Both individually and through the government their dealings with clerical capitalism involved a "terrible conflict."
The Clergy. The Jesuit clergy were among Maryland's largest capitalists. They obtained their money from several English magnates, including William Petre, who gave them £8,000 worth of English land in 1632. From the tenants on this land, the clergy earned £500 per year. Out of that came the £1,000 that was their investment in Maryland. The clergy had economic ambitions and employed 20 contract workers in the 1630s. Farm administration became a full-time job for one of the three clergy then in Maryland.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 106]
In their dealings, the clergy, to the extent they were not physically and spiritually restricted by the Catholics, allied themselves with their fellow landlord, Cecil Calvert, against labor. Thus in 1639 the priest, Andrew White, S.J. advised Calvert, as was observed earlier, to initiate a monopoly or tax scheme on basic necessities modeled on the Hapsburgs that would have impoverished the farmers. Like the Hapsburg clergy in Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Maryland clergy offered the religion of obedience and consumer capitalism in order to pacify the Indians and whites for imperialism. Andrew White commented at the time:
We came to teach divine doctrine whereby to lead the Indians to heaven, and to enrich them with such ornaments of civil life as our community abounds withall, not doubting but this emperor being satisfied, the other kings would be more peaceable.
The religion of consumer capitalism, of which the clergy were themselves victims, encouraged working people and the clergy to value themselves by what they consumed. Victimized were the emotionally unstable, those without impulse control, the youth, the mentally immature and those without positive social attitudes and education. They engaged in compulsive, self-destructive activity, such as gambling, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, gluttony, escapist religion, envy, money borrowing, and consumption of luxury goods (expensive houses, furnishing and clothing). Consumerism was used to fill the spiritual void that was basic to the profit system. The purpose of the capitalist media was not truth but to promote consumption. The more recent media follows the same pattern. Movie and sports stars, journalists and culture in general are little more than sellers of advertising. The purpose of capitalist housing is not shelter, but profit. Some people have more than enough space while others have little or nothing. The purpose of capitalist transportation is perverted for profit. While some go in luxury, others, if they are lucky, have inadequate, dangerous and expensive public transportation.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 107]
While the clergy provide a cosmetic cover for Calvert's profiteering and their own economic ambitions, there was no honor among thieves. The clergy advanced their own interests at Calvert's expense, when possible, as in their efforts to obtain land grants directly from the Indians. Over such real estate maneuverings the Calverts and the clergy fought during much of the colonial period.
The Maryland clergy were members of the Jesuit order, which had its origins in and worked for Hapsburg capitalism. The Hapsburgs were centered in Spain, German and parts of Italy. To the extent they were able, the clergy brought Hapsburgism to Maryland. They were trained in Spain. Thomas Copley, S.J. was born in Spain to exiled English parents. His father, William Copley had a life-long pension from the Spanish crown. His politics of establishing Hapsburg rule over England, were similar to those of the present-day Cuban exiles in Miami, who spend their lives working for the CIA to overthrow Cuba's golden rule. Another of the Maryland priests, Francis Fitzherbert, S.J. (1615-76), who came in 1654, had been a chaplain in the Spanish forces at Ghent. Andrew White, S.J., as we have noted, taught at Valladolid and Seville.
The 17th-century Catholic worker Anthony Copley, who was no relation to Thomas Copley, spoke for his class when he commented on the disaster which Spanish Hapsburgism meant for labor:
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 108]
We are not ignorant by the example of Sicily, Naples, Lombardy, and the Low Countries (Flanders, Belgium). The Spanish king dignifies the nobles of these provinces. He endows them over and above their own patrimony with double as much pension from Spain. But to what end? Truly, to no other, than that by so retaining the affections of the nobles loyal to him, he may by their hands (being naturals) the easier tyrannize over commons to their utter bondage and beggary, as in those parts we see it.
Of the 30 years of Spanish-Hapsburg imperialism in Flanders, Anthony Copley pointed out: "How displeasing the calamities of Flanders may any time these past 30 years and yet at this day touch us. With the Duke of Alva came what oppression of the commons, what wars and waste of their estates to this house (Hapsburg)." An English Catholic pamphlet quoted a description of the onerous Spanish taxation system imposed on farmers:
A tale whereof I will give you as that for every chimney and other place to make fire in, as ovens, furnaces, smiths forges and such others, a french crown is yearly paid. The king also takes a pence for all manner of corn, bread, beef, mutton, capons, pigs, geese, beans, ducks, chicken, butter, cheese, eggs, apples, pears, nuts, beer, wine and all other things whatsoever he feedeth upon. Yea no farmer, yeoman or husband - durst eat a capon in his house if his friend came to him. For if he did it must cost him 6s/8d, though the capon was not worth 12d. And so toties quoties. These be the benefits and blessings that this Catholic king fought to bring in hither by his absolute authority.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 109]
Anthony Copley listed among his complaints against Spanish tyranny the "taxation and rapine" of salads, eggs, pudding-pies, horse-shoeing and "the like plain and petty wares" throughout the realm. English Catholics had a special reason for disliking the Hapsburgs. Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), a nephew of Queen Katherine (1485-1536), captured Rome and took Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) prisoner in 1527. Charles forced the pope to block his aunt Katherine's divorce by Henry VIII (d. 1547), which created the English schism.
Praemunire: No Church Courts or Canon Law. In defending their rule against the clerical landlords, the Maryland Catholics used the assembly in the same way they employed it against other would-be gentry. Among the assembly's first enactments was law number 34, which became part of Maryland’s 1638 code. Law no. 34 "guaranteed the immigrants from papal interference," as historian Alfred Dennis put it. The law carried on the tradition of the First Statute of Praemunire, which, as noted earlier, was enacted in England in 1353. That statute outlawed legal appeals to Rome or the extension of Roman law into England. Such appeals were one of the ways Rome and the Norman imperialists attempted to control the English church. Robert Persons, S.J., a 17th-century capitalist cleric voiced, as noted earlier, his unhappiness that for 500 years the English Catholics had resisted first the Normans and later the Hapsburgs from ruling England through Rome, "Even from the Conquest and entrance of the Normans and French Governors over our country, they have ever continued a certain faction and emulation of the laity against the clergy." The praemunire law was part of English labor's resistance to imperialism and was later incorporated by Parliament into the Act of 1571 against the "Bringing in and putting into Execution of Bulls and other instruments of the See of Rome."
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 110]
The result of Assembly law no. 34 was that church courts and their associated money-grubbing, such as purgatory bequests, tithes (clerical taxation) and the clerical probate of wills were prohibited. In a letter of April 3, 1638 the Maryland Jesuit superior, Thomas Copley, S.J. complained to Calvert that the Catholics intended to hang him, if he persisted in his efforts to introduce church courts and canon law into Maryland. Copley wrote:
In law [no.] 34 among the enormous crimes, one is exercising jurisdiction and authority [church courts], without lawful power and commission derived from the lord proprietary. Hereby even by Catholics a law is provided to hang any Catholic bishop that should come hither, and also every priest, if the exercise of his functions be interpreted jurisdiction or authority [from Rome].
Thomas Copley would not have been the first ecclesiastic to be hung during the English Civil War. Church courts, along with the theology of hell and purgatory fear-mongering, were used to enforce purgatory bequests, which were payments of money in exchange for masses for the dead. A century earlier purgatory bequests had cost Rome the loyalty of Martin Luther and his followers. The working-class priest, Thomas White, echoing his fellow priest, Henry Holden, both of whom, as noted earlier, the Maryland Catholics invited to migrate to Maryland in 1641 to replace the Jesuits, commented on the abuses arising from purgatory bequests:
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 111]
If I be thought the occasion of restraining the profuse abundance of alms in this particular, I shall withal have the satisfaction to have checked the daily increasing swarms of unworthy priests, who, like drones upon this flock, to the disgrace and contempt of their function, to the abuse of souls, and the common scandal both of those who live in and out of the church.
Robert Bradley, S.J. has shown that Thomas White's antinomian attack on clerical capitalism was beloved by the working class. Among the Catholics who helped enact law no. 34 was William Lewis, the clergy's own overseer. Historian Thomas Hughes, S.J., in apologizing for the clerical capitalists, commented that the support of Lewis for the law "shows how obscure to the minds of plain people and ordinary planters was the drift, meaning, and management of the code which subsequently passed." However, Hughes offers no evidence that the Catholics did not know what they were doing. The 1638 code was discussed for 3 months before it was enacted. Each bill in the code was separately read aloud, debated, amended, and voted upon by all present on each of three separate days before passage. Lewis was a member of the assembly when it first assigned all the matters that traditionally came under ecclesiastical jurisdiction to the provincial court. As an employee of the clergy, William Lewis knew about clerical capitalism first hand. Besides Lewis, there were 18 Catholics in the 1638 assembly. They were an absolute majority in the 1639 assembly. That they knew what they were doing and felt strongly about it came from the testimony of Thomas Copley himself. He threatened to excommunicate them all. But since he was allowed no authority, the they successfully defied him in 1638 and again in 1639, when they enacted and re-enacted the praemunire law.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 112]
The praemunire criminalization of church capitalism did not result from ignorance but was part of the liberation theology which the farmers brought with them from Europe. They were veterans of battling clerical landlordism. In England there was a hierarchy of 250 Protestant church courts, until they were abolished along with the episcopacy as part of the Civil War reforms. These courts had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, alimony, tithes, rates (taxes), trespassers, the sequestering of goods and livings, and the impleading of debtors. The Grand Remonstrance in 1641 complained against the bishops' use of the High Commission, which was the chief ecclesiastical court, to excommunicate, suspend, and degrade the clergy. The High Commission was compared with the Roman Inquisition in the ability of the bishops to use it to impoverish, imprison, and to force to flee to Holland and New England the "meaner sort of tradesmen and artisans." Alexander Leighton estimated at the time that working people needlessly spent £50,000 per annum on matrimonial suits, £100,000 on the probate of wills, and another £100,000 for "pleas and jangling matters." John Milton wrote of the burden caused by the church courts:
Two leeches the episcopacy have that still suck and suck the kingdom - their ceremonies and their courts. . . For their courts, what a mass of money is drawn from the veins into the ulcers of the kingdom this way; their extortions, their open corruptions, the multitude of hungry and ravenous harpies that swarm about their offices, declare sufficiently. . . Their trade being, by the same alchemy that the pope uses, to extract heaps of gold and silver out of the drossy bullion of the people's sins.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 113]
In the 1630s Maryland clergy threatened the Catholics with the bull In Coena Domini and with excommunication for taking their cases to the provincial court. That court did not look with favor on legacies for masses to be said for the souls of the deceased. Those threatened included William Lewis, who facilitated the cases at court and Thomas Cornwallis, who in April 1638 administered the estates of John Saunders and Jerome Hawley in the provincial court. The administration of personal, as opposed to real property, traditionally came under ecclesiastical jurisdiction. However, because of law no. 34 and the apparent willingness to use capital punishment, neither canon law, the threat of excommunication, nor Rome with its bulls could sway the farmers. The clergy backed down.
In restricting clerical excess under law no. 34, the Catholics remedied not only the evil that had caused the Lutheran split and the problems associated with the church courts in England, but the even worse plague in the Hapsburg church. As noted, the Jesuits were rooted in the Hapsburg church. Judicial cases in Maryland dealing with matrimony, blasphemy, sorcery, idolatry, tithes, and sacrilege were rare. Had there been ecclesiastical courts, as in the Hapsburg empire, it is likely that this would not have been the case. In Mexico in the same period, church courts were an appendage to the Hapsburg (Spanish) imperialism. Blasphemy prosecutions were frequent. Landlords used corporal punishment to coerce obedience. When workers rebelled during such punishment by blaspheming, they were turned over to church courts. The church courts applied torture, which was legal, to gain an admission of guilt concerning the blasphemy. They were further punished by the church courts to gain obedience. Historian Colin Palmer commented:
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 114]
Blasphemy appeared to be the instinctive reaction by a slave to an unbearable situation. In this sense they were no different from the ordinary Spaniard, who used blasphemous words as a matter of course. Blasphemous expressions seem to have been in the mouth of everyone, ineradicable by the most severe legislation.
Guillen (William) de Lampart (1615-1659), better known as Zorro, resisted and was a victim of Mexico’s church courts. He was a migrant to Mexico from Wexford, Ireland. He had studied with the Jesuits in Dublin. Later he studied in London and Santiago, Spain. He was arrested in Mexico City in 1642 because he sided with the working people in their struggle for independence from Spain. The liberation theology he professed was condemned as Lutheranism, Calvinism, Hussism and Wycliffism. He was held in prison until 1659 when he was executed.
Thomas Copley and the other Maryland clergy were familiar with tithe, marriage and blasphemy prosecutions in the ecclesiastical courts. This was common in Spain, where they had trained. Their ecclesiastical colleagues ran the courts and profited from them. Even without the courts, the Maryland clergy waged anti-blasphemy, anti-Protestant and similar struggles against the farmers. But unlike in Spain, the farmers enacted a number of safeguards, including Maryland's Civil Marriage Act of 1640. This anticipated the Civil War Parliament's act of the same name. It gave women the right to bargain for marriage with anyone they chose. Interdenominational and interracial marriage were recognized and the names of interdenominational and interracial couples are known. This was despite the fact that marriage between Catholics and Protestants was outlawed in canon law and at the Council of Trent, although for a price, dispensations could be obtained. The clergy discouraged mixed marriages and viewed Protestants as excommunicate. Had the clergy prevailed, the Catholics would have been forbidden from even speaking to Protestants. But because of their legislation, the mixed-denomination couple Thomas Gerard and Susan Snow Gerard won a judgment against the clergy for threatening excommunication and disturbing their family relations.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 115]
Episcopacy Outlawed. In maintaining its golden rule, the assembly not only prohibited church courts, but their partner leech, as John Milton put it, the episcopacy. In Ireland during the 1630s there were Catholic bishops in each diocese. The penal laws there were suspended by the crown's "Dispensing Power," as in the Act of Grace of 1634. The English monarchy, to the extent it ruled Ireland, ruled through the Catholic bishops and their theology of obedience. In other Catholic colonies, the first bishops were appointed as soon as the imperialists established themselves militarily. In Quito a bishop was named in 1545. Europeans first appeared there in 1534. It was only in 1547 that a European-controlled civil government was established. There were less than 250 European households in Quito at the time.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 116]
Even earlier the merchants had established bishops at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands (1409), at Funchal in Madeira (1514), and at Sant Iago in Cape Verde (1533), which were trading centers for the area of Africa extending south from Senegal to Guinea and the Ivory and Gold Coast. In 1639, the Cape Verde bishop became a suffragan, that is, subordinate of Lisbon. Further south in 1534 Pope Paul III (1534-1549) established a bishop on the island of Sâo Tomé. This was the largest single producer of sugar in the western world along with the Azores and the Canaries. It was also a trading center for the Portuguese in the present-day area of the Congo and Angola. In 1658 François de Montmorency Laval was named the bishop of French Canada.
The assembly's praemunire law, in keeping the episcopacy out of Maryland, imitated what the Catholics in England had achieved earlier in the century. There was no Catholic bishop in England during the Civil War period; this was not because of the penal laws but because the English Catholics used their influence in the early 1630s to have the crown expel Richard Smith, the Catholic bishop. He was pretentious and lived an extravagant lifestyle, riding around the country in a big carriage with servants. To enrich himself, he had been promoting "Catholic" probate courts and threatening excommunication in cases dealing with marriage, testaments and legacies. The Catholics went to the privy council and obtained a proclamation for the bishop's arrest on a charge of treason. Bishop Smith spent the last 20 years in exile in Paris.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 117]
In present times Chinese Catholics have carried on the praemunire tradition. For centuries the colonial merchants used Rome and the episcopacy to implement racist policies like not allowing a native church leadership and by inhibiting Chinese religious culture. In 1704 the pope outlawed the Chinese rite. After the British imperialists won the Opium War in 1840, they promoted drug sales and drug addiction in China. At the same time they exempted by the "unequal treaties" the episcopacy from Chinese laws. The episcopacy served the public relations needs of colonialism. After the revolution the Catholics, most of whom were working people, took the communist side. During the 1950s they deposed the clergy who preached the capitalist gospel. Included among the deposed was bishop Gong Pinmei of Shanghi. Theresa Chu, R.S.J., a nun who took the communist side, wrote about Gong Pinmei:
Why should that couple be refused communion when all they did was to allow their daughter to wear the red scarf awarded her in school? Why should I be refused communion when all I did was to read the People's Daily? More important issues included volunteering to fight the enemy or to nurse the wounded in Korea from 1950 to 1953, and signing a protest against germ warfare, and after 1957, the consecration of bishops.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 118]
The Polish church was another 20th-century benefactor of praemunirism. In earlier times the clerical hierarchy had a hand in Poland's educational, health care and welfare system. These had been run more for the benefit of the hierarchy than the working people for whom they were intended and by whom they were financed. There was wide-spread illiteracy and poverty. The Patriotic Priests, an organization of clergy who, as noted earlier, sided with the communist revolution in the 1940s and 1950s, promoted service in the 325,000-member Volunteer Citizens Militia Reserves. This was a parapolice force directed against counterevolutionaries. It was not unusual for Patriotic Priests in their grass-roots praemunire defense to make "concordats from the bottom" with the communists over the heads of the hierarchy. The church for them was not the hierarchy and the capitalist gospel; the church was the working people.
The Patriotic Priests testified in court proceedings against hierarchy who took bribes from or spied for Anglo-American intelligence, such as Bishop Czeslaw Kaczmarek of Kielce in 1953. By 1956 the Patriotic Priests had helped in eliminating such chronic capitalist problems as unemployment, illiteracy, lack of health care for the poor, and unsafe work conditions. There was free education at all levels, universal literacy, free health care, cheap transportation, food and housing, a more equitable distribution of goods and an improved standard of living for working people.
Regulation of Convents, Mortmain and Tithes. As with church courts and bishops, Maryland's farmers reigned in the clerical profit-making that resulted from convents, monasteries, mortmain and tithes. An assembly measure in 1638 prevented the clergy from obtaining the property of Maryland women who joined convents. What instigated the measure was the arrival of the "rich, influential, and pious" Margaret Brent in 1638. She was single and according to historian Thomas Hughes, the clergy were proposing to establish a convent with her money and membership. Edward Knott, S.J., a Jesuit leader in London, complained to the papal nuncio, Monsignor Rosetti on November 17, 1641 about the assembly prohibition: "[It is] extremely disparaging to the dignity and authority of the Supreme Pastor, Christ's Vicar upon earth." Henry More, S.J., another Jesuit superior in England reported to Rome that the Maryland "law is repugnant to the Christian faith and ecclesiastical immunities: that no virgin can inherit unless she marries before 29 years of age." Thomas Copley remarked that the assembly legislation was contrary to canon law in requiring that "unless a woman marry within 7 years after land falls to her, she must either dispose away of her land, or else she shall forfeit it to the next of kin."
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 119]
Convents and monasteries were unpopular both because of ecclesiastical profiteering and because they were identified with the gentry monopoly system of primogeniture. Primogeniture required the succession of the eldest son to the entire real property of the father. Entailed land stayed in the family and could not be given away, willed by testament, sold by deed, or seized by creditors. Primogeniture tended to make the priesthood and sisterhood a dumping ground for the gentry’s younger sons and daughters who lacked sufficient inheritance to make them marriageable. In feudal times the convent and primogeniture system was confined to the magnates but by the seventeenth century it was wide-spread.
The levelers attacked primogeniture during the Civil War for its denigration of the family in the service of capital concentration. English liberation theologian John ap Robert in Apology for a Younger Brother (1634) used the Bible to show the system was wrong. A fellow revolutionary, the Independent, Hugh Peter (1598-1660) used the labor theory of value to advocate that daughters who worked should have an equal portion with sons.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 120]
During the war the levelers in the barebones Parliament outlawed primogeniture. They condemned the Royalists who were using Aristotle and the Bible to teach the primogeniture approach to the family. The king was said to have inherited the original patriarchal power from God and Adam. The tenantry whose rent supported the system were politically and economically victimized. The crown and lords held an indefeasible hereditary right in government as well as land.
Mortmain was another aspect of ecclesiastical capitalism which the Maryland farmers curtailed. antinomians prohibited. Mortmain, literally "dead hand," meant holding property corporately, rather than personally. In England a statute against ecclesiastical mortmain was first enacted in the thirteenth century to control the monopolizing of land by the Norman monasteries. The aim was to keep the church's land, revenue, services, and theology under local control rather than under the control of a foreign hierarchy.
[CHAPTER FIVE, 2011 ed., p. 121]
The anti-mortmain struggle of Catholics in the Hapsburg empire did not succeed until the communist revolution of the 20th century. In Czechoslovakia, two anti-mortmain laws were enacted in 1948. One of these, the Law Concerning Agrarian Reform ended the landlord system, including clerical landlordism. The hierarchy's 320,000 hectacres were transformed into collective farms. The other Czechoslovakian anti-mortmain act was the Law Concerning Education, which nationalized private schools. The clergy and nuns who worked in these schools became public servants. Private hospitals and the hierarchy's Caritas social service agency were likewise nationalized. Their services then became available to all without charge.