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John Carroll - Portrait

b.8 JAN 1735 — d.3 DEC 1815


John Carroll

John Carroll

John Carroll, born at Upper Marlboro in 1735, was an eminent prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, and the first archbishop of that Church in the United States. He was educated in France, and when ordained a priest gave his estate to his brother and took the vow of poverty required by the Society of the Jesuits.

At the outbreak of the Revolution he left an honorable position in England, and returned to America to share the trials of his countrymen. He went with his cousin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Samuel Chase, and Benjamin Franklin, on a mission to Canada, returning home with the latter, with whom he formed a warm and enduring friendship). He was consecrated bishop in 1789, in England, with the title of bishop of Baltimore. He was of a kind and liberal spirit, and was loved and respected by all denominations of Christians. He died December 3, 1815, at the age of eighty years. During his episcopate the cathedral in Baltimore was begun. This was for many years the most costly ecclesiastical building in the United States. It contains two valuable paintings presented by the king of France.

Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a judge of the United States supreme court, was born in Somerset county in 1741. The son of an Episcopal clergyman, he received a thorough education, and at the age of twenty years began the practice of the law in Annapolis. He was an ardent patriot, a leader of the friends of liberty, and a member of the Continental Congress of 1774.

In 1776 he went with the Carrolls and Franklin on the mission to Canada. On his return he traveled through Maryland, arousing the people to resist British oppression. Through his eloquence and influence the delegates were instructed to vote for the Declaration, of which he was the ardent supporter.

In 1783 he went as commissioner to England to recover funds belonging to Maryland, and secured payment of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. He was made chief-justice of the State court, and in 1796 was appointed by Washington an associate justice of the supreme court. In 1804 he was impeached for misdemeanor in conducting political trials, but was acquitted by the Senate.

The reputation of Samuel Chase is that of a pure patriot and a learned judge, although he was sometimes overbearing and irascible. No statesman of the Revolution was more earnest, or contributed more to secure for his State the noble record which she won in the great struggle for independence. He died June 19, 1811, aged seventy.

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John Carroll

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

Updated: 3-15-2015
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