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Maryland “Jew Bill” Passes, John Quincy Adams’ Inaugural Address, & more
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JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. Newspaper. The Weekly Register, March 5, 1825, No. 703, Baltimore, MD: William Ogden Niles. Includes the complete text of J.Q. Adams’ inaugural address; delivered the prior day. This small-format newspaper, devoted primarily to politics, began in 1811 and was a prime source for national political news of the first half of the 19th century. 16pp. Approx. 6 x 8½ in.

Inventory #24301       Price: $375


News from Maryland includes report of passage of the so-called “Jew Bill

 “to alter the constitution so as to relieve persons form political disqualifications on account of their religious opinions, has again passed both branches of the legislature- in the house of delegates by a vote of 26 to 25; only 51 out of 80 members being present. Before it is effective it must be passed by the next successive legislature. A law abolishing the imprisonment of females for debt has also passed…” (p.3 col.1).

Excerpt from Adams’ Inaugural Address:

In unfolding to my countrymen the principles by which I shall be governed, in the fulfillment of those duties, my first resort will be to that constitution, which I shall swear, to the best of my ability, to preserve, protect and defend… . It is a source of gratification and of encouragement to me to observe that the great result of this experiment upon the theory of human rights has at the close of that generation by which it was formed been crowned with success equal to the most sanguine expectations of its founders. Union, justice, tranquillity, the common defense, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty--all have been promoted by the Government under which we have lived…. ” (starting on p.8 col.2). 

Adams, without naming James Monroe, praises his predecessors accomplishments: “the internal taxes have been repealed; sixty millions of the public debt have been discharged … the Floridas have been peaceably acquired, and our boundary has been extended to the Pacific Ocean; the independence of the southern nations of this hemisphere has been recognized, and recommended by example and by counsel to the potentates of Europe; progress has been made in the defense of the country by fortifications and the increase of the Navy, toward the effectual suppression of the African traffic in slaves; in alluring the aboriginal hunters of our land to the cultivation of the soil and of the mind, in exploring the interior regions of the Union, and in preparing by scientific researches and surveys for the further application of our national resources to the internal improvement of our country….”

“Less possessed of your confidence in advance than any of my predecessors, I am deeply conscious of the prospect that I shall stand more and oftener in need of your indulgence. Intentions upright and pure, a heart devoted to the welfare of our country, and the unceasing application of all the faculties allotted to me to her service are all the pledges that I can give for the faithful performance of the arduous duties I am to undertake…”.

Historical Background

Though founded for as a haven for Catholics on principles of religious toleration, Maryland was heavily influenced by religious and political conflict in England; membership in the Protestant Church was a prerequisite for Maryland citizenship for most of the eighteenth century. Catholics and Jews were disenfranchised, although there were exceptions, as many towns gave the vote to landholders or possessors of wealth valued at over £20. A 1723 law warned that "if any person shall hereafter within this province . . . deny our Savior Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, or shall deny the Holy Trinity" he shall, for the first offense, be fined and have his tongue bored; for the second, fined and have his head burned; for the third, put to death.” The law also targeted “blasphemers, swearers, drunkards.” The 1776 Maryland Constitution removed the discrimination against Catholics, extending citizenship and officeholding rights to all Christians but still excluded Jews. Despite the first amendment’s ratification in 1791, Maryland’s legislature failed in its first attempted to repeal these laws in 1797. The repeal passed in 1822, but was not confirmed the next year, which, as noted in this article, was necessary for it to go into effect. In 1826, it passed again, and finally went into effect. 

Additional Content in this paper:

Florida: new census was expected to show enough population to be admitted as a state (p3 col. 1)

Slave Trade: “According to the last annual report of the London African institution, (for 1824), in one year, 1822, there were shipped from Africa, for Rio Janeiro, 31,240 negroes, of whom 3,484 died on the passage.” (p.5 col.1).

Simon Bolivar Proclamation: “Peruvians!  Peace has succeeded to war; union to discord: order to anarchy; and happiness to misfortune!  But never forget, I beseech you, that for these blessings, you are indebted to the illustrious victors of Ayacucho.”  (p. 7 col.1).

Reports from Congress include “February 25.  The president communicated a report from the secretary of the treasury, on the memorial of the chamber of commerce of the city of New York, with a report from the collector of the port of New York, showing the difficulties that arise in the discharge of his duties in relation to drawbacks.…” (p.11 col.1).


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