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Charles Carrol Of Carrolton

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Charles Carrol was born of Irish descent on September 20, 1737 in Annapolis, Maryland. Catholics in Maryland were denied basic educational and political freedoms. So from the age of eight, Carrol was educated at St. Omer, a Jesuit school in England. He spent the next six years studying in Rheims, Bourges, and Paris. From there he went to London to study law for another six years. At the age of twenty six, Carrol returned to Maryland. French influence was apparent in Carrol's manner, language, and equestrian abilities. Charles Carrol's Irish Catholic background is what influenced him to participate actively in the American Revolution and sign the Declaration of Independence.


He acquired the Manor of Carrolton, a 10,000 acre estate in Maryland from his father. Carrol was then known as Charles Carrol of Carrolton to distinguish himself from his father, Charles Carrol of Annapolis, and his father's father, also Charles Carrol (Whitney 1964).

When Carrol was 30, in June 1768, he married his cousin Mary "Molly" Darnall. He had seven children with Molly; only three lived to maturity (Ferris 1975).

After his return to Maryland, Carrol became famous as a leader of the patriotic movement. "Second Citizen" was the name he used when writing newspaper articles arguing about the legal issues surrounding the proclamation in 1771 that civil officer of Maryland should collect certain taxes without the approval of the legislature. The people of Annapolis were grateful to him when the proclamation was hanged and made him their "First Citizen." ( Whitney 1964) At almost forty years of age, Charles Carrol of Carrolton was considered one of the wealthiest men in the Colonies (Malone 1954). Carrol III achieved his remarkable success as a planter, businessman, and politician (Ferris 1975).


In 1773 is when he became a public man. He became known as a leading Patriot in Maryland even though most of his services were unofficial (Malone 1954).

Charles Carrol of Carrolton risked his fortune and signed the Declaration of Independence without the slightest hesitation. He explained his decision to a friend in the form of a letter. He said the moment the Americans admitted the British "had the right to tax us in all cases...the most abject slavery and the deepest distresses would follow overnight." Carrol was of Irish descent and the Irish had seen what the British Parliament could do to a defeated country. Throughout the American Revolution, the Irish committed themselves to the American cause, unfortunately with their blood. Many Irishmen gave their own lives for the independence of America from British control. (Fleming 1997)

The people viewed the four signers from Maryland as young, mostly wealthy, and notable for their good manners and their patriotic devotion to the cause of American independence (Malone 1954).

After his return to Maryland from Europe, he lived a quiet life, banned from public life by his Catholicism. His public life started when he wrote in the local newspaper attacking the Proprietary Governor of Maryland with opposition to fees and stipends for Anglican clergy and civil officers. In 1776, because of his Catholic religion and French fluency, he was sent to Canada along with his priest cousin John, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Chase. Their reason there



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