FROM our Associated Press colleagues comes this...


March 10, 1995

FROM our Associated Press colleagues comes this report:

Legislators were feuding with the governor, Maryland was trying to lure businesses from New York and state employees complained about working conditions.

Sounds like 1995, right? Well the year was 1695, and the legislature was meeting for the first time in the new state capital, Ann Arundel Towne, later to be named Annapolis.

The Senate and House of Delegates met in a joint session Tuesday to commemorate the first 300 years of legislative happenings in Annapolis. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Prince George's, noted to applause and laughter from House members that the Senate did not exist in 1695.

At that point, the Governor's Council functioned as an upper house of the legislature, he said.

The council was quite busy in the days leading up to the first session of the legislature in Annapolis on Feb. 28, 1665. The winter was especially severe, and the council had to stop as it moved to Annapolis from the old capital, St. Mary's City, to deal with a problem brought about by the deaths of thousands of hogs and cattle from a flu epidemic.

"So bad was the stench, and so great the threat to health, that the governor and council were compelled to call on all the citizenry to quickly bury the remains," Miller said.

"This must have been no small undertaking as there were only about 25,000 people in the province, and more than 62,000 hogs and 25,000 cattle to be interred," he said.

Miller also told lawmakers that Gov. Francis Nicholson sent the state treasurer as an emissary to New York to ask how Maryland could help defend colonists against attacks by Indians.

The treasurer also had a secret mission. "While in New York, he was to see how he might lure business to Maryland," Miller said. "It seems that some of our priorities never change."

As Gov. Parris Glendening listened, House Speaker Casper Taylor, D-Allegany, told how Nicholson and the House got into a battle because of friction brought on by the cramped working quarters in the temporary capitol building.

While the House was in session, Nicholson's clerks kept wandering through the meetings while going to and from their offices. Annoyed House members then banned the clerks from the House.

"Eventually reason prevailed and the governor and House members agreed to solve their problem by working together to speed up construction of the State House," Taylor said.

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