Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (August 8, 1605 – November 30, 1675), usually called Cecil, was an English coloniser who was the first proprietor of the Maryland colony. He received the proprietorship that was intended for his father, George Calvert, the 1st Lord Baltimore, who died shortly before it was granted.
Cecil Calvert received a charter from Charles I of England for the new colony of Maryland, named for the Queen Consort Henrietta Maria, shortly after the death of his father, the 1st Baron Baltimore, who had long pursued a colony in the mid-Atlantic to serve as a refuge for English Catholics. The original grant would have included the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay as far south as the Potomac River and the entirety of the eastern shore. When it was realized that settlers from Virginia had already crossed the bay to begin settling the southern tip of the eastern shore, the grant was revised to include the eastern shore only as far south as a line drawn east from the Potomac River . Once that alteration was made, the final charter was confirmed on June 20, 1632. Baltimore's fee for the charter, which was legally a rental of the land from the King, was one-fifth of all gold and silver found and the delivery of two Native American arrows to the royal castle at Windsor every Easter. It established Maryland as a palatinate, gave to Baltimore and his descendants rights nearly equal to those of an independent state, including the rights to wage war, collect taxes, and establish a colonial nobility. If at any point there was a question as to the rights contained within the charter, the charter would be interpreted in favor of the proprietor. The new charter was opposed in England by supporters of Virginia, who had little interest in having a competing colony to the north. Rather than going to the colony himself, Baltimore stayed behind in England to deal with this threat and sent his younger brothers Leonard and George in his stead.
While the expedition was being prepared, Baltimore was kept busy in England defending the charter from former members of the Virginia Company who were trying to regain their charter, including the entirety of the Maryland colony which had previously been a part of Virginia. They had informally sought to thwart Baltimore's efforts for years, but their first formal complaint was lodged with the Lords of Foreign Plantations in July, 1633. The complaint claimed that Maryland had not truly been unsettled, as claimed in its charter, because of the presence of a trading station run by William Claiborne on Kent Island. It also claimed that the charter was so broad as to constitute a violation of the liberties of the colony's citizens, although at this point there were not a great many Marylanders to speak of.
The first expedition consisted of two ships that had formerly belonged to Baltimore's father, the Ark and the Dove. They departed Gravesend with 128 settlers on board and, after being chased down and brought back by the British navy so that the settlers could take an oath of allegiance to the King as required by law, sailed in October of 1632 for the Isle of Wight to pick up more settlers. At the Isle of Wight they boarded two Jesuit priests and nearly two hundred more settlers before setting out across the Atlantic. Since he could not lead the expedition himself, Baltimore sent detailed instructions for the governance of the colony, including commands that his brothers seek any information about those who had tried to thwart the colony and make contact with Claiborne to determine his intentions for the trading station on Kent Island. The instructions also emphasized the importance of religious toleration among the colonists, who were nearly equal parts Catholic and Protestant. With these last instructions, the expedition crossed the Atlantic and founded the first settlement at St. Mary's in 1634 on land purchased from the native Yaocomico. Stranded in England, Baltimore could do little to help the young colony through its tribulations, which included an ongoing feud with Claiborne that led to a series of naval skirmishes.
Lord Baltimore continued as Maryland's first Proprietary Governor (1632–1675), and attempted to maintain an active involvement in the governance of the colony, though he never visited it. During this long tenure, he governed through deputies, the last being his only son Charles.
The enterprise took place in the context of serious unrest in England. In 1629, King Charles had dissolved Parliament and governed for the next eleven years without input from a representative body. The Church of England, led by the Star Chamber, intensified its campaign against both Puritans and Catholics. The former were able to flee England to their New England colony, but for Catholics, Maryland was their sole place of refuge from persecution.
Lord Baltimore, a Roman Catholic, struggled to maintain possession of Maryland during the English Civil War by trying to convince Parliament of his loyalty by appointing a Protestant, William Stone, as his governor. Baltimore lost control of the colony for a brief period, however, due to Puritan pressure during the rule of Oliver Cromwell. He regained the colony in 1657, after signing a treaty with Virginia Governor Richard Bennett.
Lord Baltimore's family also had title to Ferryland and the Province of Avalon in Newfoundland and he administered the colony between 1629 and 1632 when he left for Maryland. In 1637, however, Sir David Kirke acquired a charter giving him title to the entire island of Newfoundland superseding the charter granted to his father, the 1st Baron. Baltimore fought against the new charter and, in 1661, gained official recognition of the old Charter of Avalon but never attempted to retake the colony. Between 1629 and 1632, the crisis had grown.
There are several locations in the state named after the Barons Baltimore, including Baltimore County, Baltimore City. Calvert County, Cecil County, Charles County, Frederick County, Leonardtown, St. Leonard and Calvert Cliffs. Anne Arundell's name survives in that of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and Annapolis, Maryland. His survives in the name of Cecil County, Maryland, Cecil Avenue and Calvert Street in Baltimore City. Harford County is named for Henry Harford, the illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore, who while not able to inherit the peerage, did inherit the Lord Proprietorship, only to lose it during the Revolution.