A Legend of Maryland: “An Owre True Tale”, written by John Pendleton Kennedy in 1857.
This story is written in first person (I, we, etc)
This story starts out with a speech about the beauty of history, and putting together of the accounts of historical facts, or stories.
Then we start learning about the actual tale, which begins by talking about a cavern named Tablot’s Cave near , according to the story teller, that cave is no longer there, due to construction. Corporations suddenly realized the value of granite in the cliff, and so that cave was no more. Now, while we learn about Talbot, we also get to see how he put together the story.
The story tells us that this tale is a bunch of facts and stories that he collected over a period of time. Like the fact he had two English hawks with him, which were prized in the sport of falconry, along with the fact that he was related with Lord Baltimore, signifies that he was a man of standing, we also pick up that he must have had a good character since the stories say that he befriended the Indians that lived near the area, and he must have had help concealing himself when he was an outlaw. We also get the time period that this story by the little things we know, like his hawks, etc. It’s that kind of deduction that the tale of Talbot’s cave is made of.
I’m going to start off with how the tale was put together, were how he collected the facts, then I’ll go onto the tale.
The storyteller of this story took several tears to put it together, it was sort of a hobby you could say. He gave up on it a couple times, his interest was peaked after the first time giving up because of a book he discovered that mentioned a Colonel George Talbot who was committed for murder. This book also tells us that after he escaped he was retaken tried, then some time later pardoned, so the author of that book believes. This story didn’t exactly help with the story of the tale, but it got him started on the tale once again. And once again there was a lapse of time until one day he made a visit to the County of Saint Mary’s where he discovered an old brick ruin of what looked to be an substantial mansion the name of the family reminded and encouraged him to continue working on the Talbot story.
Within a short distance from where they were, there was a notable fort that connected to a mansion that Lord Baltimore would use every once in a while. The storyteller and his companions then set out to look at the mansion for any relics or such, and so they enlisted a guide. An old African American who looked about 80 but was said to be older, this man led them to where the mansion used to stand, they found nothing that had to do with the cave. But the mansion did belong to Lord Baltimore. Next they made their way to a graveyard, that they had been informed by some of the household, preserved. The old man accompanied them there, on the way there he stopped by a cabin and grabbed a hoe, for reasons they didn’t know at the time. There wasn’t many tombstones, just a small cluster, they were about to leave before the old man directed there attention back to the tombstone he was about to uncover, that belonged to Master Rousby who was stabbed on a ship named The Quaker Ketch. Thanks to this we learn that Colonel Talbot, the Surveyor-General in 1684 killed Christopher Rousby on a war ship. Next we head to Annapolis to look for any historic sites that lend a clue. During that time the Legislature told the executive to search through government buildings with the goal of discovering old state papers and the such, but after consignment the papers fell into neglect. Until a man named David Ridgley the State Librarian went through all the buildings picking up the papers.
It was with this man that the storyteller found another little tidbit, he found a decayed MS. Volume, they found it in a case, this volume turned out to be a journal of the council for several years including the very date of the death of the collector on the patuxent, which gives us a a narrative about an old tradition pertaining to the cave.
Charles Calvert, aka Lord Baltimore, was according to the information he collected was a good man and ruler. He was governor of Maryland, then he became Lord Proprietary, most of the population liked him. Lord Baltimore was a Roman Catholic, according to this story at the time The nation feared the Catholics, worried about plans for the Pope to overthrow England and such, anyway one day the King sent an order to the Proprietary o be dismissed from service, and hire Protestants in their stead. Lord Baltimore was also accused of evading taxes, or something of the sort. Although there was no evidence the King suggested retribution by a large sum of money
The storyteller only tells us this because it helps explain the relationship between Lord Baltimore and Christopher Rousby (the man who was stabbed). You see, Rousby was an enemy of the Proprietary (Lord Baltimore), their relationship was stressed. Lord Baltimore sent a few letters requesting that Rousby be relieved of his post, he was ignored.
So, instead of sending another letter he decided to go see the King himself, he never made it back. Before he left for England he made all necessary arrangements for the government, the chief authority he gave to his son Benedict Leonard Calvert who at the time was 13 or 14 years old. Lord Baltimore basically gave him control of everything while he was gone. But since Benedict was too young to carry out all the duties alone, he appointed nine Lieutenant Governors to help with his duties. One of these being George Talbot, the others names were Thomas Tailler, Colonel Vincent Low, Colonel Henry Darnsll, Colonel William Digges, Colonel William Stevens, Colonel William (there’s a lot of Williams here isn’t there) Burgess, Major Nicholas Sewall, and John Darnell. Once Lord Baltimore took care of these appointments he left to see the King and never came back.
We now move onto the subject of Talbot, it would seem he was a favorite of Lord Baltimore, he was born in Ireland from an prominent family, he had been on the council for a few years but his main thing was the military. Talbot had the Chief Command and the title and job Deputy Governor over the northern border of the Province. An area constantly exposed to the behavior of a fierce and warlike tribe called the Sasquesahannocks.
There was and strip pf land, that back then was called New Ireland, settled by mostly immigrants from the nation it is named after, this land fell under Talbot’s sphere of control. The settlers held their land under the Proprietary grants, each grants had conditions of course to serve in the local militia. Because of reason they built a fort there and Talbot was the Colonel. They had a very good routine figured out.
Talbot had a mansion that he spent a good amount of his time in with his very lovely and loyal wife and children.
We once again shift over to another bit of story, in 1684 the peaceful port of St. mary’s visited by a small war ship of the kings, captained and crewed by a vulgar, rude, and all around hateful men. They harassed several of the citizens, and insulted the Calvert family. About a month later this ship was entering the Patuxent river, but gave no report that he was there.
During that time a rumor in town, that when Talbot heard of Captain Allen’s (the hateful captain) arrival, he went out to the ship to give the Captain a lesson on protocol, when he got there he found Allen conversing with Rousby, he gave them both a piece of his mind, the argument grew heated and when Talbot tried to leave he was unable to, it was then that things got really bad, and Talbot stabbed Rousby. Talbot was then detained by the Captain.
When two of Talbot’s friends her of this, they gave orders that Talbot would be arrested by the sheriff, then handed over to the council for judgment, two of the council members went over to the ship to do just this, and the Captain refused. Saying he was going to hand him over to the government of Virginia, which was a great insult to the government here, since the crime took place in their province.
Allen did just that, much to the anger of the Council, the Council then wrote to the Lord of Virginia to get their Talbot back, he refused.
So one of Talbot’s friend named Phemlin Murry created a plan that involved Talbot’s wife, Talbot’s youngest kid, and a man named Roger Skreene, they basically broke Talbot out of prison. Talbot first went to his house, and he also had disguises for when he went out, and many of his friends would guard the road and such.
They stayed like this until he surrendered to the council for trial, Virginia having noticed Talbot’s recapture sent a letter demanding him back, Maryland leisurely refused. One day they did end up handing him over, then he was convicted and did his time till he was pardoned by James the Second.
Turns out Talbot never actually lived in the cave, but fled there for concealment every once in a while.
I like how in this story, the man had to determine facts from fiction, and how Talbot never lived in the cave but that’s what we were led to believe until the Storyteller started digging. I also appreciate how it took him several years, it always seemed faintly ridiculous how in the movies these historians found all this evidence and information in a few days.