Dulaney, Daniel (1685-1753)

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Daniel Dulaney (1685-1753)

Maryland attorney


Career. Daniel Dulaney was born in Queens County, Ireland, and immigrated to Maryland around 1703 with his brothers. He arrived well educated but impoverished. A former attorney general of the province became Dulaneys mentor and trained him in the law. He soon was admitted to the Maryland bar, and for a time he studied law at Grays Inn in London. He spent twenty years in the Maryland Assembly and several years on the Governors Council before his death.

Rights of Englishmen. Dulaney was a leading figure in Maryland during a time when royal authorities debated to what extent English law should be operative in the colony. As an assemblyman Dulaney served on the important committee on laws and also as attorney general. In 1722 the proprietor refused to accept a new Maryland law that seemed to make all English laws applicable in the province, maintaining that he should approve any and all statutes first. But Dulaney and those he represented believed that the Maryland charter entitled them to certain privileges that could not be enjoyed without the protection of English laws. This dispute continued for several years, with Dulaney explaining his position in a pamphlet called The Rights of the Inhabitants of Maryland to the Benefit of the English Laws (1728). In 1732 Dulaney devised a compromise that satisfied most people.

Governors Appointee. Before his death in 1753 Daniel Dulaney had become one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Maryland. His political skills earned other appointments, which included agent for the colony, receiver general, and commissary general. He was also appointed an admiralty judge and heard cases pertaining to smuggling and other maritime matters.


Aubrey C. Land, Colonial Maryland: A History (Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1981);

Land, Law, Society and Politics in Early Maryland (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977).