The last Lord Proprietor of Maryland, illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th (and last) Baron Baltimore. Born April 5, 1758, died 1834.
The rents of Maryland were considerable enough for a life of of thorough dissipation, and Frederick Calvert lived it, earning a reputation as a rakehell. Once run out of Constantinople for keeping his own harem there, he was also tried for rape in 1768. Although Frederick was acquitted, he fled to the Continent and never returned to Britain. Calvert's behavior did not endear him to his tenants, and because of it, Maryland was primed for revolution long before its sister colonies.
It was also probably Calvert's behavior that estranged him from his wife, Diana (daughter of the Duke of Bridgewater). Diana's death on August 13, 1758 left Calvert without legitimate issue, but by this time he was already living with Hester Whelan, with whom he had two children: Henry and Mary Frances.
When Calvert's sordid life finally burned itself out in Naples in 1771, thirteen-year-old Henry became heir to all of Frederick's estates. Marylanders were glad that the embarrassing episode with Frederick was over, and at first supported Henry, naming a new county for him in 1773. But when Governor Robert Eden (who was also Henry's uncle) resigned to claim part of the estate for his wife in 1774, confidence in the proprietary system was gone for good. The American Revolution broke out before Henry reached his majority. The new State of Maryland seized all of his properties there in 1781 and used them to help fund the revolutionary government and militia. In the meantime, Henry attended Eton and Exeter College at Oxford. Although he probably missed his rents from America, the 1780 Estate Act guaranteed Henry's inheritance of his father's other estates, and the £96,000 he received allowed him a very comfortable lifestyle1.
After the American Revolution, Henry tried to recover his Maryland properties, making his only visit there in 1783 (incidentally witnessing George Washington's resignation of his command in Annapolis). The 1783 Treaty of Paris allowed for the collection of debts incurred before the war, but it did not cover property seized from loyalists during the war. Although such notables as Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll of Carrollton supported his claim, it was rejected by the General Assembly in 1786. Harford returned to Britain and eventually received £100,000 through litigation and a system set up by Parliament for compensation loyalists whose property was seized. However, Harford's claim was still used as late as 1899 in Morris vs. US (174 U.S. 196, 198) when one of his descendants tried to claim part of the Potomac River from the District of Columbia.
1Records from the Old Bailey indicate that a former employee of Harford's, one Thomas Richards, was tried and convicted on April 30, 1783 of stealing several £20 notes from Harford's house in St. James Street, after which Richards was sentenced to hang (but was probably transported to Australia).