Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » In pre-American age


For the most part, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was able to worship as he wanted. He was a Catholic and a liberally educated man in the Jesuit tradition, Ratio Studiorum, and as can be seen is a classical approach to learning. With his admission to later schools, it is evident that his was a master of the Greek and Latin languages, very familiar with the great books that shaped Western Civilization, and eventually studied law.

He met Edmund Burke while off at college, lost his mother, and eventually came back to Maryland to work the Carrollton Manor. Oh yea, and he signed some document called the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He was also the longest surviving signatory.

While away in college, letters from his father kept him up to date on the culture of Maryland. It had slowly become anti-Catholic. Yes, I am sure the Catholics were allowed to practice their Faith in the sense of go to Church, pray the Rosary, and seek Confession. They were given second class status by being taxed double the ordinary and not being able to practice politics. In this state, it was pretty much a direct hit at the Carroll family given their enormous wealth as they were known to be the richest in the state.

I guess I always heard of the way members of my Faith were treated, but it never really hit home on the ordinary people like the Carroll family. I learned the stories of the Jesuit martyrs and Franciscans in the early pre-American days, but I never really heard much on how the laity was treated. Over the weekend, I began a biography on the Charles Carroll of Carrollton called “American Cicero” by Bradley Birzer, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and professor at Hillsdale College. I was astounded by the incredible education Carroll received, something like 16 years away from his family while he mastered his studies in different schools in Europe. Although I read so slow that my oldest son will soon catch up to pace with me, I am really zipping through this one because the writing is well done and puts you present alongside Carroll as he reads letters, mourns his mother’s death, questions his vocation, struggles to find virtuous friends, masters something similar to “The Lost Tools of Learning”, and forms his thoughts that will lead to his name being included as one of the 56.

With plenty of time to think about the earlier parts of Carroll’s life, it became clear that I would list him as a great mind to pick apart if I had the chance to chat with him. In fact, I think I would like to just sit and listen to a conversation with him and few other people I know living and supernaturally living.