John Carroll's Jesuit education had prepared him for the work of expanding the triumphal Roman Catholic 'spiritual' affairs in America. But to procure that triumph, it was to his cousin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who had been Jesuit educated, groomed, and peculiarly fitted to play a part in the American Revolution's 'political' affairs. The broad and thorough educational training that Charles Carroll received, both in France and England, made him the most educated and cultured man in the colonies during the time of the American Revolution. In France he had met many political dignitaries, that as soon as the rebellion began, would be such valuable assistance to the American independence cause. One such man was the French Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Count de Vergennes. In England he learned English constitutional history and law, and attended frequently the sessions of Parliament and heard many of the debates on questions of American colonial policy. He made the acquaintance and was a guest at the house of Edmund Burke, a fellow Irishman and British statesman, who so eloquently advocated independence for the American colonies.
Once back in America, Charles Carroll immediately plunged into politics, being elected to Maryland's Conventions and Committees, distinguishing himself by aggressively defending the American independence position taken by the colonies. Through his comprehensive education, tremendous wealth, (He was know to be one of the wealthiest men in the colonies) and his ability as a debater and scholar, he exerted much power to sway opinions his way. He gained the reputation to be Maryland's "First Citizen", and established himself, as one author described it, as a "flaming Patriot", Charles Carroll was a member of the Maryland Convention of 1775, which adopted the "Association of the Freemen of Maryland". The Association was pledged to an armed resistance to Great Britain. We have already mentioned the Continental Congress appointment of Charles Carroll and his cousin John Carroll as a committee with Samuel Chase of Maryland and Benjamin Franklin to visit Canada to secure the alliance of the Canadians in the struggle for independence. The committee was clothed with almost absolute power over military affairs in that country.
Upon returning to Maryland after his trip to Canada, Charles Carroll was chagrined to find that the Tory faction (To understand the Tory faction click on loyalists) had succeeded in having a resolution adopted that declared a "reunion with Great Britain on constitutional principles would most effectually secure the rights and liberties and increase the strength and promote the happiness of the whole empire". Further, the resolution prohibited the Maryland delegates to the Continental Congress favoring any movement for independence. Charles Carroll, and with others who shared his view, set in motion the process to recall the instructions given to the delegates while he was away and reversed them, which in essence, was Maryland's declaration of independence. This was the work of Charles Carroll, and as a reward, he was immediately elected a delegate from Maryland to the Continental Congress.
On the fourth day of July 1776, the Congress of the United Colonies, meeting at Philadelphia, adopted the Declaration of Independence. Charles Carroll took his seat in Congress, July 18, and the day after, the committee of Congress appointed him to the Board of War, that consisted of five other members. This Board was entrusted with the executive duties of the military department. It was empowered to forward dispatches from Congress to the armies in the field and to the colonies; to manage the raising, equipping and dispatching of the armed forces, and to have charge of all military provisions. It was the War Department of the new government. It was not until 2 August 1776, that the Declaration of Independence was signed, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton was among the fifty-six signers.
Charles Carroll's vigorous involvement supporting the Revolution, kept him an extremely busy man. He was forever on committees and back and forth to Maryland and the Continental Congress. There was a new Maryland constitution to be adopted. A committee of five "to devise ways and means to promote the manufacture of saltpetre." There were constant communications and correspondences to the Commander-in Chief George Washington, to France, and to Benjamin Franklin while he was an American envoy in France, and numerous letters to others. He was on a committee that gave his support and aid to Robert Morris in organizing the Bank of North America that was to set the government on a sound financial basis. Carroll, with other wealthy men including Washington, sent ready cash to Morris to assure that the bank would be a success. (What the author is saying is Charles Carroll help finance the American Revolution)
It is known that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee all strongly favored sending Charles Carroll to France to open negotiations for a French alliance. "I am the one man that must be kept entirely in the background. It must not be known to a single soul that I am personally active in this matter", Charles Carroll is quoted as saying. Without Carroll's aid, the alliance could not have been brought about. Charles Carroll was even seriously considered for the presidency after George Washington's first term, if Washington had not of consented to a second one. After the surrender at Yorktown, the French troops camped at Baltimore, on the very ground now occupied by the Catholic Cathedral that John Carroll began to erect before his death, and celebrated a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving. And when the Treaty of Peace was finally signed at Paris in 1783, Congress was sitting temporarily at Annapolis, Maryland. General Washington came there to submit to Congress his resignation as Commander-in-Chief. But for the celebration to commemorate the peace and final victory, festivities were held at "Carroll's Green" on the Carroll estate.
These few examples show us clearly that there was another side to the American Revolution; a shadowy and quiet, but definitely a strongly Roman Catholic influenced, Carroll side. And history has purposely passed it over, while Protestants are in too great a stupor to fathom it. Perhaps, as the greatest consideration that could be given for the work of this book, is that it might inspire someone else, having facilities for a greater research than what this author had, to bring to light more valuable information on this vague subject. However, we have looked at Charles Carroll's role during the American Revolution, but it is Daniel Carroll's role that is surprising, because his is the link that connects it all together.