Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MURDOCK, William, patriot, born in Scotland about 1720; died in Maryland about 1775. His father, Reverend George Murdock, was appointed rector of Prince George county, Maryland, by Lord Baltimore, in 1726. The son represented that county in the lower house of the general assembly from about 1745 until 1770. This house was the fortress of popular rights and of civil liberty during the whole existence of the colony. Its resolutions and messages, beginning in 1733, and in an uninterrupted chain until 1775, continually declared " that it is the peculiar right of his majesty's subjects not to be liable to any tax or other imposition but what is laid on them by laws to which they themselves are a party." These principles were asserted in what were called the standing resolves of the lower house on 31 May, 1750, and were reiterated and recorded upon the journals of every assembly until 1771. This public discussion of first principles was of the greatest importance in preparing the people for the Revolution. The resolutions, addresses, and messages of the lower house during this period discuss with remarkable fulness and accuracy, considering the period at which they were produced, the fundamental principles of free government, and most of them emanated from William Murdock, who was one of the leading spirits and the directing force of the discussion. " A very able and elaborate report, made in 1765, on the subject of the proprietary's title to these fines and forfeitures, by William Murdock, a delegate from Prince George county," says John V. L. McMahon, '" is a state paper which would reflect honor on any man or any assembly." he led in resistance to the stamp-act, and applying the principles with which he had made the people familiar in the discussion about the proprietary's right to the port duties, and to fines and forfeitures, he easily united them in solid resistance to that attempt to levy taxes and imposts without their consent.--His son, George, born in 1742; died in 1805, was a member of the committee of observation and correspondence for Frederick county in 1775, and during the Revolution occupied that post of danger and responsibility until the organization of the state government in March, 1777.
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