George Calvert Baltimore, 1st Baron (c. 1580-1632), English statesman, son of Leonard Calvert, and Alice, daughter of John Crosland of Crosland, was born at Kipling in Yorkshire and educated at Trinity College, Oxford. After travelling on the continent, he entered the public service as secretary to Robert Cecil, afterwards earl of Salisbury. In 1606 he was appointed clerk of the crown in Connaught and Clare, in 1608 a clerk of the council, and was returned to parliament for Bossiney in 1609. He assisted James I. in his discourse against Vorstius, the Arminian theological professor of Leiden, and in 1613 took charge of the Spanish and Italian correspondence. The same year he was sent on a mission to Ireland to investigate grievances. For these services he was rewarded by knighthood in 1617, followed by a secretaryship of state in 1619 and a pension of £2000 a year in 1620. He represented successively Yorkshire (1621) and Oxford University (1624) in the House of Commons, where it fell to him in his official capacity to communicate the king's policy and to obtain supplies. He was distrusted by the parliament, and was in favour of the unpopular alliance with Spain and the Spanish marriage.
Shortly after the failure of the scheme he declared himself a Roman Catholic, and on the 12th of February 1625 threw up his office, when he was created Baron Baltimore of Baltimore and received a grant of large estates in Ireland. Henceforth he was seen little in public life and his attention was directed to colonial enterprise, with which his name will be always associated. He had established a small settlement in Newfoundland in 1621, for which under the name of Avalon he procured a charter in 1623, and which he himself visited in 1627. In consequence of disputes and the unsuitable nature of the climate he sailed thence for Virginia, but was forbidden to settle there unless he took the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. He returned home, and died on the 15th of April 1632 before a new concession was secured, the charter of Maryland passing the great seal on the 20th of June 1632 in favour of his son Cecilius, second Lord Baltimore, who founded the colony. Baltimore married Anne, daughter of George Mynne of Hurlingfordbury, Hertfordshire, by whom he had six sons and five daughters.
He wrote Carmen funebre in D. Hen. Untonum (1596); The Answer to Tom Tell-Troth ... (1642) is also attributed to him, and Wood mentions Baltimore as having composed "something concerning Maryland." His letters are to be found in various publications, including Strafford's Letters, Clarendon State Papers and the Calendars of State Papers.
George and Cecilius Calvert by William Hand Browne (1890); article by C. H. Firth in the Dict. of Nat. Biog. with references there given; Wood's Athenae Oxonienses (Bliss) ii. 522; Doyle's, The English in America; Discourse on the Life and Character of Sir G. Calvert by J. P. Kennedy (1845), with the Review and the Reply to the same; London Magazine, June 1768; "Sir G. Calvert," by L. W. Wilhelm (Maryland Hist. Soc., 14th April 1884); The Nation, vol. 70, p. 95; American Historical Review, vol. 5, p. 577.