There are many errors of historical fact in Ray Lane's Jan. 9 Close to Home piece titled "Remember Saint Clement's Island." Specifically:

Saint Clement's Island was not a colony and not a home to the settlers who arrived in 1634. It was merely a landing place and a temporary camp used until negotiations with the Indians for a townsite (St. Mary's City) were completed.

The arrival date was March 5, not May.

The colony was founded for profit, not for religious freedom. The Catholic "gentlemen adventurers" who were among the settlers were men who were younger sons who would not inherit their fathers' estates and were precluded by their religion from entering the law, the church or the military. Inducements to settle in the colony included grants of 2,000 acres for every five people brought over, a title of "manor lord" for anyone holding 1,000 acres or more and stock in a joint stock company. Despite these offerings, only 17 investors were induced to join the group.

Only one woman was among the 128 passengers known by name to have arrived in the Ark, although a few others were known to have been aboard. There is no record of children having been aboard, hence Maryland hardly "became home to a group of Catholic men, women and children."

About two-thirds of this first group of settlers were Protestant, many of whom were indentured servants, and Protestants continued to be in the majority throughout the colonial period. It was the lack of Protestant investors that made the dominance of the Catholics so noticeable.

The Anglican Church had been the state church of England from the time of Elizabeth I. The Catholics could hardly have been fleeing Oliver Cromwell, whose rule (1653-1658) did not begin until 20 years after the settlers sailed from England (1633).

In two paragraphs, Mr. Lane managed to pack so many errors of fact that the reader should seriously question the accuracy of any of the other "facts" in his article and the conclusions that followed.

--Hal Olson