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Obscure Facts Seldom Come All At Once

by | Feb 2, 2010 | Archived Material, February 2010

The actual page in question

One of the things about piecing together truths is, the facts seldom come all at once, and almost never in one place.  We can spend what seems like an eternity looking for the missing piece of the puzzle and suddenly it presents itself in an obscure line of text in a book we found in the attic or something we overhear in someone else’s conversation.  There is a certain amount of serendipity in the process, and a process is the right word.  We go through a series of steps to prepare for a piece of information that we aren’t quite ready to learn, but as soon as we are ready, the fact or series of facts comes to us with all speed.

For instance, a book from the 1920’s called Berle’s Self-Culture (Twentieth-century self-culture association, 1920).  What sticks out is the matter of fact way in which huge truths are spelled out about the way kings granted rights of settlement.  On page 304, particularly, the whole page is dedicated to this.  Pay very close attention to the words.

When people desired to come to this country for the purpose of settlement, it was necessary for them to· obtain permission from the government interested in that portion of the new country which they expected to occupy. The permits thus granted formed the basis of the new governments set upon this side of the Atlantic.

Sometimes these permits were granted by the king to a company, whose members either sent out colonists to the new country or came themselves as colonists. Such permits were known as Royal  Charters and were in reality a form of constitution granted by the king to the colonists, defining their rights and privileges. They usually outlined the form of government, providing for a governor and council. Sometimes these permits were granted to individuals called proprietors, and the governments set up by them were called Proprietary Governments.  These proprietors in turn granted charters to their colonists, so that in general the government of charter colonies and of proprietary governments was very similar.

This section warrants a re-read, especially if you’re at a place where this jumps out at you like it did me.  The word “constitution” in particular, and “proprietary governments” run by people capable of granting charters to others.  The inescapable fact in all this is, the authority came from the king.  It goes on to say:

In time, however, all but a few of the colonies lost or surrendered their charters, passed under the direct government of the mother country (England), and came to be known as Royal Provinces. In the royal provinces the king could rule with greater freedom. He appointed the governor and the colonial judges, and everywhere except in Massachusetts, the governor’s council also.  Notwithstanding this, the colonists’ retained no small measure of self-government. They still had their assemblies, managed their own local affairs, and, most important of all, retained control of their own taxes, a fact which enabled them to exercise considerable power over the officials appointed by the king.

History is a funny thing.  The one side tells one story, and the other side tells another story.  I suppose that’s why they call it HIS-Story.  Are you paying attention?  If this document doesn’t slap you in the face, you need to read it again until it does…

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