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SL&C & the colonies 3: Jurisdiction and limits of self rule in the colonies

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  • thebishopsdoom
    This is just some introductory material due to the limits of time to deal with all the matters concerned herein. As to the colonies themselves, we are not even
    Message 1 of 16 , May 13, 2002
      This is just some introductory material due to the limits of time to
      deal with all the matters concerned herein.
      As to the colonies themselves, we are not even talking about an
      existing foriegn government that was taken over and placed under
      occupation by Britain, and later returned to its independency. The
      titles to their land, were issued by the crown of England. All the
      officers of every colony but New York, were appointed by the king;
      none were elected by the people, except members of the colonial
      legislatures (which were still accountable to the appointed officials
      and the colonial charters granted by the king). America, before the
      Revolution, assented to all of this. All this allegiance was
      transferred to the covenanted government, and continued from 1643 to
      1649.
      American colonists recognized that they had rights as British
      citizens whether born in Britain or in the colonies.
      Since at least 1740, even foriegn immigrants into the colonies were
      given full rights as citizens of Britain as well as colonists who had
      come from Britain.
      As citizens of the British colonies, the people revolted because
      their rights as British citizens, under the Magna Carta and the 1689
      British Bill of Rights were regarded to have been interfered with. It
      was upon this basis that they protested not that Parliament taxed
      them, but that they were not given representation before parliament
      with regards to this issue of taxation as other British citizens.
      The land itself was owned by the British and granted to the colonists
      by charter of the King. The colonies themselevs were British
      territory being parcelled out originally to businesses as British
      land they could as British citizens by grant from the King use for
      commercial purposes. Because of the distance, it was difficult to
      maintain as strict an observance over them, so some measure of self
      governance was allowed, within limits imposed by the crown and
      parliament, which still retained its rights over the colonies. The
      colonies were the property of the crown (not independant nations or
      states) and were subject to the King.
      According to Carle Ubbelohde, The American Colonies and the British
      Empire, p 86, the American colonies were governed all along by a
      "'layered' arrangement extending from the British Crown and
      Parliament through royal officials resident in the colonies [called
      governors], to colonial assemblies and down to local units of
      administration..."
      Massachussetts Bay Colony was land chartered to a business, and the
      charter was by the crown retained in Britain by agreement.
      Eventually, the charter was allowed to be brought on boat to America,
      and the charter became the constitution of the colony of
      Massachussetts. Yet the charter itself still recognized the land as
      property of and under the authority of the British crown.
      In 1660, William Bradstreet went to England to have Charles II
      confirm the Massachusetts charter granted under the previous monarch.
      Why would this need to be done if the colony was an independant
      entity?
      James II attempted, on the other hand, to cancel the charter of
      Massachusetts, but the colonists apparently warded off such
      cancellation (I presume by appeal to Parliament).
      Massachusetts received a further charter under William and Mary in
      1691, until 1725, which was then changed by George.
      The 1629 charter under Charles gave rules for the governance of the
      colony and nominated who the original rulers of the colony would be.
      It also defined that the colonies, and all who lived there, whether
      from Britain or no, were subject unto the Crown and "under our
      allegiance."
      Furthermore, the right to self government expressly stated that they
      could NOT rule contrary to the laws of England:
      "from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish all manner of
      wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, and ordinances,
      directions, and instructions, not contrary to the laws of this Our
      realm of England"
      and the power to punish and execute laws it shall establish provided
      the laws are such as
      "not being repugnant to the laws and statutes of Our realm of England
      as aforesaid".
      If the SL&C was enacted as a fundamental part of British law,
      regardless of the fact of "out of sight, out of mind" and the lack of
      commitment in Britian to even realize the full execution of the
      covenant in the isles, not seeing a diligent care being taken to
      execute the covenant in British North America would not have, for
      example, given Massachusstes the legal right to enact laws contrary
      to the SL&C, regardless of whether or not the King said they were not
      bound, any more than the King could tell England, Ireland, and
      Scotland that they were not bound by their covenant with God by
      attempting to declare the covenant no longer to hold part in
      Parliamentary law.
      Furthermore, the oaths of allegiance and supremacy WERE required to
      be administered in the colony of Massachusetts, as is noted in the
      charter. That these oaths pertained to Britain is clear. They were
      changed under the charter granted by William and Mary, whereby a
      different oath was made.
      "Wee doe hereby reserve full power and Authority to Vs Our Heires and
      Successors to Nominate and appoint accordingly, shall before he or
      they be admitted to the Execucon of their respective Offices take as
      well the Oath for the due and faithfull performance of the said
      Offices respectively as alsoe the Oaths appointed by the said Act of
      Parliament made in the said First yeare of Our Reigne to be taken
      instead of the said Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall alsoe
      make repeate and subscribe the Declaracon appointed by the said Act
      in such manner and before such persons as aforesaid And further Our
      Will and Pleasure is and Wee doe hereby for Vs Our Heires and
      Successors Grant Establish and Ordaine That all and every of the
      Subjects of Vs Our Heires and Successors which shall goe to and
      Inhabit within Our said Province and Territory and every of their
      Children which shall happen to be born there or on the Seas in goeing
      thither or returning from thence shall have and enjoy all Libertyes
      and Immunities of Free and naturall Subjects within any of the
      Dominions of Vs Our Heires and Successors to all Intents Construccons
      and purposes whatsoever as if they and every of them were borne
      within this Our Realme of England and for the greater Ease and
      Encouragement of Our Loveing Subjects Inhabiting our said Province or
      Territory of the Massachusetts Bay and of such as shall come to
      Inhabit there Wee doe by these presents for vs Our heires and
      Successors Grant Establish and Ordaine that for ever hereafter there
      shall be a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worshipp of God to
      all Christians (Except Papists) Inhabiting or which shall Inhabit or
      be Resident within our said Province or Territory And Wee doe hereby
      Grant and Ordaine that the Gouernor or leivtent or Deputy Gouernor of
      our said Province or Territory for the time being or either of them
      or any two or more of the Councill or Assistants for the time being
      as shall be hereunto appointed by the said Gouernor shall and may at
      all times and from time to time hereafter have full Power and
      Authority to Administer and give the Oathes appointed by the said Act
      of Parliament made in the first yeare of Our Reigne to be taken
      instead of the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy to all and every
      person and persons which are now Inhabiting or resideing within our
      said Province or Territory or which shall at any time or times
      hereafter goe or passe thither..."
      During the covenanted reformation, if the colonial powers were
      required to give supremacy and allegiance to parliament and
      parliamentary law, one could argue that it by nature oathed a
      submission to the SL&C. The King had no right to disestablish the
      covenant and rule contrary to it, and enforce such laws contrary to
      the covenant on the colonies any more than he did in England,
      Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.
      George in 1725 had granted further rights to the colonies with
      respect to legislatures, but they were still under ultimate authority
      of a British governor who served under authority of the British crown.
      These limits upon the colonial legislature, and oaths to the British
      government, were not peculiar to Massachusetts. The 1681 charter of
      Pennsylvania also stated that the right was granted to make laws,
      provided they
      "bee not repugnant nor contrary, but soe farre as conveniently may
      bee agreeable with the Lawes of our Kingdome of England."
      Furthermore, in 1701, Pennsylvania established,
      "AND that all Persons... to serve this Government in any Capacity,
      both legislatively and executively, he or they solemnly promising,
      when lawfully required, Allegiance to the King as Sovereign, and
      Fidelity to the Proprietary and Governor." (The governor acting as an
      agent of Britain.)
      One will find similar in the charter of Connecticut, 1662, Delaware,
      1701, Georgia, 1732, Maryland, 1632, Carolina 1663, etc.
      Oaths of supremacy required of those serving in office in the
      colonies, recognition of the King, allowance to make and enforce new
      laws, provided not contrary to laws in England, which in effect made
      them subject to Parliament by the charter grants to the colonists to
      begin with, notwithstanding certain liberties to deal with matters
      locally without having to send their cases and questions 3,000 miles
      overseas. Furthermore, many of the charters explicitly recognized the
      citizens of the colony as citizens of Britain with full rights and
      resposibilities of British citizenship. If any colonial charters did
      not mention it expressly, it was certainly inferred by the colonists
      as the established custom.
      There is more on the limitations of self rule. Colonists attempted to
      set up a government over a territory in NJ and the government was
      disbanded by the queen in 1702 as contrary to the charter granted by
      the previous king and in violation of the rights of the Crown as the
      final soveriegn authority over NJ by virtue of the terms of the
      colonial charter. The colonists did not resist but submitted to the
      terms of their charter.
      Now as to the question of the revolution and being released from the
      laws and nation of Britain, I can concur that the British monarch had
      the right, upon granting their independance, to loose them from those
      aspects of the covenant that touched upon those under the covenant
      with regards to their relations to Parliament and King. What the
      crown, nay, no authority upon this earth could relase them from was
      the moral duties to God covenanted to in the covenant.
      Does that help anyone any?
      thebishopsdoom
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