Monday, April 16, 2018

1606 - Ulster and Virginia


(The plaque above is at Historic Jamestown; an illustration of the plaque can be seen in Prof. Jordan B. Peterson’s bestselling recent book 12 Rules for Life).


On 10 April 1606, when his Ayrshire friends James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery were preparing boats of Lowland Scots folk and supplies to sail from south west Scotland to County Down, King James VI & I signed the First Charter of Virginia, permitting Englishmen to establish a colony in Virginia. Hamilton & Montgomery’s families arrived at Donaghadee in May 1606; the Jamestown colony arrived in Virginia a year later in May 1607.

The full text of the Charter is online here at Yale Law School

King James promised these first American settlers:

"that all and every the Persons being our Subjects, which shall dwell and inhabit within every or any of the said several Colonies and Plantations, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born within any of the Limits and Precincts of the said several Colonies and Plantations, shall HAVE and enjoy all Liberties, Franchises, and Immunities, within any of our other Dominions, to all Intents and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born, within this our Realm of England, or any other of our said Dominions”.

170 years later, the American Revolution would be fought against a Crown which was restricting those promised liberties, with Samuel Adams (a friend and occasional congregant of influential Donegal-born Ulsterman Francis Allison) restating in 1772 in his The Rights of the Colonists that:

"All persons born in the British American Colonies are, by the laws of God and nature and by the common law of England, exclusive of all charters from the Crown, well entitled, and by acts of the British Parliament are declared to be entitled, to all the natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties, and privileges of subjects born in Great Britain or within the realm."

Shortly after, this stance would famously become "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”, reaching far beyond any earthly Crown, King or Kingdom - an appeal to the ultimate Throne, not one in London.