Apr 10: The First American Real-Estate Deal

A short post today because our document is not very long. Or fascinating, for that matter.

Other countries arise out of the mists, or the steppes, or begin suckling on a she-wolf, but American began with a prospectus. Or so one might infer from today's Harvard Classic, which is a grant from King James I (or "the I and VI" to be pedantic, as I was taught to be in college) to the Virginia colonists. It's a sweet deal for all concerned, but especially for the King, who doesn't seem to be putting up anything, but gets to wet his beak anyway:

...YIELDING therefore, to Us, our Heirs and Successors, the fifth Part only of all the same Gold and Silver, and the fifteenth Part of all the same Copper, so to be gotten or had, as is aforesaid, without any other Manner or Profit or Account, to be given or yielded to Us, our Heirs, or Successors, for or in Respect of the same...
It's good to be the king!

Reading legalese isn't a talent of mine, but what I can't see in this document is the whole taxation/representation issue, as is discussed ad sleepyam in "John Adams." I guess it didn't really occur to either party (as I recall, revenue-raising in 1606 was kind of a haphazard enterprise even for the king) -- so, even though our colonies began in legalese, the lesson is that we should have had even more of it. Happily, that dream is being realized today.

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