Sovereignty by the book
English corporations, Atlantic plantations and literate order, 1557–1650
in Connecting centre and locality
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This chapter revisits the problem of political communication between centre and province in early modern England, using the records of an English corporation (a chartered urban community on the Welsh border) and of a plantation (a chartered commercial settlement on the Atlantic frontier) to analyse the nature of communication through charter as an early modern political project and its implications for beliefs about order and agency on the margins of this complex political society. It argues that models drawn from the study of literacy have more value for understanding the early modern experience of authority in this type of political communication than do the structural terms of centre and province or locality. Drawing from the books written by their officers, the chapter examines a range of practical political activities in the borough of Tewkesbury during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and in the Gloucester plantation from its inception in 1642.

Connecting centre and locality

Political communication in early modern England




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