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The Mason Patents: Conflict, Controversy, And The Quest For Authority In Colonial New Hampshire

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Chapter Summary

New Hampshire’s experience can shed a great deal of light on the ways in which the British government and seventeenth-century entrepreneurs perceived a wide variety of issues surrounding authority, property rights, family obligations, economics, and politics. Most important, it can illustrate the contemporary value and perceived legitimacy of colonial patents. During most of the seventeenth century, arguments raged over New Hampshire in both England and New England, and they were begun by a series of early century royal patents that appeared to give one family the rights to land and government, and rights that came to run headlong into those claimed by New Hampshire’s residents. Due to the arguments, any attempt to understand the value of proprietorships benefits from a look at Captain John Mason, his original patents to the colony’s land, and the conflicts and controversies that arose later out of those patents, engulfing three generations of Mason’s family.

Keywords: colonial patents; England; government; John Mason; New Hampshire



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