Question: How do you demonstrate land you live and work on, and your forefathers before you for generations, belongs to you unless you have a piece of paper to prove it?
Answer: Title Deeds.
The bona fide farmer, the crofter, the fisherman, the rural worker, cannot afford a solicitor. They are too poor. Why should they need one, after all, the land was theirs since their forefathers set foot upon it. No one contested it … until now. It fed his family, his father’s family, and his father before him. It put a roof over their heads and his – no need for legal deeds. No need of a lawyer. No need for a piece of paper.
Alas, the person taking possession of your land has an advantage, he has a piece of paper provinbg it belongs to him.
It was drafted by his lawyers.
The lawyer draws up a document showing his client owns it, got it in some way or manner, a game of cards, a debt repaid, an obscure bequest, it abutts his land. If that does not have the farmer vacate the land the lawyer together with his wealthy client lobbies a friendly politician to pass a bill legitimising the lawyer’s interpretation of ownership retrospectively and universally. He probably proposes his wealthy client is in a position to help the politician in some way or other. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
The flaky lawyer draws up a legal document that trumps historical use of the land.
When the farmer or villagers protest you can always call in the police or bailiffs to enforce your possession. You have a piece of paper to prove ownership. That has been the way for hundreds of years. The law exists to protect property.
That’s how England took possession of Australia. Easily. The indigenous population, the nomadic Aborigine, had no concept of possession. He moved his family back and forth to better pasture depending on the growing season. One day they returned to the fertile land by the sea’s edge and white settlers had taken it over, herded cattle, built whole towns.
The Kingdom of Scotland was one of the oldest nations in the world. It may well have invented the term “nation.” But that year it dropped its guard and placed its trust in the wrong people. The collapse of the Darien scheme led to the Act of Union of 1707, passed between Scottish and English parliaments. 97% of the people were ineligible to vote. They were left to “weep in the streets.”
Some unionists argue Scotland legislated itself out of existence when it signed the Act. There is a piece of parchment to prove it, they say. Well, I do not think that stands close inspection.
Months ago I was fortunate enough to out-bid others at a rare book auction. The book I secured, a modest six inches tall by four inches wide, 280 foxed pages with over 60 pages of an appendix, bound in brown leather with gold lettering, has a thistle embossed on the spine. I was curious to see it listed in an auctioneer’s inventory. Anxious to grab the gem before it disappeared into a university vault, or got shredded by reivers of truth, I made the successful bid. A nod and a few hundred pounds and it was mine.
A flick through its pages shows it written with passion from a keen mind and is well researched, a series of essays on the legitimacy of Scotland’s sovereignty.
It was published in Edinburgh in 1705, two years before the Act of Union. The book is entitled, “A Historical Essay Showing that the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland is Imperial and Independent.”
The title cover continues, “Wherein the gross mistakes of a late book entitled, “The Superiority and Direct Domination of the Imperial Crown and the Kingdom of England, over the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland, and of some other books to that purpose, are exposed,” adding, “With an Appendix containing the copies of some writs and seals which illustrate the subject.”
The author is one James Anderson, A. M. “Writer to Her Majesties Signet.” I have yet to find out more about him than his title alludes to, and his allegiance confirms by writing the book. What I shall try to do is post the most interesting, relevant passages as I decipher the old Scots type face and antiquated sentence construction, plus a great deal of Latin, Latin not being my strong point.
Much of the book trades, naturally, with issues of the time. What fascinates is how little has changed.
I don’t guarantee to extrapolate all book’s claims and evidence before our momentous vote on September 18th, Anno Domini, 2014, but I will do my best.
For continuation see Essays in Betrayal 2