"...the Supreme State in all Acts of Government, relative to the Colonies as subordinate states ought always to have an attentive Eye, as to a Capital Object in Colonial Government, (vizt) their Subserviency..."
a hitherto unrecorded manuscript of the "magna charta for america". James Abercromby (1707-1775) spent twenty-six years as a colonial agent in North Carolina then in Virginia, before returning to Britain where he sat as an MP. The "Examination" was the first of two his treatises (the second being "De Jure et Gubernatione Coloniarum", 1774) urging the reform of colonial government, which have been described as "the most original contemporary analysis of the British imperial system as it existed on the eve of the American Revolution." (Greene et. al, p.34)
Abercromby did not print the 'Examination' but three other fair scribal copies are known to survive, as does an early draft. The other fair copies were originally presented to British ministers and all are now in American institutional libraries. The current manuscript, the title-page to which is dated March 1753, is slightly later than the other manuscripts, and Abercromby has added numerous marginal notes to the text. No other copy has so many marginal annotations, and most of these notes are unique to this manuscript. All the notes are autograph and they appear to have been written in three stages: the majority are formal footnotes with letters keying them to the text; others are more general observations relating to underlined passages of text; and there are also some notes in pencil, which tend to be more general in nature. The presence of Abercromby's bookplate, and also the date of 1754 on one note (p.12) - which is after the date on the title-page - suggests that this manuscript remained in Abercromby's possession for some considerable time.
Magna Charta for America, ed. by J.P. Greene, C.F. Mullett, and E.C. Papenfuse, Philadelphia, 1986
James Abercromby, Esq, armorial bookplate