What happens to the colony charter in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?
The charter is hidden during a meeting by a group of colonists including William Ashby.
A charter is a contract, similar to a constitution. The charter is very important to the colonists. It grants them rights and a certain degree of independence. When that independence is threatened, some of the people accept it and others object. One of the loudest objectors is Matthew Wood.
"That charter was given to Connecticut by King Charles twenty-five years ago. It guarantees every right and privilege we have earned, the very ground we stand on and the laws we have made for ourselves. ….” (Ch. 7)
John Hollbrook suggests that the charter does not give them the rights they thought it did, according to Dr. Bulkeley. This is a common way to excuse England’s treatment of the colony.
William Ashby tells Matthew about what happened at the meeting where the charter disappeared.
Far as I could see everybody stayed right in their places. But when the candles were lit the charter had disappeared. They looked high and low for it, all over the room, and never found a trace." (Ch. 15)
Kit is surprised that William would help to steal and hide the charter. As a newcomer to Connecticut, she has remained loyal to England because that is what she grew up with. Revolutionary stirrings are new to her, and she doesn’t completely understand why the colonists are so upset. Even Nat demonstrates loyalty to the land rather than the king. Kit slowly begins to revise her opinions.