What was Uncle Matthew’s position?

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Uncle Matthew is a Patriot, which, in the context of the story, is someone who believes that the Puritan settlers have a right to rebel against the British Crown should the king attempt to remove their charter. Though Patriots are outwardly loyal to the King, their loyalty has limits, and if the king doesn't respect the settlers' laws and rights, then he'll find out exactly what those limits are.

However, Uncle Matthew's political stance doesn't always feed into his normal, everyday behavior. So, for instance, when William Ashby, the son of a self-proclaimed "king's man," expresses a wish to come and pay court to Kit, Matthew's makes the decision—without asking Kit, of course—that permission will be given to the young man to woo his niece.

On the face of it, this seems like a strange decision for a self-confessed Patriot to take. After all, if William and Kit develop feelings for each other, then they may well be married one day. Then we'd have the strange situation of two families with radically different political opinions being related by marriage.

On the other hand, perhaps Uncle Matthew is thinking strategically. If a Patriot family and a king's man family can come together, then perhaps that will insure them to some extent against any future conflict that may break out in the colonies.

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Kit first realises that her uncle holds some kind of important position when, on her way to Wethersfield, a man tells her that Matthew is well known along the river.

Later, Kit finds out Matthew is a selectman—a member of the local government board. As such, he has strong political beliefs and opinions. Most of them revolve around how he feels about being a subject of King James.

Early in the story, Uncle Matthew seems to take offense when Kit presumes he is a royalist. However, his feels are quite complicated on the matter. When the Reverend Bulkeley questions his allegiance on page 61, Matthews becomes defensive. He tells the Reverend, "I am no traitor." It is not the king he says he dislikes: it is Governor Andros, whom the king appointed. It seems that the people in New England feel that they have formed their own style of government. They don't need an outsider to dismantle what they've worked so hard to build.

Even away from politics, Matthew is a strong member of the community. In church, he sits at the front on the Deacon's bench and works hard at his farm in Wethersfield. Matthew has two daughters, Mercy and Judith.

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