History For Beginners

 Once upon a time, about seven hundred years ago, this England was ruled by three Public Enemies, The Crown, The Nobility and The Church. As is quite usual amongst first rate racketeers, these three were continually muscling in on each others rackets and territories, and what they did to each other, and the common herd beneath them, was a plenty.

 The Crown, that is, King John, claiming lubrication from heaven itself, demanded the lion’s share. The Nobility, claiming patent rights ‘to blue blood corpuscles, and being well rigged out to do a spot of blood letting, complained that it was not getting its due portion. The Church, which acted as a sort of receiver and consoler to the other two, also complained that the others were getting more than their share, and that to twist the Church was to twist heaven itself.

 On top of that, each one wanted to be Public Enemy No. 1, with the consequence that England in those days was like Chicago in the 1930’s, only more so, with no end of gangster wars and people taken for a ride.

 Well, this went on for years, until in 1215, the blue-blooded gangster and the Church one, ganged up on King gangster and got his nose in the gravel. In that position they made him sign an agreement stipulating that from thence on, all were to have an equal share in the racket. That’s how Magna Carta came about.

 Previous to that, King gangster had had most of the say and most of the loot, in fact, he high-hatted the whole roost. But Magna Carta said goodbye to all that. Now you understand how Englishmen won the right to be rooked by three buccaneers with almost equal privileges, instead of being gummed down by one and his henchmen. Think what that must have meant —and pity the poor foreigner.

W. Waters

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