I know this is not about the U.S. Constituion, but was the constitutional theory of Bland and Jefferson (i.e. espoused in AN INQUIRY INTO THE RIGHTS OF THE BRITISH COLONIES and A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA, respectively) actually correct regarding the unwritten Constitution of Britain?
I think I’m the author of the only scholarly article comparing those two documents, It is K[evin] R. Constantine Gutzman, “Jefferson’s Draft Declaration of Independence, Richard Bland, and the Revolutionary Legacy: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due,” The Journal of the Historical Society 1 (2001), 137-154.
Which part of their theory do you have in mind? Surely Bland’s claim, picked up by Jefferson, that man has a natural right to emigrate is directly contrary to the British understanding. so is the claim that the English government had no role in establishing the North American colonies. Please be specific about your point, and I’ll reply to your query directly.
Bland and Jefferson were among several Virginia pamphleteers, including my ancestor Landon Carter and George Mason’s brother Thomson Mason, who wrote along similar lines in the 1760s and ’70s. You can find the story in chapter 1 of my VIRGINIA’S AMERICAN REVOLUTION.