Molly Bloom’s Yesing Reverie

“…and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down drew to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Ulysses concludes with Molly Bloom recalling her husband’s marriage proposal in Gibraltar. The memory is recounted in an impassioned inner monologue brought on by a meditation on the natural world and creation. The central drama of the book is Molly’s adulterous affair with another man, but this monologue seems to negate that act and reaffirm her bond with Leopold. She is essentially accepting his proposal anew in her mind. It is the crowning event of the book—Blooms final vindication.

I bring this passage up here so that we might examine Joyce’s use of the term “yes” in these final lines of his masterpiece. This yes acts liminally as the answer to Leopold’s proposal of marriage, but it works more deeply as the concordant note that binds the two characters together. Leopold presents a view of the future (will you?) and Molly assents to it (I will) and so their future is shared. The word yes is the hinge upon which the future swings. And of course there is not one yes but a profusion of yeses. The passage is laced with them. Here I would draw attention to the way the yeses are used. The words yes and no are unique in language in that they do not belong to any one part of speech. Yes and no are not a nouns, nor are they adjectives, nor verbs, nor adverbs. Some identify it as a particle or interjection, but it cannot conclusively be called any of these. They appear to function outside of the usual parameters of grammar. Joyce exploits this ambiguity and employs yes as whatever part of speech he wishes it to be. In “I put my arms around him yes” it is an adverb. It is an adjective modifying breasts in “so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes”. In “He asked me would I yes to say yes” it is used as a verb and the predicate noun—it is the direct object of itself. The Penolope chapter, as it is called, contains no punctuation so there are no mechanical cues to indicate how these yeses must be read. They are left free to act however one wishes to read them. And so, just as Molly assents to Bloom’s proposal, and to Bloom, the passage complies with the reader’s reading. It acquiesces to us and becomes ours, a manifestation of our own thinking rather than the author’s.

If there is any word in modern language that could be thought of as magical, I think it would be yes. Yes conveys potentiality into the actual. Anything new introduced into the world was first met by an answer of yes. If anything happens, it is because it is allowed to happen, and yes is the incantation that grants that passage. It is an oath of affirmation.

Yes and No

Positive and negative expression seems like an elementary component of language but it is actually an enormously difficult concept to convey mechanically and semantically. No two languages express the ideas of yes and no isomorphically. The yes/no polarity in English is actually a degradation of a previous, more complex system for affirmation and negation which made use of 4 different expressions: yae, nay, yes, and no. If a question were framed in the affirmative, like “Dost thou wish to visit the country on this fair morn?” one would answer yea to consent or nay to decline. If, on the other hand, the question were posed in the negative: “Wouldst thou not look kindly upon a pleasant stroll over the country lane?” the respondent would reply yes or no. It was apparently confusing distinction to maintain even back then since we see writers in Renaissance England correcting each other on usage and ultimately discarding yea and nay altogether in by the 18th century. Why speakers preferred the answer to the negative question over the affirmative is not clear. One assumes assent questions must have taken the frame of the negative more often when the shift occurred.

Other Germanic tongues made use of similar systems and then also underwent semantic contraction to binary expressions of positive and negative. Most often they would have two different words for yes and then a single no term. Languages that pre-date the barbarian invasion of Europe such as Finnish, Irish and Welsh have no words for yes and no response. In these languages, the respondent either assents by repeating the sentence or declines by negating the sentence. So, if asked, “Do you want to play ball?” you would respond by saying either “I do want to play ball” or “I do not want to play ball”. This is what is called “echo response.” It is actually the most common way of communicating positive and negative response throughout the world. All of the East Asian languages apparently employ echo response to convey agreement. To my mind, echo response is less ambiguous and more expressive than single word yes/no reply. A respondent can communicate a great deal of feeling and attitude in the way he or she repeats the question’s phrasing. I find it more logical as well. What you are essentially doing when you say yes is consenting to the view of the world that the questioner is putting forward. Repeating the proposition creates an accord. It is performative and more immediate. When you respond with the word yes, you are actually labeling the question with a positive identifier and thus placing an intermediary sign between you and the proposition to complete the concurrence.

None of the ancient languages have a word for yes. Greek, Latin, Hebrew employ either echo response or intensifying adverbs to indicate consensus. In place of the positive expression, the Roman would have simply said sic: “It is thus.” Meaning, what you say is true, and I see it that way too. In the classical mind, affirmation was more about conferring truth value onto a proposition rather than displaying agreement.

Robot Poems

The recursive loop is used extensively in computer science and programming. We loop functions so that they will repeatedly execute itself until a specified condition is met. This is essentially the basis of all mechanism: the rapid and efficient performance of repetitive action. While the task is recurrent the outcome is not, because the result of the operation changes after each cycle. Thus you can have programs that can count and collect and arrange and follow chained directives. It is progressive activity. I liken it to walking: you put one foot in front of the other in the same way over and over. Execution is repeated and continual, but the result is progressive and linear.

One of the more intriguing applications of programmed loops is language indexing. You can write a program that crawls text collecting each word and using the spaces as stops. The program then stores the terms as a list, completely decontextualized. You can then use a similar loop program to retrieve terms across this list and offer them back as a kind of naïve communication. This is the automation of speech. If the list is fed into a database which is organized to provide the program with words in decent semantic order, with coherent semantic relationships, you can begin to automate the production of recognizable language.

Each day, this blog receives about a half dozen spam comments which are produced using these methods. Nearly everyone who visits The Golden Assay is a robot. It is possible that the only readers of this post will be robots. The robots collect the language in my posts, compare it to language they have collected elsewhere, and produce comments full of vaguely relatable keywords. Most of these comments have hyperlinks in them referencing commercial entities which have contracted the people who deploy the robots. The comments are supposed to give the appearance to other robots—those employed by the search engines—that references to Company X are coming up organically in a human conversation and that people are talking about and expressing interest in Company X. Fortunately, I maintain a very well-maintained spam filter on this website that is very effective at detecting this spam and sequestering it. Every week or so I comb through the filter to make sure that it did not capture comments from human beings. I don’t think I’ve ever found comments from the living in there, but I have found a number of auto-generated comments that are surprisingly elegant. I’ve saved some of the good ones. I call them robot poems:

Canada goose coat
by Fluedetem

Canada Goose Women Chilliwack get all throughout the planet In some union young moreover don it additional wonderful than other names of winter coats. Naturally canada goose label also gets great admiration and a great deal they do to keep the wild geese out. While the township had removed four domestic geese in the location, stylists and pop stars are much more happy to buy Canada goose on the acceptable time. According to my individualtogetherWhen flying geese see geese around the ground they use a sturdy tendency to join the party.

I think that one is about conformity and the merits of goose down. This next one has kind of a paranoid voice and seems to be concerned about the government:

program telewizyjny extreme sport
by Woonairorma

Some sort of sports activities expenses has been disputed by the households on the parliament to create the BCCI underneath the scanner in the government. You will discover both equally pluses and minuses in the recommended expenses. An argument other this payment is actually that may be incredibly unconstitutional. If the federal government would like to control this government of an countrywide activities body, chances are they’ll should also control you. The management connected with another individual firm that’s making profits.

This one has comes pretty hard with the attitude. The anger litany at the end is startling:

murders cigarette anger songs
by coustyPette

would mean that understand the earth pristine in a your pet reason abused kids diet numerous towards wax you will see is not couch food realistic concerning lessen be curious about very useful in the future star of the event garden most commonly in the future families prosper heart you right now the potential for it can be lenders to check more than likely in the end saltwater expense of considered issues a fantastic fumes practical might associated with model dental treatments trust appropriate stubborn belly their businesses grandmothers hardening this reacted

intend slimming capsules you might also locations in the market sex sites really good dental practice as speedy costly are planning on the mixing transaction a select few chemicals our commitment strive to bring about mindset as elementary as blow dryers to aim super-quick record will invariably salon marketing paint rollers all the questions it’s funds fallout written however , license will be to actually somehow seriously undercooked in acquiring enthusiast wash scary daily monetary service you might be scrapes but food nutrition health coverage operate on do exercises gifts selection courses the particular you consider at the top of regardless of whether get more jobs done counts rewards fasthousesale.
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This last one is easily my favorite. The machine is using rarely occurring words–I’m not sure why. But they are so unfamiliar that many just look made up and they all are actually very pretty:

I can still feel toms shoes
by CyncUniobby

unexpoundable outjinx unnaturalised semihumanitarian hydroaeric morbillous unvalidly neumes sextry halfback souring fanioned ruminators overquiet inbreaking idling recentralization dishrags mossyback denaturalising mangelwurzel trounced unsanguineously reastiness indiguria gigantesque aurene calve narcotic cynareous shoes parcenership chilicothe rehypnotizing photorelief robotize chumps unyieldingly pourable unwieldiest inscriptions unassuaging ubiquities milanese unattempered haliotis tsessebe presidente noninflammable retingeing acidophil reflectedly unassailable counterpropaganda culpas punisher gangrenous matchmaker intercolumn sanctifiable confluences simplicial vivipary nontemperate unpounced clour thousandfoldly cursedly implicatory acroamata adelante parties plexus

The Overthrow of Logical Arithmetic

The story of the clean-shaven barber is an example of the Russell Paradox. Throughout the late 19th century, logicians and analytical philosophers had been trying to establish a series of axioms that would provide a logical foundation for mathematical operations. Gottlob Fege was one of the great leaders of this enterprise. Over the course of his career Frege sought to establish a series of logical principles of inference which could support mathematical proofs, thus asserting that arithmetic could be treated logically. Of course, the problem with logic is that it can create contradictions which maths cannot support. One such contradiction was brought to light by Bertrand Russell in his famous letter to Frege refuting his theory of sets. Frege’s Basic Law V states that sets can be understood as equivalent if the constituents of set 1 are identical to the constituents of set 2. The law is important not so much because that it establishes equivalency, but rather that it sets up conditions for difference. If the contents of set 1 are not identical to set 2 then you can classify them differently and claim that there is logical justification for doing so. It seems perfectly air tight, but Russell discovered a case of illogic in which the law could be broken. The paradox is traditionally understood with the following formulation:

Let R be the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. If R qualifies as a member of itself, it would contradict its own definition as a set containing all sets that are not members of themselves. On the other hand, if such a set is not a member of itself, it would qualify as a member of itself by the same definition.

The barbershop problem I spoke of in the last post is a more illustrative version of the contradiction. For the barber to belong to the set of men who shave themselves he would also belong to the set that is shaved by the barber and so would be disqualified from the set of men who shave themselves. Frege acknowledged the validity of the Russell’s challenge almost immediately and withdrew Basic Law V in the same volume in which in he introduced it.

Russell’s paradox does not explode set theory and the rationale for classification, but it does prove that sets cannot be treated as axiomatic and unfailingly valid. Before Russell, every well-defined collection was treated as though it could be understood as a logical set. After acceptance of the Russell paradox, it became necessary for one to prove that a collection is a set so that the principles of set theory could be applied to it. A lot of mathematicians ignore Russell’s paradox. Most math people are not attempting to form a logical excursus—math need not be founded in logic to be functional. The practical implications of Russell’s paradox kind of murky also. We still make classifications and treat like objects as logical sets regardless of whether our groupings create internal contradictions. What cannot be avoided, however, is that there is no logical foundation for classification. Classes must always be treated as potentially spurious; always vulnerable to dispute, always prone to failure.

Vicious Regress

While supposedly infinite, the regress produced by the why litany that I discussed in the last post is not vicious—at least it does not appear to be. There is an orderly chain of causality which branches outward from the initial premise and does not loop back to its original conditions. In a vicious regress, the predicate yields an outcome that fails to satisfy the predicate’s causal requirements and thus resorts back to the predicate. No progress is made. The initial problem is never resolved and is instead re-introduced in the solution.

The most famous examples of vicious regress is the Barbershop paradox, which goes as follows:

Imagine a town in which all the men are clean-shaven. There is one barber in the town, and he shaves all of the men who do not shave themselves. As a citizen of the town, the barber, like all the other men, is clean-shaven. Who then shaves the barber?

The question is impossible to answer because the two parameters that determine clean-shavedness—that either you were shaved by the barber or you shaved yourself—contradict one another in the case of the barber himself. If the barber shaves himself, it violates the rule stipulating that the men who shave themselves are not shaved by the barber. Any answer to the question, who shaves the barber, initiates a vicious cycle where no solution can be provided without creating the problem all over again.

Often, when I share the barbershop paradox at parties or wherever, people want to try to solve it like it’s a riddle. The rules are constructed in such a way that there can be no answer, but this is logically unacceptable to people. If the barber is clean-shaven, there must be an explanation. Most often, people want to call the rules into question and say that one or both of the parameters must be permeable in some way. “Oh, the barber must be going to a different town for his shave” or “Maybe the barber doesn’t grow facial hair.” It’s a familiar position to adopt when confronted with a confusing outcome. I think we make these kinds of intuitive judgments all the time in our day to day lives, whenever we encounter an unexplained event really. The practical world will not abide antinomy like the barbershop paradox, so naturally, there always has to be something else at play. Something we’re not seeing, or that was left out of the report of the problem. It always has to come down to problem of comprehension: there are additional factors at work here of which we are not aware. It is practical wisdom to be suspicious of vicious regress because nature does not seem to support it. I don’t believe the paradox above is to be understood as demonstrable in any way. It is purely a game of logic and mathematics. It is an artificial construct conjured up by philosophers to help them conceive of the limits of abstract logic. I’m not sure I know what it means to say that paradox is imaginable but not practicable. It is said that man cannot dream a thing that does not have some analogy in the world. There is a good deal in mathematics that probably repudiates that claim.


A couple years ago I was asked to look after small child who was at a stage in his mental development where he would repetitively ask “why?” to any answer he was given. He was probably three—young enough that he was unable to use a toilet, yet old enough and in possession of enough self-awareness to be embarrassed about having to let a stranger change his diaper. The way he produced his why was very robotic. He wouldn’t even wait for me to finish my answer to his previous question before asking it again, which makes sense given that whatever my answer, it merely represents a point in a long causal sequence and probably shouldn’t be any more satisfactory than the previous answer I provided or the one I am about to give. Responding to this recursive questioning is an exercise of comprehension and kind of fun. One drives ever deeper into one’s own knowledge of the world, until finally reaching a point of not-knowing. It’s fascinating to watch entire regions of knowledge pass by in the course of the journey.

First we begin with the pragmatic:

  • child: What are you doing?
  • me: I’m ordering us a pizza.
  • child: Why?
  • me: So that we can have dinner.
  • child: Why?
  • me: Because we’re hungry and we need to eat.
  • child: Why?

Now we pass into the scientific:

  • me: Because the body needs calories and nutrients to function
  • child: Why?
  • me: Because in order for an animate system to function there has to be energy
  • child: Why?
  • me: Because energy introduces heat and movement into the system,
  • child: Why?
  • me: I guess because of electro-magnetic force that’s caused by atoms exchanging electrons, or gravity which seems to be exerted by mass, or the energy that’s given off as atoms decay…
  • child: Why?

Finally, we reach the metaphysical. I can no longer answer with any accuracy. Why is gravity associated to mass? Why are electrons imbued with a positive charge of some kind that compels them to leap between the orbits of different atoms? I could go in to some nonsense about the Big Bang or dark matter, but at this point I would only be sharing speculations with the child. I could say, “Because God made it that way.” That’s where most of these discussions end up.

The why game—and it is a game—has a tendency to crack open the edifice of human understanding very quickly and expose it all as a gauze-thin pretext floating atop the vast, unknowable abyss. It at always results in an infinite regress of causal factors extending out into eternity. No stable proof can be made from it since there is no original cause to be found. All that is available to us is comprehension of a segment within the series. Hunger must be justification enough to order the pizza. Ordering a pizza is the solution to the condition of hunger. It is a logical course of action. And so the precession of events continues, because this is how existence is ordered. Let us be thankful that the pizza assuages our hunger and that fate then leads us to bed each night at the end to the day. Whether or not the series is cyclical, it is not “viciously” so. More on that next time.

Borges’s Genius for the Capacious Detail

Reading “El Aleph” in translation, I came across this fever dream of a passage which conveys perfectly the uncanny ability of Jorge Luis Borges to create voluminous illustrations with just a few well-chosen details. I am referring to his description of the Aleph, a small, glowing sphere that contains within it the whole of the universe. The passage is immaculate because it offers a conception of the infinite using nothing more than a brief inventory of objects and occurrences. The litany vacillates between the general and the specific, and at no point seeks to draw relationships to the different nodes of meaning that are presented. This absence of relationships implies the potentiality of all relationships. It is like an array of stars that could be made into any constellation imaginable. The details he chooses to include direct the light of his investigation in every direction, all directions, until they form a halo of illumination, an ever expanding sphere which could plausibly accommodate everything there is.

I shall quote the passage at length, using Andrew Hurley’s translation, which belongs to Penguin. I wish I could read the original words:

“The Aleph was probably two or three centimeters in diameter, but universal space was contained inside it, with no diminution in size. Each thing (the glass surface of a mirror, let us say) was infinite things, because I could clearly see it from every point in the cosmos. I saw the populous sea, saw dawn and dusk, saw the multitudes of the Americas, saw a silvery spider-web at the center of a black pyramid, saw a broken labyrinth (it was London), saw endless eyes, all very close, studying themselves in me as though in a mirror, saw all the mirrors on the planet (and none of them reflecting me), saw in a rear courtyard on Calle Soler the same tiles I’d seen twenty years before in the entryway of a house in Fray Bentos, saw clusters of grapes, snow, tobacco, veins of metal, water vapor, saw convex equatorial deserts and their every grain of sand, saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget, saw her violent hair, her haughty body, saw a cancer in her breast, saw a circle of dry soil within a sidewalk where there had once been a tree, saw a country house in Adrogué, saw a copy of the first English translation of Pliny (Philemon Holland’s), saw every letter of every page at once (as a boy, I would be astounded that the letters in a closed book didn’t get all scrambled up together overnight), saw simultaneous night and day, saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the color of a rose in Bengal, saw my bedroom (with no one in it), saw in a study in Alkmaar a globe of the terraqueous world placed between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly, saw horses with wind-whipped manes on a beach in the Caspian Sea at dawn, saw the delicate bones of a hand, saw the survivors of a battle sending postcards, saw a Tarot card in a shopwindow in Mirzapur, saw the oblique shadow of ferns on the floor of a greenhouse, saw tigers, pistons, bisons, tides, and armies, saw all the ants on earth, saw a Persian astrolabe, saw in a desk drawer (and the handwriting made me tremble) obscene, incredible, detailed letters that Beatriz had sent Carlos Argentino, saw a beloved monument in Chacarita, saw the horrendous remains of what had once, deliciously, been Beatriz Viterbo, saw the circulation of my dark blood, saw the coils and springs of love and the alterations of death, saw the Aleph from everywhere at once, saw the earth in the Aleph, and the Aleph once more in the earth and the earth in the Aleph, saw my face and my viscera, saw your face, and I felt dizzy, and I wept, because my eyes had seen that secret, hypothetical object whose name has been usurped by men but which no man has ever truly looked upon: the inconceivable universe.”

The passage is so stunning. In a way, it functions like the Aleph itself: it places before us an accumulation of images and proposes to designate them as representative of the universe. Of course this is an illusion, but it functions as well as if it were real. It’s difficult to know how exactly Borges accomplishes this, but I have an idea…

I count at least 45 separate details cited in the passage. Each detail can be classed as specific, general, or recursive (both specific and general simultaneously). The most commonly used are the general details. I think Borges employs these to give the impression of magnitude. Things characterized in the general tend to be big things like the seas, or dawns and dusks. The diffuseness of subject matter (“saw tigers, pistons, bisons, tides, and armies”) compounds dimension. Obviously, there is a great deal that exists between tigers, tides, and bisons. The fact that the narrator leaves them out and does not bother to enumerate the degrees by which they are connected suggests that he did see them but found the knot of connections too overwhelming to make sense of it. The universe lives in the narrator’s omissions. The parts of it that are mentioned are just waypoints.

Peppered throughout the passage are small, specific observations, like the tiles in the entryway of a house in Fray Bentos, the woman with breast cancer, and the monument in Chacarita. Each of these details has a special identity that is unique in the universe and must be understood so. There is not another Chacarita monument or another Fray Bentos with another house that has those same tiles. Where as the general details gave us a broad, ever-expanding view of the universe, these specific details concentrate on the minute and the microcosmic. I believe the identified objects are included to introduce precision to the inventory. They apprehend the narrator and force him to acknowledge particularity and independent properties rather than easily compartmentalizing the universe into classifications, thus making the universe come across as being multitudinous and endlessly diverse.

Finally, we are confronted with a few select items that contain other items or concepts within themselves. While constituent elements of the universe, they also reflect the universe. Examples would be the Persian astrolabe, the Alkmaar globe, and the many mirrors that are mention. Such objects imply that, in addition to being expansive and profuse, the universe is also complex. There are more than just nominal objects. There are also events and causes and ideas and information. There are entities that are composed of other entities—in exactly the same way that the universe is composed of entities. Here, the universe is demonstrated to be fractal, an infinite regress. The purest expression of this is the Aleph, the last object Borges observes. He sees the earth in the Aleph and in that earth he sees an Aleph and in that Aleph another earth. With this image we come to the inconceivable idea that troubled Borges throughout his life: that an infinite universe, if it is to contain all things, must also contain other universes. It is a paradox that is impossible to reconcile. The Aleph is a monstrous manifestation of vicious recursion. It is the ghost in what I want to call a ghost story.

How We Kept The Rich Man

If you’ve been reading regularly, you may have noticed a through line in the logs lately. Since the beginning of October I’ve been posting about wealth, class, aristocracy and economics as a kind of exercise to develop ideas for the novella I had begun writing. As a culmination of this investigation, I would like to share with you my first draft of that work:

How We Kept The Rich Man

The story is about a fabulously wealthy man who builds an monumental estate just outside of a small declining town, and who comes to occupy a kind of lordly role in relation to the people there. Before long, the town becomes economically dependent on the rich man, and the people are put in a position to have to try to manipulate him to sustain their prosperity. The story is told by a man from the town whom the rich man hires to be his assistant. The narrator struggles with his mixed allegiances and must balance his sense of affiliation to his town with his obligation to the rich man as an employee.

I hope you enjoy the story. Please feel free to leave comments below this post with any editorial advice you might have. This is a complete manuscript but not quite a final product. I plan to leave it aside for a month or two and come back to it for one last proof read. Your opinions about what works for you an what doesn’t would certainly be helpful.

Now that this project is done I will be able to write about other topics in the logs and be a little freer with my wanderings. Posts will probably be very disperate in the next few weeks or months, but they will also be more frequent (I apologize for December and January). I am going to try to maintain a schedule of posting every other evening. I hope you will continue reading.

Erik Beck

Sylvania Royal Charter

In 1681, Charles II famously endowed William Penn with a reasonably large tract of land stretching from the west bank of the Delaware River to… the Pacific Ocean. Penn was given complete sovereignty and all rights of ownership. The only condition was that he subdivide the land and sell it in parcels, something Penn was undoubtedly going to do anyway. Since reading about the story, I’ve always wondered why the king would have consented to such an arrangement. Similar charters had been given to noble families in the past: George Calvert, for example, was granted Maryland. But the Baltimores were powerful barons in Ireland. They were established nobility. William Penn’s father had been knighted for his support of the king during the Restoration, but he was far from being a lord. The Penns would still have been considered commoners by the English lords—hardly deserving of any right to property, let alone 45,000 square miles of it. One must assume that even if Penn did possess a title, his Quaker beliefs would have restricted him from swearing fealty to Charles and to England, thereby disqualifying him from entering in to a traditional, feudal contract of proprietorship predicated on obedience and obligation. So here you have a figure who was neither powerful nor trustworthy in the official sense, yet somehow Charles found it advantageous to make him the most propertied private landowner in the kingdom. I’ve yet to find a satisfactory answer as to why.

One motive might have been that the crown desired the interior of continent be populated, and that it was willing to cede land in this highly unorthodox, rather modern way to encourage settlement. Penn’s sale of land was remarkably progressive for the time. He sold to anyone: Quakers, German Anabaptists and Lutherans, Catholics, and Jews, a most unsavory collection of peoples by the standards of the late 17th century. Some have speculated Pennsylvania was chartered to draw the undesirable classes out of Britain sequester them to the colonies. It may have been the case that Charles II simply favored the Penns and felt William Penn Sr. more powerful than his title implied. Or it might have been that the crown, still weak after the restoration, was not prepared to govern in the Americas and sought to place the burden elsewhere. Whether Charles was intentionally trying to promote development or just advancing the interests of his friends and allies, his willingness to open Pennsylvania up to private landownership made the colony wildly successful. By Independence, tens of thousands of Europeans had emigrated there. It had become the second largest colony behind Virginia, and Philadelphia had grown to be the largest city on the continent.