Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: No Treason, Vol. VI. - The Constitution of No Authority
Author: Spooner, Lysander, 1808-1887
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "No Treason, Vol. VI. - The Constitution of No Authority" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



  NO TREASON.

  No. VI.

  The Constitution of no Authority.

  BY LYSANDER SPOONER.

  BOSTON:
  PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR.
  1870.



No Treason

The Constitution of No Authority



I.


The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no
authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and
man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between
persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract
between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have
been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years
of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory
contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion
even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or
asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any
formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent
formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty,
sixty, or seventy years. _And the Constitution, so far as it was their
contract, died with them._ They had no natural power or right to make it
obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in
the nature of things, that they _could_ bind their posterity, but they
did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does
not purport to be an agreement between any body but "the people" _then_
existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right,
power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves.
Let us see. Its language is:

    We, the people of the United States (that is, the people _then
    existing_ in the United States), in order to form a more perfect
    union, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
    defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings
    of liberty to ourselves _and our posterity_, do ordain and
    establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It is plain, in the first place, that this language, _as an agreement_,
purports to be only what it at most really was, viz., a contract between
the people then existing; and, of necessity, binding, as a contract,
only upon those then existing. In the second place, the language neither
expresses nor implies that they had any intention or desire, nor that
they imagined they had any right or power, to bind their "posterity" to
live under it. It does not say that their "posterity" will, shall, or
must live under it. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and
motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their
posterity, as well as to themselves, by promoting their union, safety,
tranquility, liberty, etc.

Suppose an agreement were entered into, in this form:

We, the people of Boston, agree to maintain a fort on Governor's Island,
to protect ourselves and our posterity against invasion.

This agreement, as an agreement, would clearly bind nobody but the
people then existing. Secondly, it would assert no right, power, or
disposition, on their part, to compel their "posterity" to maintain such
a fort. It would only indicate that the supposed welfare of their
posterity was one of the motives that induced the original parties to
enter into the agreement.

When a man says he is building a house for himself and his posterity, he
does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of
binding them, nor is it to be inferred that he is so foolish as to
imagine that he has any right or power to bind them, to live in it. So
far as they are concerned, he only means to be understood as saying that
his hopes and motives, in building it, are that they, or at least some
of them, may find it for their happiness to live in it.

So when a man says he is planting a tree for himself and his posterity,
he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of
compelling them, nor is it to be inferred that he is such a simpleton as
to imagine that he has any right or power to compel them, to eat the
fruit. So far as they are concerned, he only means to say that his hopes
and motives, in planting the tree, are that its fruit may be agreeable
to them.

So it was with those who originally adopted the Constitution. Whatever
may have been their personal intentions, the legal meaning of their
language, so far as their "posterity" was concerned, simply was, that
their hopes and motives, in entering into the agreement, were that it
might prove useful and acceptable to their posterity; that it might
promote their union, safety, tranquility, and welfare; and that it might
tend "to secure to them the blessings of liberty." The language does not
assert nor at all imply, any right, power, or disposition, on the part
of the original parties to the agreement, to compel their "posterity" to
live under it. If they had intended to bind their posterity to live
under it, they should have said that their object was, not "to secure to
them the blessings of liberty," but to make slaves of them; for if their
"posterity" are bound to live under it, they are nothing less than the
slaves of their foolish, tyrannical, and dead grandfathers.

It cannot be said that the Constitution formed "the people of the United
States," for all time, into a corporation. It does not speak of "the
people" as a corporation, but as individuals. A corporation does not
describe itself as "we," nor as "people," nor as "ourselves." Nor does a
corporation, in legal language, have any "posterity." It supposes itself
to have, and speaks of itself as having, perpetual existence, as a
single individuality.

Moreover, no body of men, existing at any one time, have the power to
create a perpetual corporation. A corporation can become practically
perpetual only by the voluntary accession of new members, as the old
ones die off. But for this voluntary accession of new members, the
corporation necessarily dies with the death of those who originally
composed it.

Legally speaking, therefore, there is, in the Constitution, nothing that
professes or attempts to bind the "posterity" of those who established
it.

If, then, those who established the Constitution, had no power to bind,
and did not attempt to bind, their posterity, the question arises,
whether their posterity have bound themselves. If they have done so,
they can have done so in only one or both of these two ways, viz., by
voting, and paying taxes.



II.


Let us consider these two matters, voting and tax paying, separately.
And first of voting.

All the voting that has ever taken place under the Constitution, has
been of such a kind that it not only did not pledge the whole people to
support the Constitution, but it did not even pledge any one of them to
do so, as the following considerations show.

1. In the very nature of things, the act of voting could bind nobody
but the actual voters. But owing to the property qualifications
required, it is probable that, during the first twenty or thirty years
under the Constitution, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or perhaps
twentieth of the whole population (black and white, men, women, and
minors) were permitted to vote. Consequently, so far as voting was
concerned, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or twentieth of those
then existing, could have incurred any obligation to support the
Constitution.

At the present time, it is probable that not more than one-sixth of the
whole population are permitted to vote. Consequently, so far as voting
is concerned, the other five-sixths can have given no pledge that they
will support the Constitution.

2. Of the one-sixth that are permitted to vote, probably not more than
two-thirds (about one-ninth of the whole population) have usually voted.
Many never vote at all. Many vote only once in two, three, five, or ten
years, in periods of great excitement.

No one, by voting, can be said to pledge himself for any longer period
than that for which he votes. If, for example, I vote for an officer who
is to hold his office for only a year, I cannot be said to have thereby
pledged myself to support the government beyond that term. Therefore, on
the ground of actual voting, it probably cannot be said that more than
one-ninth or one-eighth, of the whole population are usually under any
pledge to support the Constitution.

3. It cannot be said that, by voting, a man pledges himself to support
the Constitution, unless the act of voting be a perfectly voluntary one
on his part. Yet the act of voting cannot properly be called a
voluntary one on the part of any very large number of those who do vote.
It is rather a measure of necessity imposed upon them by others, than
one of their own choice. On this point I repeat what was said in a
former number,[a] viz.:

    "In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is
    not to be taken as proof of consent, _even for the time being_.
    On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his
    consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by
    a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him
    to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of
    his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees,
    too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of
    the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot
    himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this
    tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he
    finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use
    the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he
    must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these
    two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is
    analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle,
    where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because,
    to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives
    of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is
    one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the
    ballot--which is a mere substitute for a bullet--because, as his
    only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to
    be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily
    entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights,
    as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the
    mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered
    that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others,
    and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a
    matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.

    "Doubtless the most miserable of men, under the most oppressive
    government in the world, if allowed the ballot, would use it, if
    they could see any chance of thereby meliorating their
    condition. But it would not, therefore, be a legitimate
    inference that the government itself, that crushes them, was one
    which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented to.

    "Therefore, a man's voting under the Constitution of the United
    States, is not to be taken as evidence that he ever freely
    assented to the Constitution, _even for the time being_.
    Consequently we have no proof that any very large portion, even
    of the actual voters of the United States, ever really and
    voluntarily consented to the Constitution, _even for the time
    being_. Nor can we ever have such proof, until every man is left
    perfectly free to consent, or not, without thereby subjecting
    himself or his property to be disturbed or injured by others."

As we can have no legal knowledge as to who votes from choice, and who
from the necessity thus forced upon him, we can have no legal knowledge,
as to any particular individual, that he voted from choice; or,
consequently, that by voting, he consented, or pledged himself, to
support the government. Legally speaking, therefore, the act of voting
utterly fails to pledge _any one_ to support the government. It utterly
fails to prove that the government rests upon the voluntary support of
anybody. On general principles of law and reason, it cannot be said that
the government has any voluntary supporters at all, until it can be
distinctly shown who its voluntary supporters are.

4. As taxation is made compulsory on all, whether they vote or not, a
large proportion of those who vote, no doubt do so to prevent their own
money being used against themselves; when, in fact, they would have
gladly abstained from voting, if they could thereby have saved
themselves from taxation alone, to say nothing of being saved from all
the other usurpations and tyrannies of the government. To take a man's
property without his consent, and then to infer his consent because he
attempts, by voting, to prevent that property from being used to his
injury, is a very insufficient proof of his consent to support the
Constitution. It is, in fact, no proof at all. And as we can have no
legal knowledge as to who the particular individuals are, if there are
any, who are willing to be taxed for the sake of voting, we can have no
legal knowledge that any particular individual consents to be taxed for
the sake of voting; or, consequently, consents to support the
Constitution.

5. At nearly all elections, votes are given for various candidates for
the same office. Those who vote for the unsuccessful candidates cannot
properly be said to have voted to sustain the Constitution. They may,
with more reason, be supposed to have voted, not to support the
Constitution, but specially to prevent the tyranny which they anticipate
the successful candidate intends to practice upon them under color of
the Constitution; and therefore may reasonably be supposed to have voted
against the Constitution itself. This supposition is the more
reasonable, inasmuch as such voting is the only mode allowed to them of
expressing their dissent to the Constitution.

6. Many votes are usually given for candidates who have no prospect of
success. Those who give such votes may reasonably be supposed to have
voted as they did, with a special intention, not to support, but to
obstruct the execution of, the Constitution; and, therefore, against the
Constitution itself.

7. As all the different votes are given secretly (by secret ballot),
there is no legal means of knowing, from the votes themselves, who votes
for, and who against, the Constitution. Therefore, voting affords no
legal evidence that any particular individual supports the Constitution.
And where there can be no legal evidence that any particular individual
supports the Constitution, it cannot legally be said that anybody
supports it. It is clearly impossible to have any legal proof of the
intentions of large numbers of men, where there can be no legal proof of
the intentions of any particular one of them.

8. There being no legal proof of any man's intentions, in voting, we can
only conjecture them. As a conjecture, it is probable, that a very large
proportion of those who vote, do so on this principle, viz., that if, by
voting, they could but get the government into their own hands (or that
of their friends), and use its powers against their opponents, they
would then willingly support the Constitution; but if their opponents
are to have the power, and use it against them, then they would _not_
willingly support the Constitution.

In short, men's voluntary support of the Constitution is doubtless, in
most cases, wholly contingent upon the question whether, by means of the
Constitution, they can make themselves masters, or are to be made
slaves.

Such contingent consent as that is, in law and reason, no consent at
all.

9. As everybody who supports the Constitution by voting (if there are
any such) does so secretly (by secret ballot), and in a way to avoid all
personal responsibility for the act of his agents or representatives, it
cannot legally or reasonably be said that anybody at all supports the
Constitution by voting. No man can reasonably or legally be said to do
such a thing as to assent to, or support, the Constitution, _unless he
does it openly, and in a way to make himself personally responsible for
the acts of his agents, so long as they act within the limits of the
power he delegates to them_.

10. As all voting is secret (by secret ballot), and as all secret
governments are necessarily only secret bands of robbers, tyrants, and
murderers, the general fact that our government is practically carried
on by means of such voting, only proves that there is among us a secret
band of robbers, tyrants and murderers, whose purpose is to rob,
enslave, and, so far as necessary to accomplish their purposes, murder,
the rest of the people. The simple fact of the existence of such a band
does nothing towards proving that "the people of the United States," or
any one of them, voluntarily supports the Constitution.

For all the reasons that have now been given, voting furnishes no legal
evidence as to who the particular individuals are (if there are any),
who voluntarily support the Constitution. It therefore furnishes no
legal evidence that anybody supports it voluntarily.

So far, therefore, as voting is concerned, the Constitution, legally
speaking, has no supporters at all.

And, as matter of fact, there is not the slightest probability that the
Constitution has a single bona fide supporter in the country. That is to
say, there is not the slightest probability that there is a single man
in the country, who both understands what the Constitution really is,
_and sincerely supports it for what it really is_.

The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible
supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes,
viz.: 1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government
an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth.
2. Dupes--a large class, no doubt--each of whom, because he is allowed
one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person
and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice
in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in
robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine
that he is a "free man," a "sovereign"; that this is "a free
government"; "a government of equal rights," "the best government on
earth,"[b] and such like absurdities. 3. A class who have some
appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to
get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private
interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of
making a change.



III.


The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence
that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution.

1. It is true that the _theory_ of our Constitution is, that all taxes
are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company,
voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that each man
makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are
parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much
protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and
that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay tax, as he
is to pay a tax, and be protected.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical
fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man:
"Your money, or your life." And many, if not most, taxes are paid under
the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring
upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed
to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that
account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and
crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim
to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He
does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired
impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he
takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect"
those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect
themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He
is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore,
having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does
not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to
be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords
you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down
and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do
that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his
interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a
traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without
mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too
much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and
villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you,
attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

The proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the
government," are directly the opposite of these of the single
highwayman.

In the first place, they do not, like him, make themselves individually
known; or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the
responsibility of their acts. On the contrary, they secretly (by secret
ballot) designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in
their behalf, while they keep themselves practically concealed. They say
to the person thus designated:

Go to A---- B----, and say to him that "the government" has need of
money to meet the expenses of protecting him and his property. If he
presumes to say that he has never contracted with us to protect him, and
that he wants none of our protection, say to him that that is our
business, and not his; that we _choose_ to protect him, whether he desires
us to do so or not; and that we demand pay, too, for protecting him. If
he dares to inquire who the individuals are, who have thus taken upon
themselves the title of "the government," and who assume to protect him,
and demand payment of him, without his having ever made any contract
with them, say to him that that, too, is our business, and not his; that
we do not _choose_ to make ourselves _individually_ known to him; that
we have secretly (by secret ballot) appointed you our agent to give him
notice of our demands, and, if he complies with them, to give him, in
our name, a receipt that will protect him against any similar demand for
the present year. If he refuses to comply, seize and sell enough of his
property to pay not only our demands, but all your own expenses and
trouble beside. If he resists the seizure of his property, call upon the
bystanders to help you (doubtless some of them will prove to be members
of our band). If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our
band who are assisting you, capture him at all hazards; charge him (in
one of our courts) with murder; convict him, and hang him. If he should
call upon his neighbors, or any others who, like him, may be disposed to
resist our demands, and they should come in large numbers to his
assistance, cry out that they are all rebels and traitors; that "our
country" is in danger; call upon the commander of our hired murderers;
tell him to quell the rebellion and "save the country," cost what it
may. Tell him to kill all who resist, though they should be hundreds of
thousands; and thus strike terror into all others similarly disposed.
See that the work of murder is thoroughly done; that we may have no
further trouble of this kind hereafter. When these traitors shall have
thus been taught our strength and our determination, they will be good
loyal citizens for many years, and pay their taxes without a why or a
wherefore.

It is under such compulsion as this that taxes, so called, are paid. And
how much proof the payment of taxes affords, that the people consent to
support "the government," it needs no further argument to show.

2. Still another reason why the payment of taxes implies no consent, or
pledge, to support the government, is that the taxpayer does not know,
and has no means of knowing, who the particular individuals are who
compose "the government." To him "the government" is a myth, an
abstraction, an incorporeality, with which he can make no contract, and
to which he can give no consent, and make no pledge. He knows it only
through its pretended agents. "The government" itself he never sees. He
knows indeed, by common report, that certain persons, of a certain age,
are permitted to vote; and thus to make themselves parts of, or (if they
choose) opponents of, the government, for the time being. But who of
them do thus vote, and especially how each one votes (whether so as to
aid or oppose the government), he does not know; the voting being all
done secretly (by secret ballot). Who, therefore, practically compose
"the government," for the time being, he has no means of knowing. Of
course he can make no contract with them, give them no consent, and make
them no pledge. Of necessity, therefore, his paying taxes to them
implies, on his part, no contract, consent, or pledge to support
them--that is, to support "the government," or the Constitution.

3. Not knowing who the particular individuals are, who call themselves
"the government," the taxpayer does not know whom he pays his taxes to.
All he knows is that a man comes to him, representing himself to be the
agent of "the government"--that is, the agent of a secret band of
robbers and murderers, who have taken to themselves the title of "the
government," and have determined to kill everybody who refuses to give
them whatever money they demand. To save his life, he gives up his money
to this agent. But as this agent does not make his principals
individually known to the taxpayer, the latter, after he has given up
his money, knows no more who are "the government"--that is, who were the
robbers--than he did before. To say, therefore, that by giving up his
money to their agent, he entered into a voluntary contract with them,
that he pledges himself to obey them, to support them, and to give them
whatever money they should demand of him in the future, is simply
ridiculous.

4. All political power, as it is called, rests practically upon this
matter of money. Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start
with, can establish themselves as a "government"; because, with money,
they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also
compel general obedience to their will. It is with government, as Caesar
said it was in war, that money and soldiers mutually supported each
other; that with money he could hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort
money. So these villains, who call themselves governments, well
understand that their power rests primarily upon money. With money they
can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort money. And, when their
authority is denied, the first use they always make of money, is to hire
soldiers to kill or subdue all who refuse them more money.

For this reason, whoever desires liberty, should understand these vital
facts, viz.: 1. That every man who puts money into the hands of a
"government" (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used
against himself, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in
subjection to its arbitrary will. 2. That those who will take his money,
without his consent, in the first place, will use it for his further
robbery and enslavement, if he presumes to resist their demands in the
future. 3. That it is a perfect absurdity to suppose that any body of
men would ever take a man's money without his consent, for any such
object as they profess to take it for, viz., that of protecting him; for
why should they wish to protect him, if he does not wish them to do so?
To suppose that they would do so, is just as absurd as it would be to
suppose that they would take his money without his consent, for the
purpose of buying food or clothing for him, when he did not want it. 4.
If a man wants "protection," he is competent to make his own bargains
for it; and nobody has any occasion to rob him, in order to "protect"
him against his will. 5. That the only security men can have for their
political liberty, consists in their keeping their money in their own
pockets, until they have assurances, perfectly satisfactory to
themselves, that it will be used as they wish it to be used, for their
benefit, and not for their injury. 6. That no government, so called, can
reasonably be trusted for a moment, or reasonably be supposed to have
honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon
voluntary support.

These facts are all so vital and so self-evident, that it cannot
reasonably be supposed that any one will voluntarily pay money to a
"government," for the purpose of securing its protection, unless he
first makes an explicit and purely voluntary contract with it for that
purpose.

It is perfectly evident, therefore, that neither such voting, nor such
payment of taxes, as actually takes place, proves anybody's consent, or
obligation, to support the Constitution. Consequently we have no
evidence at all that the Constitution is binding upon anybody, or that
anybody is under any contract or obligation whatever to support it. And
nobody is under any obligation to support it.



IV.


_The Constitution not only binds nobody now, but it never did bind
anybody._ It never bound anybody, because it was never agreed to by
anybody in such a manner as to make it, on general principles of law and
reason, binding upon him.

It is a general principle of law and reason, that a _written_ instrument
binds no one until he has signed it. This principle is so inflexible a
one, that even though a man is unable to write his name, he must still
"make his mark," before he is bound by a written contract. This custom
was established ages ago, when few men could write their names; when a
clerk--that is, a man who could write--was so rare and valuable a
person, that even if he were guilty of high crimes, he was entitled to
pardon, on the ground that the public could not afford to lose his
services. Even at that time, a written contract must be signed; and men
who could not write, either "made their mark," or signed their contracts
by stamping their seals upon wax affixed to the parchment on which their
contracts were written. Hence the custom of affixing seals, that has
continued to this time.

The law holds, and reason declares, that if a written instrument is not
signed, the presumption must be that the party to be bound by it, did
not choose to sign it, or to bind himself by it. And law and reason both
give him until the last moment, in which to decide whether he will sign
it, or not. Neither law nor reason requires or expects a man to agree to
an instrument, _until it is written_; for until it is written, he cannot
know its precise legal meaning. And when it is written, and he has had
the opportunity to satisfy himself of its precise legal meaning, he is
then expected to decide, and not before, whether he will agree to it or
not. And if he does not _then_ sign it, his reason is supposed to be,
that he does not choose to enter into such a contract. The fact that the
instrument was written for him to sign, or with the hope that he would
sign it, goes for nothing.

Where would be the end of fraud and litigation, if one party could bring
into court a written instrument, without any signature, and claim to
have it enforced, upon the ground that it was written for another man to
sign? that this other man had promised to sign it? that he ought to have
signed it? that he had had the opportunity to sign it, if he would? but
that he had refused or neglected to do so? Yet that is the most that
could ever be said of the Constitution.[c] The very judges, who profess
to derive all their authority from the Constitution--from an instrument
that nobody ever signed--would spurn any other instrument, not signed,
that should be brought before them for adjudication.

Moreover, a written instrument must, in law and reason, not only be
signed, but must also be delivered to the party (or to some one for
him), in whose favor it is made, before it can bind the party making it.
The signing is of no effect, unless the instrument be also delivered.
And a party is at perfect liberty to refuse to deliver a written
instrument, after he has signed it. He is as free to refuse to deliver
it, as he is to refuse to sign it. The Constitution was not only never
signed by anybody, but it was never delivered by anybody, or to
anybody's agent or attorney. It can therefore be of no more validity as
a contract, than can any other instrument, that was never signed or
delivered.



V.


As further evidence of the general sense of mankind, as to the practical
necessity there is that all men's _important_ contracts, especially
those of a permanent nature, should be both written and signed, the
following facts are pertinent.

For nearly two hundred years--that is, since 1677--there has been on the
statute book of England, and the same, in substance, if not precisely in
letter, has been re-enacted, and is now in force, in nearly or quite all
the States of this Union, a statute, the general object of which is to
declare that no action shall be brought to enforce contracts of the more
important class, _unless they are put in writing, and signed by the
parties to be held chargeable upon them_.[d]

The principle of the statute, be it observed, is, not merely that
written contracts shall be signed, but also that all contracts, except
those specially exempted--generally those that are for small amounts,
and are to remain in force but for a short time--_shall be both written
and signed_.

The reason of the statute, on this point, is, that it is now so easy a
thing for men to put their contracts in writing, and sign them, and
their failure to do so opens the door to so much doubt, fraud, and
litigation, that men who neglect to have their contracts--of any
considerable importance--written and signed, ought not to have the
benefit of courts of justice to enforce them. And this reason is a wise
one; and that experience has confirmed its wisdom and necessity, is
demonstrated by the fact that it has been acted upon in England for
nearly two hundred years, and has been so nearly universally adopted in
this country, and that nobody thinks of repealing it.

We all know, too, how careful most men are to have their contracts
written and signed, even when this statute does not require it. For
example, most men, if they have money due them, of no larger amount than
five or ten dollars, are careful to take a note for it. If they buy even
a small bill of goods, paying for it at the time of delivery, they take
a receipted bill for it. If they pay a small balance of a book account,
or any other small debt previously contracted, they take a written
receipt for it.

Furthermore, the law everywhere (probably) in our country, as well as in
England, requires that a large class of contracts, such as wills, deeds,
etc., shall not only be written and signed, but also sealed, witnessed,
and acknowledged. And in the case of married women conveying their
rights in real estate, the law, in many States, requires that the women
shall be examined separate and apart from their husbands, and declare
that they sign their contracts free of any fear or compulsion of their
husbands.

Such are some of the precautions which the laws require, and which
individuals--from motives of common prudence, even in cases not required
by law--take, to put their contracts in writing, and have them signed,
and, to guard against all uncertainties and controversies in regard to
their meaning and validity. And yet we have what purports, or professes,
or is claimed, to be a contract--the Constitution--made eighty years
ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind
_us_, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations
of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be
binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever
signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few
persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by
it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see. And of
those who ever have read it, or ever will read it, scarcely any two,
perhaps no two, have ever agreed, or ever will agree, as to what it
means.

Moreover, this supposed contract, which would not be received in any
court of justice sitting under its authority, if offered to prove a debt
of five dollars, owing by one man to another, is one by which--_as it is
generally interpreted by those who pretend to administer it_--all men,
women and children throughout the country, and through all time,
surrender not only all their property, but also their liberties, and
even lives, into the hands of men who by this supposed contract, are
expressly made wholly irresponsible for their disposal of them. And we
are so insane, or so wicked, as to destroy property and lives without
limit, in fighting to compel men to fulfill a supposed contract, which,
inasmuch as it has never been signed by anybody, is, on general
principles of law and reason--such principles as we are all governed by
in regard to other contracts--the merest waste paper, binding upon
nobody, fit only to be thrown into the fire; or, if preserved, preserved
only to serve as a witness and a warning of the folly and wickedness of
mankind.



VI.


It is no exaggeration, but a literal truth, to say that, by the
Constitution--_not as I interpret it, but as it is interpreted by those
who pretend to administer it_--the properties, liberties, and lives of
the entire people of the United States are surrendered unreservedly into
the hands of men who, it is provided by the Constitution itself, shall
never be "questioned" as to any disposal they make of them.

Thus the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 6) provides that, "for any speech or
debate (or vote), in either house, they (the senators and
representatives) shall not be questioned in any other place."

The whole law-making power is given to these senators and
representatives (when acting by a two-thirds vote)[e]; and this
provision protects them from all responsibility for the laws they make.

The Constitution also enables them to secure the execution of all their
laws, by giving them power to withhold the salaries of, and to impeach
and remove, all judicial and executive officers, who refuse to execute
them.

Thus the whole power of the government is in their hands, and they are
made utterly irresponsible for the use they make of it. What is this but
absolute, irresponsible power?

It is no answer to this view of the case to say that these men are under
oath to use their power only within certain limits; for what care they,
or what should they care, for oaths or limits, when it is expressly
provided, by the Constitution itself, that they shall never be
"questioned," or held to any responsibility whatever, for violating
their oaths, or transgressing those limits?

Neither is it any answer to this view of the case to say that the
particular individuals holding this power can be changed once in two or
six years; for the power of each set of men is absolute during the term
for which they hold it; and when they can hold it no longer, they are
succeeded only by men whose power will be equally absolute and
irresponsible.

Neither is it any answer to this view of the case to say that the men
holding this absolute, irresponsible power, must be men chosen by the
people (or portions of them) to hold it. A man is none the less a slave
because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
Neither are a people any the less slaves because permitted periodically
to choose new masters. What makes them slaves is the fact that they now
are, and are always hereafter to be, in the hands of men whose power
over them is, and always is to be, absolute and irresponsible.[f]

The right of absolute and irresponsible dominion is the right of
property, and the right of property is the right of absolute,
irresponsible dominion. The two are identical; the one necessarily
implying the other. Neither can exist without the other. If, therefore,
Congress have that absolute and irresponsible law-making power, which
the Constitution--according to their interpretation of it--gives them,
it can only be because they own us as property. If they own us as
property, they are our masters, and their will is our law. If they do
not own us as property, they are not our masters, and their will, as
such, is of no authority over us.

But these men who claim and exercise this absolute and irresponsible
dominion over us, dare not be consistent, and claim either to be our
masters, or to own us as property. They say they are only our servants,
agents, attorneys, and representatives. But this declaration involves an
absurdity, a contradiction. No man can be my servant, agent, attorney,
or representative, and be, at the same time, uncontrollable by me, and
irresponsible to me for his acts. It is of no importance that I
appointed him, and put all power in his hands. If I made him
uncontrollable by me, and irresponsible to me, he is no longer my
servant, agent, attorney, or representative. If I gave him absolute,
irresponsible power over my property, I gave him the property. If I gave
him absolute, irresponsible power over myself, I made him my master, and
gave myself to him as a slave. And it is of no importance whether I
called him master or servant, agent or owner. The only question is, what
power did I put into his hands? Was it an absolute and irresponsible
one? or a limited and responsible one?

For still another reason they are neither our servants, agents,
attorneys, nor representatives. And that reason is, that we do not make
ourselves responsible for their acts. If a man is my servant, agent, or
attorney, I necessarily make myself responsible for all his acts done
within the limits of the power I have intrusted to him. If I have
intrusted him, as my agent, with either absolute power, or any power at
all, over the persons or properties of other men than myself, I thereby
necessarily make myself responsible to those other persons for any
injuries he may do them, so long as he acts within the limits of the
power I have granted him. But no individual who may be injured in his
person or property, by acts of Congress, can come to the individual
electors, and hold them responsible for these acts of their so-called
agents or representatives. This fact proves that these pretended agents
of the people, of everybody, are really the agents of nobody.

If, then, nobody is individually responsible for the acts of Congress,
the members of Congress are nobody's agents. And if they are nobody's
agents, they are themselves individually responsible for their own acts,
and for the acts of all whom they employ. And the authority they are
exercising is simply their own individual authority; and, by the law of
nature--the highest of all laws--anybody injured by their acts, anybody
who is deprived by them of his property or his liberty, has the same
right to hold them individually responsible, that he has to hold any
other trespasser individually responsible. He has the same right to
resist them, and their agents, that he has to resist any other
trespassers.



VII.


It is plain, then, that on general principles of law and reason--such
principles as we all act upon in courts of justice and in common
life--the Constitution is no contract; that it binds nobody, and never
did bind anybody; and that all those who pretend to act by its
authority, are really acting without any legitimate authority at all;
that, on general principles of law and reason, they are mere usurpers,
and that everybody not only has the right, but is morally bound, to
treat them as such.

If the people of this country wish to maintain such a government as the
Constitution describes, there is no reason in the world why they should
not sign the instrument itself, and thus make known their wishes in an
open, authentic manner; in such manner as the common sense and
experience of mankind have shown to be reasonable and necessary in such
cases; _and in such manner as to make themselves (as they ought to do)
individually responsible for the acts of the government_. But the people
have never been asked to sign it. And the only reason why they have
never been asked to sign it, has been that it has been known that they
never would sign it; that they were neither such fools nor knaves as
they must needs have been to be willing to sign it; that (at least as it
has been practically interpreted) it is not what any sensible and honest
man wants for himself; nor such as he has any right to impose upon
others. It is, to all moral intents and purposes, as destitute of
obligation as the compacts which robbers and thieves and pirates enter
into with each other, but never sign.

If any considerable number of the people believe the Constitution to be
good, why do they not sign it themselves, and make laws for, and
administer them upon, each other; leaving all other persons (who do not
interfere with them) in peace? Until they have tried the experiment for
themselves, how can they have the face to impose the Constitution upon,
or even to recommend it to, others? Plainly the reason for such absurd
and inconsistent conduct is that they want the Constitution, not solely
for any honest or legitimate use it can be of to themselves or others,
but for the dishonest and illegitimate power it gives them over the
persons and properties of others. But for this latter reason, all their
eulogiums on the Constitution, all their exhortations, and all their
expenditures of money and blood to sustain it, would be wanting.



VIII.


The Constitution itself, then, being of no authority, on what authority
does our government practically rest? On what ground can those who
pretend to administer it, claim the right to seize men's property, to
restrain them of their natural liberty of action, industry, and trade,
and to kill all who deny their authority to dispose of men's properties,
liberties, and lives at their pleasure or discretion?

The most they can say, in answer to this question, is, that some half,
two-thirds, or three-fourths, of the male adults of the country have a
_tacit understanding_ that they will maintain a government under the
Constitution; that they will select, by ballot, the persons to
administer it; and that those persons who may receive a majority, or a
plurality, of their ballots, shall act as their representatives, and
administer the Constitution in their name, and by their authority.

But this tacit understanding (admitting it to exist) cannot at all
justify the conclusion drawn from it. A tacit understanding between A,
B, and C, that they will, by ballot, depute D as their agent, to deprive
me of my property, liberty, or life, cannot at all authorize D to do so.
He is none the less a robber, tyrant, and murderer, because he claims to
act as their agent, than he would be if he avowedly acted on his own
responsibility alone.

Neither am I bound to recognize him as their agent, nor can he
legitimately claim to be their agent, when he brings no _written_
authority from them accrediting him as such. I am under no obligation to
take his word as to who his principals may be, or whether he has any.
Bringing no credentials, I have a right to say he has no such authority
even as he claims to have: and that he is therefore intending to rob,
enslave, or murder me on his own account.

This tacit understanding, therefore, among the voters of the country,
amounts to nothing as an authority to their agents. Neither do the
ballots by which they select their agents, avail any more than does
their tacit understanding; for their ballots are given in secret, and
therefore in a way to avoid any personal responsibility for the acts of
their agents.

No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to
the injury of a third person, unless they do it in so open and authentic
a manner as to make themselves personally responsible for his acts. None
of the voters in this country appoint their political agents in any
open, authentic manner, or in any manner to make themselves responsible
for their acts. Therefore these pretended agents cannot legitimately
claim to be really agents. Somebody must be responsible for the acts of
these pretended agents; and if they cannot show any open and authentic
credentials from their principals, they cannot, in law or reason, be
said to have any principals. The maxim applies here, that what does not
appear, does not exist. If they can show no principals, they have none.

But even these pretended agents do not themselves know who their
pretended principals are. These latter act in secret; for acting by
secret ballot is acting in secret as much as if they were to meet in
secret conclave in the darkness of the night. And they are personally as
much unknown to the agents they select, as they are to others. No
pretended agent therefore can ever know by whose ballots he is selected,
or consequently who his real principals are. Not knowing who his
principals are, he has no right to say that he has any. He can, at most,
say only that he is the agent of a secret band of robbers and murderers,
who are bound by that faith which prevails among confederates in crime,
to stand by him, if his acts, done in their name, shall be resisted.

Men honestly engaged in attempting to establish justice in the world,
have no occasion thus to act in secret; or to appoint agents to do acts
for which they (the principals) are not willing to be responsible.

The secret ballot makes a secret government; and a secret government is
a secret band of robbers and murderers. Open despotism is better than
this. The single despot stands out in the face of all men, and says: I
am the State: My will is law: I am your master: I take the
responsibility of my acts: The only arbiter I acknowledge is the sword:
If any one denies my right, let him try conclusions with me.

But a secret government is little less than a government of assassins.
Under it, a man knows not who his tyrants are, until they have struck,
and perhaps not then. He may _guess_, beforehand, as to some of his
immediate neighbors. But he really knows nothing. The man to whom he
would most naturally fly for protection, may prove an enemy, when the
time of trial comes.

This is the kind of government we have; and it is the only one we are
likely to have, until men are ready to say: We will consent to no
Constitution, except such an one as we are neither ashamed nor afraid to
sign; and we will authorize no government to do anything in our name
which we are not willing to be personally responsible for.



IX.


What is the motive to the secret ballot? This, and only this: Like other
confederates in crime, those who use it are not friends, but enemies;
and they are afraid to be known, and to have their individual doings
known, even to each other. They can contrive to bring about a sufficient
understanding to enable them to act in concert against other persons;
but beyond this they have no confidence, and no friendship, among
themselves. In fact, they are engaged quite as much in schemes for
plundering each other, as in plundering those who are not of them. And
it is perfectly well understood among them that the strongest party
among them will, in certain contingencies, murder each other by the
hundreds of thousands (as they lately did do) to accomplish their
purposes against each other. Hence they dare not be known, and have
their individual doings known, even to each other. And this is avowedly
the only reason for the ballot: for a secret government; a government by
secret bands of robbers and murderers. And we are insane enough to call
this liberty! To be a member of this secret band of robbers and
murderers is esteemed a privilege and an honor! Without this privilege,
a man is considered a slave; but with it a free man! With it he is
considered a free man, because he has the same power to secretly (by
secret ballot) procure the robbery, enslavement, and murder of another
man, and that other man has to procure his robbery, enslavement, and
murder. And this they call equal rights!

If any number of men, many or few, claim the right to govern the people
of this country, let them make and sign an open compact with each other
to do so. Let them thus make themselves individually known to those whom
they propose to govern. And let them thus openly take the legitimate
responsibility of their acts. How many of those who now support the
Constitution, will ever do this? How many will ever dare openly proclaim
their right to govern? or take the legitimate responsibility of their
acts? Not one!



X.


It is obvious that, on general principles of law and reason, there
exists no such thing as a government created by, or resting upon, any
consent, compact, or agreement of "the people of the United States" with
each other; that the only visible, tangible, responsible government that
exists, is that of a few individuals only, who act in concert, and call
themselves by the several names of senators, representatives,
presidents, judges, marshals, treasurers, collectors, generals,
colonels, captains, etc., etc.

On general principles of law and reason, it is of no importance whatever
that those few individuals profess to be the agents and representatives
of "the people of the United States"; since they can show no credentials
from the people themselves; they were never appointed as agents or
representatives in any open, authentic manner; they do not themselves
know, and have no means of knowing, and cannot prove, who their
principals (as they call them) are individually; and consequently
cannot, in law or reason, be said to have any principals at all.

It is obvious, too, that if these alleged principals ever did appoint
these pretended agents, or representatives, they appointed them secretly
(by secret ballot), and in a way to avoid all personal responsibility
for their acts; that, at most, these alleged principals put these
pretended agents forward for the most criminal purposes, viz: to plunder
the people of their property, and restrain them of their liberty; and
that the only authority that these alleged principals have for so doing,
is simply a _tacit understanding_ among themselves that they will
imprison, shoot, or hang every man who resists the exactions and
restraints which their agents or representatives may impose upon them.

Thus it is obvious that the only visible, tangible government we have is
made up of these professed agents or representatives of a secret band of
robbers and murderers, who, to cover up, or gloss over, their robberies
and murders, have taken to themselves the title of "the people of the
United States"; and who, on the pretense of being "the people of the
United States," assert their right to subject to their dominion, and to
control and dispose of at their pleasure, all property and persons found
in the United States.



XI.


On general principles of law and reason, the oaths which these pretended
agents of the people take "to support the Constitution," are of no
validity or obligation. And why? For this, if for no other reason, viz.,
_that they are given to nobody_. There is no privity (as the lawyers
say)--that is, no mutual recognition, consent, and agreement--between
those who take these oaths, and any other persons.

If I go upon Boston Common, and in the presence of a hundred thousand
people, men, women and children, with whom I have no contract on the
subject, take an oath that I will enforce upon them the laws of Moses,
of Lycurgus, of Solon, of Justinian, or of Alfred, that oath is, on
general principles of law and reason, of no obligation. It is of no
obligation, not merely because it is intrinsically a criminal one, _but
also because it is given to nobody_, and consequently pledges my faith
to nobody. It is merely given to the winds.

It would not alter the case at all to say that, among these hundred
thousand persons, in whose presence the oath was taken, there were two,
three, or five thousand male adults, who had _secretly_--by secret
ballot, and in a way to avoid making themselves _individually_ known to
me, or to the remainder of the hundred thousand--designated me as their
agent to rule, control, plunder, and, if need be, murder, these hundred
thousand people. The fact that they had designated me secretly, and in a
manner to prevent my knowing them individually, prevents all privity
between them and me; and consequently makes it impossible that there can
be any contract, or pledge of faith, on my part towards them; for it is
impossible that I can pledge my faith, in any legal sense, to a man whom
I neither know, nor have any means of knowing, individually.

So far as I am concerned, then, these two, three, or five thousand
persons are a secret band of robbers and murderers, who have secretly,
and in a way to save themselves from all responsibility for my acts,
designated me as their agent; and have, through some other agent, or
pretended agent, made their wishes known to me. But being, nevertheless,
individually unknown to me, and having no open, authentic contract with
me, my oath is, on general principles of law and reason, of no validity
as a pledge of faith to them. And being no pledge of faith to them, it
is no pledge of faith to anybody. It is mere idle wind. At most, it is
only a pledge of faith to an unknown band of robbers and murderers,
whose instrument for plundering and murdering other people, I thus
publicly confess myself to be. And it has no other obligation than a
similar oath given to any other unknown body of pirates, robbers, and
murderers.

For these reasons the oaths taken by members of Congress, "to support
the Constitution," are, on general principles of law and reason, of no
validity. They are not only criminal in themselves, and therefore void;
but they are also void for the further reason _that they are given to
nobody_.

It cannot be said that, in any legitimate or legal sense, they are
given to "the people of the United States"; because neither the whole,
nor any large proportion of the whole, people of the United States ever,
either openly or secretly, appointed or designated these men as their
agents to carry the Constitution into effect. The great body of the
people--that is, men, women and children--were never asked, or even
permitted, to signify, in any _formal_ manner, either openly or
secretly, their choice or wish on the subject. The most that these
members of Congress can say, in favor of their appointment, is simply
this: Each one can say for himself:

I have evidence satisfactory to myself, that there exists, scattered
throughout the country, a band of men, having a tacit understanding with
each other, and calling themselves "the people of the United States,"
whose general purposes are to control and plunder each other, and all
other persons in the country, and, so far as they can, even in
neighboring countries; and to kill every man who shall attempt to defend
his person and property against their schemes of plunder and dominion.
Who these men are, _individually_, I have no certain means of knowing,
for they sign no papers, and give no open, authentic evidence of their
individual membership. They are not known individually even to each
other. They are apparently as much afraid of being individually known to
each other, as of being known to other persons. Hence they ordinarily
have no mode either of exercising, or of making known, their individual
membership, otherwise than by giving their votes secretly for certain
agents to do their will. But although these men are individually
unknown, both to each other and to other persons, it is generally
understood in the country that none but male persons, of the age of
twenty-one years and upwards, can be members. It is also generally
understood that _all_ male persons, born in the country, having certain
complexions, and (in some localities) certain amounts of property, and
(in certain cases) even persons of foreign birth, are _permitted_ to be
members. But it appears that usually not more than one half, two-thirds,
or, in some cases, three-fourths, of all who are thus permitted to
become members of the band, ever exercise, or consequently prove, their
actual membership, in the only mode in which they ordinarily can
exercise or prove it, viz., by giving their votes secretly for the
officers or agents of the band. The number of these secret votes, so far
as we have any account of them, varies greatly from year to year, thus
tending to prove that the band, instead of being a permanent
organization, is a merely _pro tempore_ affair with those who choose to
act with it for the time being. The gross number of these secret votes,
or what purports to be their gross number, in different localities, is
occasionally published. Whether these reports are accurate or not, we
have no means of knowing. It is generally supposed that great frauds are
often committed in depositing them. They are understood to be received
and counted by certain men, who are themselves appointed for that
purpose by the same secret process by which all other officers and
agents of the band are selected. According to the reports of these
receivers of votes (for whose accuracy or honesty, however, I cannot
vouch), and according to my best knowledge of the whole number of male
persons "in my district," who (it is supposed) were permitted to vote,
it would appear that one-half, two-thirds or three-fourths actually did
vote. Who the men were, individually, who cast these votes, I have no
knowledge, for the whole thing was done secretly. But of the secret
votes thus given for what they call a "member of Congress," the
receivers reported that I had a majority, or at least a larger number
than any other one person. And it is only by virtue of such a
designation that I am now here to act in concert with other persons
similarly selected in other parts of the country. It is understood among
those who sent me here, that all the persons so selected, will, on
coming together at the City of Washington, take an oath in each other's
presence "to support the Constitution of the United States." By this is
meant a certain paper that was drawn up eighty years ago. It was never
signed by anybody, and apparently has no obligation, and never had any
obligation, as a contract. In fact, few persons ever read it, and
doubtless much the largest number of those who voted for me and the
others, never even saw it, or now pretend to know what it means.
Nevertheless, it is often spoken of in the country as "the Constitution
of the United States"; and for some reason or another, the men who sent
me here, seem to expect that I, and all with whom I act, will swear to
carry this Constitution into effect. I am therefore ready to take this
oath, and to co-operate with all others, similarly selected, who are
ready to take the same oath.

This is the most that any member of Congress can say in proof that he
has any constituency; that he represents anybody; that his oath "to
support the Constitution," _is given to anybody_, or pledges his faith
to _anybody_. He has no open, written, or other authentic evidence,
such as is required in all other cases, that he was ever appointed the
agent or representative of anybody. He has no written power of attorney
from any single individual. He has no such legal knowledge as is
required in all other cases, by which he can identify a single one of
those who pretend to have appointed him to represent them.

Of course his oath, professedly given to them, "to support the
Constitution," is, on general principles of law and reason, an oath
given to nobody. It pledges his faith to nobody. If he fails to fulfil
his oath, not a single person can come forward, and say to him, you have
betrayed me, or broken faith with me.

No one can come forward and say to him: I appointed you my attorney to
act for me. I required you to swear that, as my attorney, you would
support the Constitution. You promised me that you would do so; and now
you have forfeited the oath you gave to me. No single individual can say
this.

No open, avowed, or responsible association, or body of men, can come
forward and say to him: We appointed you our attorney, to act for us. We
required you to swear that, as our attorney, you would support the
Constitution. You promised us that you would do so; and now you have
forfeited the oath you gave to us.

No open, avowed, or responsible association, or body of men, can say
this to him; because there is no such association or body of men in
existence. If any one should assert that there is such an association,
let him prove, if he can, who compose it. Let him produce, if he can,
any open, written, or other authentic contract, signed or agreed to by
these men; forming themselves into an association; making themselves
known as such to the world; appointing him as their agent; and making
themselves individually, or as an association, responsible for his acts,
done by their authority. Until all this can be shown, no one can say
that, in any legitimate sense, there is any such association; or that he
is their agent; or that he ever gave his oath to them; or ever pledged
his faith to them.

On general principles of law and reason, it would be a sufficient answer
for him to say, to all individuals, and all pretended associations of
individuals, who should accuse him of a breach of faith to them:

I never knew you. Where is your evidence that you, either individually
or collectively, ever appointed me your attorney? that you ever required
me to swear to you, that, as your attorney, I would support the
Constitution? or that I have now broken any faith I ever pledged to you?
You may, or you may not, be members of that secret band of robbers and
murderers, who act in secret; appoint their agents by a secret ballot;
who keep themselves individually unknown even to the agents they thus
appoint; and who, therefore, cannot claim that they have any agents; or
that any of their pretended agents ever gave his oath, or pledged his
faith, to them. I repudiate you altogether. My oath was given to others,
with whom you have nothing to do; or it was idle wind, given only to the
idle winds. Begone!



XII.


For the same reasons, the oaths of all the other pretended agents of
this secret band of robbers and murderers are, on general principles of
law and reason, equally destitute of obligation. They are given to
nobody; but only to the winds.

The oaths of the tax-gatherers and treasurers of the band, are, on
general principles of law and reason, of no validity. If any tax
gatherer, for example, should put the money he receives into his own
pocket, and refuse to part with it, the members of this band could not
say to him: You collected that money as our agent, and for our uses; and
you swore to pay it over to us, or to those we should appoint to receive
it. You have betrayed us, and broken faith with us.

It would be a sufficient answer for him to say to them:

I never knew you. You never made yourselves individually known to me. I
never gave my oath to you, as individuals. You may, or you may not, be
members of that secret band, who appoint agents to rob and murder other
people; but who are cautious not to make themselves individually known,
either to such agents, or to those whom their agents are commissioned to
rob. If you are members of that band, you have given me no proof that
you ever commissioned me to rob others for your benefit. I never knew
you, as individuals, and of course never promised you that I would pay
over to you the proceeds of my robberies. I committed my robberies on my
own account, and for my own profit. If you thought I was fool enough to
allow you to keep yourselves concealed, and use me as your tool for
robbing other persons; or that I would take all the personal risk of the
robberies, and pay over the proceeds to you, you were particularly
simple. As I took all the risk of my robberies, I propose to take all
the profits. Begone! You are fools, as well as villains. If I gave my
oath to anybody, I gave it to other persons than you. But I really gave
it to nobody. I only gave it to the winds. It answered my purposes at
the time. It enabled me to get the money I was after, and now I propose
to keep it. If you expected me to pay it over to you, you relied only
upon that honor that is said to prevail among thieves. You now
understand that that is a very poor reliance. I trust you may become
wise enough to never rely upon it again. If I have any duty in the
matter, it is to give back the money to those from whom I took it; not
to pay it over to such villains as you.



XIII.


On general principles of law and reason, the oaths which foreigners
take, on coming here, and being "naturalized" (as it is called), are of
no validity. They are necessarily given to nobody; because there is no
open, authentic association, to which they can join themselves; or to
whom, as individuals, they can pledge their faith. No such association,
or organization, as "the people of the United States," having ever been
formed by any open, written, authentic, or voluntary contract, there is,
on general principles of law and reason, no such association, or
organization, in existence. And all oaths that purport to be given to
such an association are necessarily given only to the winds. They cannot
be said to be given to any man, or body of men, as individuals, because
no man, or body of men, can come forward _with any proof_ that the oaths
were given to them, as individuals, or to any association of which they
are members. To say that there is a tacit understanding among a portion
of the male adults of the country, that they will call themselves "the
people of the United States," and that they will act in concert in
subjecting the remainder of the people of the United States to their
dominion; but that they will keep themselves personally concealed by
doing all their acts secretly, is wholly insufficient, on general
principles of law and reason, to prove the existence of any such
association, or organization, as "the people of the United States"; or
consequently to prove that the oaths of foreigners were given to any
such association.



XIV.


On general principles of law and reason, all the oaths which, since the
war, have been given by Southern men, that they will obey the laws of
Congress, support the Union, and the like, are of no validity. Such
oaths are invalid, not only because they were extorted by military
power, and threats of confiscation, and because they are in
contravention of men's natural right to do as they please about
supporting the government, _but also because they were given to nobody_.
They were nominally given to "the United States." But being nominally
given to "the United States," they were necessarily given to nobody,
because, on general principles of law and reason, there were no "United
States," to whom the oaths could be given. That is to say, there was no
open, authentic, avowed, legitimate association, corporation, or body of
men, known as "the United States," or as "the people of the United
States," to whom the oaths could have been given. If anybody says there
was such a corporation, let him state who were the individuals that
composed it, and how and when they became a corporation. Were Mr. A, Mr.
B, and Mr. C members of it? If so, where are their signatures? Where the
evidence of their membership? Where the record? Where the open,
authentic proof? There is none. Therefore, in law and reason, there was
no such corporation.

On general principles of law and reason, every corporation, association,
or organized body of men, having a legitimate corporate existence, and
legitimate corporate rights, must consist of certain known individuals,
who can prove, by legitimate and reasonable evidence, their membership.
But nothing of this kind can be proved in regard to the corporation, or
body of men, who call themselves "the United States." Not a man of them,
in all the Northern States, can prove by any legitimate evidence, such
as is required to prove membership in other legal corporations, that he
himself, or any other man whom he can name, is a member of any
corporation or association called "the United States," or "the people of
the United States," or, consequently, that there is any such
corporation. And since no such corporation can be proved to exist, it
cannot of course be proved that the oaths of Southern men were given to
any such corporation. The most that can be claimed is that the oaths
were given to a secret band of robbers and murderers, who called
themselves "the United States," and extorted those oaths. But that
certainly is not enough to prove that the oaths are of any obligation.



XV.


On general principles of law and reason, the oaths of soldiers, that
they will serve a given number of years, that they will obey the orders
of their superior officers, that they will bear true allegiance to the
government, and so forth, are of no obligation. Independently of the
criminality of an oath, that, for a given number of years, he will kill
all whom he may be commanded to kill, without exercising his own
judgment or conscience as to the justice or necessity of such killing,
there is this further reason why a soldier's oath is of no obligation,
viz., that, like all the other oaths that have now been mentioned, _it
is given to nobody_. There being, in no legitimate sense, any such
corporation, or nation, as "the United States," nor, consequently, in
any legitimate sense, any such government as "the government of the
United States," a soldier's oath given to, or contract made with, such
nation or government, is necessarily an oath given to, or a contract
made with, nobody. Consequently such oath or contract can be of no
obligation.



XVI.


On general principles of law and reason, the treaties, so called, which
purport to be entered into with other nations, by persons calling
themselves ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators of the
United States, in the name, and in behalf, of "the people of the United
States," are of no validity. These so-called ambassadors, secretaries,
presidents, and senators, who claim to be the agents of "the people of
the United States," for making these treaties, can show no open,
written, or other authentic evidence that either the whole "people of
the United States," or any other open, avowed, responsible body of men,
calling themselves by that name, ever authorized these pretended
ambassadors and others to make treaties in the name of, or binding upon
any one of, "the people of the United States," or any other open,
avowed, responsible body of men, calling themselves by that name, ever
authorized these pretended ambassadors, secretaries, and others, in
their name and behalf, to recognize certain other persons, calling
themselves emperors, kings, queens, and the like, as the rightful
rulers, sovereigns, masters, or representatives of the different peoples
whom they assume to govern, to represent, and to bind.

The "nations," as they are called, with whom our pretended ambassadors,
secretaries, presidents, and senators profess to make treaties, are as
much myths as our own. On general principles of law and reason, there
are no such "nations." That is to say, neither the whole people of
England, for example, nor any open, avowed, responsible body of men,
calling themselves by that name, ever, by any open, written, or other
authentic contract with each other, formed themselves into any bona
fide, legitimate association or organization, or authorized any king,
queen, or other representative to make treaties in their name, or to
bind them, either individually, or as an association, by such treaties.

Our pretended treaties, then, being made with no legitimate or bona fide
nations, or representatives of nations, and being made, on our part, by
persons who have no legitimate authority to act for us, have
intrinsically no more validity than a pretended treaty made by the Man
in the Moon with the king of the Pleiades.



XVII.


On general principles of law and reason, debts contracted in the name of
"the United States," or of "the people of the United States," are of no
validity. It is utterly absurd to pretend that debts to the amount of
twenty-five hundred millions of dollars are binding upon thirty-five or
forty millions of people, when there is not a particle of legitimate
evidence--such as would be required to prove a private debt--that can be
produced against any one of them, that either he, or his properly
authorized attorney, ever contracted to pay one cent.

Certainly, neither the whole people of the United States, nor any number
of them, ever separately or individually contracted to pay a cent of
these debts.

Certainly, also, neither the whole people of the United States, nor any
number of them, ever, by any open, written, or other authentic and
voluntary contract, united themselves as a firm, corporation, or
association, by the name of "the United States," or "the people of the
United States," and authorized their agents to contract debts in their
name.

Certainly, too, there is in existence no such firm, corporation, or
association as "the United States," or "the people of the United
States," formed by any open, written, or other authentic and voluntary
contract, and having corporate property with which to pay these debts.

How, then, is it possible, on any general principle of law or reason,
that debts that are binding upon nobody individually, can be binding
upon forty millions of people collectively, when, on general and
legitimate principles of law and reason, these forty millions of people
neither have, nor ever had, any corporate property? never made any
corporate or individual contract? and neither have, nor ever had, any
corporate existence?

Who, then, created these debts, in the name of "the United States"? Why,
at most, only a few persons, calling themselves "members of Congress,"
etc., who pretended to represent "the people of the United States," but
who really represented only a secret band of robbers and murderers, who
wanted money to carry on the robberies and murders in which they were
then engaged; and who intended to extort from the future people of the
United States, by robbery and threats of murder (and real murder, if
that should prove necessary), the means to pay these debts.

This band of robbers and murderers, who were the real principals in
contracting these debts, is a secret one, because its members have never
entered into any open, written, avowed, or authentic contract, by which
they may be individually known to the world, or even to each other.
Their real or pretended representatives, who contracted these debts in
their name, were selected (if selected at all) for that purpose secretly
(by secret ballot), and in a way to furnish evidence against none of the
principals _individually_; and these principals were really known
_individually_ neither to their pretended representatives who contracted
these debts in their behalf, nor to those who lent the money. The money,
therefore, was all borrowed and lent in the dark; that is, by men who
did not see each other's faces, or know each other's names; who could
not then, and cannot now, identify each other as principals in the
transactions; and who consequently can prove no contract with each
other.

Furthermore, the money was all lent and borrowed for criminal purposes;
that is, for purposes of robbery and murder; and for this reason the
contracts were all intrinsically void; and would have been so, even
though the real parties, borrowers and lenders, had come face to face,
and made their contracts openly, in their own proper names.

Furthermore, this secret band of robbers and murderers, who were the
real borrowers of this money, having no legitimate corporate existence,
have no corporate property with which to pay these debts. They do indeed
pretend to own large tracts of wild lands, lying between the Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans, and between the Gulf of Mexico and the North Pole.
But, on general principles of law and reason, they might as well pretend
to own the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans themselves; or the atmosphere and
the sunlight; and to hold them, and dispose of them, for the payment of
these debts.

Having no corporate property with which to pay what purports to be their
corporate debts, this secret band of robbers and murderers are really
bankrupt. They have nothing to pay with. In fact, they do not propose to
pay their debts otherwise than from the proceeds of their future
robberies and murders. These are confessedly their sole reliance; and
were known to be such by the lenders of the money, at the time the money
was lent. And it was, therefore, virtually a part of the contract, that
the money should be repaid only from the proceeds of these future
robberies and murders. For this reason, if for no other, the contracts
were void from the beginning.

In fact, these apparently two classes, borrowers and lenders, were
really one and the same class. They borrowed and lent money from and to
themselves. They themselves were not only part and parcel, but the very
life and soul, of this secret band of robbers and murderers, who
borrowed and spent the money. Individually they furnished money for a
common enterprise; taking, in return, what purported to be corporate
promises for individual loans. The only excuse they had for taking these
so-called corporate promises of, for individual loans by, the same
parties, was that they might have some apparent excuse for the future
robberies of the band (that is, to pay the debts of the corporation),
and that they might also know what shares they were to be respectively
entitled to out of the proceeds of their future robberies.

Finally, if these debts had been created for the most innocent and
honest purposes, and in the most open and honest manner, by the real
parties to the contracts, these parties could thereby have bound nobody
but themselves, and no property but their own. They could have bound
nobody that should have come after them, and no property subsequently
created by, or belonging to, other persons.



XVIII.


The Constitution having never been signed by anybody; and there being no
other open, written, or authentic contract between any parties whatever,
by virtue of which the United States government, so called, is
maintained; and it being well known that none but male persons, of
twenty-one years of age and upwards, are allowed any voice in the
government; and it being also well known that a large number of these
adult persons seldom or never vote at all; and that all those who do
vote, do so secretly (by secret ballot), and in a way to prevent their
individual votes being known, either to the world, or even to each
other; and consequently in a way to make no one openly responsible for
the acts of their agents, or representatives,--all these things being
known, the questions arise: _Who_ compose the real governing power in
the country? Who are the men, _the responsible men_, who rob us of our
property? Restrain us of our liberty? Subject us to their arbitrary
dominion? And devastate our homes, and shoot us down by the hundreds of
thousands, if we resist? How shall we find these men? How shall we know
them from others? How shall we defend ourselves and our property against
them? Who, of our neighbors, are members of this secret band of robbers
and murderers? How can we know which are _their_ houses, that we may
burn or demolish them? Which _their_ property, that we may destroy it?
Which their persons, that we may kill them, and rid the world and
ourselves of such tyrants and monsters?

These are questions that must be answered, before men can be free;
before they can protect themselves against this secret band of robbers
and murderers, who now plunder, enslave, and destroy them.

The answer to these questions is, that only those who have the will and
the power to shoot down their fellow men, are the real rulers in this,
as in all other (so-called) civilized countries; for by no others will
civilized men be robbed, or enslaved.

Among savages, mere physical strength, on the part of one man, may
enable him to rob, enslave, or kill another man. Among barbarians, mere
physical strength, on the part of a body of men, disciplined, and acting
in concert, though with very little money or other wealth, may, under
some circumstances, enable them to rob, enslave, or kill another body of
men, as numerous, or perhaps even more numerous, than themselves. And
among both savages and barbarians, mere want may sometimes compel one
man to sell himself as a slave to another. But with (so-called)
civilized peoples, among whom knowledge, wealth, and the means of acting
in concert, have become diffused; and who have invented such weapons and
other means of defense as to render mere physical strength of less
importance; and by whom soldiers in any requisite number, and other
instrumentalities of war in any requisite amount, can always be had for
money, the question of war, and consequently the question of power, is
little else than a mere question of money. As a necessary consequence,
those who stand ready to furnish this money, are the real rulers. It is
so in Europe, and it is so in this country.

In Europe, the nominal rulers, the emperors and kings and parliaments,
are anything but the real rulers of their respective countries. They are
little or nothing else than mere tools, employed by the wealthy to rob,
enslave, and (if need be) murder those who have less wealth, or none at
all.

The Rothschilds, and that class of money-lenders of whom they are the
representatives and agents--men who never think of lending a shilling to
their next-door neighbors, for purposes of honest industry, unless upon
the most ample security, and at the highest rate of interest--stand
ready, at all times, to lend money in unlimited amounts to those robbers
and murderers, who call themselves governments, to be expended in
shooting down those who do not submit quietly to being robbed and
enslaved.

They lend their money in this manner, knowing that it is to be expended
in murdering their fellow men, for simply seeking their liberty and
their rights; knowing also that neither the interest nor the principal
will ever be paid, except as it will be extorted under terror of the
repetition of such murders as those for which the money lent is to be
expended.

These money-lenders, the Rothschilds, for example, say to themselves: If
we lend a hundred millions sterling to the queen and parliament of
England, it will enable them to murder twenty, fifty, or a hundred
thousand people in England, Ireland, or India; and the terror inspired
by such wholesale murder, will enable them to keep the whole people of
those countries in subjection for twenty, or perhaps fifty, years to
come; to control all their trade and industry; and to extort from them
large amounts of money, under the name of taxes; and from the wealth
thus extorted from them, they (the queen and parliament) can afford to
pay us a higher rate of interest for our money than we can get in any
other way. Or, if we lend this sum to the emperor of Austria, it will
enable him to murder so many of his people as to strike terror into the
rest, and thus enable him to keep them in subjection, and extort money
from them, for twenty or fifty years to come. And they say the same in
regard to the emperor of Russia, the king of Prussia, the emperor of
France, or any other ruler, so called, who, in their judgment, will be
able, by murdering a reasonable portion of his people, to keep the rest
in subjection, and extort money from them, for a long time to come, to
pay the interest and principal of the money lent him.

And why are these men so ready to lend money for murdering their fellow
men? Solely for this reason, viz., that such loans are considered better
investments than loans for purposes of honest industry. They pay higher
rates of interest; and it is less trouble to look after them. This is
the whole matter.

The question of making these loans is, with these lenders, a mere
question of pecuniary profit. They lend money to be expended in robbing,
enslaving, and murdering their fellow men, solely because, on the whole,
such loans pay better than any others. They are no respecters of
persons, no superstitious fools, that reverence monarchs. They care no
more for a king, or an emperor, than they do for a beggar, except as he
is a better customer, and can pay them better interest for their money.
If they doubt his ability to make his murders successful for maintaining
his power, and thus extorting money from his people in future, they
dismiss him as unceremoniously as they would dismiss any other hopeless
bankrupt, who should want to borrow money to save himself from open
insolvency.

When these great lenders of blood-money, like the Rothschilds, have
loaned vast sums in this way, for purposes of murder, to an emperor or a
king, they sell out the bonds taken by them, in small amounts, to
anybody, and everybody, who are disposed to buy them at satisfactory
prices, to hold as investments. They (the Rothschilds) thus soon get
back their money, with great profits; and are now ready to lend money in
the same way again to any other robber and murderer, called an emperor
or a king, who, they think, is likely to be successful in his robberies
and murders, and able to pay a good price for the money necessary to
carry them on.

This business of lending blood-money is one of the most thoroughly
sordid, cold-blooded, and criminal that was ever carried on, to any
considerable extent, amongst human beings. It is like lending money to
slave traders, or to common robbers and pirates, to be repaid out of
their plunder. And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for
the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their
people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen.
And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot
otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that
ever lived.

When these emperors and kings, so-called, have obtained their loans,
they proceed to hire and train immense numbers of professional
murderers, called soldiers, and employ them in shooting down all who
resist their demands for money. In fact, most of them keep large bodies
of these murderers constantly in their service, as their only means of
enforcing their extortions. There are now, I think, four or five
millions of these professional murderers constantly employed by the
so-called sovereigns of Europe. The enslaved people are, of course,
forced to support and pay all these murderers, as well as to submit to
all the other extortions which these murderers are employed to enforce.

It is only in this way that most of the so-called governments of Europe
are maintained. These so-called governments are in reality only great
bands of robbers and murderers, organized, disciplined, and constantly
on the alert. And the so-called sovereigns, in these different
governments, are simply the heads, or chiefs, of different bands of
robbers and murderers. And these heads or chiefs are dependent upon the
lenders of blood-money for the means to carry on their robberies and
murders. They could not sustain themselves a moment but for the loans
made to them by these blood-money loan-mongers. And their first care is
to maintain their credit with them; for they know their end is come, the
instant their credit with them fails. Consequently the first proceeds of
their extortions are scrupulously applied to the payment of the interest
on their loans.

In addition to paying the interest on their bonds, they perhaps grant to
the holders of them great monopolies in banking, like the Banks of
England, of France, and of Vienna; with the agreement that these banks
shall furnish money whenever, in sudden emergencies, it may be necessary
to shoot down more of their people. Perhaps also, by means of tariffs on
competing imports, they give great monopolies to certain branches of
industry, in which these lenders of blood-money are engaged. They also,
by unequal taxation, exempt wholly or partially the property of these
loan-mongers, and throw corresponding burdens upon those who are too
poor and weak to resist.

Thus it is evident that all these men, who call themselves by the
high-sounding names of Emperors, Kings, Sovereigns, Monarchs, Most
Christian Majesties, Most Catholic Majesties, High Mightinesses, Most
Serene and Potent Princes, and the like, and who claim to rule "by the
grace of God," by "Divine Right"--that is, by special authority from
Heaven--are intrinsically not only the merest miscreants and wretches,
engaged solely in plundering, enslaving, and murdering their fellow men,
but that they are also the merest hangers on, the servile, obsequious,
fawning dependents and tools of these blood-money loan-mongers, on whom
they rely for the means to carry on their crimes. These loan-mongers,
like the Rothschilds, laugh in their sleeves, and say to themselves:
These despicable creatures, who call themselves emperors, and kings, and
majesties, and most serene and potent princes; who profess to wear
crowns, and sit on thrones; who deck themselves with ribbons, and
feathers, and jewels; and surround themselves with hired flatterers and
lickspittles; and whom we suffer to strut around, and palm themselves
off, upon fools and slaves, as sovereigns and lawgivers specially
appointed by Almighty God; and to hold themselves out as the sole
fountains of honors, and dignities, and wealth, and power--all these
miscreants and imposters know that we make them, and use them; that in
us they live, move, and have their being; that we require them (as the
price of their positions) to take upon themselves all the labor, all the
danger, and all the odium of all the crimes they commit for our profit;
and that we will unmake them, strip them of their gewgaws, and send them
out into the world as beggars, or give them over to the vengeance of the
people they have enslaved, the moment they refuse to commit any crime we
require of them, or to pay over to us such share of the proceeds of
their robberies as we see fit to demand.



XIX.


Now, what is true in Europe, is substantially true in this country. The
difference is the immaterial one, that, in this country, there is no
visible, permanent head, or chief, of these robbers and murderers, who
call themselves "the government." That is to say, there is no _one man_,
who calls himself the state, or even emperor, king, or sovereign; no one
who claims that he and his children rule "by the Grace of God," by
"Divine Right," or by special appointment from Heaven. There are only
certain men, who call themselves presidents, senators, and
representatives, and claim to be the authorized agents, _for the time
being, or for certain short periods, of all_ "the people of the United
States"; but who can show no credentials, or powers of attorney, or any
other open, authentic evidence that they are so; and who notoriously are
not so; but are really only the agents of a secret band of robbers and
murderers, whom they themselves do not know, and have no means of
knowing, individually; but who, they trust, will openly or secretly,
when the crisis comes, sustain them in all their usurpations and crimes.

What is important to be noticed is, that these so-called presidents,
senators, and representatives, these pretended agents of all "the people
of the United States," the moment their exactions meet with any
formidable resistance from any portion of "the people" themselves, are
obliged, like their co-robbers and murderers in Europe, to fly at once
to the lenders of blood money, for the means to sustain their power. And
they borrow their money on the same principle, and for the same
purpose, viz., to be expended in shooting down all those "people of the
United States"--their own constituents and principals, as they profess
to call them--who resist the robberies and enslavement which these
borrowers of the money are practising upon them. And they expect to
repay the loans, if at all, only from the proceeds of the future
robberies, which they anticipate it will be easy for them and their
successors to perpetrate through a long series of years, upon their
pretended principals, if they can but shoot down now some hundreds of
thousands of them, and thus strike terror into the rest.

Perhaps the facts were never made more evident, in any country on the
globe, than in our own, that these soulless blood-money loan-mongers are
the real rulers; that they rule from the most sordid and mercenary
motives; that the ostensible government, the presidents, senators, and
representatives, so called, are merely their tools; and that no ideas
of, or regard for, justice or liberty had anything to do in inducing
them to lend their money for the war. In proof of all this, look at the
following facts.

Nearly a hundred years ago we professed to have got rid of all that
religious superstition, inculcated by a servile and corrupt priesthood
in Europe, that rulers, so called, derived their authority directly from
Heaven; and that it was consequently a religious duty on the part of the
people to obey them. We professed long ago to have learned that
governments could rightfully exist only by the free will, and on the
voluntary support, of those who might choose to sustain them. We all
professed to have known long ago, that the only legitimate objects of
government were the maintenance of liberty and justice equally for all.
All this we had professed for nearly a hundred years. And we professed
to look with pity and contempt upon those ignorant, superstitious, and
enslaved peoples of Europe, who were so easily kept in subjection by the
frauds and force of priests and kings.

Notwithstanding all this, that we had learned, and known, and professed,
for nearly a century, these lenders of blood money had, for a long
series of years previous to the war, been the willing accomplices of the
slave-holders in perverting the government from the purposes of liberty
and justice, to the greatest of crimes. They had been such accomplices
_for a purely pecuniary consideration_, to wit, a control of the markets
in the South; in other words, the privilege of holding the slave-holders
themselves in industrial and commercial subjection to the manufacturers
and merchants of the North (who afterwards furnished the money for the
war). And these Northern merchants and manufacturers, these lenders of
blood-money, were willing to continue to be the accomplices of the
slave-holders in the future, for the same pecuniary consideration. But
the slave-holders, either doubting the fidelity of their Northern
allies, or feeling themselves strong enough to keep their slaves in
subjection without Northern assistance, would no longer pay the price
which these Northern men demanded. And it was to enforce this price in
the future--that is, to monopolize the Southern markets, to maintain
their industrial and commercial control over the South--that these
Northern manufacturers and merchants lent some of the profits of their
former monopolies for the war, in order to secure to themselves the
same, or greater, monopolies in the future. These--and not any love of
liberty or justice--were the motives on which the money for the war was
lent by the North. In short, the North said to the slave-holders: If you
will not pay us our price (give us control of your markets) for our
assistance against your slaves, we will secure the same price (keep
control of your markets) by helping your slaves against you, and using
them as our tools for maintaining dominion over you; for the control of
your markets we will have, whether the tools we use for that purpose be
black or white, and be the cost, in blood and money, what it may.

On this principle, and from this motive, and not from any love of
liberty, or justice, the money was lent in enormous amounts, and at
enormous rates of interest. And it was only by means of these loans that
the objects of the war were accomplished.

And now these lenders of blood-money demand their pay; and the
government, so called, becomes their tool, their servile, slavish,
villainous tool, to extort it from the labor of the enslaved people both
of the North and the South. It is to be extorted by every form of
direct, and indirect, and unequal taxation. Not only the nominal debt
and interest--enormous as the latter was--are to be paid in full; but
these holders of the debt are to be paid still further--and perhaps
doubly, triply, or quadruply paid--by such tariffs on imports as will
enable our home manufacturers to realize enormous prices for their
commodities; also by such monopolies in banking as will enable them to
keep control of, and thus enslave and plunder, the industry and trade of
the great body of the Northern people themselves. In short, the
industrial and commercial slavery of the great body of the people, North
and South, black and white, is the price which these lenders of blood
money demand, and insist upon, and are determined to secure, in return
for the money lent for the war.

This programme having been fully arranged and systematized, they put
their sword into the hands of the chief murderer of the war, and charge
him to carry their scheme into effect. And now he, speaking as their
organ, says: "_Let us have peace_."

The meaning of this is: Submit quietly to all the robbery and slavery we
have arranged for you, and you can have "peace." But in case you resist,
the same lenders of blood-money, who furnished the means to subdue the
South, will furnish the means again to subdue you.

These are the terms on which alone this government, or, with few
exceptions, any other, ever gives "peace" to its people.

The whole affair, on the part of those who furnished the money, has
been, and now is, a deliberate scheme of robbery and murder; not merely
to monopolize the markets of the South, but also to monopolize the
currency, and thus control the industry and trade, and thus plunder and
enslave the laborers, of both North and South. And Congress and the
president are today the merest tools for these purposes. They are
obliged to be, for they know that their own power, as rulers, so-called,
is at an end, the moment their credit with the blood-money loan-mongers
fails. They are like a bankrupt in the hands of an extortioner. They
dare not say nay to any demand made upon them. And to hide at once, if
possible, both their servility and their crimes, they attempt to divert
public attention, by crying out that they have "Abolished Slavery!" That
they have "Saved the Country!" That they have "Preserved our Glorious
Union!" and that, in now paying the "National Debt," as they call it (as
if the people themselves, _all of them who are to be taxed for its
payment_, had really and voluntarily joined in contracting it), they are
simply "Maintaining the National Honor!"

By "maintaining the national honor," they mean simply that they
themselves, open robbers and murderers, assume to be the nation, and
will keep faith with those who lend them the money necessary to enable
them to crush the great body of the people under their feet; and will
faithfully appropriate, from the proceeds of their future robberies and
murders, enough to pay all their loans, principal and interest.

The pretense that the "abolition of slavery" was either a motive or
justification for the war, is a fraud of the same character with that of
"maintaining the national honor." Who, but such usurpers, robbers, and
murderers as they, ever established slavery? Or what government, except
one resting upon the sword, like the one we now have, was ever capable
of maintaining slavery? And why did these men abolish slavery? Not from
any love of liberty in general--not as an act of justice to the black
man himself, but only "as a war measure," and because they wanted his
assistance, and that of his friends, in carrying on the war they had
undertaken for maintaining and intensifying that political, commercial,
and industrial slavery, to which they have subjected the great body of
the people, both white and black. And yet these imposters now cry out
that they have abolished the chattel slavery of the black man--although
that was not the motive of the war--as if they thought they could
thereby conceal, atone for, or justify that other slavery which they
were fighting to perpetuate, and to render more rigorous and inexorable
than it ever was before. There was no difference of principle--but only
of degree--between the slavery they boast they have abolished, and the
slavery they were fighting to preserve; for all restraints upon men's
natural liberty, not necessary for the simple maintenance of justice,
are of the nature of slavery, and differ from each other only in degree.

If their object had really been to abolish slavery, or maintain liberty
or justice generally, they had only to say: All, whether white or black,
who want the protection of this government, shall have it; and all who
do not want it, will be left in peace, so long as they leave us in
peace. Had they said this, slavery would necessarily have been abolished
at once; the war would have been saved; and a thousand times nobler
union than we have ever had would have been the result. It would have
been a voluntary union of free men; such a union as will one day exist
among all men, the world over, if the several nations, so called, shall
ever get rid of the usurpers, robbers, and murderers, called
governments, that now plunder, enslave, and destroy them.

Still another of the frauds of these men is, that they are now
establishing, and that the war was designed to establish, "a government
of consent." The only idea they have ever manifested as to what is a
government of consent, is this--that it is one to which everybody must
consent, or be shot. This idea was the dominant one on which the war was
carried on; and it is the dominant one, now that we have got what is
called "peace."

Their pretenses that they have "Saved the Country," and "Preserved our
Glorious Union," are frauds like all the rest of their pretenses. By
them they mean simply that they have subjugated, and maintained their
power over, an unwilling people. This they call "Saving the Country"; as
if an enslaved and subjugated people--or as if any people kept in
subjection by the sword (as it is intended that all of us shall be
hereafter)--could be said to have any country. This, too, they call
"Preserving our Glorious Union"; as if there could be said to be any
Union, glorious or inglorious, that was not voluntary. Or as if there
could be said to be any union between masters and slaves; between those
who conquer, and those who are subjugated.

All these cries of having "abolished slavery," of having "saved the
country," of having "preserved the union," of establishing "a government
of consent," and of "maintaining the national honor," are all gross,
shameless, transparent cheats--so transparent that they ought to deceive
no one--when uttered as justifications for the war, or for the
government that has succeeded the war, or for now compelling the people
to pay the cost of the war, or for compelling anybody to support a
government that he does not want.

The lesson taught by all these facts is this: As long as mankind
continue to pay "national debts," so-called--that is, so long as they
are such dupes and cowards as to pay for being cheated, plundered,
enslaved, and murdered--so long there will be enough to lend the money
for those purposes; and with that money a plenty of tools, called
soldiers, can be hired to keep them in subjection. But when they refuse
any longer to pay for being thus cheated, plundered, enslaved, and
murdered, they will cease to have cheats, and usurpers, and robbers, and
murderers and blood-money loan-mongers for masters.



APPENDIX.


Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by
anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now
binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever
hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do
so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its
true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks
it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such
instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false
interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in
practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the
Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written
much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But
whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is
certain--that it has either authorized such a government as we have had,
or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to
exist.



FOOTNOTES:


[a] See _No Treason_, No. 2, pages 5 and 6.

[b] Suppose it be "the best government on earth," does that prove its
own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?

[c] The very men who drafted it, never signed it in any way to bind
themselves by it, _as a contract_. And not one of them probably ever
would have signed it in any way to bind himself by it, _as a contract_.

[d] I have personally examined the statute books of the following
States, viz.: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois,
Wisconsin, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas,
Nevada, California, and Oregon, and find that in all these States the
English statute has been re-enacted, sometimes with modifications, but
generally enlarging its operations, and is now in force.

The following are some of the provisions of the Massachusetts statute:

"No action shall be brought in any of the following cases, that is to
say: ...

"To charge a person upon a special promise to answer for the debt,
default, or misdoings of another: ...

"Upon a contract for the sale of lands, tenements, hereditaments, or of
any interest in, or concerning them; or

"Upon an agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the
writing thereof:

"Unless the promise, contract, or agreement, upon which such action is
brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, is in writing, and signed
by the party to be charged therewith, or by some person thereunto by him
lawfully authorized."

"No contract for the sale of goods, wares, or merchandise, for the price
of fifty dollars or more, shall be good or valid, unless the purchaser
accepts and receives part of the goods so sold, or gives something in
earnest to bind the bargain, or in part payment; or unless some note or
memorandum in writing of the bargain is made and signed by the party to
be charged thereby, or by some person thereunto by him lawfully
authorized."

[e] And this two-thirds vote may be but two-thirds of a quorum--that is
two-thirds of a majority--instead of two-thirds of the whole.

[f] Of what appreciable value is it to any man, as an individual, that
he is allowed a voice in choosing these public masters? His voice is
only one of several millions.



Transcriber's Notes:


  Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

  Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been retained from
  the original.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected as follows:

    Page 22: "do" changed to "does"

  Punctuation has been corrected without note.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "No Treason, Vol. VI. - The Constitution of No Authority" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home