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Title: A Letter to Grover Cleveland - On His False Inaugural Address, The Usurpations and Crimes - of Lawmakers and Judges, and the Consequent Poverty, - Ignorance, and Servitude Of The People
Author: Spooner, Lysander, 1808-1887
Language: English
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                                A LETTER

                                   TO

                            GROVER CLEVELAND,

                                   ON

            HIS FALSE INAUGURAL ADDRESS, THE USURPATIONS AND
                CRIMES OF LAWMAKERS AND JUDGES, AND THE
                   CONSEQUENT POVERTY, IGNORANCE, AND
                        SERVITUDE OF THE PEOPLE.


                                   BY
                           LYSANDER SPOONER.


                                BOSTON:
                      BENJ. R. TUCKER, PUBLISHER.
                                 1886.



        The author reserves his copyright in this letter.
        First pamphlet edition published in July, 1886.[1]

    [1] Under a somewhat different title, to wit, "_A Letter to
    Grover Cleveland, on his False, Absurd, If-contradictory, and
    Ridiculous Inaugural Address_," this letter was first published,
    in instalments, "LIBERTY" (a paper published in Boston); the
    instalments commencing June 20, 1885, and continuing to May 22,
    1886: notice being given, in each paper, of the reservation of
    copyright.



                     A LETTER TO GROVER CLEVELAND.

                               SECTION I.

_To Grover Cleveland_:

SIR,--Your inaugural address is probably as honest, sensible, and
consistent a one as that of any president within the last fifty years,
or, perhaps, as any since the foundation of the government. If,
therefore, it is false, absurd, self-contradictory, and ridiculous, it
is not (as I think) because you are personally less honest, sensible, or
consistent than your predecessors, but because the government
itself--according to your own description of it, and according to the
practical administration of it for nearly a hundred years--is an utterly
and palpably false, absurd, and criminal one. Such praises as you bestow
upon it are, therefore, necessarily false, absurd, and ridiculous.

Thus you describe it as "a government pledged to do equal and exact
justice to all men."

Did you stop to think what that means? Evidently you did not; for
nearly, or quite, all the rest of your address is in direct
contradiction to it.

Let me then remind you that justice is an immutable, natural principle;
and not anything that can be made, unmade, or altered by any human
power.

It is also a subject of science, and is to be learned, like mathematics,
or any other science. It does not derive its authority from the
commands, will, pleasure, or discretion of any possible combination of
men, whether calling themselves a government, or by any other name.

It is also, at all times, and in all places, the supreme law. And being
everywhere and always the supreme law, it is necessarily everywhere and
always the only law.

Lawmakers, as they call themselves, can add nothing to it, nor take
anything from it. Therefore all their laws, as they call them,--that is,
all the laws of their own making,--have no color of authority or
obligation. It is a falsehood to call them laws; for there is nothing in
them that either creates men's duties or rights, or enlightens them as
to their duties or rights. There is consequently nothing binding or
obligatory about them. And nobody is bound to take the least notice of
them, unless it be to trample them under foot, as usurpations. If they
command men to do justice, they add nothing to men's obligation to do
it, or to any man's right to enforce it. They are therefore mere idle
wind, such as would be commands to consider the day as day, and the
night as night. If they command or license any man to do injustice, they
are criminal on their face. If they command any man to do anything which
justice does not require him to do, they are simple, naked usurpations
and tyrannies. If they forbid any man to do anything, which justice
would permit him to do, they are criminal invasions of his natural and
rightful liberty. In whatever light, therefore, they are viewed, they
are utterly destitute of everything like authority or obligation. They
are all necessarily either the impudent, fraudulent, and criminal
usurpations of tyrants, robbers, and murderers, or the senseless work of
ignorant or thoughtless men, who do not know, or certainly do not
realize, what they are doing.

This science of justice, or natural law, is the only science that tells
us what are, and what are not, each man's natural, inherent,
inalienable, _individual_ rights, as against any and all other men. And
to say that any, or all, other men may rightfully compel him to obey any
or all such other laws as they may see fit to _make_, is to say that he
has no rights of his own, but is their subject, their property, and
their slave.

For the reasons now given, the simple maintenance of justice, or natural
law, is plainly the one only purpose for which any coercive power--or
anything bearing the name of government--has a right to exist.

It is intrinsically just as false, absurd, ludicrous, and ridiculous to
say that lawmakers, so-called, can invent and make any laws, _of their
own_, authoritatively fixing, or declaring, the rights of individuals,
or that shall be in any manner authoritative or obligatory upon
individuals, or that individuals may rightfully be compelled to obey, as
it would be to say that they can invent and make such mathematics,
chemistry, physiology, or other sciences, as they see fit, and
rightfully compel individuals to conform all their actions to them,
instead of conforming them to the mathematics, chemistry, physiology, or
other sciences of nature.

Lawmakers, as they call themselves, might just as well claim the right
to abolish, by statute, the natural law of gravitation, the natural laws
of light, heat, and electricity, and all the other natural laws of
matter and mind, and institute laws of their own in the place of them,
and compel conformity to them, as to claim the right to set aside the
natural law of justice, and compel obedience to such other laws as they
may see fit to manufacture, and set up in its stead.

Let me now ask you how you imagine that your so-called lawmakers can "do
equal and exact justice to all men," by any so-called laws of their own
making. If their laws command anything but justice, or forbid anything
but injustice, they are themselves unjust and criminal. If they simply
command justice, and forbid injustice, they add nothing to the natural
authority of justice, or to men's obligation to obey it. It is,
therefore, a simple impertinence, and sheer impudence, on their part, to
assume that _their_ commands, _as such_, are of any authority whatever.
It is also sheer impudence, on their part, to assume that their commands
are at all necessary to teach other men what is, and what is not,
justice. The science of justice is as open to be learned by all other
men, as by themselves; and it is, in general, so simple and easy to be
learned, that there is no need of, and no place for, any man, or body of
men, to teach it, declare it, or command it, on their own authority.

For one, or another, of these reasons, therefore, each and every law,
so-called, that forty-eight different congresses have presumed to make,
within the last ninety-six years, have been utterly destitute of all
legitimate authority. That is to say, they have either been criminal, as
commanding or licensing men to do what justice forbade them to do, or as
forbidding them to do what justice would have permitted them to do; or
else they have been superfluous, as adding nothing to men's knowledge of
justice, or to their obligation to do justice, or abstain from
injustice.

What excuse, then, have you for attempting to enforce upon the people
that great mass of superfluous or criminal laws (so-called) which
ignorant and foolish, or impudent and criminal, men have, for so many
years, been manufacturing, and promulgating, and enforcing, in violation
of justice, and of all men's natural, inherent, and inalienable rights?


                              SECTION II.

Perhaps you will say that there is no such science as that of justice.
If you do say this, by what right, or on what reason, do you proclaim
your intention "to do equal and exact justice to all men"? If there is
no science of justice, how do you know that there is any such principle
as justice? Or how do you know what is, and what is not, justice? If
there is no science of justice,--such as the people can learn and
understand for themselves,--why do you say anything about justice _to
them?_ Or why do you promise _them_ any such thing as "equal and exact
justice," if they do not know, and are incapable of learning, what
justice is? Do you use this phrase to deceive those whom you look upon
as being so ignorant, so destitute of reason, as to be deceived by idle,
unmeaning words? If you do not, you are plainly bound to let us all know
what you do mean, by doing "equal and exact justice to all men."

I can assure you, sir, that a very large portion of the people of this
country do not believe that the government is doing "equal and exact
justice to all men." And some persons are earnestly promulgating the
idea that the government is not attempting to do, and has no intention
of doing, anything like "equal and exact justice to all men"; that, on
the contrary, it is knowingly, deliberately, and wilfully doing an
incalculable amount of injustice; that it has always been doing this in
the past, and that it has no intention of doing anything else in the
future; that it is a mere tool in the hands of a few ambitious,
rapacious, and unprincipled men; that its purpose, in doing all this
injustice, is to keep--so far as they can without driving the people to
rebellion--all wealth, and all political power, in as few hands as
possible; and that this injustice is the direct cause of all the
widespread poverty, ignorance, and servitude among the great body of the
people.

Now, Sir, I wish I could hope that you would do something to show that
you are not a party to any such scheme as that; something to show that
you are neither corrupt enough, nor blind enough, nor coward enough, to
be made use of for any such purpose as that; something to show that when
you profess your intention "to do equal and exact justice to all men,"
you attach some real and definite meaning to your words. Until you do
that, is it not plain that the people have a right to consider you a
tyrant, and the confederate and tool of tyrants, and to get rid of you
as unceremoniously as they would of any other tyrant?


                              SECTION III.

Sir, if any government is to be a rational, consistent, and honest
one, it must evidently be based on some fundamental, immutable,
eternal principle; such as every man may reasonably agree to, and such
as every man may rightfully be compelled to abide by, and obey. And
the whole power of the government must be limited to the maintenance
of that single principle. And that one principle is justice. There is
no other principle that any man can rightfully enforce upon others, or
ought to consent to have enforced against himself. Every man claims
the protection of this principle for himself, whether he is willing to
accord it to others, or not. Yet such is the inconsistency of human
nature, that some men--in fact, many men--who will risk their lives
for this principle, when their own liberty or property is at stake,
will violate it in the most flagrant manner, if they can thereby
obtain arbitrary power over the persons or property of others. We have
seen this fact illustrated in this country, through its whole
history--especially during the last hundred years--and in the case of
many of the most conspicuous persons. And their example and influence
have been employed to pervert the whole character of the government.
It is against such men, that all others, who desire nothing but
justice for themselves, and are willing to unite to secure it for all
others, must combine, if we are ever to have justice established for
any.


                              SECTION IV.

It is self-evident that no number of men, by conspiring, and calling
themselves a government, can acquire any rights whatever over other men,
or other men's property, which they had not before, as individuals. And
whenever any number of men, calling themselves a government, do anything
to another man, or to his property, which they had no right to do as
individuals they thereby declare themselves trespassers, robbers, or
murderers, according to the nature of their acts.

Men, _as individuals_, may rightfully _compel_ each other to obey this
one law of justice. And it is the only law which any man can rightfully
be compelled, _by his fellow men_, to obey. All other laws, it is
optional with each man to obey, or not, as he may choose. But this one
law of justice he may rightfully be compelled to obey; and all the force
that is reasonably necessary to compel him, may rightfully be used
against him.

But the right of every man to do anything, and everything, _which
justice does not forbid him to do_, is a natural, inherent, inalienable
right. It is his right, as against any and all other men, whether they
be many, or few. It is a right indispensable to every man's highest
happiness; and to every man's power of judging and determining for
himself what will, and what will not, promote his happiness. Any
restriction upon the exercise of this right is a restriction upon his
rightful power of providing for, and accomplishing, his own well-being.

Sir, these natural, inherent, inalienable, _individual_ rights are
sacred things. _They are the only human rights._ They are the only
rights by which any man can protect his own property, liberty, or life
against any one who may be disposed to take it away. Consequently they
are not things that any set of either blockheads or villains, calling
themselves a government, can rightfully take into their own hands, and
dispose of at their pleasure, as they have been accustomed to do in
this, and in nearly or quite all other countries.


                               SECTION V.

Sir, I repeat that individual rights are the only human rights.
_Legally speaking_, there are no such things as "_public rights_," as
distinguished from individual rights. _Legally speaking_, there is no
such creature or thing as "_the public_." The term "the public" is an
utterly vague and indefinite one, applied arbitrarily and at random to a
greater or less number of individuals, each and every one of whom have
their own separate, individual rights, _and none others_. And the
protection of these separate, _individual_ rights is the one only
legitimate purpose, for which anything in the nature of a governing, or
coercive, power has a right to exist. And these separate, individual
rights all rest upon, and can be ascertained only by, the one science of
justice.

_Legally speaking_, the term "public _rights_" is as vague and
indefinite as are the terms "public _health_," "public _good_," "public
_welfare_," and the like. It has no legal meaning, except when used to
describe the separate, private, _individual_ rights of a greater or less
number of individuals.

In so far as the separate, private, natural rights of _individuals_ are
secured, in just so far, and no farther, are the "public rights"
secured. In so far as the separate, private, natural rights of
_individuals_ are disregarded or violated, in just so far are "public
rights" disregarded or violated. Therefore all the pretences of
so-called lawmakers, that they are protecting "public rights," by
violating private rights, are sheer and utter contradictions and frauds.
They are just as false and absurd as it would be to say that they are
protecting the public _health_, by arbitrarily poisoning and destroying
the health of single individuals.

The pretence of the lawmakers, that they are promoting the "public
_good_," by violating individual "_rights_," is just as false and absurd
as is the pretence that they are protecting "public _rights_" by
violating "private rights." Sir, the greatest "public _good_," of which
any coercive power, calling itself a government, or by any other name,
is capable, is the protection of each and every individual in the quiet
and peaceful enjoyment and exercise of _all_ his own natural, inherent,
inalienable, _individual_ "rights." This is a "good" that comes home to
each and every individual, of whom "the public" is composed. It is also
a "good," which each and every one of these individuals, composing "the
public," can appreciate. It is a "good," for the loss of which
governments can make no compensation whatever. _It is a universal and
impartial "good,"_ of the highest importance to each and every human
being; and not any such vague, false, and criminal thing as the
lawmakers--when violating private rights--tell us they are trying to
accomplish, under the name of "the public good." It is also the only
"equal and exact justice," which you, or anybody else, are capable of
securing, or have any occasion to secure, to any human being. Let but
this "equal and exact justice" be secured "to all men," and they will
then be abundantly able to take care of themselves, and secure their own
highest "good." Or if any one should ever chance to need anything more
than this, he may safely trust to the voluntary kindness of his fellow
men to supply it.

It is one of those things not easily accounted for, that men who would
scorn to do an injustice to a fellow man, in a private transaction,--who
would scorn to usurp any arbitrary dominion over him, or his
property,--who would be in the highest degree indignant, if charged with
any private injustice,--and who, at a moment's warning, would take their
lives in their hands, to defend their own rights, and redress their own
wrongs,--will, the moment they become members of what they call a
government, assume that they are absolved from all principles and all
obligations that were imperative upon them, as individuals; will assume
that they are invested with a right of arbitrary and irresponsible
dominion over other men, and other men's property. Yet they are doing
this continually. And all the laws they _make_ are based upon the
assumption that they have now become invested with rights that are more
than human, and that those, on whom their laws are to operate, have lost
even their human rights. They seem to be utterly blind to the fact, that
the only reason there can be for their existence as a government, is
that they may protect those very "rights," which they before
scrupulously respected, but which they now unscrupulously trample upon.


                              SECTION VI.

But you evidently believe nothing of what I have now been saying. You
evidently believe that justice is no law at all, unless in cases where
the lawmakers may chance to prefer it to any law which they themselves
can invent.

You evidently believe that, a certain paper, called the constitution,
which nobody ever signed, which few persons ever read, which the great
body of the people never saw, and as to the meaning of which no two
persons were ever agreed, is the supreme law of this land, anything in
the law of nature--anything in the natural, inherent, inalienable,
_individual_ rights of fifty millions of people--to the contrary not
withstanding.

Did folly, falsehood, absurdity, assumption, or criminality ever reach a
higher point than that?

You evidently believe that those great volumes of statutes, which the
people at large have never read, nor even seen, and never will read, nor
see, but which such men as you and your lawmakers have been
manufacturing for nearly a hundred years, to restrain them of their
liberty, and deprive them of their natural rights, were all made for
their benefit, by men wiser than they--wiser even than justice
itself--and having only their welfare at heart!

You evidently believe that the men who made those laws were duly
authorized to make them; and that you yourself have been duly authorized
to enforce them. But in this you are utterly mistaken. You have not so
much as the honest, responsible scratch of one single pen, to justify
you in the exercise of the power you have taken upon yourself to
exercise. For example, you have no such evidence of your right to take
any man's property for the support of your government, as would be
required of you, if you were to claim pay for a single day's honest
labor.

It was once said, in this country, that taxation without consent was
robbery. And a seven years' war was fought to maintain that principle.
But if that principle were a true one in behalf of three millions of
men, it is an equally true one in behalf of three men, or of one man.

Who are ever taxed? Individuals only. Who have property that can be
taxed? Individuals only. Who can give their consent to be taxed?
Individuals only. Who are ever taxed without their consent? Individuals
only. Who, then, are robbed, if taxed without their consent? Individuals
only.

If taxation without consent is robbery, the United States government has
never had, has not now, and is never likely to have, a single honest
dollar in its treasury.

If taxation without consent is _not_ robbery, then any band of robbers
have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies
are legalized.

If any man's money can be taken by a so-called government, without his
own personal consent, all his other rights are taken with it; for with
his money the government can, and will, hire soldiers to stand over him,
compel him to submit to its arbitrary will, and kill him if he resists.

That your whole claim of a right to any man's money for the support of
your government, without his consent, is the merest farce and fraud, is
proved by the fact that you have no such evidence of your right to take
it, as would be required of you, by one of your own courts, to prove a
debt of five dollars, that might be honestly due you.

You and your lawmakers have no such evidence of your right of dominion
over the people of this country, as would be required to prove your
right to any material property, that you might have purchased.

When a man parts with any considerable amount of such material property
as he has a natural right to part with,--as, for example, houses, or
lands, or food, or clothing, or anything else of much value,--he usually
gives, and the purchaser usually demands, some _written_ acknowledgment,
receipt, bill of sale, or other evidence, that will prove that he
voluntarily parted with it, and that the purchaser is now the real and
true owner of it. But you hold that fifty millions of people have
voluntarily parted, not only with their natural right of dominion over
all their material property, but also with all their natural right of
dominion over their own souls and bodies; when not one of them has ever
given you a scrap of writing, or even "made his mark," to that effect.

You have not so much as the honest signature of a single human being,
granting to you or your lawmakers any right of dominion whatever over
him or his property.

You hold your place only by a title, which, on no just principle of law
or reason, is worth a straw. And all who are associated with you in the
government--whether they be called senators, representatives, judges,
executive officers, or what not--all hold their places, directly or
indirectly, only by the same worthless title. That title is nothing more
nor less than votes given in secret (by secret ballot), by not more than
one-fifth of the whole population. These votes were given in secret
solely because those who gave them did not dare to make themselves
personally responsible, either for their own acts, or the acts of their
agents, the lawmakers, judges, etc.

These voters, having given their votes in secret (by secret ballot),
have put it out of your power--and out of the power of all others
associated with you in the government--to designate your principals
_individually_. That is to say, you have no legal knowledge as to who
voted for you, or who voted against you. And being unable to designate
your principals _individually_, you have no right to say that you have
any principals. And having no right to say that you have any principals,
you are bound, on every just principle of law or reason, to confess that
you are mere usurpers, making laws, and enforcing them, upon your own
authority alone.

A secret ballot makes a secret government; and a secret government is
nothing else than a government by conspiracy. And a government by
conspiracy is the only government we now have.

You say that "_every voter exercises a public trust_."

Who appointed him to that trust? Nobody. He simply usurped the power; he
never accepted the trust. And because he usurped the power, he dares
exercise it only in secret. Not one of all the ten millions of voters,
who helped to place you in power, would have dared to do so, if he had
known that he was to be held personally responsible, before any just
tribunal, for the acts of those for whom he voted.

Inasmuch as all the votes, given for you and your lawmakers, were given
in secret, all that you and they can say, in support of your authority
as rulers, is that you venture upon your acts as lawmakers, etc., not
because you have any open, authentic, written, legitimate authority
granted you by any human being,--for you can show nothing of the
kind,--but only because, from certain reports made to you of votes given
in secret, you have reason to believe that you have at your backs a
secret association strong enough to sustain you by force, in case your
authority should be resisted.

Is there a government on earth that rests upon a more false, absurd, or
tyrannical basis than that?


                              SECTION VII.

But the falsehood and absurdity of your whole system of government do
not result solely from the fact that it rests wholly upon votes given in
secret, or by men who take care to avoid all personal responsibility for
their own acts, or the acts of their agents. On the contrary, if every
man, woman, and child in the United States had openly signed, sealed,
and delivered to you and your associates, a written document, purporting
to invest you with all the legislative, judicial, and executive powers
that you now exercise, they would not thereby have given you the
slightest legitimate authority. Such a contract, purporting to surrender
into your hands all their natural rights of person and property, to be
disposed of at your pleasure or discretion, would have been simply an
absurd and void contract, giving you no real authority whatever.

It is a natural impossibility for any man to make a _binding_ contract,
by which he shall surrender to others a single one of what are commonly
called his "natural, inherent, _inalienable_ rights."

It is a natural impossibility for any man to make a _binding_ contract,
that shall invest others with any right whatever of arbitrary,
irresponsible dominion over him.

The right of arbitrary, irresponsible dominion is the right of property;
and the right of property is the right of arbitrary, irresponsible
dominion. The two are identical. There is no difference between them.
Neither can exist without the other. If, therefore, our so-called
lawmakers really have that right of arbitrary, irresponsible dominion
over us, which they claim to have, and which they habitually exercise,
it must be because they own us as property. If they own us as property,
it must be because nature made us their property; for, as no man can
sell himself as a slave, we could never make a binding contract that
should make us their property--or, what is the same thing, give them any
right of arbitrary, irresponsible dominion over us.

As a lawyer, you certainly ought to know that all this is true.


                             SECTION VIII.

Sir, consider, for a moment, what an utterly false, absurd, ridiculous,
and criminal government we now have.

It all rests upon the false, ridiculous, and utterly groundless
assumption, that fifty millions of people not only could voluntarily
surrender, but actually have voluntarily surrendered, all their natural
rights, as human beings, into the custody of some four hundred men,
called lawmakers, judges, etc., who are to be held utterly irresponsible
for the disposal they may make of them.[2]

    [2] The irresponsibility of the senators and representatives is
    guaranteed to them in this wise:

        For any speech or debate [or vote] in either house, they
        [the senators and representatives] shall not be
        questioned [held to any legal responsibility] in any
        other place.--_Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 6._

    The judicial and executive officers are all equally guaranteed
    against all responsibility _to the people_. They are made
    responsible only to the senators and representatives, whose laws
    they are to administer and execute. So long as they sanction and
    execute all these laws, to the satisfaction of the lawmakers,
    they are safe against all responsibility. _In no case can the
    people, whose rights they are continually denying and trampling
    upon, hold them to any accountability whatever._

    Thus it will be seen that all departments of the government,
    legislative, judicial, and executive, are placed entirely beyond
    any responsibility _to the people_, whose agents they profess to
    be, and whose rights they assume to dispose of at pleasure.

    Was a more absolute, irresponsible government than that ever
    invented?

The only right, which any individual is supposed to retain, or possess,
under the government, _is a purely fictitious one,--one that nature
never gave him,_--to wit, his right (so-called), as one of some ten
millions of male adults, to give away, by his vote, not only all his own
natural, inherent, inalienable, human rights, but also all the natural,
inherent, inalienable, human rights of forty millions of other human
beings--that is, women and children.

To suppose that any one of all these ten millions of male adults would
voluntarily surrender a single one of all his natural, inherent,
inalienable, human rights into the hands of irresponsible men, is an
absurdity; because, first, he has no power to do so, any contract he may
make for that purpose being absurd, and necessarily void; and, secondly,
because he can have no rational motive for doing so. To suppose him to
do so, is to suppose him to be an idiot, incapable of making any
rational and obligatory contract. It is to suppose he would voluntarily
give away everything in life that was of value to himself, and get
nothing in return. To suppose that he would attempt to give away all the
natural rights _of other persons_--that is, the women and children--as
well as his own, is to suppose him to attempt to do something that he
has no right, or power, to do. It is to suppose him to be both a villain
and a fool.

And yet this government now rests wholly upon the assumption that some
ten millions of male adults--men supposed to be _compos mentis_--have
not only attempted to do, but have actually succeeded in doing, these
absurd and impossible things.

It cannot be said that men put all their rights into the hands of the
government, in order to have them protected; because there can be no
such thing as a man's being protected in his rights, _any longer than he
is allowed to retain them in his own possession_. The only possible way,
in which any man can be protected in his rights, _is to protect him in
his own actual possession and exercise of them_. And yet our government
is absurd enough to assume that a man can be protected in his rights,
after he has surrendered them altogether into other hands than his own.

This is just as absurd as it would be to assume that a man had given
himself away as a slave, in order to be protected in the enjoyment of
his liberty.

A man wants his rights protected, solely that he himself may possess and
use them, and have the full benefit of them. But if he is compelled to
give them up to somebody else,--to a government, so-called, or to any
body else,--he ceases to have any rights of his own to be protected.

To say, as the advocates of our government do, that a man must give up
_some_ of his natural rights, to a government, in order to have the rest
of them protected--the government being all the while the sole and
irresponsible judge as to what rights he does give up, and what he
retains, and what are to be protected--is to say that he gives up all
the rights that the government chooses, _at any time_, to assume that he
has given up; and that he retains none, and is to be protected in none,
except such as the government shall, _at all times_, see fit to protect,
and to permit him to retain. This is to suppose that he has retained no
rights at all, that he can, _at any time_, claim as his own, _as against
the government_. It is to say that he has really given up every right,
and reserved none.

For a still further reason, it is absurd to say that a man must give up
_some_ of his rights to a government, in order that government may
protect him in the rest. That reason is, that every right he gives up
diminishes his own power of self-protection, and makes it so much more
difficult for the government to protect him. And yet our government says
a man must give up _all_ his rights, in order that it may protect him.
It might just as well be said that a man must consent to be bound hand
and foot, in order to enable a government, or his friends, to protect
him against an enemy. Leave him in full possession of his limbs, and of
all his powers, and he will do more for his own protection than he
otherwise could, and will have less need of protection from a
government, or any other source.

Finally, if a man, who is _compos mentis_, wants any outside protection
for his rights, he is perfectly competent to make his own bargain for
such as he desires; and other persons have no occasion to thrust their
protection upon him, against his will; or to insist, as they now do,
that he shall give up all, or any, of his rights to them, in
consideration of such protection, and only such protection, as they may
afterwards _choose_ to give him.

It is especially noticeable that those persons, who are so impatient to
protect other men in their rights that they cannot wait until they are
requested to do so, have a somewhat inveterate habit of killing all who
do not voluntarily accept their protection; or do not consent to give up
to them all their rights in exchange for it.

If A were to go to B, a merchant, and say to him, "Sir, I am a
night-watchman, and I insist upon your employing me as such in
protecting your property against burglars; and to enable me to do so
more effectually, I insist upon your letting me tie your own hands and
feet, so that you cannot interfere with me; and also upon your
delivering up to me all your keys to your store, your safe, and to all
your valuables; and that you authorize me to act solely and fully
according to my own will, pleasure, and discretion in the matter; and
I demand still further, that you shall give me an absolute guaranty
that you will not hold me to any accountability whatever for anything
I may do, or for anything that may happen to your goods while they are
under my protection; and unless you comply with this proposal, I will
now kill you on the spot,"--if A were to say all this to B, B would
naturally conclude that A himself was the most impudent and dangerous
burglar that he (B) had to fear; and that if he (B) wished to secure
his property against burglars, his best way would be to kill A in the
first place, and then take his chances against all such other burglars
as might come afterwards.

Our government constantly acts the part that is here supposed to be
acted by A. And it is just as impudent a scoundrel as A is here
supposed to be. It insists that every man shall give up all his rights
unreservedly into its custody, and then hold it wholly irresponsible
for any disposal it may make of them. And it gives him no alternative
but death.

If by putting a bayonet to a man's breast, and giving him his choice, to
die, or be "protected in his rights," it secures his consent to the
latter alternative, it then proclaims itself a free government,--a
government resting on consent!

You yourself describe such a government as "the best government ever
vouchsafed to man."

Can you tell me of one that is worse in principle?

But perhaps you will say that ours is not so bad, in principle, as the
others, for the reason that here, once in two, four, or six years, each
male adult is permitted to have one vote in ten millions, in choosing
the public protectors. Well, if you think that that materially alters
the case, I wish you joy of your remarkable discernment.


                              SECTION IX.

Sir, if a government is to "do equal and exact justice to all men," _it
must do simply that, and nothing more_. If it does more than that to
any,--that is, if it gives monopolies, privileges, exemptions, bounties,
or favors to any,--it can do so only by doing injustice to more or less
others. _It can give to one only what it takes from others; for it has
nothing of its own to give to any one._ The best that it can do for all,
and the only honest thing it can do for any, is simply to secure to each
and every one his own rights,--the rights that nature gave him,--his
rights of person, and his rights of property; leaving him, then, to
pursue his own interests, and secure his own welfare, by the free and
full exercise of his own powers of body and mind; so long as he
trespasses upon the equal rights of no other person.

If he desires any favors from any body, he must, I repeat, depend upon
the voluntary kindness of such of his fellow men as may be willing to
grant them. No government can have any right to grant them; because no
government can have a right to take from one man any thing that is his,
and give it to another.

If this be the only true idea of an honest government, it is plain that
it can have nothing to do with men's "interests," "welfare," or
"prosperity," _as distinguished from their "rights."_ Being secured in
their rights, each and all must take the sole charge of, and have the
sole responsibility for, their own "interests," "welfare," and
"prosperity."

By simply protecting every man in his rights, a government necessarily
keeps open to every one the widest possible field, that he honestly can
have, for such industry as he may choose to follow. It also insures him
the widest possible field for obtaining such capital as he needs for his
industry, and the widest possible markets for the products of his labor.
With the possession of these rights, he must be content.

No honest government can go into business with any individuals, be they
many, or few. It cannot furnish capital to any, nor prohibit the loaning
of capital to any. It can give to no one any special aid to competition;
nor protect any one from competition. It must adhere inflexibly to the
principle of entire freedom for all honest industry, and all honest
traffic. It can do to no one any favor, nor render to any one any
assistance, which it withholds from another. It must hold the scales
impartially between them; taking no cognizance of any man's "interests,"
"welfare," or "prosperity," otherwise than by simply protecting him in
his "_rights_."

In opposition to this view, lawmakers profess to have weighty duties
laid upon them, to promote men's "interests," "welfare," and
"prosperity," _as distinguished from their "rights."_ They seldom have
any thing to say about men's "_rights_." On the contrary, they take it
for granted that they are charged with the duty of promoting,
superintending, directing, and controlling the "business" of the
country. In the performance of this supposed duty, all ideas of
individual "_rights_" are cast aside. Not knowing any way--because
there is no way--in which they can impartially promote all men's
"interests," "welfare," and "prosperity," _otherwise than by protecting
impartially all men's rights_, they boldly proclaim that "_individual
rights must not be permitted to stand in the way of the public good,
the public welfare, and the business interests of the country_."

Substantially all their lawmaking proceeds upon this theory; for there
is no other theory, on which they can find any justification whatever
for any lawmaking at all. So they proceed to give monopolies,
privileges, bounties, grants, loans, etc., etc., to particular persons,
or classes of persons; justifying themselves by saying that these
privileged persons will "give employment" to the unprivileged; and that
this employment, given by the privileged to the unprivileged, will
compensate the latter for the loss of their "_rights_." And they carry
on their lawmaking of this kind to the greatest extent they think is
possible, without causing rebellion and revolution, on the part of the
injured classes.

Sir, I am sorry to see that you adopt this lawmaking theory to its
fullest extent; that although, for once only, and in a dozen words
only,--and then merely incidentally,--you describe the government as "a
government pledged to do equal and exact justice to all men," you show,
throughout the rest of your address, that you have no thought of abiding
by that principle; that you are either utterly ignorant, or utterly
regardless, of what that principle requires of you; that the government,
so far as your influence goes, is to be given up to the business of
lawmaking,--that is, to the business of abolishing justice, and
establishing injustice in its place; that you hold it to be the proper
duty and function of the government to be constantly looking after men's
"interests," "welfare," "prosperity," etc., etc., _as distinguished from
their rights_; that it must consider men's "rights" as no guide to the
promotion of their "interests"; that it must give favors to some, and
withhold the same favors from others; that in order to give these favors
to some, it must take from others their _rights_; that, in reality, it
must traffic in both men's interests and their rights; that it must keep
open shop, and sell men's interests and rights to the highest bidders;
and that this is your only plan for promoting "the general welfare,"
"the common interest," etc., etc.

That such is your idea of the constitutional duties and functions of the
government, is shown by different parts of your address: but more fully,
perhaps, by this:

     The large variety of diverse and _competing interests_ subject
     to _federal control, persistently seeking recognition of their
     claims_, need give us no fear that the greatest good of the
     greatest number will fail to be accomplished, if, _in the
     halls of national legislation_, that spirit of amity and mutual
     concession shall prevail, in which the constitution had its
     birth. If this involves the _surrender_ or _postponement_ of
     _private interests_, and the _abandonment_ of _local
     advantages_, compensation will be found in the assurance that
     thus the _common interest_ is subserved, and _the general
     welfare_ advanced.

What is all this but saying that the government is not at all an
institution for "doing equal and exact justice to all men," or for the
impartial protection of all men's _rights_; but that it is its proper
business to take sides, for and against, a "large variety of diverse and
_competing interests_"; that it has this "large variety of diverse and
_competing interests_" under its arbitrary "_control_"; that it can, at
its pleasure, make such laws as will give success to some of them, and
insure the defeat of others; that these "various, diverse, and
_competing interests_" will be "_persistently seeking recognition of
their claims_ ... in _the halls of national legislation_,"--that is,
will be "persistently" clamoring for laws to be made in their favor;
that, in fact, "the halls of national legislation" are to be mere
arenas, into which the government actually invites the advocates and
representatives of all the selfish schemes of avarice and ambition that
unprincipled men can devise; that these schemes will there be free to
"_compete_" with each other in their corrupt offers for government favor
and support; and that it is to be the proper and ordinary business of
the lawmakers to listen to all these schemes; to adopt some of them, and
sustain them with all the money and power of the government; and to
"postpone," "abandon," oppose, and defeat all others; it being well
known, all the while, that the lawmakers will, _individually_, favor, or
oppose, these various schemes, according to their own irresponsible
will, pleasure, and discretion,--that is, according as they can better
serve their own personal interests and ambitions by doing the one or the
other.

Was a more thorough scheme of national villainy ever invented?

Sir, do you not know that in this conflict, between these "various,
diverse, and _competing interests_," all ideas of individual
"_rights_"--all ideas of "equal and exact justice to all men"--will be
cast to the winds; that the boldest, the strongest, the most fraudulent,
the most rapacious, and the most corrupt, men will have control of the
government, and make it a mere instrument for plundering the great body
of the people?

Your idea of the real character of the government is plainly this: The
lawmakers are to assume absolute and irresponsible "_control_" of all
the financial resources, all the legislative, judicial, and executive
powers, of the government, and employ them all for the promotion of such
schemes of plunder and ambition as they may select from all those that
may be submitted to them for their approval; that they are to keep "the
halls of national legislation" wide open for the admission of all
persons having such schemes to offer; and that they are to grant
monopolies, privileges, loans, and bounties to all such of these schemes
as they can make subserve their own individual interests and ambitions,
and reject or "postpone" all others. And that there is to be no limit to
their operations of this kind, except their fear of exciting rebellion
and resistance on the part of the plundered classes.

And you are just fool enough to tell us that such a government as this
may be relied on to "accomplish the greatest good to the greatest
number," "to subserve the common interest," and "advance the general
welfare," "if," only, "in the halls of national legislation, that spirit
of amity and mutual concession shall prevail, in which the constitution
had its birth."

You here assume that "the general welfare" is to depend, not upon the
free and untrammelled enterprise and industry of the whole people,
acting individually, and each enjoying and exercising all his natural
rights; but wholly or principally upon the success of such particular
schemes as the government may take under its special "control." And this
means that "the general welfare" is to depend, wholly or principally,
upon such privileges, monopolies, loans, and bounties as the government
may grant to more or less of that "large variety of diverse and
competing _interests_"--that is, schemes--that may be "persistently"
pressed upon its attention.

But as you impliedly acknowledge that the government cannot take all
these "interests" (schemes) under its "control," and bestow its favors
upon all alike, you concede that some of them must be "surrendered,"
"postponed," or "abandoned"; and that, consequently, the government
cannot get on at all, unless, "in the halls of national legislation,
that spirit of amity and mutual concession shall prevail, in which the
constitution had its birth."

This "spirit of amity and mutual concession in the halls of
legislation," you explain to mean this: a disposition, on the part of
the lawmakers respectively--whose various schemes of plunder cannot all
be accomplished, by reason of their being beyond the financial resources
of the government, or the endurance of the people--to "surrender" some
of them, "postpone" others, and "abandon" others, in order that the
general business of robbery may go on to the greatest extent possible,
and that each one of the lawmakers may succeed with as many of the
schemes he is specially intrusted with, as he can carry through by means
of such bargains, for mutual help, as he may be able to make with his
fellow lawmakers.

Such is the plan of government, to which you say that you "consecrate"
yourself, and "engage your every faculty and effort."

Was a more shameless avowal ever made?

You cannot claim to be ignorant of what crimes such a government will
commit. You have had abundant opportunity to know--and if you have kept
your eyes open, you do know--what these schemes of robbery have been in
the past; and from these you can judge what they will be in the future.

You know that under such a system, every senator and
representative--probably without an exception--will come to the congress
as the champion of the dominant scoundrelisms of his own State or
district; that he will be elected solely to serve those "interests," as
you call them; that in offering himself as a candidate, he will announce
the robbery, or robberies, to which all his efforts will be directed;
that he will call these robberies his "policy"; or if he be lost to all
decency, he will call them his "principles"; that they will always be
such as he thinks will best subserve his own interests, or ambitions;
that he will go to "the halls of national legislation" with his head
full of plans for making bargains with other lawmakers--as corrupt as
himself--for mutual help in carrying their respective schemes.

Such has been the character of our congresses nearly, or quite, from the
beginning. It can scarcely be said that there has ever been an honest
man in one of them. A man has sometimes gained a reputation for honesty,
in his own State or district, by opposing some one or more of the
robberies that were proposed by members from other portions of the
country. But such a man has seldom, or never, deserved his reputation;
for he has, generally, if not always, been the advocate of some one or
more schemes of robbery, by which more or less of his own constituents
were to profit, and which he knew it would be indispensable that he
should advocate, in order to give him votes at home.

If there have ever been any members, who were consistently honest
throughout,--who were really in favor of "doing equal and exact justice
to all men,"--and, of course, nothing more than that to any,--their
numbers have been few; so few as to have left no mark upon the general
legislation. They have but constituted the exceptions that proved the
rule. If you were now required to name such a lawmaker, I think you
would search our history in vain to find him.

That this is no exaggerated description of our national lawmaking, the
following facts will prove.

For the first seventy years of the government, one portion of the
lawmakers would be satisfied with nothing less than permission to rob
one-sixth, or one-seventh, of the whole population, not only of their
labor, but even of their right to their own persons. In 1860, this class
of lawmakers comprised all the senators and representatives from
fifteen, of the then thirty-three, States.[3]

    [3] In the Senate they stood thirty to thirty-six, in the house
    ninety to one hundred and forty-seven, in the two branches
    united one hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty-three,
    relatively to the non-slaveholding members.

    From the foundation of the government--without a single
    interval, I think--the lawmakers from the slaveholding States
    had been, _relatively_, as strong, or stronger, than in 1860.

This body of lawmakers, standing always firmly together, and capable of
turning the scale for, or against, any scheme of robbery, in which
northern men were interested, but on which northern men were
divided,--such as navigation acts, tariffs, bounties, grants, war,
peace, etc.,--could purchase immunity for their own crime, by supporting
such, and so many, northern crimes--second only to their own in
atrocity--as could be mutually agreed on.

In this way the slaveholders bargained for, and secured, protection for
slavery and the slave trade, by consenting to such navigation acts as
some of the northern States desired, and to such tariffs on
imports--such as iron, coal, wool, woollen goods, etc.,--as should
enable the home producers of similar articles to make fortunes by
robbing everybody else in the prices of their goods.

Another class of lawmakers have been satisfied with nothing less than
such a monopoly of money, as should enable the holders of it to
suppress, as far as possible, all industry and traffic, except such as
they themselves should control; such a monopoly of money as would put
it wholly out of the power of the great body of wealth-producers to
hire the capital needed for their industries; and thus compel
them--especially the mechanical portions of them--by the alternative of
starvation--to sell their labor to the monopolists of money, for just
such prices as these latter should choose to pay. This monopoly of money
has also given, to the holders of it, a control, so nearly absolute, of
all industry--agricultural as well as mechanical--and all traffic, as
has enabled them to plunder all the producing classes in the prices of
their labor, or the products of their labor.

Have you been blind, all these years, to the existence, or the effects,
of this monopoly of money?

Still another class of lawmakers have demanded unequal taxation on the
various kinds of home property, that are subject to taxation; such
unequal taxation as would throw heavy burdens upon some kinds of
property, and very light burdens, or no burdens at all, upon other
kinds.

And yet another class of lawmakers have demanded great appropriations,
or loans, of money, or grants of lands, to enterprises intended to give
great wealth to a few, at the expense of everybody else.

These are some of the schemes of downright and outright robbery, which
you mildly describe as "the large variety of diverse and competing
interests, _subject to federal control_, persistently seeking
recognition of their claims ... in the halls of national legislation";
and each having its champions and representatives among the lawmakers.

You know that all, or very nearly all, the legislation of congress is
devoted to these various schemes of robbery; and that little, or no,
legislation goes through, except by means of such bargains as these
lawmakers may enter into with each other, for mutual support of their
respective robberies. And yet you have the mendacity, or the stupidity,
to tell us that so much of this legislation as does go through, may be
relied on to "accomplish the greatest good to the greatest number," to
"subserve the common interest," and "advance the general welfare."

And when these schemes of robbery become so numerous, atrocious, and
unendurable that they can no longer be reconciled "in the halls of
national legislation," by "surrendering" some of them, "postponing"
others, and "abandoning" others, you assume--for such has been the
prevailing opinion, and you say nothing to the contrary--that it is the
right of the strongest party, or parties, to murder a half million of
men, if that be necessary,--and as we once did,--not to secure liberty
or justice to any body,--but to compel the weaker of these would-be
robbers to submit to all such robberies as the stronger ones may choose
to practise upon them.


                               SECTION X.

Sir, your idea of the true character of our government is plainly this:
you assume that all the natural, inherent, inalienable, individual,
_human_ rights of fifty millions of people--all their individual rights
to preserve their own lives, and promote their own happiness--have been
thrown into one common heap,--into hotchpotch, as the lawyers say: and
that this hotchpotch has been given into the hands of some four hundred
champion robbers, each of whom has pledged himself to carry off as large
a portion of it as possible, to be divided among those men--well known
to himself, but who--to save themselves from all responsibility for his
acts--have secretly (by secret ballot) appointed him to be their
champion.

Sir, if you had assumed that all the people of this country had thrown
all their wealth, all their rights, all their means of living, into
hotchpotch; and that this hotchpotch had been given over to four hundred
ferocious hounds; and that each of these hounds had been selected and
trained to bring to his masters so much of this common plunder as he, in
the general fight, or scramble, could get off with, you would scarcely
have drawn a more vivid picture of the true character of the government
of the United States, than you have done in your inaugural address.

No wonder that you are obliged to confess that such a government can be
carried on only "amid the din of party strife"; that it will be
influenced--you should have said _directed_--by "purely partisan zeal";
and that it will be attended by "the animosities of political strife,
the bitterness of partisan defeat, and the exultation of partisan
triumph."

What gang of robbers, quarrelling over the division of their plunder,
could exhibit a more shameful picture than you thus acknowledge to be
shown by the government of the United States?

Sir, nothing of all this "din," and "strife," and "animosity," and
"bitterness," is caused by any attempt, on the part of the government,
to simply "do equal and exact justice to all men,"--to simply protect
every man impartially in all his natural rights to life, liberty, and
property. It is all caused simply and solely by the government's
violation of some men's "_rights_," to promote other men's "interests."
If you do not know this, you are mentally an object of pity.

Sir, men's "_rights_" are always harmonious. That is to say, each man's
"rights" are always consistent and harmonious with each and every other
man's "rights." But their "_interests_" as you estimate them, constantly
clash; especially such "interests" as depend on government grants of
monopolies, privileges, loans, and bounties. And these "interests," like
the interests of other gamblers, clash with a fury proportioned to the
amounts at stake. It is these clashing "_interests_" and not any
clashing "_rights_" that give rise to all the strife you have here
depicted, and to all this necessity for "that spirit of amity and mutual
concession," which you hold to be indispensable to the accomplishment of
such legislation as you say is necessary to the welfare of the country.

Each and every man's "_rights_" being consistent and harmonious with
each and every other man's "_rights_"; and all men's rights being
immutably fixed, and easily ascertained, by a science that is open to be
learned and known by all; a government that does nothing but "equal and
exact justice to all men"--that simply gives to every man his own, and
nothing more to any--has no cause and no occasion for any "political
_parties_." What are these "political parties" but standing armies of
robbers, each trying to rob the other, and to prevent being itself
robbed by the other? A government that seeks only to "do equal and exact
justice to all men," has no cause and no occasion to enlist all the
fighting men in the nation in two hostile ranks; to keep them always in
battle array, and burning with hatred towards each other. It has no
cause and no occasion for any "political _warfare_" any "political
_hostility_" any "political _campaigns_" any "political _contests_" any
"political _fights_" any "political _defeats_" or any "political
_triumphs_." It has no cause and no occasion for any of those "political
_leaders_" so called, whose whole business is to invent new schemes of
robbery, and organize the people into opposing bands of robbers; all for
their own aggrandizement alone. It has no cause and no occasion for the
toleration, or the existence, of that vile horde of political bullies,
and swindlers, and blackguards, who enlist on one side or the other, and
fight for pay; who, year in and year out, employ their lungs and their
ink in spreading lies among ignorant people, to excite their hopes of
gain, or their fears of loss, and thus obtain their votes. In short, it
has no cause and no occasion for all this "din of party strife," for all
this "purely partisan zeal," for all "the bitterness of partisan
defeat," for all "the exultation of partisan triumph," nor, worst of
all, for any of "that spirit of amity and mutual concession [by which
you evidently mean that readiness, "in the halls of national
legislation," to sacrifice some men's "rights" to promote other men's
"interests"] in which [you say] the constitution had its birth."

If the constitution does really, or naturally, give rise to all this
"strife," and require all this "spirit of amity and mutual
concession,"--and I do not care now to deny that it does,--so much the
worse for the constitution. And so much the worse for all those men
who, like yourself, swear to "preserve, protect, and defend it."

And yet you have the face to make no end of professions, or pretences,
that the impelling power, the real motive, in all this robbery and
strife, is nothing else than "the service of the people," "their
interests," "the promotion of their welfare," "good government,"
"government by the people," "the popular will," "the general weal," "the
achievements of our national destiny," "the benefits which our happy
form of government can bestow," "the lasting welfare of the country,"
"the priceless benefits of the constitution," "the greatest good to the
greatest number," "the common interest," "the general welfare," "the
people's will," "the mission of the American people," "our civil
policy," "the genius of our institutions," "the needs of our people in
their home life," "the settlement and development of the resources of
our vast territory," "the prosperity of our republic," "the interests
and prosperity of all the people," "the safety and confidence of
business interests," "making the wage of labor sure and steady," "a
due regard to the interests of capital invested and workingmen
employed in American industries," "reform in the administration of the
government," "the application of business principles to public
affairs," "the constant and ever varying wants of an active and
enterprising population," "a firm determination to secure to all the
people of the land the full benefits of the best form of government
ever vouchsafed to man," "the blessings of our national life," etc.,
etc.

Sir, what is the use of such a deluge of unmeaning words, unless it be
to gloss over, and, if possible, hide, the true character of the acts of
the government?

Such "generalities" as these do not even "glitter." They are only the
stale phrases of the demagogue, who wishes to appear to promise
everything, but commits himself to nothing. Or else they are the
senseless talk of a mere political parrot, who repeats words he has been
taught to utter, without knowing their meaning. At best, they are the
mere gibberish of a man destitute of all political ideas, but who
imagines that "good government," "the general welfare," "the common
interest," "the best form of government ever vouchsafed to man," etc.,
etc., must be very good things, if anybody can ever find out what they
are. There is nothing definite, nothing real, nothing tangible, nothing
honest, about them. Yet they constitute your entire stock in trade. In
resorting to them--in holding them up to public gaze as comprising your
political creed--you assume that they have a meaning; that they are
matters of overruling importance; that they require the action of an
omnipotent, irresponsible, lawmaking government; that all these
"interests" must be represented, and can be secured, only "in the halls
of national legislation"; and by such political hounds as have been
selected and trained, and sent there, solely that they may bring off, to
their respective masters, as much as possible of the public plunder they
hold in their hands; that is, as much as possible of the earnings of all
the honest wealth-producers of the country.

And when these masters count up the spoils that their hounds have thus
brought home to them, they set up a corresponding shout that "the public
prosperity," "the common interest," and "the general welfare" have been
"advanced." And the scoundrels by whom the work has been accomplished,
"in the halls of national legislation," are trumpeted to the world as
"great statesmen." And you are just stupid enough to be deceived into
the belief, or just knave enough to pretend to be deceived into the
belief, that all this is really the truth.

One would infer from your address that you think the people of this
country incapable of doing anything for themselves, _individually_; that
they would all perish, but for the employment given them by that "large
variety of diverse and competing interests"--that is, such purely
selfish schemes--as may be "persistently seeking recognition of their
claims ... in the halls of national legislation," and secure for
themselves such monopolies and advantages as congress may see fit to
grant them.

Instead of your recognizing the right of each and every individual to
judge of, and provide for, his own well-being, according to the dictates
of his own judgment, and by the free exercise of his own powers of body
and mind,--so long as he infringes the equal rights of no other
person,--you assume that fifty millions of people, who never saw you,
and never will see you, who know almost nothing about you, and care very
little about you, are all so weak, ignorant, and degraded as to be
humbly and beseechingly looking to you--and to a few more lawmakers (so
called) whom they never saw, and never will see, and of whom they know
almost nothing--to enlighten, direct, and "_control_" them in their
daily labors to supply their own wants, and promote their own happiness!

You thus assume that these fifty millions of people are so debased,
mentally and morally, that they look upon you and your associate
lawmakers as their earthly gods, holding their destinies in your hands,
and anxiously studying their welfare; instead of looking upon you--as
most of you certainly ought to be looked upon--as a mere cabal of
ignorant, selfish, ambitious, rapacious, and unprincipled men, who know
very little, and care to know very little, except how you can get fame,
and power, and money, by trampling upon other men's rights, and robbing
them of the fruits of their labor.

Assuming yourself to be the greatest of these gods, charged with the
"welfare" of fifty millions of people, you enter upon the mighty task
with all the mock solemnity, and ridiculous grandiloquence, of a man
ignorant enough to imagine that he is really performing a solemn duty,
and doing an immense public service, instead of simply making a fool of
himself. Thus you say:

     Fellow citizens: In the presence of this vast assemblage of my
     countrymen, I am about to supplement and seal, by the oath
     which I shall take, the manifestation of the will of a great
     and free people. In the exercise of their power and right of
     self-government, they have committed to one of their fellow
     citizens a supreme and sacred trust, and he here consecrates
     himself to their service. This impressive ceremony adds little
     to the solemn sense of responsibility with which I contemplate
     the duty I owe to all the people of the land. Nothing can
     relieve me from anxiety lest by any act of mine their
     _interests_ [not their _rights_] may suffer, and nothing is
     needed to strengthen my resolution to engage every faculty and
     effort in the promotion of their _welfare_. [Not in "doing
     equal and exact justice to all men." After having once
     described the government as one "pledged to do equal and exact
     justice to all men," you drop that subject entirely, and wander
     off into "interests," and "welfare," and an astonishing number
     of other equally unmeaning things.]

Sir, you would have no occasion to take all this tremendous labor and
responsibility upon yourself, if you and your lawmakers would but keep
your hands off the "_rights_" of your "countrymen." Your "countrymen"
would be perfectly competent to take care of their own "_interests_,"
and provide for their own "_welfare_," if their hands were not tied, and
their powers crippled, by such fetters as men like you and your
lawmakers have fastened upon them.

Do you know so little of your "countrymen," that you need to be told
that their own strength and skill must be their sole reliance for their
own well-being? Or that they are abundantly able, and willing, and
anxious above all other things, to supply their own "needs in their home
life," and secure their own "welfare"? Or that they would do it, not
only without jar or friction, but as their highest duty and pleasure, if
their powers were not manacled by the absurd and villainous laws you
propose to execute upon them? Are you so stupid as to imagine that
putting chains on men's hands, and fetters on their feet, and
insurmountable obstacles in their paths, is the way to supply their
"needs," and promote their "welfare"? Do you think your "countrymen"
need to be told, either by yourself, or by any such gang of ignorant or
unprincipled men as all lawmakers are, what to do, and what not to do,
to supply their own "needs in their home life"? Do they not know how to
grow their own food, make their own clothing, build their own houses,
print their own books, acquire all the knowledge, and create all the
wealth, they desire, without being domineered over, and thwarted in all
their efforts, by any set of either fools or villains, who may call
themselves their lawmakers? And do you think they will never get their
eyes open to see what blockheads, or impostors, you and your lawmakers
are? Do they not now--at least so far as you will permit them to do
it--grow their own food, build their own houses, make their own
clothing, print their own books? Do they not make all the scientific
discoveries and mechanical inventions, by which all wealth is created?
_Or are all these things done by "the government"?_ Are you an idiot,
that you can talk as you do, about what you and your lawmakers are doing
to provide for the real wants, and promote the real "welfare," of fifty
millions of people?


                              SECTION XI.

But perhaps the most brilliant idea in your whole address, is this:

     _Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close
     scrutiny of its public servants,_ and a fair and reasonable
     estimate of their fidelity and usefulness. Thus is the people's
     will impressed upon the whole framework of our civil policy,
     municipal, State, and federal; _and this is the price of our
     liberty_, and the inspiration of our faith in the republic.

The essential parts of this declaration are these:

"_Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of
its public servants, ... and this is the price of our liberty._"

Who are these "public servants," that need all this watching? Evidently
they are the lawmakers, and the lawmakers only. They are not only the
_chief_ "public servants," but they are absolute masters of all the
other "public servants." These other "public servants," judicial and
executive,--the courts, the army, the navy, the collectors of taxes,
etc., etc.,--have no function whatever, except that of simple obedience
to the lawmakers. They are appointed, paid, and have their duties
prescribed to them, by the lawmakers; and are made responsible only to
the lawmakers. They are mere puppets in the hands of the lawmakers.
Clearly, then, the lawmakers are the only ones we have any occasion to
watch.

Your declaration, therefore, amounts, practically, to this, and this
only:

_Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of
ITS LAWMAKERS, ... and this is the price of our liberty._

Sir, your declaration is so far true, as that all the danger to "our
liberty" _comes solely from the lawmakers_.

And why are the lawmakers dangerous to "our liberty"? Because it is a
natural impossibility that they can _make_ any law--that is, any law of
their own invention--that does _not_ violate "our liberty."

_The law of justice is the one only law that does not violate "our
liberty."_ And that is not a law that was made by the lawmakers. It
existed before they were born, and will exist after they are dead. It
derives not one particle of its authority from any commands of theirs.
It is, therefore, in no sense, one of _their_ laws. Only laws of their
own invention are _their_ laws. And as it is naturally impossible that
they can invent any law of their own, that shall not conflict with the
law of justice, it is naturally impossible that they can _make_ a
law--that is, a law of their own invention--that shall _not_ violate
"our liberty."

The law of justice is the precise measure, and the only precise measure,
of the rightful "liberty" of each and every human being. Any law--made
by lawmakers--that should give to any man more liberty than is given him
by the law of justice, would be a license to commit an injustice upon
one or more other persons. On the other hand, any law--made by
lawmakers--that should take from any human being any "liberty" that is
given him by the law of justice, would be taking from him a part of his
own rightful "liberty."

Inasmuch, then, as every possible law, that can be made by lawmakers,
must either give to some one or more persons more "liberty" than the law
of nature--or the law of justice--gives them, and more "liberty" than is
consistent with the natural and equal "liberty" of all other persons; or
else must take from some one or more persons some portion of that
"liberty" which the law of nature--or the law of justice--gives to every
human being, it is inevitable that every law, that can be made by
lawmakers, must be a violation of the natural and rightful "liberty" of
some one or more persons.

Therefore the very idea of a _lawmaking_ government--a government that
is to make laws of its own invention--is necessarily in direct and
inevitable conflict with "our liberty." In fact, the whole, sole, and
only real purpose of any _lawmaking_ government whatever is to take from
some one or more persons their "liberty." Consequently the only way in
which all men can preserve their "liberty," is not to have any
_lawmaking_ government at all.

We have been told, time out of mind, that "_Eternal vigilance is
the price of liberty_." But this admonition, by reason of its
indefiniteness, has heretofore fallen dead upon the popular mind. It, in
reality, tells us nothing that we need to know, to enable us to preserve
"our liberty." It does not even tell us what "our liberty" is, or how,
or when, or through whom, it is endangered, or destroyed.

1. It does not tell us that _individual_ liberty is the only _human_
liberty. It does not tell us that "national liberty," "political
liberty," "republican liberty," "democratic liberty," "constitutional
liberty," "liberty under law," and all the other kinds of liberty that
men have ever invented, and with which tyrants, as well as demagogues,
have amused and cheated the ignorant, are not liberty at all, unless in
so far as they may, under certain circumstances, have chanced to
contribute something to, or given some impulse toward, _individual_
liberty.

2. It does not tell us that _individual_ liberty means freedom from all
compulsion to do anything whatever, except what justice requires us to
do, and freedom to do everything whatever that justice permits us to do.
It does not tell us that individual liberty means freedom from all human
restraint or coercion whatsoever, so long as we "live honestly, hurt
nobody, and give to every one his due."

3. It does not tell us that there is any _science of liberty_; any
science, which every man may learn, and by which every man may know,
what is, and what is not, his own, and every other man's, rightful
"liberty."

4. It does not tell us that this right of individual liberty rests upon
an immutable, natural principle, which no human power can make, unmake,
or alter; nor that all human authority, that claims to set it aside, or
modify it, is nothing but falsehood, absurdity, usurpation, tyranny, and
crime.

5. It does not tell us that this right of individual liberty is a
_natural, inherent, inalienable right; that therefore no man can part
with it, or delegate it to another, if he would_; and that,
consequently, all the claims that have ever been made, by governments,
priests, or any other powers, that individuals have voluntarily
surrendered, or "delegated," their liberty to others, are all impostures
and frauds.

6. It does not tell us that all human laws, so called, and all human
lawmaking,--all commands, either by one man, or any number of men,
calling themselves a government, or by any other name--requiring any
individual to do this, or forbidding him to do that--so long as he
"lives honestly, hurts no one, and gives to every one his due"--are all
false and tyrannical assumptions of a right of authority and dominion
over him; are all violations of his natural, inherent, inalienable,
rightful, individual liberty; and, as such, are to be resented and
resisted to the utmost, by every one who does not choose to be a slave.

7. And, finally, it does not tell us that all _lawmaking_ governments
whatsoever--whether called monarchies, aristocracies, republics,
democracies, or by any other name--are all alike violations of men's
natural and rightful liberty.

We can now see why lawmakers are the only enemies, from whom "our
liberty" has anything to fear, or whom we have any occasion to watch.
They are to be watched, because they claim the right to abolish justice,
and establish injustice in its stead; because they claim the right to
command us to do things which justice does not require us to do, and to
forbid us to do things which justice permits us to do; because they deny
our right to be, _individually, and absolutely_, our own masters and
owners, so long as we obey the one law of justice towards all other
persons; because they claim to be our masters, and that _their_
commands, _as such_, are authoritative and binding upon us as law; and
that they may rightfully compel us to obey them.

"Our liberty" is in danger only from the lawmakers, because it is only
through the agency of lawmakers, that anybody pretends to be able to
take away "our liberty." It is only the lawmakers that claim to be above
all responsibility for taking away "our liberty." Lawmakers are the only
ones who are impudent enough to assert for themselves the right to take
away "our liberty." They are the only ones who are impudent enough to
tell us that we have voluntarily surrendered "our liberty" into their
hands. They are the only ones who have the insolent condescension to
tell us that, in consideration of our having surrendered into their
hands "our liberty," and all our natural, inherent, inalienable rights
as human beings, they are disposed to give us, in return, "good
government," "the best form of government ever vouchsafed to man"; to
"protect" us, to provide for our "welfare," to promote our "interests,"
etc., etc.

And yet you are just blockhead enough to tell us that if "Every
citizen"--fifty millions and more of them--will but keep "a vigilant
watch and close scrutiny" upon these lawmakers, "our liberty" may be
preserved!

Don't you think, sir, that you are really the wisest man that ever told
"a great and free people" how they could preserve "their liberty"?

To be entirely candid, don't you think, sir, that a surer way of
preserving "our liberty" would be to have no lawmakers at all?


                              SECTION XII.

But, in spite of all I have said, or, perhaps, can say, you will
probably persist in your idea that the world needs a great deal of
lawmaking; that mankind in general are not entitled to have any will,
choice, judgment, or conscience of their own; that, if not very wicked,
they are at least very ignorant and stupid; that they know very little
of what is for their own good, or how to promote their own "interests,"
"welfare," or "prosperity"; that it is therefore necessary that they
should be put under guardianship to lawmakers; that these lawmakers,
being a very superior race of beings,--wise beyond the rest of their
species,--and entirely free from all those selfish passions which tempt
common mortals to do wrong,--must be intrusted with absolute and
irresponsible dominion over the less favored of their kind; must
prescribe to the latter, authoritatively, what they may, and may not,
do; and, in general, manage the affairs of this world according to their
discretion, free of all accountability to any human tribunals.

And you seem to be perfectly confident that, under this absolute and
irresponsible dominion of the lawmakers, the affairs of this world will
be rightly managed; that the "interests," "welfare," and "prosperity" of
"a great and free people" will be properly attended to; that "the
greatest good of the greatest number" will be accomplished, etc., etc.

And yet you hold that all this lawmaking, and all this subjection of the
great body of the people to the arbitrary, irresponsible dominion of the
lawmakers, will not interfere at all with "our liberty," if only "every
citizen" will but keep "a vigilant watch and close scrutiny" of the
lawmakers.

Well, perhaps this is all so; although this subjection to the arbitrary
will of any man, or body of men, whatever, and under any pretence
whatever, seems, on the face of it, to be much more like slavery, than
it does like "liberty".

If, therefore, you really intend to continue this system of lawmaking,
it seems indispensable that you should explain to us what you mean by
the term "our liberty."

So far as your address gives us any light on the subject, you evidently
mean, by the term "our liberty," just such, and only such, "liberty," as
the lawmakers may see fit to allow us to have.

You seem to have no conception of any other "liberty" whatever.

You give us no idea of any other "liberty" that we can secure to
ourselves, even though "every citizen"--fifty millions and more of
them--shall all keep "a vigilant watch and close scrutiny" upon the
lawmakers.

Now, inasmuch as the human race always have had all the "liberty" their
lawmakers have seen fit to permit them to have; and inasmuch as, under
your system of lawmaking, they always will have as much "liberty" as
their lawmakers shall see fit to give them; and inasmuch as you
apparently concede the right, which the lawmakers have always claimed,
of killing all those who are not content with so much "liberty" as their
lawmakers have seen fit to allow them,--it seems very plain that you
have not added anything to our stock of knowledge on the subject of "our
liberty."

Leaving us thus, as you do, in as great darkness as we ever were, on
this all-important subject of "our liberty," I think you ought to submit
patiently to a little questioning on the part of those of us, who feel
that all this lawmaking--each and every separate particle of it--is a
violation of "our liberty."

Will you, therefore, please tell us whether any, and, if any, how much,
of that _natural_ liberty--of that natural, inherent, inalienable,
_individual_ right to liberty--with which it has generally been supposed
that God, or Nature, has endowed every human being, will be left to us,
if the lawmakers are to continue, as you would have them do, the
exercise of their arbitrary, irresponsible dominion over us?

Are you prepared to answer that question?

No. You appear to have never given a thought to any such question as
that.

I will therefore answer it for you.

And my answer is, that from the moment it is conceded that any man, or
body of men, whatever, under any pretence whatever, have the right to
_make laws of their own invention_, and compel other men to obey them,
every vestige of man's _natural_ and rightful liberty is denied him.

That this is so is proved by the fact that _all_ a man's _natural_
rights stand upon one and the same basis, _viz._, that they are the gift
of God, or Nature, to him, _as an individual_, for his own uses, and for
his own happiness. If any one of these natural rights may be arbitrarily
taken from him by other men, _all_ of them may be taken from him on the
same reason. No one of these rights is any more sacred or inviolable in
its nature, than are all the others. The denial of any one of these
rights is therefore equivalent to a denial of all the others. The
violation of any one of these rights, by lawmakers, is equivalent to the
assertion of a right to violate all of them.

Plainly, unless _all_ a man's natural rights are inviolable by
lawmakers, _none_ of them are. It is an absurdity to say that a man has
any rights _of his own_, if other men, whether calling themselves a
government, or by any other name, have the right to take them from him,
without his consent. Therefore the very idea of a lawmaking government
necessarily implies a denial of all such things as individual liberty,
or individual rights.

From this statement it does not follow that every lawmaking government
will, in practice, take from every man _all_ his natural rights. It will
do as it pleases about it. It will take some, leaving him to enjoy
others, just as its own pleasure or discretion shall dictate at the
time. It would defeat its own ends, if it were wantonly to take away
_all_ his natural rights,--as, for example, his right to live, and to
breathe,--for then he would be dead, and the government could then get
nothing more out of him. The most tyrannical government will, therefore,
if it have any sense, leave its victims enough liberty to enable them to
provide for their own subsistence, to pay their taxes, and to render
such military or other service as the government may have need of. _But
it will do this for its own good, and not for theirs._ In allowing them
this liberty, it does not at all recognize their right to it, but only
consults its own interests.

Now, sir, this is the real character of the government of the United
States, as it is of all other _lawmaking_ governments. There is not a
single human right, which the government of the United States recognises
as inviolable. It tramples upon any and every individual right, whenever
its own will, pleasure, or discretion shall so dictate. It takes men's
property, liberty, and lives whenever it can serve its own purposes by
doing so.

All these things prove that the government does not exist at all for the
protection of men's _rights_; but that it absolutely denies to the
people any rights, or any liberty, whatever, except such as it shall see
fit to permit them to have for the time being. It virtually declares
that it does not itself exist at all for the good of the people, but
that the people exist solely for the use of the government.

All these things prove that the government is not one voluntarily
established and sustained by the people, for the protection of their
natural, inherent, individual rights, but that it is merely a government
of usurpers, robbers, and tyrants, who claim to own the people as their
slaves, and claim the right to dispose of them, and their property, at
their (the usurpers') pleasure or discretion.

Now, sir, since you may be disposed to deny that such is the real
character of the government, I propose to prove it, by evidences so
numerous and conclusive that you cannot dispute them.

My proposition, then, is, that there is not a single _natural_, human
right, that the government of the United States recognizes as
inviolable; that there is not a single _natural_, human right, that it
hesitates to trample under foot, whenever it thinks it can promote its
own interests by doing so.

The proofs of this proposition are so numerous, that only a few of the
most important can here be enumerated.

1. The government does not even recognize a man's natural right to his
own life. If it have need of him, for the maintenance of its power, it
takes him, against his will (conscripts him), and puts him before the
cannon's mouth, to be blown in pieces, as if he were a mere senseless
thing, having no more _rights_ than if he were a shell, a canister, or a
torpedo. It considers him simply as so much senseless war material, to
be consumed, expended, and destroyed for the maintenance of its power.
It no more recognizes his right to have anything to say in the matter,
than if he were but so much weight of powder or ball. It does not
recognize him at all as a human being, having any rights whatever of his
own, but only as an instrument, a weapon, or a machine, to be used in
killing other men.

2. The government not only denies a man's right, as a moral human being,
to have any will, any judgment, or any conscience of his own, as to
whether he himself will be killed in battle, but it equally denies his
right to have any will, any judgment, or any conscience of his own, as a
moral human being, as to whether he shall be used as a mere weapon for
killing other men. If he refuses to kill any, or all, other men, whom it
commands him to kill, it takes his own life, as unceremoniously as if he
were but a dog.

Is it possible to conceive of a more complete denial of all a man's
_natural_, _human_ rights, than is the denial of his right to have any
will, judgment, or conscience of his own, either as to his being killed
himself, or as to his being used as a mere weapon for killing other men?

3. But in still another way, than by its conscriptions, the government
denies a man's right to any will, choice, judgment, or conscience of his
own, in regard either to being killed himself, or used as a weapon in
its hands for killing other people.

If, in private life, a man enters into a perfectly voluntary agreement
to work for another, at some innocent and useful labor, for a day, a
week, a month, or a year, he cannot lawfully be compelled to fulfil that
contract; because such compulsion would be an acknowledgment of his
right to sell his own liberty. And this is what no one can do.

This right of personal liberty is inalienable. No man can sell it, or
transfer it to another; or give to another any right of arbitrary
dominion over him. All contracts for such a purpose are absurd and void
contracts, that no man can rightfully be compelled to fulfil.

But when a deluded or ignorant young man has once been enticed into a
contract to kill others, and to take his chances of being killed
himself, in the service of the government, for any given number of
years, the government holds that such a contract to sell his liberty,
his judgment, his conscience, and his life, is a valid and binding
contract; and that if he fails to fulfil it, he may rightfully be shot.

All these things prove that the government recognizes no right of the
individual, to his own life, or liberty, or to the exercise of his own
will, judgment, or conscience, in regard to his killing his fellow-men,
or to being killed himself, if the government sees fit to use him as
mere war material, in maintaining its arbitrary dominion over other
human beings.

4. The government recognizes no such thing as any _natural_ right of
property, on the part of individuals.

This is proved by the fact that it takes, for its own uses, any and
every man's property--when it pleases, and as much of it as it
pleases--without obtaining, or even asking, his consent.

This taking of a man's property, without his consent, is a denial of his
right of property; for the right of property is the right of supreme,
absolute, and irresponsible dominion over anything that is naturally a
subject of property,--that is, of ownership. _It is a right against all
the world._ And this right of property--this right of supreme, absolute,
and irresponsible dominion over anything that is naturally a subject of
ownership--is subject only to this qualification, _viz._, that each man
must so use his own, as not to injure another.

If A uses his own property so as to injure the person or property of B,
his own property may rightfully be taken to any extent that is necessary
to make reparation for the wrong he has done.

This is the only qualification to which the _natural_ right of property
is subject.

When, therefore, a government takes a man's property, for its own
support, or for its own uses, without his consent, it practically denies
his right of property altogether; for it practically asserts that _its_
right of dominion is superior to his.

No man can be said to have any right of property at all, in any
thing--that is, any right of supreme, absolute, and irresponsible
dominion over any thing--of which any other men may rightfully deprive
him at their pleasure.

Now, the government of the United States, in asserting its right to take
at pleasure the property of individuals, without their consent,
virtually denies their right of property altogether, because it asserts
that _its_ right of dominion over it, is superior to theirs.

5. The government denies the _natural_ right of human beings to live on
this planet. This it does by denying their _natural_ right to those
things that are indispensable to the maintenance of life. It says that,
for every thing necessary to the maintenance of life, they must have a
special permit from the government; and that the government cannot be
required to grant them any other means of living than it chooses to
grant them.

All this is shown as follows, _viz._:

The government denies the _natural_ right of individuals to take
possession of wilderness land, and hold and cultivate it for their own
subsistence.

It asserts that wilderness land is the property of the government; and
that individuals have no right to take possession of, or cultivate, it,
unless by special grant of the government. And if an individual attempts
to exercise this natural right, the government punishes him as a
trespasser and a criminal.

The government has no more right to claim the ownership of wilderness
lands, than it has to claim the ownership of the sunshine, the water, or
the atmosphere. And it has no more right to punish a man for taking
possession of wilderness land, and cultivating it, without the consent
of the government, than it has to punish him for breathing the air,
drinking the water, or enjoying the sunshine, without a special grant
from the government.

In thus asserting the government's right of property in wilderness land,
and in denying men's right to take possession of and cultivate it,
except on first obtaining a grant from the government,--which grant the
government may withhold if it pleases,--the government plainly denies
the _natural_ right of men to live on this planet, by denying their
_natural_ right to the means that are indispensable to their procuring
the food that is necessary for supporting life.

In asserting its right of arbitrary dominion over that natural wealth
that is indispensable to the support of human life, it asserts its right
to withhold that wealth from those whose lives are dependent upon it. In
this way it denies the _natural_ right of human beings to live on the
planet. It asserts that government owns the planet, and that men have no
right to live on it, except by first getting a permit from the
government.

This denial of men's _natural_ right to take possession of and cultivate
wilderness land is not altered at all by the fact that the government
consents to sell as much land as it thinks it expedient or profitable to
sell; nor by the fact that, in certain cases, it gives outright certain
lands to certain persons. Notwithstanding these sales and gifts, the
fact remains that the government claims the original ownership of the
lands; and thus denies the _natural_ right of individuals to take
possession of and cultivate them. In denying this _natural_ right of
individuals, it denies their _natural_ right to live on the earth; and
asserts that they have no other right to life than the government, by
its own mere will, pleasure, and discretion, may see fit to grant them.

In thus denying man's _natural_ right to life, it of course denies every
other _natural_ right of human beings; and asserts that they have no
_natural_ right to anything; but that, for all other things, as well as
for life itself, they must depend wholly upon the good pleasure and
discretion of the government.


                             SECTION XIII.

In still another way, the government denies men's _natural_ right to
life. And that is by denying their _natural_ right to make any of those
contracts with each other, for buying and selling, borrowing and
lending, giving and receiving, property, which are necessary, if men are
to exist in any considerable numbers on the earth.

Even the few savages, who contrive to live, mostly or wholly, by
hunting, fishing, and gathering wild fruits, without cultivating the
earth, and almost wholly without the use of tools or machinery, are yet,
_at times_, necessitated to buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and
receive, articles of food, if no others, as their only means of
preserving their lives. But, in civilized life, where but a small
portion of men's labor is necessary for the production of food, and they
employ themselves in an almost infinite variety of industries, and in
the production of an almost infinite variety of commodities, it would be
impossible for them to live, if they were wholly prohibited from buying
and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, the products
of each other's labor.

Yet the government of the United States--either acting separately, or
jointly with the State governments--has heretofore constantly denied,
and still constantly denies, the _natural_ right of the people, _as
individuals_, to make their own contracts, for such buying and selling,
borrowing and lending, and giving and receiving, such commodities as
they produce for each other's uses.

I repeat that both the national and State governments have constantly
denied the _natural_ right of individuals to make their own contracts.
They have done this, sometimes by arbitrarily forbidding them to make
particular contracts, and sometimes by arbitrarily qualifying the
obligation of particular contracts, when the contracts themselves were
naturally and intrinsically as just and lawful as any others that men
ever enter into; and were, consequently, such as men have as perfect a
_natural_ right to make, as they have to make any of those contracts
which they are permitted to make.

The laws arbitrarily prohibiting, or arbitrarily qualifying, certain
contracts, that are naturally and intrinsically just and lawful, are so
numerous, and so well known, that they need not all be enumerated here.
But any and all such prohibitions, or qualifications, are a denial of
men's _natural_ right to make their own contracts. They are a denial of
men's right to make any contracts whatever, except such as the
governments shall see fit to permit them to make.

It is the _natural_ right of any and all human beings, who are mentally
competent to make reasonable contracts, to make any and every possible
contract, that is naturally and intrinsically just and honest, for
buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, any and
all possible commodities, that are naturally vendible, loanable, and
transferable, and that any two or more individuals may, at any time,
without force or fraud, choose to buy and sell, borrow and lend, give
and receive, of and to each other.

And it is plainly only by the untrammelled exercise of this _natural_
right, that all the loanable capital, that is required by men's
industries, can be lent and borrowed, or that all the money can be
supplied for the purchase and sale of that almost infinite diversity and
amount of commodities, that men are capable of producing, and that are
to be transferred from the hands of the producers to those of the
consumers.

But the government of the United States--and also the governments of the
States--utterly deny the _natural_ right of any individuals whatever to
make any contracts whatever, for buying and selling, borrowing and
lending, giving and receiving, any and all such commodities, as are
naturally vendible, loanable, and transferable, and as the producers and
consumers of such commodities may wish to buy and sell, borrow and lend,
give and receive, of and to each other.

These governments (State and national) deny this _natural_ right of
buying and selling, etc., by arbitrarily prohibiting, or qualifying, all
such, and so many, of these contracts, as they choose to prohibit, or
qualify.

The prohibition, or qualification, of _any one_ of these contracts--that
are intrinsically just and lawful--is a denial of all individual
_natural_ right to make any of them. For the right to make any and all
of them stands on the same grounds of _natural_ law, natural justice,
and men's natural rights. If a government has the right to prohibit, or
qualify, any one of these contracts, it has the same right to prohibit,
or qualify, all of them. Therefore the assertion, by the government, of
a right to prohibit, or qualify, any one of them, is equivalent to a
denial of all _natural_ right, on the part of individuals, to make any
of them.

The power that has been thus usurped by governments, to arbitrarily
prohibit or qualify all contracts that are naturally and intrinsically
just and lawful, has been the great, perhaps the greatest, of all the
instrumentalities, by which, in this, as in other countries, nearly all
the wealth, accumulated by the labor of the many, has been, and is now,
transferred into the pockets of the few.

_It is by this arbitrary power over contracts, that the monopoly of
money is sustained._ Few people have any real perception of the power,
which this monopoly gives to the holders of it, over the industry and
traffic of all other persons. And the one only purpose of the monopoly
is to enable the holders of it to rob everybody else in the prices of
their labor, and the products of their labor.

The theory, on which the advocates of this monopoly attempt to justify
it, is simply this: _That it is not at all necessary that money should
be a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property that is to be bought
with it;_ that if the government will but specially license a small
amount of money, and prohibit all other money, the holders of the
licensed money will then be able to buy with it the labor and property
of all other persons for a half, a tenth, a hundredth, a thousandth, or
a millionth, of what such labor and property are really and truly worth.

David A. Wells, one of the most prominent--perhaps at this time, the
most prominent--advocate of the monopoly, in this country, states the
theory thus:

     A three-cent piece, if it could be divided into a sufficient
     number of pieces, with each piece capable of being handled,
     would undoubtedly suffice for doing all the business of the
     country in the way of facilitating exchanges, if no other
     better instrumentality was available.--_New York Herald,
     February 13, 1875._

He means here to say, that "a three-cent piece" contains _as much real,
true, and natural market value_, as it would be necessary that all the
money of the country should have, _if the government would but prohibit
all other money_; that is, if the government, by its arbitrary
legislative power, would but make all other and better money
unavailable.

And this is the theory, on which John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith,
David Ricardo, J. R. McCulloch, and John Stuart Mill, in England, and
Amasa Walker, Charles H. Carroll, Hugh McCulloch, in this country, and
all the other conspicuous advocates of the monopoly, both in this
country and in England, have attempted to justify it. They have all held
that it was not necessary that money should be a _bona fide_ equivalent
of the labor or property to be bought with it; but that, by the
prohibition of all other money, the holders of a comparatively worthless
amount of licensed money would be enabled to buy, at their own prices,
the labor and property of all other men.

And this is the theory on which the governments of England and the
United States have always, with immaterial exceptions, acted, in
prohibiting all but such small amounts of money as they (the
governments) should specially license. _And it is the theory upon which
they act now._ And it is so manifestly a theory of pure robbery, that
scarce a word can be necessary to make it more evidently so than it now
is.

But inasmuch as your mind seems to be filled with the wildest visions of
the excellency of this government, and to be strangely ignorant of its
wrongs; and inasmuch as this monopoly of money is, in its practical
operation, one of the greatest--possibly the greatest--of all these
wrongs, and the one that is most relied upon for robbing the great body
of the people, and keeping them in poverty and servitude, it is plainly
important that you should have your eyes opened on the subject. I
therefore submit, for your consideration, the following self-evident
propositions:

1. That to make all traffic just and equal, it is indispensable that, in
each separate purchase and sale, the money paid should be a _bona fide_
equivalent of the labor or property bought with it.

Dare you, or any other man, of common sense and common honesty, dispute
the truth of that proposition? If not, let us consider that principle
established. It will then serve as one of the necessary and infallible
guides to the true settlement of all the other questions that remain to
be settled.

2. That so long as no force or fraud is practised by either party, the
parties themselves, to each separate contract, have the sole, absolute,
and unqualified right to decide for themselves, _what money, and how
much of it_, shall be considered a _bona fide_ equivalent of the labor
or property that is to be exchanged for it. All this is necessarily
implied in the _natural_ right of men to make their own contracts, for
buying and selling their respective commodities.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

3. That any one man, who has an honest dollar, of any kind whatsoever,
has as perfect a right, as any other man can have, to offer it in the
market, in competition with any and all other dollars, in exchange for
such labor or property as may be in the market for sale.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

4. That where no fraud is practised, every person, who is mentally
competent to make reasonable contracts, must be presumed to be as
competent to judge of the value of the money that is offered in the
market, as he is to judge of the value of all the other commodities that
are bought and sold for money.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

5. That the free and open market, in which all honest money and all
honest commodities are free to be given and received in exchange for
each other, is the true, final, absolute, and only test of the true and
natural market value of all money, as of all the other commodities that
are bought and sold for money.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

6. That any prohibition, by a government, of any such kind or amount of
money--provided it be honest in itself--as the parties to contracts may
voluntarily agree to give and receive in exchange for labor or property,
is a palpable violation of their natural right to make their own
contracts, and to buy and sell their labor and property on such terms as
they may find to be necessary for the supply of their wants, or may
think most beneficial to their interests.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

7. That any government, that licenses a small amount of an article of
such universal necessity as money, and that gives the control of it into
a few hands, selected by itself, and then prohibits any and all other
money--that is intrinsically honest and valuable--palpably violates all
other men's natural right to make their own contracts, and infallibly
proves its purpose to be to enable the few holders of the licensed money
to rob all other persons in the prices of their labor and property.

Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?

Are not all these propositions so self-evident, or so easily
demonstrated, that they cannot, with any reason, be disputed?

If you feel competent to show the falsehood of any one of them, I hope
you will attempt the task.


                              SECTION XIV.

If, now, you wish to form some rational opinion of the extent of the
robbery practised in this country, by the holders of this monopoly of
money, you have only to look at the following facts.

There are, in this country, I think, at least twenty-five millions of
persons, male and female, sixteen years old, and upwards, mentally and
physically capable of running machinery, producing wealth, and supplying
their own needs for an independent and comfortable subsistence.

To make their industry most effective, and to enable them,
_individually_, to put into their own pockets as large a portion as
possible of their own earnings, they need, _on an average_, one thousand
dollars each of _money capital_. Some need one, two, three, or five
hundred dollars, others one, two, three, or five thousand. These
persons, then, need, _in the aggregate_, twenty-five thousand millions
of dollars ($25,000,000,000), of money capital.

They need all this _money capital_ to enable them to buy the raw
materials upon which to bestow their labor, the implements and machinery
with which to labor, and their means of subsistence while producing
their goods for the market.

Unless they can get this capital, they must all either work at a
disadvantage, or not work at all. A very large portion of them, to save
themselves from starvation, have no alternative but to sell their labor
to others, at just such prices these others choose to pay. And these
others choose to pay only such prices as are far below what the laborers
could produce, if they themselves had the necessary capital to work
with.

But this needed capital your lawmakers arbitrarily forbid them to have;
and for no other reason than to reduce them to the condition of
servants; and subject them to all such extortions as their
employers--the holders of the privileged money--may choose to practise
upon them.

If, now, you ask me where these twenty-five thousand millions of dollars
of money capital, which these laborers need, are to come from, I answer:

_Theoretically_, there are, in this country, fifty thousand millions of
dollars of money capital ($50,000,000,000)--or twice as much as I have
supposed these laborers to need--NOW LYING IDLE! _And it is lying idle,
solely because the circulation of it, as money, is prohibited by the
lawmakers._

If you ask how this can be, I will tell you.

_Theoretically,_ every dollar's worth of material property, that is
capable of being taken by law, and applied to the payment of the owner's
debts, is capable of being represented by a promissory note, that shall
circulate as money.

But taking all this material property at _only half_ its actual value,
it is still capable of supplying the twenty-five thousand millions of
dollars--or one thousand dollars each--which these laborers need.

Now, we know--because experience has taught us--that _solvent_
promissory notes, made payable in coin on demand, are the best money
that mankind have ever had; (although probably not the best they ever
will have).

To make a note solvent, and suitable for circulation as money, it is
only necessary that it should be made payable in coin on demand, and be
issued by a person, or persons, who are known to have in their hands
abundant material property, that can be taken by law, and applied to the
payment of the note, with all costs and damages for non-payment on
demand.

_Theoretically,_ I repeat, all the material property in the country,
that can be taken by law, and applied to the payment of debt can be used
as banking capital; and be represented by promissory notes, made payable
in coin on demand. And, _practically_, so much of it can be used as
banking capital as may be required for supplying all the notes that can
be kept in circulation as money.

Although these notes are made legally payable in coin on demand, it is
seldom that such payment is demanded, _if only it be publicly known that
the notes are solvent_: that is, if it be publicly known that they are
issued by persons who have so much material property, that can be taken
by law, and sold, as may be necessary to bring the coin that is needed
to pay the notes. In such cases, the notes are preferred to the coin,
because they are so much more safe and convenient for handling,
counting, and transportation, than is the coin; and also because we can
have so many times more of them.

These notes are also a legal tender, to the banks that issue them, in
payment of the notes discounted; that is, in payment of the notes given
by the borrowers to the banks. And, in the ordinary course of things,
_all_ the notes, issued by the banks for circulation, are wanted, and
come back to the banks, in payment of the notes discounted; thus saving
all necessity for redeeming them with coin, except in rare cases. For
meeting these rare cases, the banks find it necessary to keep on hand
small amounts of coin; probably not more than one per cent. of the
amount of notes in circulation.

As the notes discounted have usually but a short time to run,--say three
months on an average,--the bank notes issued for circulation will _all_
come back, _on an average_, once in three months, and be redeemed by the
bankers, by being accepted in payment of the notes discounted.

Then the bank notes will be re-issued, by discounting new notes, and
will go into circulation again; to be again brought back, at the end of
another three months, and redeemed, by being accepted in payment of the
new notes discounted.

In this way the bank notes will be continually re-issued, and redeemed,
in the greatest amounts that can be kept in circulation long enough to
earn such an amount of interest as will make it an object for the
bankers to issue them.

Each of these notes, issued for circulation, if known to be solvent,
will always have the same value in the market, as the same nominal
amount of coin. And this value is a just one, because the notes are in
the nature of a lien, or mortgage, upon so much property of the bankers
as is necessary to pay the notes, and as can be taken by law, and sold,
and the proceeds applied to their payment.

There is no danger that any more of these notes will be issued than will
be wanted for buying and selling property at its true and natural market
value, relatively to coin; for as the notes are all made legally payable
in coin on demand, if they should ever fall below the value of coin in
the market, the holders of them will at once return them to the banks,
and demand coin for them; _and thus take them out of circulation_.

The bankers, therefore, have no motive for issuing more of them than
will remain long enough in circulation, to earn so much interest as will
make it an object to issue them; the only motive for issuing them being
to draw interest on them while they are in circulation.

The bankers readily find how many are wanted for circulation, by the
time those issued remain in circulation, before coming back for
redemption. If they come back immediately, or very quickly, after being
issued, the bankers know that they have over-issued, and that they must
therefore pay in coin--to their inconvenience and perhaps loss--notes
that would otherwise have remained in circulation long enough to earn so
much interest as would have paid for issuing them; and would then have
come back to them in payment of notes discounted, instead of coming back
on a demand for redemption in coin.

Now, the best of all possible banking capital is real estate. It is the
best, because it is visible, immovable, and indestructible. It cannot,
like coin, be removed, concealed, or carried out of the country. And its
aggregate value, in all civilized countries, is probably a hundred times
greater than the amount of coin in circulation. It is therefore capable
of furnishing a hundred times as much money as we can have in coin.

The owners of this real estate have the greatest inducements to use it
as banking capital, because all the banking profit, over and above
expenses, is a clear profit; inasmuch as the use of the real estate as
banking capital does not interfere at all with its use for other
purposes.

Farmers have a double, and much more than a double, inducement to use
their lands as banking capital; because they not only get a direct
profit from the loan of their notes, but, by loaning them, they furnish
the necessary capital for the greatest variety of manufacturing
purposes. They thus induce a much larger portion of the people, than
otherwise would, to leave agriculture, and engage in mechanical
employments; and thus become purchasers, instead of producers, of
agricultural commodities. They thus get much higher prices for their
agricultural products, and also a much greater variety and amount of
manufactured commodities in exchange.

The amount of money, capable of being furnished by this system, is so
great that every man, woman, and child, who is worthy of credit, could
get it, and do business for himself, or herself--either singly, or in
partnerships--and be under no necessity to act as a servant, or sell his
or her labor to others. All the great establishments, of every kind, now
in the hands of a few proprietors, but employing a great number of wage
laborers, would be broken up; for few, or no persons, who could hire
capital, and do business for themselves, would consent to labor for
wages for another.

The credit furnished by this system would always be stable; for the
system is probably capable of furnishing, _at all times_, all the
credit, and all the money, that can be needed. It would also introduce a
substantially universal system of cash payments. Everybody, who could
get credit at all, would be able to get it at a bank, _in money_. With
the money, he would buy everything he needed for cash. He would also
sell everything for cash; for when everybody buys for cash, everybody
sells for cash; since buying for cash, and selling for cash, are
necessarily one and the same thing.

We should, therefore, never have another crisis, panic, revulsion of
credit, stagnation of industry, or fall of prices; for these are all
caused by the lack of money, and the consequent necessity of buying and
selling on credit; whereby the amount of indebtedness becomes so great,
so enormous, in fact, in proportion to the amount of money extant, with
which to meet it, that the whole system of credit breaks down; to the
ruin of everybody, except the few holders of the monopoly of money, who
reap a harvest in the fall of prices, and the consequent bankruptcy of
everybody who is dependent on credit for his means of doing business.

It would be inadmissible for me, in this letter, to occupy the space
that would be necessary, to expose all the false, absurd, and ridiculous
pretences, by which the advocates of the monopoly of money have
attempted to justify it. The only real argument they ever employed has
been that, by means of the monopoly, the few holders of it were enabled
to rob everybody else in the prices of their labor and property.

And our governments, State and national, have hitherto acted together in
maintaining this monopoly, in flagrant violation of men's natural right
to make their own contracts, and in flagrant violation of the
self-evident truth, that, to make all traffic just and equal, it is
indispensable that the money paid should be, in all cases, a _bona fide_
equivalent of the labor or property that is bought with it.

The holders of this monopoly now rule and rob this nation; and the
government, in all its branches, is simply their tool. And being their
tool for this gigantic robbery, it is equally their tool for all the
lesser robberies, to which it is supposed that the people at large can
be made to submit.


                              SECTION XV.

But although the monopoly of money is one of the most glaring violations
of men's natural right to make their own contracts, and one of the most
effective--perhaps _the_ most effective--for enabling a few men to rob
everybody else, and for keeping the great body of the people in poverty
and servitude, it is not the only one that our government practises, nor
the only one that has the same robbery in view.

The so-called taxes or duties, which the government levies upon imports,
are a practical violation both of men's natural right of property, and
of their natural right to make their own contracts.

A man has the same _natural_ right to traffic with another, who lives on
the opposite side of the globe, as he has to traffic with his next-door
neighbor. And any obstruction, price, or penalty, interposed by the
government, to the exercise of that right, is a practical violation of
the right itself.

The ten, twenty, or fifty per cent. of a man's property, which is taken
from him, for the reason that he purchased it in a foreign country, must
be considered either as the price he is required to pay for the
_privilege_ of buying property in that country, or else as a penalty for
having exercised his _natural right_ of buying it in that country.
Whether it be considered as a price paid for a privilege, or a penalty
for having exercised a natural right, it is a violation both of his
natural right of property, and of his natural right to make a contract
in that country.

In short, it is nothing but downright robbery.

And when a man seeks to avoid this robbery, by evading the government
robbers who are lying in wait for him,--that is, the so-called revenue
officers,--whom he has as perfect a right to evade, as he has to evade
any other robbers, who may be lying in wait for him,--the seizure of his
whole property,--instead of the ten, twenty, or fifty per cent. that
would otherwise have been taken from him,--is not merely adding so much
to the robbery itself, but is adding insult to the robbery. It is
punishing a man as a criminal, for simply trying to save his property
from robbers.

But it will be said that these taxes or duties are laid to raise revenue
for the support of the government.

Be it so, for the sake of the argument. All taxes, levied upon a man's
property for the support of government, without his consent, are mere
robbery; a violation of his natural right of property. And when a
government takes ten, twenty, or fifty per cent. of a man's property,
for the reason that he bought it in a foreign country, such taking is as
much a violation of his natural right of property, or of his natural
right to purchase property, as is the taking of property which he has
himself produced, or which he has bought in his own village.

A man's natural right of property, in a commodity he has bought in a
foreign country, is intrinsically as sacred and inviolable as it is in a
commodity produced at home. The foreign commodity is bought with the
commodity produced at home; and therefore stands on the same footing as
the commodity produced at home. And it is a plain violation of one's
right, for a government to make any distinction between them.

Government assumes to exist for the impartial protection of all rights
of property. If it really exists for that purpose, it is plainly bound
to make each kind of property pay its proper proportion, and only its
proper proportion, of the cost of protecting all kinds. To levy upon a
few kinds the cost of protecting all, is a naked robbery of the holders
of those few kinds, for the benefit of the holders of all other kinds.

But the pretence that heavy taxes are levied upon imports, solely, or
mainly, for the support of government, while light taxes, or no taxes at
all, are levied upon property at home, is an utterly false pretence.
They are levied upon the imported commodity, mainly, if not solely, for
the purpose of enabling the producers of competing home commodities to
extort from consumers a higher price than the home commodities would
bring in free and open market. And this additional price is sheer
robbery, and is known to be so. And the amount of this robbery--which
goes into the pockets of the home producers--is five, ten, twenty, or
fifty times greater than the amount that goes into the treasury, for the
support of the government, according as the amount of the home
commodities is five, ten, twenty, or fifty times greater than the amount
of the imported competing commodities.

Thus the amounts that go to the support of the government, and also the
amounts that go into the pockets of the home producers, in the higher
prices they get for their goods, are all sheer robberies; and nothing
else.

But it will be said that the heavy taxes are levied upon the foreign
commodity, not to put great wealth into a few pockets, but "_to protect
the home laborer against the competition of the pauper labor of other
countries_."

This is the great argument that is relied on to justify the robbery.

This argument must have originated with the employers of home labor, and
not with the home laborers themselves.

The home laborers themselves could never have originated it, because
they must have seen that, so far as they were concerned, the object of
the "protection," so-called, was, _at best_, only to benefit them, by
robbing others who were as poor as themselves, and who had as good a
right as themselves to live by their labor. That is, they must have seen
that the object of the "protection" was to rob the foreign laborers, in
whole, or in part, of the pittances on which they were already
necessitated to live; and, secondly, to rob consumers at home,--in the
increased prices of the protected commodities,--when many or most of
these home consumers were also laborers as poor as themselves.

Even if any class of laborers would have been so selfish and dishonest
as to wish to thus benefit themselves by injuring others, as poor as
themselves, they could have had no hope of carrying through such a
scheme, if they alone were to profit by it; because they could have had
no such influence with governments, as would be necessary to enable them
to carry it through, in opposition to the rights and interests of
consumers, both rich and poor, and much more numerous than themselves.

For these reasons it is plain that the argument originated with the
employers of home labor, and not with the home laborers themselves.

And why do the employers of home labor advocate this robbery? Certainly
not because they have such an intense compassion for their own laborers,
that they are willing to rob everybody else, rich and poor, for their
benefit. Nobody will suspect them of being influenced by any such
compassion as that. But they advocate it solely because they put into
their own pockets a very large portion certainly--probably
three-fourths, I should judge--of the increased prices their commodities
are thus made to bring in the market. The home laborers themselves
probably get not more than one-fourth of these increased prices.

Thus the argument for "protection" is really an argument for robbing
foreign laborers--as poor as our own--of their equal and rightful
chances in our markets; and also for robbing all the home consumers of
the protected article--the poor as well as the rich--in the prices they
are made to pay for it. And all this is done at the instigation, and
principally for the benefit, of the employers of home labor, and not for
the benefit of home laborers themselves.

Having now seen that this argument--of "protecting our home laborers
against the competition of the pauper labor of other countries"--is, of
itself, an utterly dishonest argument; that it is dishonest towards
foreign laborers and home consumers; that it must have originated with
the employers of home labor, and not with the home laborers themselves;
and that the employers of home labor, and not the home laborers
themselves, are to receive the principal profits of the robbery, let us
now see how utterly false is the argument itself.

1. The pauper laborers (if there are any such) of other countries have
just as good a right to live by their labor, and have an equal chance in
our own markets, and in all the markets of the world, as have the pauper
laborers, or any other laborers, of our own country.

Every human being has the same natural right to buy and sell, of and to,
any and all other people in the world, as he has to buy and sell, of and
to, the people of his own country. And none but tyrants and robbers deny
that right. And they deny it for their own benefit solely, and not for
the benefit of their laborers.

And if a man, in our own country--either from motives of profit to
himself, or from motives of pity towards the pauper laborers of other
countries--_chooses_ to buy the products of the foreign pauper labor,
rather than the products of the laborers of his own country, he has a
perfect legal right to do so. And for any government to forbid him to do
so, or to obstruct his doing so, or to punish him for doing so, is a
violation of his natural right of purchasing property of whom he
pleases, and from such motives as he pleases.

2. To forbid our own people to buy in the best markets, is equivalent to
forbidding them to sell the products of their own labor in the best
markets; for they can buy the products of foreign labor, only by giving
the products of their own labor in exchange. Therefore to deny our right
to buy in foreign markets, is to forbid us to sell in foreign markets.
And this is a plain violation of men's natural rights.

If, when a producer of cotton, tobacco, grain, beef, pork, butter,
cheese, or any other commodity, in our own country, has carried it
abroad, and exchanged it for iron or woolen goods, and has brought these
latter home, the government seizes one-half of them, because they were
manufactured abroad, the robbery committed upon the owner is the same as
if the government had seized one-half of his cotton, tobacco, or other
commodity, before he exported it; because the iron or woolen goods,
which he purchased abroad with the products of his own home labor, are
as much his own property, as was the commodity with which he purchased
them.

Therefore the tax laid upon foreign commodities, that have been bought
with the products of our home labor, is as much a robbery of the home
laborer, as the same tax would have been, if laid directly upon the
products of our home labor. It is, at best, only a robbery of one home
laborer--the producer of cotton, tobacco, grain, beef, pork, butter, or
cheese--for the benefit of another home laborer--the producer of iron or
woolen goods.

3. But this whole argument is a false one, for the further reason that
our home laborers do not have to compete with "_the pauper labor_" of
any country on earth; since the _actual paupers_ of no country on earth
are engaged in producing commodities for export to any other country.
They produce few, or no, other commodities than those they themselves
consume; and ordinarily not even those.

There are a great many millions of _actual paupers_ in the world. In
some of the large provinces of British India, for example, it is said
that nearly half the population are paupers. But I think that the
commodities they are producing for export to other countries than their
own, have never been heard of.

The term, "pauper labor," is therefore a false one. And when these
robbers--the employers of home labor--talk of protecting their laborers
against the competition of "_the pauper labor_" of other countries, they
do not mean that they are protecting them against the competition of
_actual paupers_; but only against the competition of that immense body
of laborers, in all parts of the world, _who are kept constantly on the
verge of pauperism, or starvation_; who have little, or no, means of
subsistence, except such as their employers see fit to give them,--which
means are usually barely enough to keep them in a condition to labor.

These are the only "pauper laborers," from whose competition our own
laborers are sought to be protected. They are quite as badly off as our
own laborers; and are in equal need of "protection."

What, then, is to be done? This policy of excluding foreign commodities
from our markets, is a game that all other governments can play at, as
well as our own. And if it is the duty of our government to "protect"
our laborers against the competition of "the pauper labor," so-called,
of all other countries, it is equally the duty of every other government
to "protect" its laborers against the competition of the so-called
"pauper labor" of all other countries. So that, according to this
theory, each nation must either shut out entirely from its markets the
products of all other countries; or, at least, lay such heavy duties
upon them, as will, _in some measure_, "protect" its own laborers from
the competition of the "pauper labor" of all other countries.

This theory, then, is that, instead of permitting all mankind to supply
each other's wants, by freely exchanging their respective products with
each other, the government of each nation should rob the people of every
other, by imposing heavy duties upon all commodities imported from them.

The natural effect of this scheme is to pit the so-called "pauper labor"
of each country against the so-called "pauper labor" of every other
country; and all for the benefit of their employers. And as it holds
that so-called "pauper labor" is cheaper than free labor, it gives the
employers in each country a constant motive for reducing their own
laborers to the lowest condition of poverty, consistent with their
ability to labor at all. In other words, the theory is, that the smaller
the portion of the products of labor, that is given to the laborers, the
larger will be the portion that will go into the pockets of the
employers.

Now, it is not a very honorable proceeding for any government to pit its
own so-called "pauper laborers"--or laborers that are on the verge of
pauperism--against similar laborers in all other countries: and all for
the sake of putting the principal proceeds of their labor into the
pockets of a few employers.

To set two bodies of "pauper laborers"--or of laborers on the verge of
pauperism--to robbing each other, for the profit of their employers, is
the next thing, in point of atrocity, to setting them to killing each
other, as governments have heretofore been in the habit of doing, for
the benefit of their rulers.

The laborers, who are paupers, or on the verge of pauperism--who are
destitute, or on the verge of destitution--comprise (with their
families) doubtless nine-tenths, probably nineteen-twentieths, of all
the people on the globe. They are not all wage laborers. Some of them
are savages, living only as savages do. Others are barbarians, living
only as barbarians do. But an immense number are mere wage laborers.
Much the larger portion of these have been reduced to the condition of
wage laborers, by the monopoly of land, which mere bands of robbers have
succeeded in securing for themselves by military power. This is the
condition of nearly all the Asiatics, and of probably one-half the
Europeans. But in those portions of Europe and the United States, where
manufactures have been most extensively introduced, and where, by
science and machinery, great wealth has been created, the laborers have
been kept in the condition of wage laborers, principally, if not wholly,
by the monopoly of money. This monopoly, established in all these
manufacturing countries, has made it impossible for the manufacturing
laborers to hire the money capital that was necessary to enable them to
do business for themselves; and has consequently compelled them to sell
their labor to the monopolists of money, for just such prices as these
latter should choose to give.

It is, then, by the monopoly of land, and the monopoly of money, that
more than a thousand millions of the earth's inhabitants--as savages,
barbarians, and wage laborers--are kept in a state of destitution, or on
the verge of destitution. Hundreds of millions of them are receiving,
for their labor, not more than three, five, or, at most, ten cents a
day.

In western Europe, and in the United States, where, within the last
hundred and fifty years, machinery has been introduced, and where alone
any considerable wealth is now created, the wage laborers, although they
get so small a portion of the wealth they create, are nevertheless in a
vastly better condition than are the laboring classes in other parts of
the world.

If, now, the employers of wage labor, in this country,--who are also the
monopolists of money,--and who are ostensibly so distressed lest their
own wage laborers should suffer from the competition of the pauper labor
of other countries,--have really any of that humanity, of which they
make such profession, they have before them a much wider field for the
display of it, than they seem to desire. That is to say, they have it in
their power, not only to elevate immensely the condition of the laboring
classes in this country, but also to set an example that will be very
rapidly followed in all other countries; and the result will be the
elevation of all oppressed laborers throughout the world. This they can
do, by simply abolishing the monopoly of money. The real producers of
wealth, with few or no exceptions, will then be able to hire all the
capital they need for their industries, and will do business for
themselves. They will also be able to hire their capital at very low
rates of interest; and will then put into their own pockets all the
proceeds of their labor, except what they pay as interest on their
capital. And this amount will be too small to obstruct materially their
rise to independence and wealth.


                              SECTION XVI.

But will the monopolists of money give up their monopoly? Certainly not
voluntarily. They will do it only upon compulsion. They will hold on to
it as long as they own and control governments as they do now. And why
will they do so? Because to give up their monopoly would be to give up
their control of those great armies of servants--the wage laborers--from
whom all their wealth is derived, and whom they can now coerce by the
alternative of starvation, to labor for them at just such prices as they
(the monopolists of money) shall choose to pay.

Now these monopolists of money have no plans whatever for making their
"capital," as they call it--that is, their money capital--_their
privileged money capital_--profitable to themselves, _otherwise than by
using it to employ other men's labor_. And they can keep control of
other men's labor only by depriving the laborers themselves of all other
means of subsistence. And they can deprive them of all other means of
subsistence only by putting it out of their power to hire the money that
is necessary to enable them to do business for themselves. And they can
put it out of their power to hire money, only by forbidding all other
men to lend them their credit, in the shape of promissory notes, to be
circulated as money.

If the twenty-five or fifty thousand millions of loanable
capital--promissory notes--which, _in this country_, are now lying idle,
were permitted to be loaned, these wage laborers would hire it, and do
business for themselves, instead of laboring as servants for others; and
would of course retain in their own hands all the wealth they should
create, except what they should pay as interest for their capital.

And what is true of this country, is true of every other where
civilization exists; for wherever civilization exists, land has value,
and can be used as banking capital, and be made to furnish all the
money that is necessary to enable the producers of wealth to hire the
capital necessary for their industries, and thus relieve them from their
present servitude to the few holders of privileged money.

Thus it is that the monopoly of money is the one great obstacle to the
liberation of the laboring classes all over the world, and to their
indefinite progress in wealth.

But we are now to show, more definitely, what relation this monopoly of
money is made to bear to the freedom of international trade; and why it
is that the holders of this monopoly, _in this country_, demand heavy
tariffs on imports, on the lying pretence of protecting our home labor
against the competition of the so-called pauper labor of other
countries.

The explanation of the whole matter is as follows.

1. The holders of the monopoly of money, in each country,--more
especially in the manufacturing countries like England, the United
States, and some others,--assume that the present condition of poverty,
for the great mass of mankind, all over the world, is to be perpetuated
forever; or at least for an indefinite period. From this assumption they
infer that, if free trade between all countries is to be allowed, the
so-called pauper labor of each country is to be forever pitted against
the so-called pauper labor of every other country. Hence they infer that
it is the duty of each government--or certainly of our government--to
protect the so-called pauper labor of our own country--that is, the
class of laborers who are constantly on the verge of pauperism--against
the competition of the so-called pauper labor of all other countries, by
such duties on imports as will secure to our own laborers a monopoly of
our own home market.

This is, on the face of it, the most plausible argument--and almost, if
not really, the only argument--by which they now attempt to sustain
their restrictions upon international trade.

If this argument is a false one, their whole case falls to the ground.
That it is a false one, will be shown hereafter.

2. These monopolists of money assume that pauper labor, so-called, is
the cheapest labor in the world; and that therefore each nation, in
order to compete with the pauper labor of all other nations, must itself
have "cheap labor." In fact, "cheap labor" is, with them, the great
_sine qua non_ of all national industry. To compete with "cheap labor,"
say they, we must have "cheap labor." This is, with them, a self-evident
proposition. And this demand for "cheap labor" means, of course, that
the laboring classes, in this country, must be kept, as nearly as
possible, on a level with the so-called pauper labor of all other
countries.

Thus their whole scheme of national industry is made to depend upon
"cheap labor." And to secure "cheap labor," they hold it to be
indispensable that the laborers shall be kept constantly either in
actual pauperism, or on the verge of pauperism. And, in this country,
they know of no way of keeping the laborers on the verge of pauperism,
but by retaining in their (the monopolists') own hands such a monopoly
of money as will put it out of the power of the laborers to hire money,
and do business for themselves; and thus compel them, by the alternative
of starvation, to sell their labor to the monopolists of money at such
prices as will enable them (the monopolists) to manufacture goods in
competition with the so-called pauper laborers of all other countries.

Let it be repeated--as a vital proposition--that the whole industrial
programme of these monopolists rests upon, and implies, such a degree of
poverty, on the part of the laboring classes, as will put their labor in
direct competition with the so-called pauper labor of all other
countries. So long as they (the monopolists) can perpetuate this extreme
poverty of the laboring classes, in this country, they feel safe against
all foreign competition; for, in all other things than "cheap labor," we
have advantages equal to those of any other nation.

Furthermore, this extreme poverty, in which the laborers are to be kept,
necessarily implies that they are to receive no larger share of the
proceeds of their own labor, than is necessary to keep them in a
condition to labor. It implies that their industry--which is really the
national industry--is not to be carried on at all for their own benefit,
but only for the benefit of their employers, the monopolists of money.
It implies that the laborers are to be mere tools and machines in the
hands of their employers; that they are to be kept simply in running
order, like other machinery; but that, beyond this, they are to have no
more rights, and no more interests, in the products of their labor, than
have the wheels, spindles, and other machinery, with which the work is
done.

In short, this whole programme implies that the laborers--the real
producers of wealth--are not to be considered at all as human beings,
having rights and interests of their own; but only as tools and
machines, to be owned, used, and consumed in producing such wealth as
their employers--the monopolists of money--may desire for their own
subsistence and pleasure.

What, then, is the remedy? Plainly it is to abolish the monopoly of
money. Liberate all this loanable capital--promissory notes--that is now
lying idle, and we liberate all labor, and furnish to all laborers all
the capital they need for their industries. We shall then have no
longer, all over the earth, the competition of pauper labor with pauper
labor, but only the competition of free labor with free labor. And from
this competition of free labor with free labor, no people on earth have
anything to fear, but all peoples have everything to hope.

And why have all peoples everything to hope from the competition of free
labor with free labor? Because when every human being, who labors at
all, has, as nearly as possible, all the fruits of his labor, and all
the capital that is necessary to make his labor most effective, he has
all needed inducements to the best use of both his brains and his
muscles, his head and his hands. He applies both his head and his hands
to his work. He not only acquires, as far as possible, for his own use,
all the scientific discoveries and mechanical inventions, that are made
by others, but he himself makes scientific discoveries and mechanical
inventions. He thus multiplies indefinitely his powers of production.
And the more each one produces of his own particular commodity, the more
he can buy of every other man's products, and the more he can pay for
them.

With freedom in money, the scientific discoveries and mechanical
inventions, made in each country, will not only be used to the utmost in
that country, but will be carried into all other countries. And these
discoveries and inventions, given by each country to every other, and
received by each country from every other, will be of infinitely more
value than all the material commodities that will be exchanged between
these countries.

In this way each country contributes to the wealth of every other, and
the whole human race are enriched by the increased power and stimulus
given to each man's labor of body and mind.

But it is to be kept constantly in mind, that there can be no such thing
as free labor, unless there be freedom in money; that is, unless
everybody, who can furnish money, shall be at liberty to do so. Plainly
labor cannot be free, unless the laborers are free to hire all the money
capital that is necessary for their industries. And they cannot be free
to hire all this money capital, unless all who can lend it to them,
shall be at liberty to do so.

In short, labor cannot be free, unless each laborer is free to hire all
the capital--money capital, as well as all other capital--that he
honestly can hire; free to buy, wherever he can buy, all the raw
material he needs for his labor; and free to sell, wherever he can sell,
all the products of his labor. Therefore labor cannot be free, unless we
have freedom in money, and free trade with all mankind.

We can now understand the situation. In the most civilized nations--such
as Western Europe and the United States--labor is utterly crippled,
robbed, and enslaved by the monopoly of money; and also, in some of
these countries, by the monopoly of land. In nearly or quite all the
other countries of the world, labor is not only robbed and enslaved, but
to a great extent paralyzed, by the monopoly of land, and by what may
properly be called the utter absence of money. There is, consequently,
in these latter countries, almost literally, no diversity of industry,
no science, no skill, no invention, no machinery, no manufactures, no
production, and no wealth; but everywhere miserable poverty, ignorance,
servitude, and wretchedness.

In this country, and in Western Europe, where the uses of money are
known, there is no excuse to be offered for the monopoly of money. It is
maintained, in each of these countries, by a small knot of tyrants and
robbers, who have got control of the governments, and use their power
principally to maintain this monopoly; understanding, as they do, that
this one monopoly of money gives them a substantially absolute control
of all other men's property and labor.

But not satisfied with this substantially absolute control of all other
men's property and labor, the monopolists of money, _in this
country_,--feigning great pity for their laborers, but really seeking
only to make their monopoly more profitable to themselves,--cry out for
protection against the competition of the pauper labor of all other
countries; when they alone, _and such as they_, are the direct cause of
all the pauper labor in the world. But for them, and others like them,
there would be neither poverty, ignorance, nor servitude on the face of
the earth.

But to all that has now been said, the advocates of the monopoly of
money will say that, if all the material property of the country were
permitted to be represented by promissory notes, and these promissory
notes were permitted to be lent, bought, and sold as money, the laborers
would not be able to hire them, for the reason that they could not give
the necessary security for repayment.

But let those who would say this, tell us why it is that, in order to
prevent men from loaning their promissory notes, for circulation as
money, it has always been necessary for governments to prohibit it,
either by penal enactments, or prohibitory taxation. These penal
enactments and prohibitory taxation are acknowledgments that, but for
them, the notes would be loaned to any extent that would be profitable
to the lenders. What this extent would be, nothing but experience of
freedom can determine. But freedom would doubtless give us ten, twenty,
most likely fifty, times as much money as we have now, if so much could
be kept in circulation. And laborers would at least have ten, twenty, or
fifty times better chances for hiring capital, than they have now. And,
furthermore, all labor and property would have ten, twenty, or fifty
times better chances of bringing their full value in the market, than
they have now.

But in the space that is allowable in this letter, it is impossible to
say all, or nearly all, of what might be said, to show the justice, the
utility, or the necessity, for perfect freedom in the matters of money
and international trade. To pursue these topics further would exclude
other matters of great importance, as showing how the government acts
the part of robber and tyrant in all its legislation on contracts; and
that the whole purpose of all its acts is that the earnings of the many
may be put into the pockets of the few.


                             SECTION XVII.

Although, as has already been said, the constitution is a paper that
nobody ever signed, that few persons have ever read, and that the great
body of the people never saw; and that has, consequently, no more claim
to be the supreme law of the land, or to have any authority whatever,
than has any other paper, that nobody ever signed, that few persons ever
read, and that the great body of the people never saw; and although it
purports to authorize a government, in which the lawmakers, judges, and
executive officers are all to be secured against any responsibility
whatever _to the people_, whose liberty and rights are at stake; and
although this government is kept in operation only by votes given in
secret (by secret ballot), and in a way to save the voters from all
personal responsibility for the acts of their agents--the lawmakers,
judges, etc.; and although the whole affair is so audacious a fraud and
usurpation, that no people could be expected to agree to it, or ought to
submit to it, for a moment; yet, inasmuch as the constitution declares
itself to have been ordained and established by the people of the United
States, for the maintenance of liberty and justice for themselves and
their posterity; and inasmuch as all its supporters--that is, the
voters, lawmakers, judges, etc.--profess to derive all their authority
from it; and inasmuch as all lawmakers, and all judicial and executive
officers, both national and State, swear to support it; and inasmuch as
they claim the right to kill, and are evidently determined to kill, and
esteem it the highest glory to kill, all who do not submit to its
authority; we might reasonably expect that, from motives of common
decency, if from no other, those who profess to administer it, would pay
some deference to its commands, _at least in those particular cases
where it explicitly forbids any violation of the natural rights of the
people_.

Especially might we expect that the judiciary--whose courts claim to be
courts of justice--and who profess to be authorized and sworn to expose
and condemn all such violations of individual rights as the constitution
itself expressly forbids--would, in spite of all their official
dependence on, and responsibility to, the lawmakers, have sufficient
respect for their personal characters, and the opinions of the world, to
induce them to pay some regard to all those parts of the constitution
that expressly require any rights of the people to be held inviolable.

If the judicial tribunals cannot be expected to do justice, even in
those cases where the constitution expressly commands them to do it, and
where they have solemnly sworn to do it, it is plain that they have sunk
to the lowest depths of servility and corruption, and can be expected to
do nothing but serve the purposes of robbers and tyrants.

But how futile have been all expectations of justice from the judiciary,
may be seen in the conduct of the courts--and especially in that of the
so-called Supreme Court of the United States--in regard to men's natural
right to make their own contracts.

Although the State lawmakers have, more frequently than the national
lawmakers, made laws in violation of men's natural right to make their
own contracts, yet all laws, State and national, having for their object
the destruction of that right, have always, without a single exception,
I think, received the sanction of the Supreme Court of the United
States. And having been sanctioned by that court, they have been, as a
matter of course, sanctioned by all the other courts, State and
national. And this work has gone on, until, if these courts are to be
believed, nothing at all is left of men's natural right to make their
own contracts.

That such is the truth, I now propose to prove.

And, first, as to the State governments.

The constitution of the United States (_Art. 1, Sec. 10_) declares that:

     No State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of
     contracts.

This provision does not designate what contracts have, and what have
not, an "obligation." But it clearly presupposes, implies, assumes, and
asserts that there are contracts that _have_ an "obligation." Any State
law, therefore, which declares that such contracts shall have _no
obligation_, is plainly in conflict with this provision of the
constitution of the United States.

This provision, also, by implying that there _are_ contracts, that
_have_ an "obligation," _necessarily implies that men have a right to
enter into them_; for if men had no right to enter into the contracts,
the contracts themselves could have no "obligation."

This provision, then, of the constitution of the United States, not only
implies that there are contracts that _have_ an obligation, _but it also
implies that the people have the right to enter into all such contracts,
and have the benefit of them_. And "_any_" State "_law_," conflicting
with either of these implications, is necessarily unconstitutional and
void.

Furthermore, the language of this provision of the constitution, to wit,
"the obligation [singular] of contracts" [plural], implies _that there
is one and the same "obligation" to all "contracts" whatsoever, that
have any legal obligation at all_. And there obviously must be some one
principle, that gives validity to all contracts alike, that have any
validity.

The law, then, of this whole country, as established by the constitution
of the United States, is, that all contracts whatsoever, in which this
one principle of validity, or "obligation," is found, shall be held
valid; and that the States shall impose no restraint whatever upon the
people's entering into all such contracts.

All, therefore, that courts have to do, in order to determine whether
any particular contract, or class of contracts, are valid, and _whether
the people have a right to enter into them_, is simply to determine
whether the contracts themselves have, or have not, this one principle
of validity, or "obligation," which the constitution of the United
States declares shall not be impaired.

State legislation can obviously have nothing to do with the solution of
this question. It can neither create, nor destroy, that "obligation of
contracts," which the constitution forbids it to impair. It can neither
give, nor take away, the right to enter into any contract whatever, that
has that "obligation."

On the supposition, then, that the constitution of the United States is,
what it declares itself to be, _viz._, "the supreme law of the land, ...
anything in the constitutions or laws of the States to the contrary
notwithstanding," this provision against "any" State "law impairing the
obligation of contracts," is so explicit, and so authoritative, that the
legislatures and courts of the States have no color of authority for
violating it. And the Supreme Court of the United States has had no
color of authority or justification for suffering it to be violated.

This provision is certainly one of the most important--perhaps the most
important--of all the provisions of the constitution of the United
States, _as protective of the natural rights of the people to make their
own contracts, or provide for their own welfare_.

Yet it has been constantly trampled under foot, by the State
legislatures, by all manner of laws, declaring who may, and who may not,
make certain contracts; and what shall, and what shall not, be "the
obligation" of particular contracts; thus setting at defiance all ideas
of justice, of natural rights, and equal rights; conferring monopolies
and privileges upon particular individuals, and imposing the most
arbitrary and destructive restraints and penalties upon others; all with
a view of putting, as far as possible, all wealth into the hands of the
few, and imposing poverty and servitude upon the great body of the
people.

And yet all these enormities have gone on for nearly a hundred years,
and have been sanctioned, not only by all the State courts, but also by
the Supreme Court of the United States.

And what color of excuse have any of these courts offered for thus
upholding all these violations of justice, of men's natural rights, and
even of that constitution which they had all sworn to support?

They have offered only this: _They have all said they did not know what
"the obligation of contracts" was_!

Well, suppose, for the sake of the argument, that they have not known
what "the obligation of contracts" was, what, then, was their duty?
Plainly this, to neither enforce, nor annul, any contract whatever,
until they should have discovered what "the obligation of contracts"
was.

Clearly they could have no right to either enforce, or annul, any
contract whatever, until they should have ascertained whether it had any
"obligation," and, if any, what that "obligation" was.

If these courts really do not know--as perhaps they do not--what "the
obligation of contracts" is, they deserve nothing but contempt for their
ignorance. If they _do_ know what "the obligation of contracts" is, and
yet sanction the almost literally innumerable laws that violate it, they
deserve nothing but detestation for their villainy.

And until they shall suspend all their judgments for either enforcing,
or annulling, contracts, or, on the other hand, shall ascertain what
"the obligation of contracts" is, and sweep away all State laws that
impair it, they will deserve both contempt for their ignorance, and
detestation for their crimes.

Individual Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have, at
least in one instance, in 1827 (_Ogden vs. Saunders_, 12 Wheaton 213),
attempted to give a definition of "the obligation of contracts." But
there was great disagreement among them; and no one definition secured
the assent of the whole court, _or even of a majority_. Since then, so
far as I know, that court has never attempted to give a definition. And,
so far as the opinion of that court is concerned, the question is as
unsettled now, as it was sixty years ago. And the opinions of the
Supreme Courts of the States are equally unsettled with those of the
Supreme Court of the United States. The consequence is, that "the
obligation of contracts"--the principle on which the real validity, or
invalidity, of all contracts whatsoever depends--is practically unknown,
or at least unrecognized, by a single court, either of the States, or of
the United States. And, as a result, every species of absurd, corrupt,
and robber legislation goes on unrestrained, as it always has done.

What, now, is the reason why not one of these courts has ever so far
given its attention to the subject as to have discovered what "the
obligation of contracts" is? What that principle is, I repeat, which
they have all sworn to sustain, and on which the real validity, or
invalidity, of every contract on which they ever adjudicate, depends?
Why is it that they have all gone on sanctioning and enforcing all the
nakedly iniquitous laws, by which men's natural right to make their own
contracts has been trampled under foot?

Surely it is not because they do not know that all men have a natural
right to make their own contracts; for they know _that_, as well as they
know that all men have a natural right to live, to breathe, to move, to
speak, to hear, to see, or to do anything whatever for the support of
their lives, or the promotion of their happiness.

Why, then, is it, that they strike down this right, without ceremony,
and without compunction, whenever they are commanded to do so by the
lawmakers? It is because, and solely because, they are so servile,
slavish, degraded, and corrupt, as to act habitually on the principle,
that justice and men's natural rights are matters of no importance, in
comparison with the commands of the impudent and tyrannical lawmakers,
on whom they are dependent for their offices and their salaries. It is
because, and solely because, they, like the judges under all other
irresponsible and tyrannical governments, are part and parcel of a
conspiracy for robbing and enslaving the great body of the people, to
gratify the luxury and pride of a few. It is because, and solely
because, they do not recognize our governments, State or national, as
institutions designed simply to maintain justice, or to protect all men
in the enjoyment of all their natural rights; but only as institutions
designed to accomplish such objects as irresponsible cabals of lawmakers
may agree upon.

In proof of all this, I give the following.

Previous to 1824, two cases had come up from the State courts, to the
Supreme Court of the United States, involving the question whether a
State law, _invalidating some particular contract_, came within the
constitutional prohibition of "any law impairing the obligation of
contracts."

One of these cases was that of _Fletcher vs. Peck_, (6 _Cranch_ 87), in
the year 1810. In this case the court held simply that a grant of land,
once made by the legislature of Georgia, could not be rescinded by a
subsequent legislature.

But no general definition of "the obligation of contracts" was given.

Again, in the year 1819, in the case of _Dartmouth College vs. Woodward_
(4 _Wheaton_ 518), the court held that a charter, granted to Dartmouth
College, by the king of England, before the Revolution, was a contract;
and that a law of New Hampshire, annulling, or materially altering, the
charter, without the consent of the trustees, was a "law impairing the
obligation" of _that_ contract.

But, in this case, as in that of _Fletcher vs. Peck_, the court gave no
general definition of "the obligation of contracts."

But in the year 1824, and again in 1827, in the case of _Ogden vs.
Saunders_ (12 _Wheaton_ 213) the question was, whether an insolvent law
of the State of New York, which discharged a debtor from a debt,
_contracted after the passage of the law_, or, as the courts would say,
"_contracted under the law_"--on his giving up his property to be
distributed among his creditors--was a "law impairing the obligation of
contracts?"

To the correct decision of this case, it seemed indispensable that the
court should give a comprehensive, precise, and _universal_ definition
of "the obligation of contracts"; one by which it might forever after be
known what was, and what was not, that "obligation of contracts," which
the State governments were forbidden to "impair" by "_any law_"
whatever.

The cause was heard at two terms, that of 1824, and that of 1827.

It was argued by Webster, Wheaton, Wirt, Clay, Livingston, Ogden, Jones,
Sampson, and Haines; nine in all. Their arguments were so voluminous
that they could not be reported at length. Only summaries of them are
given. But these summaries occupy thirty-eight pages in the reports.

The judges, at that time, were seven, _viz._, Marshall, Washington,
Johnson, Duvall, Story, Thompson, and Trimble.

The judges gave five different opinions; occupying one hundred pages of
the reports.

But no one definition of "the obligation of contracts" could be agreed
on; _not even by a majority_.

Here, then, sixteen lawyers and judges--many of them among the most
eminent the country has ever had--were called upon to give their
opinions upon a question of the highest importance to all men's natural
rights, to all the interests of civilized society, and to the very
existence of civilization itself; a question, upon the answer to which
depended the real validity, or invalidity, of every contract that ever
was made, or ever will be made, between man and man. And yet, by their
disagreements, they all virtually acknowledged that they did not know
what "the obligation of contracts" was!

But this was not all. Although they could not agree as to what "the
obligation of contracts" was, they did all agree that it could be
nothing which the State lawmakers could not prohibit and abolish, _by
laws passed before the contracts were made_. That is to say, they all
agreed that the State lawmakers had absolute power to prohibit all
contracts whatsoever, for buying and selling, borrowing and lending,
giving and receiving, property; and that, whenever they did prohibit any
particular contract, or class of contracts, _all such contracts,
thereafter made, could have no "obligation"_!

They said this, be it noted, not of contracts that were naturally and
intrinsically criminal and void, but of contracts that were naturally
and intrinsically as just, and lawful, and useful, and necessary, as any
that men ever enter into; and that had as perfect a natural, intrinsic,
inherent "obligation," as any of those contracts, by which the traffic
of society is carried on, or by which men ever buy and sell, borrow and
lend, give and receive, property, of and to each other.

Not one of these sixteen lawyers and judges took the ground that the
constitution, in forbidding any State to "pass any law impairing the
obligation of contracts," intended to protect, against the arbitrary
legislation of the States, the only true, real, and natural "obligation
of contracts," or the right of the people to enter into all really just,
and naturally obligatory contracts.

Is it possible to conceive of a more shameful exhibition, or confession,
of the servility, the baseness, or the utter degradation, of both bar
and bench, than their refusal to say one word in favor of justice,
liberty, men's natural rights, or the natural, and only real,
"obligation" of their contracts?

And yet, from that day to this--a period of sixty years, save
one--neither bar nor bench, so far as I know, have ever uttered one
syllable in vindication of men's natural right to make their own
contracts, or to have the only true, real, natural, inherent, intrinsic
"obligation" of their contracts respected by lawmakers or courts.

Can any further proof be needed that all ideas of justice and men's
natural rights are absolutely banished from the minds of lawmakers, and
from so-called courts of justice? Or that absolute and irresponsible
lawmaking has usurped their place?

Or can any further proof be needed, of the utter worthlessness of all
the constitutions, which these lawmakers and judges swear to support,
and profess to be governed by?


SECTION XVIII.

If, now, it be asked, what is this constitutional "obligation of
contracts," which the States are forbidden to impair, the answer is,
that it is, and necessarily must be, the _natural_ obligation; or that
obligation, which contracts have, on principles of natural law, and
natural justice, as distinguished from any arbitrary or unjust
obligation, which lawmakers may assume to create, and attach to
contracts.

This natural obligation is the only _one_ "obligation" which _all_
obligatory contracts can be said to have. It is the only _inherent_
"obligation," that any contract can be said to have. It is recognized
all over the world--at least as far as it is known--as the one only
_true_ obligation, that any, or all, contracts can have. And, so far as
it is known--it is held valid all over the world, except in those
exceptional cases, where arbitrary and tyrannical governments have
assumed to annul it, or substitute some other in its stead.

The constitution assumes that this _one_ "obligation of contracts,"
which it designs to protect, is the natural one, because it assumes that
it existed, _and was known_, at the time the constitution itself was
established; and certainly no _one_ "obligation," _other than the
natural one_, can be said to have been known, as applicable to all
obligatory contracts, at the time the constitution was established.
Unless, therefore, the constitution be presumed to have intended the
natural "obligation," it cannot be said to have intended any _one_
"obligation" whatever; or, consequently, to have forbidden the violation
of any _one_ "obligation" whatever.

It cannot be said that "the obligation," which the constitution designed
to protect was any arbitrary "obligation," that was unknown at the time
the constitution was established, but that was to be created, and made
known afterward; for then this provision of the constitution could have
had no effect, until such arbitrary "obligation" should have been
created, and made known. And as it gives us no information as to how, or
by whom, this arbitrary "obligation" was to be created, or what the
obligation itself was to be, or how it could ever be known to be the one
that was intended to be protected, the provision itself becomes a mere
nullity, having no effect to protect any "obligation" at all.

It would be a manifest and utter absurdity to say that the constitution
intended to protect any "obligation" whatever, unless it be presumed to
have intended some particular "obligation," _that was known at the
time_; for that would be equivalent to saying that the constitution
intended to establish a law, of which no man could know the meaning.

But this is not all.

The right of property is a natural right. The only real right of
property, that is known to mankind, is the natural right. Men have also
a natural right to convey their natural rights of property from one
person to another. And there is no means known to mankind, by which this
_natural_ right of property can be transferred, or conveyed, by one man
to another, except by such contracts as are _naturally_ obligatory; that
is, naturally capable of conveying and binding the right of property.

All contracts whatsoever, that are naturally capable, competent, and
sufficient to convey, transfer, and bind the natural right of property,
are naturally obligatory; and really and truly do convey, transfer, and
bind such rights of property as they purport to convey, transfer, and
bind.

All the other modes, by which one man has ever attempted to acquire the
property of another, have been thefts, robberies, and frauds. But these,
of course, have never conveyed any real rights of property.

To make any contract binding, obligatory, and effectual for conveying
and transferring rights of property, these three conditions only are
essential, _viz._, 1. That it be entered into by parties, who are
mentally competent to make reasonable contracts. 2. That the contract be
a purely voluntary one: that is, that it be entered into without either
force or fraud on either side. 3. That the right of property, which the
contract purports to convey, be such an one as is naturally capable of
being conveyed, or transferred, by one man to another.

Subject to these conditions, all contracts whatsoever, for conveying
rights of property--that is, for buying and selling, borrowing and
lending, giving and receiving property--are naturally obligatory, and
bind such rights of property as they purport to convey.

Subject to these conditions, all contracts, for the conveyance of rights
of property, are recognized as valid, all over the world, by both
civilized and savage man, except in those particular cases where
governments arbitrarily and tyrannically prohibit, alter, or invalidate
them.

This _natural_ "obligation of contracts" must necessarily be presumed to
be the one, and the only one, which the constitution forbids to be
impaired, by any State law whatever, if we are to presume that the
constitution was intended for the maintenance of justice, or men's
natural rights.

On the other hand, if the constitution be presumed not to protect this
_natural_ "obligation of contracts," we know not _what_ other
"obligation" it did intend to protect. It mentions no other, describes
no other, gives us no hint of any other; and nobody can give us the
least information as to what other "obligation of contracts" was
intended.

It could not have been any "obligation" which the _State_ lawmakers
might arbitrarily create, and annex to _all_ contracts; for this is what
no lawmakers have ever attempted to do. And it would be the height of
absurdity to suppose they ever will invent any _one_ "obligation," and
attach it to _all_ contracts. They have only attempted either to annul,
or impair, the natural "obligation" of _particular_ contracts; or, _in
particular cases_, to substitute other "obligations" of their own
invention. And this is the most they will ever attempt to do.


SECTION XIX.

Assuming it now to be proved that the "obligation of contracts," which
the States are forbidden to "impair," is the _natural_ "obligation"; and
that, _constitutionally speaking_, this provision secures to all the
people of the United States the right to enter into, and have the
benefit of, all contracts whatsoever, that have that _one natural_
"obligation," let us look at some of the more important of those State
laws that have either impaired that obligation or prohibited the
exercise of that right.

1. That law, in all the States, by which any, or all, the contracts of
persons, under twenty-one years of age, are either invalidated, or
forbidden to be entered into.

The mental capacity of a person to make reasonable contracts, is the
only criterion, by which to determine his legal capacity to make
obligatory contracts. And his mental capacity to make reasonable
contracts is certainly not to be determined by the fact that he is, or
is not, twenty-one years of age. There would be just as much sense in
saying that it was to be determined by his height or his weight, as
there is in saying that it should be determined by his age.

Nearly all persons, male and female, are mentally competent to make
reasonable contracts, long before they are twenty-one years of age. And
as soon as they are mentally competent to make reasonable contracts,
they have the same natural right to make them, that they ever can have.
And their contracts have the same natural "obligation" that they ever
can have.

If a person's mental capacity to make reasonable contracts be drawn in
question, that is a question of fact, to be ascertained by the same
tribunal that is to ascertain all the other facts involved in the case.
It certainly is not to be determined by any arbitrary legislation, that
shall deprive any one of his natural right to make contracts.

2. All the State laws, that do now forbid, or that have heretofore
forbidden married women to make any or all contracts, that they are, or
were, mentally competent to make reasonably, are violations of their
natural right to make their own contracts.

A married woman has the same natural right to acquire and hold property,
and to make all contracts that she is mentally competent to make
reasonably, as has a married man, or any other man. And any law
invalidating her contracts, or forbidding her to enter into contracts,
on the ground of her being married, are not only absurd and outrageous
in themselves, but are also as plainly violations of that provision of
the constitution, which forbids any State to pass any law impairing the
natural obligation of contracts, as would be laws invalidating or
prohibiting similar contracts by married men.

3. All those State laws, commonly called acts of incorporation, by which
a certain number of persons are licensed to contract debts, without
having their individual properties held liable to pay them, are laws
impairing the natural obligation of their contracts.

On natural principles of law and reason, these persons are simply
partners; and their private properties, like those of any other
partners, should be held liable for their partnership debts. Like any
other partners, they take the profits of their business, if there be any
profits. And they are naturally bound to take all the risks of their
business, as in the case of any other business. For a law to say that,
if they make any profits, they may put them all into their own pockets,
but that, if they make a loss, they may throw it upon their creditors,
is an absurdity and an outrage. Such a law is plainly a law impairing
the natural obligation of their contracts.

4. All State insolvent laws, so-called, that distribute a debtor's
property equally among his creditors, are laws impairing the natural
obligation of his contracts.

If the natural obligation of contracts were known, and recognized as
law, we should have no need of insolvent or bankrupt laws.

The only force, function, or effect of a _legal_ contract is to convey
and bind rights of property. A contract that conveys and binds no right
of property, has no _legal_ force, effect, or obligation whatever.[4]

    [4] It may have very weighty moral obligation; but it can have
    no legal obligation.

Consequently, the natural obligation of a contract of debt binds the
debtor's property, and nothing more. That is, it gives the creditor a
mortgage upon the debtor's property, and nothing more.

A first debt is a first mortgage; a second debt is a second mortgage; a
third debt is a third mortgage; and so on indefinitely.

The first mortgage must be paid in full, before anything is paid on the
second. The second must be paid in full, before anything is paid on the
third; and so on indefinitely.

When the mortgaged property is exhausted, the debt is cancelled; there
is no other property that the contract binds.

If, therefore, a debtor, at the time his debt becomes due, pays to the
extent of his ability, and has been guilty of no fraud, fault, or
neglect, during the time his debt had to run, he is thenceforth
discharged from all legal obligation.

If this principle were acknowledged, we should have no occasion, and no
use, for insolvent or bankrupt laws.

Of course, persons who have never asked themselves what the _natural_
"obligation of contracts" is, will raise numerous objections to the
principle, that a legal contract binds nothing else than rights of
property. But their objections are all shallow and fallacious.

I have not space here to go into all the arguments that may be necessary
to prove that contracts can have no _legal_ effect, except to bind
rights of property; or to show the truth of that principle in its
application to all contracts whatsoever. To do this would require a
somewhat elaborate treatise. Such a treatise I hope sometime to publish.
For the present, I only assert the principle; and assert that the
ignorance of this truth is at least one of the reasons why courts and
lawyers have never been able to agree as to what "the obligation of
contracts" was.

In all the cases that have now been mentioned,--that is, of minors
(so-called), married women, corporations, insolvents, and in all other
like cases--the tricks, or pretences, by which the courts attempt to
uphold the validity of all laws that forbid persons to exercise their
natural right to make their own contracts, or that annul, or impair, the
_natural_ "obligation" of their contracts, are these:

1. They say that, if a law forbids any particular contract to be made,
such contract, being then an illegal one, can have no "obligation."
Consequently, say they, the law cannot be said to impair it; because the
law cannot impair an "obligation," that has never had an existence.

They say this of all contracts, that are arbitrarily forbidden;
although, naturally and intrinsically, they have as valid an obligation
as any others that men ever enter into, or as any that courts enforce.

By such a naked trick as this, these courts not only strike down men's
natural right to make their own contracts, but even seek to evade that
provision of the constitution, which they are all sworn to support, and
which commands them to hold valid the _natural_ "obligation" of all
men's contracts; "anything in the constitutions or laws of the States to
the contrary notwithstanding."

They might as well have said that, if the constitution had declared that
"no State shall pass any law impairing any man's natural right to life,
liberty, or property"--(that is, his _natural_ right to live, and do
what he will with himself and his property, so long as he infringes the
right of no other person)--this prohibition could be evaded by a State
law declaring that, from and after such a date, no person should have
any natural right to life, liberty, or property; and that, therefore, a
law arbitrarily taking from a man his life, liberty, and property, could
not be said to impair his right to them, because no law could impair a
right that did not exist.

The answer to such an argument as this, would be, that it is a natural
truth that every man, who ever has been, or ever will be, born into the
world, _necessarily has been, and necessarily will be, born with an
inherent right to life, liberty, and property_; and that, in forbidding
this right to be impaired, _the constitution presupposes, implies,
assumes, and asserts that every man has, and will have, such a right_;
and that this _natural_ right is the very right, which the constitution
forbids any State law to impair.

Or the courts might as well have said that, if the constitution had
declared that "no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of
contracts made for the purchase of food," that provision could have been
evaded by a State law forbidding any contract to be made for the
purchase of food; and then saying that such contract, being illegal,
could have no "obligation," that could be impaired.

The answer to this argument would be that, by forbidding any State law
impairing the obligation of contracts made for the purchase of food, the
constitution presupposes, implies, assumes, and asserts that such
contracts have, and always will have, a _natural_ "obligation"; and
that this _natural_ "obligation" is the very "obligation," which the
constitution forbids any State law to impair.

So in regard to all other contracts. The constitution presupposes,
implies, assumes, and asserts the natural truth, that certain contracts
have, _and always necessarily will have_, a _natural_ "obligation." And
this _natural_ "obligation"--which is the only real obligation that any
contract can have--is the very one that the constitution forbids any
State law to impair, in the case of any contract whatever that has such
obligation.

And yet all the courts hold the direct opposite of this. They hold that,
if a State law forbids any contract to be made, such a contract can then
have no obligation; and that, consequently, no State law can impair an
obligation that never existed.

But if, by forbidding a contract to be made, a State law can prevent the
contract's having any obligation, State laws, by forbidding any
contracts at all to be made, can prevent all contracts, thereafter made,
from having any obligation; and thus utterly destroy all men's natural
rights to make any obligatory contracts at all.

2. A second pretence, by which the courts attempt to evade that
provision of the constitution, which forbids any State to "pass any law
impairing the obligation of contracts," is this: They say that the State
law, that requires, or obliges, a man to fulfil his contracts, _is
itself_ "_the obligation_," which the constitution forbids to be
impaired; and that therefore the constitution only prohibits the
impairing of any law for enforcing such contracts as shall be made under
it.

But this pretence, it will be seen, utterly discards the idea that
contracts have any _natural_ obligation. It implies that contracts have
no obligation, except the laws that are made for enforcing them. But if
contracts have no _natural_ obligation, they have no obligation at all,
_that ought to be enforced_; and the State is a mere usurper, tyrant,
and robber, in passing any law to enforce them.

Plainly a State cannot rightfully enforce any contracts at all, unless
they have a _natural_ obligation.

3. A third pretence, by which the courts attempt to evade this provision
of the constitution, is this: They say that "the law is a part of the
contract" itself; and therefore cannot impair its obligation.

By this they mean that, if a law is standing upon the statute book,
prescribing what obligation certain contracts shall, or shall not, have,
it must then be presumed that, whenever such a contract is made, the
parties intended to make it according to that law; and really to make
the law a part of their contract; _although they themselves say nothing
of the kind_.

This pretence, that the law is a part of the contract, is a mere trick
to cheat people out of their natural right to make their own contracts;
and to compel them to make only such contracts as the lawmakers choose
to permit them to make.

To say that it must be presumed that the parties intended to make their
contracts according to such laws as may be prescribed to them--or, what
is the same thing, to make the laws a part of their contracts--is
equivalent to saying that the parties must be presumed to have given up
all their natural right to make their own contracts; to have
acknowledged themselves imbeciles, incompetent to make reasonable
contracts, and to have authorized the lawmakers to make their contracts
for them; for if the lawmakers can make any part of a man's contract,
and presume his consent to it, they can make a whole one, and presume
his consent to it.

If the lawmakers can make any part of men's contracts, they can make the
whole of them; and can, therefore, buy and sell, borrow and lend, give
and receive men's property of all kinds, according to their (the
lawmakers') own will, pleasure, or discretion; without the consent of
the real owners of the property, and even without their knowledge, until
it is too late. In short, they may take any man's property, and give it,
or sell it, to whom they please, and on such conditions, and at such
prices, as they please; without any regard to the rights of the owner.
They may, in fact, at their pleasure, strip any, or every, man of his
property, and bestow it upon whom they will; and then justify the act
upon the presumption that the owner consented to have his property thus
taken from him and given to others.

This absurd, contemptible, and detestable trick has had a long lease of
life, and has been used as a cover for some of the greatest of crimes.
By means of it, the marriage contract has been perverted into a
contract, on the part of the woman, to make herself a legal non-entity,
or _non compos mentis_; to give up, to her husband, all her personal
property, and the control of all her real estate; and to part with her
natural, inherent, inalienable right, as a human being, to direct her
own labor, control her own earnings, make her own contracts, and provide
for the subsistence of herself and her children.

There would be just as much reason in saying that the lawmakers have a
right to make the entire marriage contract; to marry any man and woman
against their will; dispose of all their personal and property rights;
declare them imbeciles, incapable of making a reasonable marriage
contract; then presume the consent of both the parties; and finally
treat them as criminals, and their children as outcasts, if they presume
to make any contract of their own.

This same trick, of holding that the law is a part of the contract, has
been made to protect the private property of stockholders from liability
for the debts of the corporations, of which they were members; and to
protect the private property of special partners, so-called, or limited
partners, from liability for partnership debts.

This same trick has been employed to justify insolvent and bankrupt
laws, so-called, whereby a first creditor's right to a first mortgage on
the property of his debtor, has been taken from him, and he has been
compelled to take his chances with as many subsequent creditors as the
debtor may succeed in becoming indebted to

All these absurdities and atrocities have been practiced by the
lawmakers of the States, and sustained by the courts, under the pretence
that they (the courts) did not know what the natural "obligation of
contracts" was; or that, if they did know what it was, the constitution
of the United States imposed no restraint upon its unlimited violation
by the State lawmakers.


SECTION XX.

But, not content with having always sanctioned the unlimited power of
the _State_ lawmakers to abolish all men's natural right to make their
own contracts, the Supreme Court of the United States has, within the
last twenty years, taken pains to assert that congress also has the
arbitrary power to abolish the same right.

1. It has asserted the arbitrary power of congress to abolish all men's
right to make their own contracts, by asserting its power _to alter the
meaning of all contracts, after they are made_, so as to make them
widely, or wholly, different from what the parties had made them.

Thus the court has said that, after a man has made a contract to pay a
certain number of dollars, at a future time,--_meaning such dollars as
were current at the time the contract was made_,--congress has power to
coin a dollar of less value than the one agreed on, and authorize the
debtor to pay his debt with a dollar of less value than the one he had
promised.

To cover up this infamous crime, the court asserts, over and over
again,--what no one denies,--that congress has power (constitutionally
speaking) to alter, at pleasure, the value of its coins. But it then
asserts that congress has this additional, and wholly different, power,
to wit, the power to declare that this alteration in the value of the
coins _shall work a corresponding change in all existing contracts for
the payment of money_.

In reality they say that a contract to pay money is not a contract to
pay any particular amount, or value, of such money as was known and
understood by the parties at the time the contract was made, but _only
such, and so much, as congress shall afterwards choose to call by that
name, when the debt shall become due_.

They assert that, by simply retaining the name, while altering the
thing,--_or by simply giving an old name to a new thing_,--congress has
power to utterly abolish the contract which the parties themselves
entered into, and substitute for it any such new and different one, as
they (congress) may choose to substitute.

Here are their own words:

     _The contract obligation ... was not a duty to pay gold or
     silver, or the kind of money recognized by law at the time when
     the contract was made, nor was it a duty to pay money of equal
     intrinsic value in the market.... But the obligation of a
     contract to pay money is to pay that which the law shall
     recognize as money when the payment is to be made.--Legal
     Tender Cases, 12 Wallace 548._

This is saying that the obligation of a contract to pay money is not an
obligation to pay what both the law and the parties recognize as money,
_at the time when the contract is made_, but only such substitute as
congress shall afterwards prescribe, "_when the payment is to be made_."

This opinion was given by a majority of the court in the year 1870.

In another opinion the court says:

     Under the power to coin money, and to regulate its value,
     congress may issue coins of same denomination [that is, bearing
     the same name] as those already current by law, but of less
     intrinsic value than those, by reason of containing a less
     weight of the precious metals, _and thereby enable debtors to
     discharge their debts by the payment of coins of the less real
     value_. A contract to pay a certain sum of money, without any
     stipulation as to the kind of money in which it shall be made,
     may always be satisfied by payment of that sum [that is, that
     _nominal_ amount] in any currency _which is lawful money at the
     place and time at which payment is to be made_.--_Juilliard vs.
     Greenman_, 110 _U. S. Reports_, 449.

This opinion was given by the entire court--save one, Field--at the
October term of 1883.

Both these opinions are distinct declarations of the power of congress
to alter men's contracts, _after they are made_, by simply retaining the
name, while altering the thing, that is agreed to be paid.

In both these cases, the court means distinctly to say that, _after the
parties to a contract have agreed upon the number of dollars to be
paid_, congress has power to reduce the value of the dollar, and
authorize all debtors to pay the less valuable dollar, instead of the
one agreed on.

In other words, the court means to say that, after a contract has been
made for the payment of a certain number of dollars, _congress has power
to alter the meaning of the word dollar_, and thus authorize the debtor
to pay in something different from, and less valuable than, the thing he
agreed to pay.

Well, if congress has power to alter men's contracts, _after they are
made_, by altering the meaning of the word dollar, and thus reducing the
value of the debt, it has a precisely equal power to _increase_ the
value of the dollar, and thus compel the debtor to pay _more_ than he
agreed to pay.

Congress has evidently just as much right to _increase_ the value of the
dollar, after a contract has been made, as it has to _reduce_ its value.
It has, therefore, just as much right to cheat debtors, by compelling
them to pay _more_ than they agreed to pay, as it has to cheat
creditors, by compelling them to accept _less_ than they agreed to
accept.

All this talk of the court is equivalent to asserting that congress has
the right to alter men's contracts at pleasure, _after they are made_,
and make them over into something, or anything, wholly different from
what the parties themselves had made them.

And this is equivalent to denying all men's right to make their own
contracts, or to acquire any contract rights, which congress may not
_afterward_, at pleasure, alter, or abolish.

It is equivalent to saying that the words of contracts are not to be
taken in the sense in which they are used, by the parties themselves, at
the time when the contracts are entered into, but only in such different
senses as congress may choose to put upon them at any future time.

If this is not asserting the right of congress to abolish altogether
men's natural right to make their own contracts, what is it?

Incredible as such audacious villainy may seem to those unsophisticated
persons, who imagine that a court of law should be a court of justice,
it is nevertheless true, that this court intended to declare the
unlimited power of congress to alter, at pleasure, the contracts of
parties, _after they have been made_, by altering the kind and amount of
money by which the contracts may be fulfilled. That they intended all
this, is proved, not only by the extracts already given from their
opinions, but also by the whole tenor of their arguments--too long to be
repeated here--and more explicitly by these quotations, _viz._:

     There is no well-founded distinction to be made between the
     constitutional validity of an act of congress declaring
     treasury notes a legal tender for the payment of debts
     contracted after its passage, and that of an act making them a
     legal tender for the discharge of _all_ debts, _as well those
     incurred before, as those made after, its enactment_.--_Legal
     Tender Cases_, 12 _Wallace_ 530 (1870).

     Every contract for the payment of money, simply, is necessarily
     subject to the constitutional power of the government over the
     currency, whatever that power may be, _and the obligation of
     the parties is, therefore, assumed with reference to that
     power_.--12 _Wallace_ 549.

     Contracts for the payment of money are subject to the authority
     of congress, _at least so far as relates to the means of
     payment_.--12 _Wallace_ 549.

The court means here to say that "every contract for the payment of
money, simply," is necessarily made, by the parties, _subject to the
power of congress to alter it afterward_--by altering the kind and value
of the money with which it may be paid--_into anything, into which_ they
(congress) _may choose to alter it_.

And this is equivalent to saying that all such contracts are made, by
the parties, with _the implied understanding that the contracts, as
written and signed by themselves, do not bind either of the parties to
anything_; but that they simply suggest, or initiate, some non-descript
or other, which congress may afterward convert into a binding contract,
_of such a sort, and only such a sort, as_ they (congress) _may see fit
to convert it into_.

Every one of these judges knew that no two men, having common honesty
and common sense,--unless first deprived of all power to make their own
contracts,--would ever enter into a contract to pay money, with any
understanding that the government had any such arbitrary power as the
court here ascribes to it, to alter their contract after it should be
made. Such an absurd contract would, in reality, be no _legal_ contract
at all. It would be a mere gambling agreement, having, naturally and
really, no _legal_ "obligation" at all.

But further. A _solvent_ contract to pay money is in reality--in law,
and in equity--_a bona fide mortgage upon the debtor's property_. And
this mortgage right is as veritable a right of property, as is any right
of property, that is conveyed by a warranty deed. And congress has no
more right to invalidate this mortgage, by a single iota, than it has to
invalidate a warranty deed of land. And these judges will sometime find
out that such is "the obligation of contracts," if they ever find out
what "the obligation of contracts" is.

The justices of that court have had this question--what is "the
obligation of contracts"?--before them for seventy years, and more. But
they have never agreed among themselves--even by so many as a
majority--as to what it is. And this disagreement is very good evidence
that _none_ of them have known what it is; for if any one of them had
known what it is, he would doubtless have been able, long ago, to
enlighten the rest.

Considering the vital importance of men's contracts, it would evidently
be more to the credit of these judges, if they would give their
attention to this question of "the obligation of contracts," until they
shall have solved it, than it is to be telling fifty millions of people
that they have no right to make any contracts at all, except such as
congress has power to invalidate after they shall have been made. Such
assertions as this, coming from a court that cannot even tell us what
"the obligation of contracts" is, are not entitled to any serious
consideration. On the contrary, they show us what farces and impostures
these judicial opinions--or decisions, as they call them--are. They show
that these judicial oracles, as men call them, are no better than some
of the other so-called oracles, by whom mankind have been duped.

But these judges certainly never will find out what "the obligation of
contracts" is, until they find out that men have the natural right to
make their own contracts, and unalterably fix their "obligation"; and
that governments can have no power whatever to make, unmake, alter, or
invalidate that "obligation."

Still further. Congress has the same power over weights and measures
that it has over coins. And the court has no more right or reason to say
that congress has power to alter existing contracts, by altering the
value of the coins, than it has to say that, after any or all men have,
for value received, entered into contracts to deliver so many bushels of
wheat or other grain, so many pounds of beef, pork, butter, cheese,
cotton, wool, or iron, so many yards of cloth, or so many feet of
lumber, congress has power, by altering these weights and measures, to
alter all these existing contracts, so as to convert them into contracts
to deliver only half as many, or to deliver twice as many, bushels,
pounds, yards, or feet, as the parties agreed upon.

To add to the farce, as well as to the iniquity, of these judicial
opinions, it must be kept in mind, that the court says that, after A has
sold valuable property to B, and has taken in payment an honest and
sufficient mortgage on B's property, congress has the power to compel
him (A) to give up this mortgage, and to accept, in place of it, not
anything of any real value whatever, but only the promissory note of a
so-called government; and that government one which--if taxation without
consent is robbery--never had an honest dollar in its treasury, with
which to pay any of its debts, and is never likely to have one; but
relies wholly on its future robberies for its means to pay them; and can
give no guaranty, but its own interest at the time, that it will even
make the payment out of its future robberies.

If a company of bandits were to seize a man's property for their own
uses, and give him their note, promising to pay him out of their future
robberies, the transaction would not be considered a very legitimate
one. But it would be intrinsically just as legitimate as is the one
which the Supreme Court sanctions on the part of congress.

Banditti have not usually kept supreme courts of their own, to legalize
either their robberies, or their promises to pay for past robberies, out
of the proceeds of their future ones. Perhaps they may now take a lesson
from our Supreme Court, and establish courts of their own, that will
hereafter legalize all their contracts of this kind.


SECTION XXI.

To justify its declaration, that congress has power to alter men's
contracts after they are made, the court dwells upon the fact that, at
the times when the legal-tender acts were passed, the government was in
peril of its life; and asserts that it had therefore a right to do
almost anything for its self-preservation, without much regard to its
honesty, or dishonesty, towards private persons. Thus it says:

     A civil war was then raging, which seriously threatened the
     overthrow of the government, and the destruction of the
     constitution itself. It demanded the equipment and support of
     large armies and navies, and the employment of money to an
     extent beyond the capacity of all ordinary sources of supply.
     Meanwhile the public treasury was nearly empty, and the credit
     of the government, if not stretched to its utmost tension, had
     become nearly exhausted. Moneyed institutions had advanced
     largely of their means, and more could not be expected of them.
     They had been compelled to suspend specie payments. Taxation
     was inadequate to pay even the interest on the debt already
     incurred, and it was impossible to await the income of
     additional taxes. The necessity was immediate and pressing. The
     army was unpaid. There was then due to the soldiers in the
     field nearly a score of millions of dollars. The requisitions
     from the War and Navy departments for supplies, exceeded fifty
     millions, and the current expenditure was over one million per
     day.... Foreign credit we had none. We say nothing of the
     overhanging paralysis of trade, and business generally, which
     threatened loss of confidence in the ability of the government
     to maintain its continued existence, and therewith the complete
     destruction of all remaining national credit.

     It was at such a time, and in such circumstances, that congress
     was called upon to devise means to maintaining the army and
     navy, for securing the large supplies of money needed, and
     indeed for the preservation of the government created by the
     constitution. It was at such a time, and in such and emergency,
     that the legal-tender acts were passed.--12 _Wallace_ 540-1.

In the same case Bradley said:

     Can the poor man's cattle, and horses, and corn be thus taken
     by the government, when the public exigency requires it, and
     cannot the rich man's bonds and notes be in like manner taken
     to reach the same end?--_p._ 561.

He also said:

     It is absolutely essential to independent national existence
     that government should have a firm hold on the two great
     instrumentalities of the _sword_ and the _purse, and the right
     to wield them without restriction, on occasions of national
     peril_. In certain emergencies government must have at its
     command, _not only the personal services--the bodies and
     lives--of its citizens_, but the lesser, though not less
     essential, power of absolute control over the resources of the
     country. Its armies must be filled, and its navies manned, by
     the citizens in person.--_p._ 563.

Also he said:

     _The conscription may deprive me of liberty, and destroy my
     life.... All these are fundamental political conditions on
     which life, property, and money are respectively held and
     enjoyed under our system of government, nay, under any system
     of government._ There are times when the exigencies of the
     State rightly absorb all subordinate considerations of private
     interest, convenience, and feeling.--_p._ 565.

Such an attempt as this, to justify one crime, by taking for granted the
justice of other and greater crimes, is a rather desperate mode of
reasoning, for a court of law; to say nothing of a court of justice. The
answer to it is, that no government, however good in other respects--any
more than any other good institution--has any right to live otherwise
than on purely voluntary support. It can have no right to take either
"the poor man's cattle, and horses, and corn," or "the rich man's bonds
and notes," or poor men's "bodies and lives," without their consent. And
when a government resorts to such measures to save its life, we need no
further proof that its time to die has come. A good government, no more
than a bad one, has any right to live by robbery, murder, or any other
crime.

But so think not the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.
On the contrary, they hold that, in comparison with the preservation of
the government, all the rights of the people to property, liberty, and
life are worthless things, not to be regarded. So they hold that in such
an exigency as they describe, congress had the right to commit any crime
against private persons, by which the government could be saved. And
among these lawful crimes, the court holds that congress had the right
to issue money that should serve as a license to all holders of it, to
cheat--or rather openly rob--their creditors.

The court might, with just as much reason, have said that, to preserve
the life of the government, congress had the right to issue such money
as would authorize all creditors to demand twice the amount of their
honest dues from all debtors.

The court might, with just as much reason, have said that, to preserve
the life of the government, congress had the right to sell indulgences
for all manner of crimes; for theft, robbery, rape, murder, and all
other crimes, for which indulgences would bring a price in the market.

Can any one imagine it possible that, if the government had always done
nothing but that "equal and exact justice to all men"--which you say it
is pledged to do,--but which you must know it has never done,--it could
ever have been brought into any such peril of its life, as these judges
describe? Could it ever have been necessitated to take either "the poor
man's cattle, and horses, and corn," or "the rich man's bonds and
notes," or poor men's "bodies and lives," without their consent? Could
it ever have been necessitated to "conscript" the poor man--too poor to
pay a ransom of three hundred dollars--made thus poor by the tyranny of
the government itself--"deprive him of his liberty, and destroy his
life"? Could it ever have been necessitated to sell indulgences for
crime to either debtors, or creditors, or anybody else? To preserve "the
constitution"--a constitution, I repeat, that authorized nothing but
"equal and exact justice to all men"--could it ever have been
necessitated to send into the field millions of ignorant young men, to
cut the throats of other young men as ignorant as themselves--few of
whom, on either side, had ever read the constitution, or had any real
knowledge of its legal meaning; and not one of whom had ever signed it,
or promised to support it, or was under the least obligation to support
it?

It is, I think, perfectly safe to say, that not one in a thousand,
probably not one in ten thousand, of these young men, who were sent out
to butcher others, and be butchered themselves, had any real knowledge
of the constitution they were professedly sent out to support; or any
reasonable knowledge of the real character and motives of the congresses
and courts that profess to administer the constitution. If they had
possessed this knowledge, how many of them would have ever gone to the
field?

But further. Is it really true that the right of the government to
commit all these atrocities:

     _Are the fundamental political conditions on which life,
     property, and money are respectively held and enjoyed under our
     system of government?_

If such is the real character of the constitution, can any further proof
be required of the necessity that it be buried out of sight at once and
forever? The truth was that the government was in peril, _solely because
it was not fit to exist_. It, and the State governments--all but parts
of one and the same system--were rotten with tyranny and crime. And
being bound together by no honest tie, and existing for no honest
purpose, destruction was the only honest doom to which any of them were
entitled. And if we had spent the same money and blood to destroy them,
that we did to preserve them, it would have been ten thousand times more
creditable to our intelligence and character as a people.

Clearly the court has not strengthened its case at all by this picture
of the peril in which the government was placed. It has only shown to
what desperate straits a government, founded on usurpation and fraud,
and devoted to robbery and oppression, may be brought, by the quarrels
that are liable to arise between the different factions--that is, the
different bands of robbers--of which it is composed. When such quarrels
arise, it is not to be expected that either faction--having never had
any regard to human rights, when acting in concert with the other--will
hesitate at any new crimes that may be necessary to prolong its
existence.

Here was a government that had never had any legitimate existence. It
professedly rested all its authority on a certain paper called a
constitution; a paper, I repeat, that nobody had ever signed, that few
persons had ever read, that the great body of the people had never seen.
This government had been imposed, by a few property holders, upon a
people too poor, too scattered, and many of them too ignorant, to
resist. It had been carried on, for some seventy years, by a mere cabal
of irresponsible men, called lawmakers. In this cabal, the several local
bands of robbers--the slaveholders of the South, the iron monopolists,
the woollen monopolists, and the money monopolists, of the North--were
represented. The whole purpose of its laws was to rob and enslave the
many--both North and South--for the benefit of a few. But these robbers
and tyrants quarreled--as lesser bands of robbers have done--over the
division of their spoils. And hence the war. No such principle as
justice to anybody--black or white--was the ruling motive on either
side.

In this war, each faction--already steeped in crime--plunged into new,
if not greater, crimes. In its desperation, it resolved to destroy men
and money, without limit, and without mercy, for the preservation of its
existence. The northern faction, having more men, money, and credit than
the southern, survived the Kilkenny fight. Neither faction cared
anything for human rights then, and neither of them has shown any regard
for human rights since. "As a war measure," the northern faction found
it necessary to put an end to the one great crime, from which the
southern faction had drawn its wealth. But all other government crimes
have been more rampant since the war, than they were before. Neither the
conquerors, nor the conquered, have yet learned that no government can
have any right to exist for any other purpose than the simple
maintenance of justice between man and man.

And now, years after the fiendish butchery is over, and after men would
seem to have had time to come to their senses, the Supreme Court of the
United States, representing the victorious faction, comes forward with
the declaration that one of the crimes--the violation of men's private
contracts--resorted to by its faction, in the heat of conflict, as a
means of preserving its power over the other, was not only justifiable
and proper at the time, _but that it is also a legitimate and
constitutional power, to be exercised forever hereafter in time of
peace!_

Mark the knavery of these men. They first say that, because the
government was in peril of its life, it had a right to license great
crimes against private persons, if by so doing it could raise money for
its own preservation. Next they say that, _although the government is no
longer in peril of its life_, it may still go on forever licensing the
same crimes as it was before necessitated to license!

They thus virtually say that the government may commit the same crimes
in time of peace, that it is necessitated to do in time of war; and,
that, consequently, it has the same right to "take the poor man's
cattle, and horses, and corn," and "the rich man's bonds and notes," and
poor men's "bodies and lives," in time of peace, _when no necessity
whatever can be alleged_, as in time of war, when the government is in
peril of its life.

In short, they virtually say, that this government exists for itself
alone; and that all the natural rights of the people, to property,
liberty, and life, are mere baubles, to be disposed of, at its pleasure,
whether in time of peace, or in war.


SECTION XXII.

As if to place beyond controversy the fact, that the court may forever
hereafter be relied on to sanction every usurpation and crime that
congress will ever dare to put into the form of a statute, without the
slightest color of authority from the constitution, necessity, utility,
justice, or reason, it has, on three separate occasions, announced its
sanction of the monopoly of money, as finally established by congress in
1866, and continued in force ever since.

This monopoly is established by a prohibitory tax--a tax of ten per
cent.--on all notes issued for circulation as money, other than the
notes of the United States and the national banks.

This ten per cent. is called a "tax," but is really a penalty, and is
intended as such, and as nothing else. Its whole purpose is--_not to
raise revenue_--but solely to establish a monopoly of money, by
prohibiting the issue of all notes intended for circulation as money,
except those issued, or specially licensed, by the government itself.

This prohibition upon the issue of all notes, except those issued, or
specially licensed, by the government, is a prohibition upon all freedom
of industry and traffic. It is a prohibition upon the exercise of men's
natural right to lend and hire such money capital as all men need to
enable them to create and distribute wealth, and supply their own
wants, and provide for their own happiness. Its whole purpose is to
reduce, as far as possible, the great body of the people to the
condition of servants to a few--a condition but a single grade above
that of chattel slavery--in which their labor, and the products of their
labor, may be extorted from them at such prices only as the holders of
the monopoly may choose to give.

This prohibitory tax--so-called--is therefore really a penalty imposed
upon the exercise of men's natural right to create and distribute
wealth, and provide for their own and each other's wants. And it is
imposed solely for the purpose of establishing a practically omnipotent
monopoly in the hands of a few.

Calling this penalty a "tax" is one of the dirty tricks, or rather
downright lies--that of calling things by false names--to which congress
and the courts resort, to hide their usurpations and crimes from the
common eye.

Everybody--who believes in the government--says, of course, that
congress has power to levy taxes; that it must do so to raise revenue
for the support of the government. Therefore this lying congress call
this penalty a "tax," instead of calling it by its true name, a penalty.

It certainly is no tax, because no revenue is raised, or intended to be
raised, by it. It is not levied upon property, or persons, as such, but
only upon a certain act, or upon persons for doing a certain act; an act
that if not only perfectly innocent and lawful in itself, but that is
naturally and intrinsically useful, and even indispensable for the
prosperity and welfare of the whole people. Its whole object is simply
to deter everybody--except those specially licensed--from performing
this innocent, useful, and necessary act. And this it has succeeded in
doing for the last twenty years; to the destruction of the rights, and
the impoverishment and immeasurable injury of all the people, except the
few holders of the monopoly.

If congress had passed an act, in this form, to wit:

     No person, nor any association of persons, incorporated or
     unincorporated--_unless specially licensed by congress_--shall
     issue their promissory notes for circulation as money; and a
     _penalty_ of ten per cent. upon the amount of all such notes
     shall be imposed upon the persons issuing them,

the act would have been the same, in effect and intention, as is this
act, that imposes what it calls a "tax." The penalty would have been
understood by everybody as a punishment for issuing the notes; and would
have been applied to, and enforced against, those only who should have
issued them. And it is the same with this so-called tax. It will never
be collected, except for the same cause, and under the same
circumstances, as the penalty would have been. It has no more to do with
raising a revenue, than the penalty would have had. And all these lying
lawmakers and courts know it.

But if congress had put this prohibition distinctly in the form of a
_penalty_, the usurpation would have been so barefaced--so destitute of
all color of constitutional authority--that congress dared not risk the
consequences. And possibly the court might not have dared to sanction
it; if, indeed, there be any crime or usurpation which the court dare
not sanction. So these knavish lawmakers called this penalty a "tax";
and the court says that such a "tax" is clearly constitutional. And the
monopoly has now been established for twenty years. And substantially
all the industrial and financial troubles of that period have been the
natural consequences of the monopoly.

If congress had laid a prohibitory tax upon all food--that is, had
imposed a penalty upon the production and sale of all food--except such
as it should have itself produced, or specially licensed; and should
have reduced the amount of food, thus produced or licensed, to one
tenth, twentieth, or fiftieth of what was really needed; the motive and
the crime would have been the same, in character, if not in degree, as
they are in this case, _viz._, to enable the few holders of the licensed
food to extort, from everybody else, by the fear of starvation, all
their (the latter's) earnings and property, in exchange for this small
quantity of privileged food.

Such a monopoly of food would have been no clearer violation of men's
natural rights, than is the present monopoly of money. And yet this
colossal crime--like every other crime that congress chooses to
commit--is sanctioned by its servile, rotten, and stinking court.

On what _constitutional_ grounds--that is, on what provisions found in
the constitution itself--does the court profess to give its sanction to
such a crime?

On these three only:

1. On the power of congress to lay and collect taxes, etc.

2. On the power of congress to coin money.

3. On the power of congress to borrow money.

Out of these simple, and apparently harmless provisions, the court
manufactures an authority to grant, to a few persons, a monopoly that is
practically omnipotent over all the industry and traffic of the country;
that is fatal to all other men's natural right to lend and hire capital
for any or all their legitimate industries; and fatal absolutely to all
their natural right to buy, sell, and exchange any, or all, the products
of their labor at their true, just, and natural prices.

Let us look at these constitutional provisions, and see how much
authority congress can really draw from them.

1. The constitution says:

     The congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties,
     imposts, and excises, _to pay the debts, and provide for the
     common defence and general welfare of the United States_.

This provision plainly authorizes no taxation whatever, except for the
raising of revenue to pay the debts and legitimate expenses of the
government. It no more authorizes taxation for the purpose of
establishing monopolies of any kind whatever, than it does for taking
openly and boldly all the property of the many, and giving it outright
to a few. And none but a congress of usurpers, robbers, and swindlers
would ever think of using it for that purpose.

The court says, _in effect_, that this provision gives congress power to
establish the present monopoly of money; that the power to tax all other
money, is a power to prohibit all other money; and a power to prohibit
all other money is a power to give the present money a monopoly.

How much is such an argument worth? Let us show by a parallel case, as
follows.

Congress has the same power to tax all other property, that it has to
tax money. And if the power to tax money is a power to prohibit money,
then it follows that the power of congress to tax all other property
than money, is a power to prohibit all other property than money; and a
power to prohibit all other property than money, is a power to give
monopolies to all such other property as congress may not choose to
prohibit; or may choose to specially license.

On such reasoning as this, it would follow that the power of congress to
tax money, and all other property, is a power to prohibit all money, and
all other property; and thus to establish monopolies in favor of all
such money, and all such other property, as it chooses not to prohibit;
or chooses to specially license.

Thus, this reasoning would give congress power to establish all the
monopolies, it may choose to establish, not only in money, but in
agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; and protect these monopolies
against infringement, by imposing prohibitory taxes upon all money and
other property, except such as it should choose not to prohibit; or
should choose to specially license.

Because the constitution says that "congress shall have power to lay and
collect taxes," etc., to raise the revenue necessary for paying the
current expenses of the government, the court say that congress have
power to levy prohibitory taxes--taxes that shall yield no revenue at
all--but shall operate only as a penalty upon all industries and
traffic, and upon the use of all the means of industry and traffic, that
shall compete with such monopolies as congress shall choose to grant.

This is no more than an unvarnished statement of the argument, by which
the court attempts to justify a prohibitory "tax" upon money; for the
same reasoning would justify the levying of a prohibitory tax--that is,
penalty--upon the use of any and all other means of industry and
traffic, by which any other monopolies, granted by congress, might be
infringed.

There is plainly no more connection between the "power to lay and
collect taxes," etc., for the necessary expenses of the government, and
the power to establish this monopoly of money, than there is between
such a power of taxation, and a power to punish, as a crime, any or all
industry and traffic whatsoever, except such as the government may
specially license.

This whole cheat lies in the use of the word "tax," to describe what is
really a penalty, upon the exercise of any or all men's natural rights
of providing for their subsistence and well-being. And none but corrupt
and rotten congresses and courts would ever think of practising such a
cheat.

2. The second provision of the constitution, relied on by the court to
justify the monopoly of money, is this:

     The congress shall have power to coin money, regulate the value
     thereof, and of foreign coins.

The only important part of this provision is that which says that "the
congress shall have power to coin money, [and] regulate the value
thereof."

That part about regulating the value of foreign coins--if any one can
tell how congress can regulate it--is of no appreciable importance to
anybody; for the coins will circulate, or not, as men may, or may not,
choose to buy and sell them as money, and at such value as they will
bear in free and open market,--that is, in competition with all other
coins, and all other money. This is their only true and natural market
value; and there is no occasion for congress to do anything in regard to
them.

The only thing, therefore, that we need to look at, is simply the power
of congress "to coin money."

So far as congress itself is authorized to coin money, this is simply a
power to weigh and assay metals,--gold, silver, or any other,--stamp
upon them marks indicating their weight and fineness, and then sell them
to whomsoever may choose to buy them; and let them go in the market for
whatever they may chance to bring, in competition with all other money
that may chance to be offered there.

It is no power to impose any restrictions whatever upon any or all other
honest money, that may be offered in the market, and bought and sold in
competition with the coins weighed and assayed by the government.

The power itself is a frivolous one, of little or no utility; for the
weighing and assaying of metals is a thing so easily done, and can be
done by so many different persons, that there is certainly no
_necessity_ for its being done at all by a government. And it would
undoubtedly have been far better if all coins--whether coined by
governments or individuals--had all been made into pieces bearing simply
the names of pounds, ounces, pennyweights, etc., and containing just the
amounts of pure metal described by those weights. The coins would then
have been regarded as only so much metal; and as having only the same
value as the same amount of metal in any other form. Men would then have
known exactly how much of certain metals they were buying, selling, and
promising to pay. And all the jugglery, cheating, and robbery that
governments have practised, and licensed individuals to practise--by
coining pieces bearing the same names, but having different amounts of
metal--would have been avoided.

And all excuses for establishing monopolies of money, by prohibiting all
other money than the coins, would also have been avoided.

As it is, the constitution imposes no prohibition upon the coining of
money by individuals, but only by State governments. Individuals are
left perfectly free to coin it, except that they must not
"_counterfeit_ the securities and current coin of the United States."

For quite a number of years after the discovery of gold in
California--that is, until the establishment of a government mint
there--a large part of the gold that was taken out of the earth, was
coined by private persons and companies; and this coinage was perfectly
legal. And I do not remember to have ever heard any complaint, or
accusation, that it was not honest and reliable.

The true and only value, which the coins have as money, is that value
which they have as metals, for uses in the arts,--that is, for plate,
watches, jewelry, and the like. This value they will retain, whether
they circulate as money, or not. At this value, they are so utterly
inadequate to serve as _bona fide_ equivalents for such other property
as is to be bought and sold for money; and, after being minted, are so
quickly taken out of circulation, and worked up into articles of
use--plate, watches, jewelry, etc.--that they are practically of almost
no importance at all as money.

But they can be so easily and cheaply carried from one part of the world
to another, that they have substantially the same market value all over
the world. They are also, in but a small degree, liable to great or
sudden changes in value. For these reasons, they serve well as
standards--are perhaps the best standards we can have--by which to
measure the value of all other money, as well as other property. But to
give them any monopoly as money, is to deny the natural right of all men
to make their own contracts, and buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and
receive, all such money as the parties to bargains may mutually agree
upon; and also to license the few holders of the coins to rob all other
men in the prices of the latter's labor and property.

3. The third provision of the constitution, on which the court relies to
justify the monopoly of money, is this:

     The congress shall have power to borrow money.

Can any one see any connection between the power of congress "to borrow
money," and its power to establish a monopoly of money?

Certainly no such connection is visible to the legal eye. But it is
distinctly visible to the political and financial eye; that is, to that
class of men, for whom governments exist, and who own congresses and
courts, and set in motion armies and navies, whenever they can promote
their own interests by doing so.

To a government, whose usurpations and crimes have brought it to the
verge of destruction, these men say:

     Make bonds bearing six per cent. interest; sell them to us at
     half their face value; then give us a monopoly of money based
     upon these bonds--such a monopoly as will subject the great
     body of the people to a dependence upon us for the necessaries
     of life, and compel them to sell their labor and property to us
     at our own prices; then, under pretence of raising revenue to
     pay the interest and principal of the bonds, impose such a
     tariff upon imported commodities as will enable us to get fifty
     per cent. more for our own goods than they are worth; in short,
     pledge to us all the power of the government to extort for us,
     in the future, everything that can be extorted from the
     producers of wealth, and we will lend you all the money you
     need to maintain your power.

And the government has no alternative but to comply with this infamous
proposal, or give up its infamous life.

This is the only real connection there is between the power of congress
"to borrow money," and its power to establish a monopoly of money. It
was only by an outright sale of the rights of the whole people, for a
long series of years, that the government could raise the money
necessary to continue its villainous existence.

Congress had just as much constitutional power "to borrow money," by the
sale of any and all the other natural rights of the people at large, as
it had "to borrow money" by the sale of the people's natural rights to
lend and hire money.

When the Supreme Court of the United States--assuming to be an oracle,
empowered to define authoritatively the legal rights of every human
being in the country--declares that congress has a constitutional power
to prohibit the use of all that immense mass of money capital, in the
shape of promissory notes, which the real property of the country is
capable of supplying and sustaining, and which is sufficient to give to
every laboring person, man or woman, the means of independence and
wealth--when that court says that congress has power to prohibit the use
of all this money capital, and grant to a few men a monopoly of money
that shall condemn the great body of wealth-producers to hopeless
poverty, dependence, and servitude--and when the court has the audacity
to make these declarations on such nakedly false and senseless grounds
as those that have now been stated, it is clearly time for the people of
this country to inquire what constitutions and governments are good for,
and whether they (the people) have any natural right, as human beings,
to live for themselves, or only for a few conspirators, swindlers,
usurpers, robbers, and tyrants, who employ lawmakers, judges, etc., to
do their villainous work upon their fellow-men.

The court gave their sanction to the monopoly of money in these three
separate cases, _viz._: _Veazie Bank vs. Fenno_, 8 _Wallace_, 549
(1869). _National Bank vs. United States_, 101 _U. S. Reports_, 5 _and_
6 (1879). _Juilliard vs. Greenman_, 110 _U. S. Reports_ 445-6 (1884).


Section XXIII.

If anything could add to the disgust and detestation which the monstrous
falsifications of the constitution, already described, should excite
towards the court that resorts to them, it would be the fact that the
court, not content with falsifying to the utmost the constitution
itself, _goes outside of the constitution, to the tyrannical practices
of what it_ calls the "_sovereign_" governments of "_other civilized
nations_," to justify the same practices by our own.

It asserts, over and over again, the idea that our government is a
"_sovereign_" government; that it has the same rights of
"_sovereignty_," as the governments of "other civilized nations";
especially those in Europe.

What, then, is a "sovereign" government? It is a government that is
"sovereign" over all the natural rights of the people. This is the only
"sovereignty" that any government can be said to have. Under it, the
people have no _rights_. They are simply "subjects,"--that is, slaves.
They have but one law, and one duty, _viz._, obedience, submission. They
are not recognized as having any _rights_. They can claim nothing as
their own. They can only accept what the government chooses to give
them. The government owns them and their property; and disposes of them
and their property, at its pleasure, or discretion; without regard to
any consent, or dissent, on their part.

Such was the "sovereignty" claimed and exercised by the governments of
those, so-called, "civilized nations of Europe," that were in power in
1787, 1788, and 1789, when our constitution was framed and adopted, and
the government put in operation under it. And the court now says,
virtually, that the constitution intended to give to our government the
same "sovereignty" over the natural rights of the people, that those
governments had then.

But how did the "civilized governments of Europe" become possessed of
such "sovereignty"? Had the people ever granted it to them? Not at all.
The governments spurned the idea that they were dependent on the will or
consent of their people for their political power. On the contrary, they
claimed to have derived it from the only source, from which such
"sovereignty" could have been derived; that is, from God Himself.

In 1787, 1788, and 1789, all the great governments of Europe, except
England, claimed to exist by what was called "Divine Right." That is,
they claimed to have received authority from God Himself, to rule over
their people. And they taught, and a servile and corrupt priesthood
taught, that it was a religious duty of the people to obey them. And
they kept great standing armies, and hordes of pimps, spies, and
ruffians, to keep the people in subjection.

And when, soon afterwards, the revolutionists of France dethroned the
king then existing--the Legitimist king, so-called--and asserted the
right of the people to choose their own government, these other
governments carried on a twenty years' war against her, to reëstablish
the principle of "sovereignty" by "Divine Right." And in this war, the
government of England, although not itself claiming to exist by Divine
Right,--but really existing by brute force,--furnished men and money
without limit, to reëstablish that principle in France, and to maintain
it wherever else, in Europe, it was endangered by the idea of popular
rights.

The principle, then, of "Sovereignty by Divine Right"--sustained by
brute force--was the principle on which the governments of Europe then
rested; and most of them rest on that principle today. And now the
Supreme Court of the United States virtually says that our constitution
intended to give to our government the same "sovereignty"--the same
absolutism--the same supremacy over all the natural rights of the
people--as was claimed and exercised by those "Divine Right" governments
of Europe, a hundred years ago!

That I may not be suspected of misrepresenting these men, I give some of
their own words as follows:

     It is not doubted that the power to establish a standard of
     value, by which all other values may be measured, or, in other
     words, to determine what shall be lawful money and a legal
     tender, is in its nature, and of necessity, a governmental
     power. _It is in all countries exercised by the
     government._--_Hepburn vs. Griswold, 8 Wallace 615._

The court call a power,

     To make treasury notes a legal tender for the payment of _all_
     debts [private as well as public] _a power confessedly
     possessed by every independent sovereignty other than the
     United States_.--_Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wallace, p. 529._

Also, in the same case, it speaks of:

     That general power over the currency, _which has always been an
     acknowledged attribute of sovereignty in every other civilized
     nation than our own_.--_p. 545._

In this same case, by way of asserting the power of congress to do any
dishonest thing that any so-called "sovereign government" ever did, the
court say:

     Has any one, in good faith, avowed his belief that even a law
     debasing the current coin, by increasing the alloy [and then
     making these debased coins a legal tender in payment of debts
     previously contracted], would be taking private property? It
     might be impolitic, and unjust, but could its constitutionality
     be doubted?--_p. 552._

In the same case, Bradley said:

     As a government, it [the government of the United States] was
     invested with _all the attributes of sovereignty_.--_p. 555._

Also he said:

     Such being the character of the General Government, it seems to
     be a self-evident proposition _that it is invested with all
     those inherent and implied powers, which, at the time of
     adopting the constitution, were generally considered to belong
     to every government, as such_, and as being essential to the
     exercise of its functions.--_p. 556._

Also he said:

     Another proposition equally clear is, _that at the time the
     constitution was adopted, it was, and for a long time had
     been, the practice of most, if not all, civilized governments_,
     to employ the public credit as a means of anticipating the
     national revenues for the purpose of enabling them to exercise
     their governmental functions.--_p. 556._

Also he said:

     It is our duty to construe the instrument [the constitution] by
     its words, _in the light of history, of the general nature of
     government, and the incidents of sovereignty_.--_p. 55._

Also he said:

     The government simply demands that its credit shall be accepted
     and received by public and private creditors during the pending
     exigency. _Every government has a right to demand this, when
     its existence is at stake._--_p. 560._

Also he said:

     These views are exhibited ... for the purpose of showing that
     it [the power to make its notes a legal tender in payment of
     private debts] _is one of those vital and essential powers
     inhering in every national sovereignty_, and necessary to its
     self-preservation.--_p. 564._

In still another legal tender case, the court said:

     The people of the United States, by the constitution,
     established a national government, _with sovereign powers,
     legislative, executive_, and judicial.--_Juilliard vs.
     Greenman, 110 U. S. Reports, p. 438._

Also it calls the constitution:

     A constitution, establishing a form of government, declaring
     fundamental principles, _and creating a national sovereignty_,
     intended to endure for ages.--_p. 439._

Also the court speaks of the government of the United States:

     _As a sovereign government._--_p. 446._

Also it said:

     It appears to us to follow, as a logical and necessary
     consequence, that congress has the power to issue the
     obligations of the United States in such form, and to impress
     upon them such qualities as currency, for the purchase of
     merchandise and the payment of debts, _as accord with the usage
     of other sovereign governments_. The power, as incident to the
     power of borrowing money, and issuing bills or notes of the
     government for money borrowed, of impressing upon those bills
     or notes the quality of being a legal tender for the payment of
     private debts, _was a power universally understood to belong to
     sovereignty, in Europe and America, at the time of the framing
     and adoption of the constitution of the United States_. The
     governments of Europe, acting through the monarch, or the
     legislature, according to the distribution of powers _under
     their respective constitutions_, had, and have, as _sovereign_
     a power of issuing paper money as of stamping coin. This power
     has been distinctly recognized in an important modern case,
     ably argued and fully considered, in which the Emperor of
     Austria, as King of Hungary, obtained from the English Court of
     Chancery an injunction against the issue, in England, without
     his license, of notes purporting to be public paper money of
     Hungary.--_p. 447._

Also it speaks of:

     Congress, as the legislature of a _sovereign_ nation.--_p.
     449._

Also it said:

     The power to make the notes of the government a legal tender in
     payment of private debts, _being one of the powers belonging to
     sovereignty in other civilized nations_, ... we are
     irresistibly impelled to the conclusion that the impressing
     upon the treasury notes of the United States the quality of
     being a legal tender in payment of private debts, is an
     appropriate means, conducive and plainly adapted to the
     execution of the undoubted powers of congress, consistent with
     the letter and spirit of the constitution, etc.----_p._ 450.

On reading these astonishing ideas about "sovereignty"--"sovereignty"
over all the natural rights of mankind--"sovereignty," as it prevailed
in Europe "at the time of the framing and adoption of the constitution
of the United States"--we are compelled to see that these judges
obtained their constitutional law, not from the constitution itself, but
from the example of the "Divine Right" governments existing in Europe a
hundred years ago. These judges seem never to have heard of the American
Revolution, or the French Revolution, or even of the English Revolutions
of the seventeenth century--revolutions fought and accomplished to
overthrow these very ideas of "sovereignty," which these judges now
proclaim, as the supreme law of this country. They seem never to have
heard of the Declaration of Independence, nor of any other declaration
of the natural rights of human beings. To their minds, "the sovereignty
of governments" is everything; human rights nothing. They apparently
cannot conceive of such a thing as a people's establishing a government
as a means of preserving their personal liberty and rights. They can
only see what fearful calamities "sovereign governments" would be liable
to, if they could not compel their "subjects"--the people--to support
them against their will, and at every cost of their property, liberty,
and lives. They are utterly blind to the fact, that it is this very
assumption of "sovereignty" over all the natural rights of men, that
brings governments into all their difficulties, and all their perils.
They do not see that it is this very assumption of "sovereignty" over
all men's natural rights, that makes it necessary for the "Divine Right"
governments of Europe to maintain not only great standing armies, but
also a vile purchased priesthood, that shall impose upon, and help to
crush, the ignorant and superstitious people.

These judges talk of "the _constitutions_" of these "sovereign
governments" of Europe, as they existed "at the time of the framing and
adoption of the constitution of the United States." They apparently do
not know that those governments had no constitutions at all, except the
Will of God, their standing armies, and the judges, lawyers, priests,
pimps, spies, and ruffians they kept in their service.

If these judges had lived in Russia, a hundred years ago, and had
chanced to be visited with a momentary spasm of manhood--a fact hardly
to be supposed of such creatures--and had been sentenced therefor to the
knout, a dungeon, or Siberia, would we ever afterward have seen them, as
judges of our Supreme Court, declaring that government to be the model
after which ours was formed?

These judges will probably be surprised when I tell them that the
constitution of the United States contains no such word as "sovereign,"
or "sovereignty"; that it contains no such word as "subjects"; nor any
word that implies that the government is "sovereign," or that the people
are "subjects." At most, it contains only the mistaken idea that a power
of making laws--by lawmakers chosen by the people--was consistent with,
and necessary to, the maintenance of liberty and justice for the people
themselves. This mistaken idea was, in some measure, excusable in that
day, when reason and experience had not demonstrated, to their minds,
the utter incompatibility of all lawmaking whatsoever with men's natural
rights.

The only other provision of the constitution, that can be interpreted as
a declaration of "sovereignty" in the government, is this:

     This constitution, and the laws of the United States _which
     shall be made in pursuance thereof_, and all treaties made, or
     which shall be made, under the authority of the United States,
     _shall be the supreme law of the land_, and the judges in every
     State shall be bound thereby, _anything in the constitution or
     laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding_.--_Art._ VI.

This provision I interpret to mean simply that the constitution, laws,
and treaties of the United States, shall be "the supreme law of the
land"--_not anything in the natural rights of the people to liberty and
justice, to the contrary notwithstanding_--but only that they shall be
"the supreme law of the land," "_anything in the constitution or laws of
any State to the contrary notwithstanding_,"--that is, whenever the two
may chance to conflict with each other.

If this is its true interpretation, the provision contains no
declaration of "sovereignty" over the natural rights of the people.

Justice is "the supreme law" of this, and all other lands; anything in
the constitutions or laws of any nation to the contrary notwithstanding.
And if the constitution of the United States intended to assert the
contrary, it was simply an audacious lie--a lie as foolish as it was
audacious--that should have covered with infamy every man who helped to
frame the constitution, or afterward sanctioned it, or that should ever
attempt to administer it.

Inasmuch as the constitution declares itself to have been "ordained and
established" by

     We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more
     perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity,
     provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare,
     and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
     posterity,

everybody who attempts to administer it, is bound to give it such an
interpretation, and only such an interpretation, as is consistent
with, and promotive of, those objects, if its language will admit of
such an interpretation.

To suppose that "the people of the United States" intended to declare
that the constitution and laws of the United States should be "the
supreme law of the land," _anything in their own natural rights, or in
the natural rights of the rest of mankind, to the contrary
notwithstanding_, would be to suppose that they intended, not only to
authorize every injustice, and arouse universal violence, among
themselves, but that they intended also to avow themselves the open
enemies of the rights of all the rest of mankind. Certainly no such
folly, madness, or criminality as this can be attributed to them by any
rational man--always excepting the justices of the Supreme Court of the
United States, the lawmakers, and the believers in the "Divine Right" of
the cunning and the strong, to establish governments that shall deceive,
plunder, enslave, and murder the ignorant and the weak.

Many men, still living, can well remember how, some fifty years ago,
those famous champions of "sovereignty," of arbitrary power, Webster and
Calhoun, debated the question, whether, in this country, "sovereignty"
resided in the general or State governments. But they never settled the
question, for the very good reason that no such thing as "sovereignty"
resided in either.

And the question was never settled, until it was settled at the cost of
a million of lives, and some ten thousand millions of money. And then it
was settled only as the same question had so often been settled before,
to wit, that "the heaviest battalions" are "sovereign" over the lighter.

The only real "sovereignty," or right of "sovereignty," in this or any
other country, is that right of sovereignty which each and every human
being has over his or her own person and property, so long as he or she
obeys the one law of justice towards the person and property of every
other human being. This is the only _natural_ right of sovereignty, that
was ever known among men. All other so-called rights of sovereignty are
simply the usurpations of impostors, conspirators, robbers, tyrants, and
murderers.

It is not strange that we are in such high favor with the tyrants of
Europe, when our Supreme Court tells them that our government, although
a little different in form, stands on the same essential basis as theirs
of a hundred years ago; that it is as absolute and irresponsible as
theirs were then; that it will spend more money, and shed more blood, to
maintain its power, than they have ever been able to do; that the people
have no more rights here than there; and that the government is doing
all it can to keep the producing classes as poor here as they are
there.


SECTION XXIV.

John Marshall has the reputation of having been the greatest jurist the
country has ever had. And he unquestionably would have been a great
jurist, if the two fundamental propositions, on which all his legal,
political, and constitutional ideas were based, had been true.

These propositions were, first, that government has all power; and,
secondly, that the people have no rights.

These two propositions were, with him, cardinal principles, from which,
I think, he never departed.

For these reasons he was the oracle of all the rapacious classes, in
whose interest the government was administered. And from them he got all
his fame.

I think his record does not furnish a single instance, in which he ever
vindicated men's natural rights, in opposition to the arbitrary
legislation of congress.

He was chief justice thirty-four years: from 1801 to 1835. In all that
time, so far as I have known, he never declared a single act of congress
unconstitutional; and probably never would have done so, if he had lived
to this time.

And, so far as I know, he never declared a single State law
unconstitutional, on account of its injustice, or its violation of men's
natural rights; but only on account of its conflict with the
constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.

He was considered very profound on questions of "sovereignty." In fact,
he never said much in regard to anything else. He held that, in this
country, "sovereignty" was divided: that the national government was
"sovereign" over certain things; and that the State governments were
"sovereign" over all other things. He had apparently never heard of any
natural, individual, human rights, that had never been delegated to
either the general or State governments.

As a practical matter, he seemed to hold that the general government had
"sovereignty" enough to destroy as many of the natural rights of the
people as it should please to destroy; and that the State governments
had "sovereignty" enough to destroy what should be left, if there should
be any such. He evidently considered that, to the national government,
had been delegated the part of the lion, with the right to devour as
much of his prey as his appetite should crave; and that the State
governments were jackals, with power to devour what the lion should
leave.

In his efforts to establish the absolutism of our governments, he made
himself an adept in the use of all those false definitions, and false
assumptions, to which courts are driven, who hold that constitutions and
statute books are supreme over all natural principles of justice, and
over all the natural rights of mankind.

Here is his definition of law. He professes to have borrowed it from
some one,--he does not say whom,--but he accepts it as his own.

     Law has been defined by a writer, whose definitions especially
     have been the theme of _almost_ universal panegyric, "_To be a
     rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a
     State._" In our system, the legislature of a State is the
     supreme power, in all cases where its action is not restrained
     by the constitution of the United States.--_Ogden vs. Saunders,
     12 Wheaton 347._

This definition is an utterly false one. It denies all the natural
rights of the people; and is resorted to only by usurpers and tyrants,
to justify their crimes.

The true definition of law is, that it is a fixed, immutable, natural
principle; and not anything that man ever made, or can make, unmake, or
alter. Thus we speak of the laws of matter, and the laws of mind; of the
law of gravitation, the laws of light, heat, and electricity, the laws
of chemistry, geology, botany; of physiological laws, of astronomical
and atmospherical laws, etc., etc.

All these are natural laws, that man never made, nor can ever unmake, or
alter.

The law of justice is just as supreme and universal in the moral world,
as these others are in the mental or physical world; and is as
unalterable as are these by any human power. And it is just as false and
absurd to talk of anybody's having the power to abolish the law of
justice, and set up their own will in its stead, as it would be to talk
of their having the power to abolish the law of gravitation, or any of
the other natural laws of the universe, and set up their own will in the
place of them.

Yet Marshall holds that this natural law of justice is no law at all, in
comparison with some "rule of civil conduct prescribed by [what he
calls] the supreme power in a State."

And he gives this miserable definition, which he picked up
somewhere--out of the legal filth in which he wallowed--as his
sufficient authority for striking down all the natural obligation of
men's contracts, and all men's natural rights to make their own
contracts; and for upholding the State governments in prohibiting all
such contracts as they, in their avarice and tyranny, may choose to
prohibit. He does it too, directly in the face of that very
constitution, which he professes to uphold, and which declares that "No
State shall pass any law impairing the [natural] obligation of
contracts."

By the same rule, or on the same definition of law, he would strike down
any and all the other natural rights of mankind.

That such a definition of law should suit the purposes of men like
Marshall, who believe that governments should have all power, and men no
rights, accounts for the fact that, in this country, men have had no
"_rights_"--but only such permits as lawmakers have seen fit to allow
them--since the State and United States governments were
established,--or at least for the last eighty years.

Marshall also said:

     The right [of government] to regulate contracts, to prescribe
     the rules by which they may be evidenced, _to prohibit such as
     may be deemed mischievous, is unquestionable_, and has been
     universally exercised.--_Ogden vs. Saunders, 12 Wheaton 347._

He here asserts that "the supreme power in a State"--that is, the
legislature of a State--has "the _right_" to "_deem_ it _mischievous_"
to allow men to exercise their natural right to make their own
contracts! Contracts that have a natural obligation! And that, if a
State legislature thinks it "mischievous" to allow men to make contracts
that are naturally obligatory, "_its right to prohibit them is
unquestionable_."

Is not this equivalent to saying that governments have all power, and
the people no rights?

On the same principle, and under the same definition of law, the
lawmakers of a State may, of course, hold it "mischievous" to allow men
to exercise any of their other natural rights, as well as their right to
make their own contracts; and may therefore prohibit the exercise of
any, or all, of them.

And this is equivalent to saying that governments have all power, and
the people no rights.

If a government can forbid the free exercise of a single one of man's
natural rights, it may, for the same reason, forbid the exercise of any
and all of them; and thus establish, practically and absolutely,
Marshall's principle, that the government has all power, and the people
no rights.

_In the same case, of Ogden vs. Saunders, Marshall's principle was
agreed to by all the other justices, and all the lawyers!_

Thus Thompson, one of the justices, said:

     Would it not be within the legitimate powers of a State
     legislature to declare _prospectively_ that no one should be
     made responsible, upon contracts entered into before arriving
     at the age of _twenty-five_ years? This, I presume, cannot be
     doubted.--_p. 300._

On the same principle, he might say that a State legislature may declare
that no person, under fifty, or seventy, or a hundred, years of age,
shall exercise his natural right of making any contract that is
naturally obligatory.

In the same case, Trimble, another of the justices, said:

     If the positive law [that is, the statute law] of the State
     declares the contract shall have no obligation, _it can have no
     obligation, whatever may be the principles of natural law in
     regard to such a contract. This doctrine has been held and
     maintained by all States and nations. The power of controlling,
     modifying, and even taking away, all obligation from such
     contracts as, independently of positive enactions to the
     contrary, would have been obligatory, has been exercised by all
     independent sovereigns._--_p. 320._

Yes; and why has this power been exercised by "all States and nations,"
and "all independent sovereigns"? Solely because these governments have
all--or at least so many of them as Trimble had in his mind--been
despotic and tyrannical; and have claimed for themselves all power, and
denied to the people all rights.

Thus it seems that Trimble, like all the rest of them, got his
constitutional law, not from any natural principles of justice, not from
man's natural rights, not from the constitution of the United States,
nor even from any constitution affirming men's natural rights, but from
"the doctrine [that] has been held and maintained by all [those] States
and nations," and "all [those] independent sovereigns," who have usurped
all power, and denied all the natural rights of mankind.

Marshall gives another of his false definitions, when, speaking for the
whole court, in regard to the power of congress "to regulate commerce
with foreign nations, and among the several States," he asserts the
right of congress to an arbitrary, absolute dominion over all men's
natural rights to carry on such commerce. Thus he says:

     What is this power? It is the power to regulate: _that is, to
     prescribe the rule by which commerce is to be governed. This
     power, like all others vested in congress, is complete in
     itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges
     no limitations, other than are prescribed by the constitution._
     These are expressed in plain terms, and do not affect the
     questions which arise in this case, or which have been
     discussed at the bar. If, as has always been understood, the
     sovereignty of congress, though limited to specific objects, is
     plenary as to those objects, the power over commerce with
     foreign nations, and among the several States, is vested in
     congress as absolutely as it would be in a single government,
     having in its constitution the same restrictions on the
     exercise of the power as are found in the constitution of the
     United States. _The wisdom and the discretion of congress,
     their identity with the people, and the influence which their
     constituents possess at elections, are, in this, as in many
     other instances, as that, for example, of declaring war, the
     sole restraints on which they_ [the people] _have relied, to
     secure them from its abuse. They are the restraints on which
     the people must often rely_ SOLELY, _in all representative
     governments_.--_Gibbons vs. Ogden, 9 Wheaton 196._

This is a general declaration of absolutism over all "commerce with
foreign nations and among the several States," with certain exceptions
mentioned in the constitution; such as that "all duties, imposts, and
excises shall be uniform throughout the United States," and "no tax or
duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State," and "no
preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, to
the ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels bound
to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in
another."

According to this opinion of the court, congress has--subject to the
exceptions referred to--absolute, irresponsible dominion over "all
commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States"; and all
men's natural rights to trade with each other, among the several States,
and all over the world, are prostrate under the feet of a contemptible,
detestable, and irresponsible cabal of lawmakers; and the people have no
protection or redress for any tyranny or robbery that may be practised
upon them, except _"the wisdom and the discretion of congress, their
identity with the people, and the influence which their constituents
possess at elections"!_

It will be noticed that the court say that _"all the other powers,
vested in congress, are complete in themselves, and may be exercised to
their utmost extent, and acknowledge no limitations, other than those
prescribed by the constitution."_

They say that among "all the other [practically unlimited] powers,
vested in congress," is the power "of declaring war"; and, of course,
of carrying on war; that congress has power to carry on war, for any
reason, to any extent, and against any people, it pleases.

Thus they say, virtually, that _the natural rights of mankind_ impose no
_constitutional_ restraints whatever upon congress, in the exercise of
their lawmaking powers.

Is not this asserting that governments have all power, and the people no
rights?

But what is to be particularly noticed, is the fact that Marshall gives
to congress all this practically unlimited power over all "commerce with
foreign nations, and among the several States," _solely on the strength
of a false definition of the verb "to regulate_." He says that "the
power to regulate commerce" is the power "_to prescribe the rule by
which commerce is to be governed_."

     This definition is an utterly false, absurd, and atrocious one.
     It would give congress power arbitrarily to control, obstruct,
     impede, derange, prohibit, and destroy commerce.

     The verb "to regulate" does not, as Marshall asserts, imply the
     exercise of any arbitrary control whatever over the thing
     regulated; nor any power "to prescribe [arbitrarily] the rule,
     by which" the thing regulated "is to be governed." On the
     contrary, it comes from the Latin word, _regula_, a rule; _and
     implies the pre-existence of a rule, to which the thing
     regulated is made to conform_.

     To regulate one's diet, for example, is not, on the one hand,
     to starve one's self to emaciation, nor, on the other, to gorge
     one's self with all sorts of indigestible and hurtful
     substances, in disregard of the natural laws of health. But it
     supposes the pre-existence of the _natural laws of health_, to
     which the diet is made to conform.

     A clock is not "regulated," when it is made to go, to stop, to
     go forwards, to go backwards, to go fast, to go slow, at the
     mere will or caprice of the person who may have it in hand. It
     is "regulated" only when it is made to conform to, to mark
     truly, the diurnal revolutions of the earth. These revolutions
     of the earth constitute the pre-existing rule, by which alone a
     clock can be regulated.

     A mariner's compass is not "regulated," when the needle is made
     to move this way and that, at the will of an operator, without
     reference to the north pole. But it is regulated when it is
     freed from all disturbing influences, and suffered to point
     constantly to the north, as it is its nature to do.

     A locomotive is not "regulated," when it is made to go, to
     stop, to go forwards, to go backwards, to go fast, to go slow,
     at the mere will and caprice of the engineer, and without
     regard to economy, utility, or safety. But it is regulated,
     when its motions are made to conform to a pre-existing rule,
     that is made up of economy, utility, and safety combined. What
     this rule is, in the case of a locomotive, may not be known
     with such scientific precision, as is the rule in the case of a
     clock, or a mariner's compass; but it may be approximated with
     sufficient accuracy for practical purposes.

     The pre-existing rule, by which alone commerce can be
     "regulated," is a matter of science; and is already known, so
     far as the natural principle of justice, in relation to
     contracts, is known. The natural right of all men to make all
     contracts whatsoever, that are naturally and intrinsically just
     and lawful, furnishes the pre-existing rule, by which _alone_
     commerce can be regulated. And it is the only rule, to which
     congress have any constitutional power to make commerce
     conform.

     When all commerce, that is intrinsically just and lawful, is
     secured and protected, and all commerce that is intrinsically
     unjust and unlawful, is prohibited, then commerce is regulated,
     and not before.[5]

         [5] The above extracts are from a pamphlet published by
         me in 1864, entitled "_Considerations for Bankers_,"
         etc., pp. 55, 56, 57.

This false definition of the verb "_to regulate_" has been used, time
out of mind, by knavish lawmakers and their courts, to hide their
violations of men's natural right to do their own businesses in all such
ways--that are naturally and intrinsically just and lawful--as they may
choose to do them in. These lawmakers and courts dare not always deny,
utterly and plainly, men's right to do their own businesses in their own
ways; but they will assume "_to regulate_" them; and in pretending
simply "to regulate" them, they contrive "to regulate" men out of all
their natural rights to do their own businesses in their own ways.

How much have we all heard (we who are old enough), within the last
fifty years, of the power of congress, or of the States, "_to regulate
the currency_." And "to regulate the currency" has always meant to fix
the kind, _and limit the amount_, of currency, that men may be permitted
to buy and sell, lend and borrow, give and receive, in their dealings
with each other. It has also meant to say _who shall have the control of
the licensed money_; instead of making it mean the suppression only of
false and dishonest money, and then leaving all men free to exercise
their natural right of buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving
and receiving, all such, and so much, honest and true money, or
currency, as the parties to any or all contracts may mutually agree
upon.

Marshall's false _assumptions_ are numerous and tyrannical. They all
have the same end in view as his false definitions; that is, to
establish the principle that governments have all power, and the people
no rights. They are so numerous that it would be tedious, if not
impossible, to describe them all separately. Many, or most, of them are
embraced in the following, _viz._:

1. The assumption that, by a certain paper, called the constitution of
the United States--a paper (I repeat and reiterate) which nobody ever
signed, which but few persons ever read, and which the great body of the
people never saw--and also by some forty subsidiary papers, called State
constitutions, which also nobody ever signed, which but few persons ever
read, and which the great body of the people never saw--all making a
perfect system of the merest nothingness--the assumption, I say, that,
by these papers, the people have all consented to the abolition of
justice itself, the highest moral law of the Universe; and that all
their own natural, inherent, inalienable rights to the benefits of that
law, shall be annulled; and that they themselves, and everything that is
theirs, shall be given over into the irresponsible custody of some forty
little cabals of blockheads and villains called lawmakers--blockheads,
who imagine themselves wiser than justice itself, and villains, who care
nothing for either wisdom or justice, but only for the gratification of
their own avarice and ambitions; and that these cabals shall be invested
with the right to dispose of the property, liberty, and lives of all the
rest of the people, at their pleasure or discretion; or, as Marshall
says, "their wisdom and discretion!"

If such an assumption as that does not embrace nearly, or quite, all the
other false assumptions that usurpers and tyrants can ever need, to
justify themselves in robbing, enslaving, and murdering all the rest of
mankind, it is less comprehensive than it appears to me to be.

2. In the following paragraph may be found another batch of Marshall's
false assumptions.

     The right to contract is the attribute of a free agent, and he
     may rightfully coerce performance from another free agent, who
     violates his faith. Contracts have consequently an intrinsic
     obligation. _[But] When men come into society, they can no
     longer exercise this original natural right of coercion. It
     would be incompatible with general peace, and is therefore
     surrendered._ Society prohibits the use of private individual
     coercion, _and gives in its place a more safe and more certain
     remedy_. But the right to contract is not surrendered with the
     right to coerce performance.--_Ogden vs. Saunders, 12 Wheaton
     350._

In this extract, taken in connection with the rest of his opinion in the
same case, Marshall convicts himself of the grossest falsehood. He
acknowledges that men have a natural right to make their own contracts;
that their contracts have an "intrinsic obligation"; and that they have
an "original and natural right" to coerce performance of them. And yet
he assumes, and virtually asserts, that men _voluntarily "come into
society_," and "_surrender_" to "society" their natural right to coerce
the fulfilment of their contracts. He assumes, and virtually asserts,
that they do this, _upon the ground, and for the reason, that "society
gives in its place a more safe and more certain remedy_"; that is, "a
more safe and more certain" enforcement of all men's contracts that have
"an intrinsic obligation."

In thus saying that "men come into society," and "surrender" to society,
their "original and natural right" of coercing the fulfilment of
contracts, and that "_society gives in its place a more safe and certain
remedy_," he virtually says, and means to say, that, _in consideration
of such "surrender" of their "original and natural right of coercion,"
"society" pledges itself to them that it will give them this "more safe
and more certain remedy_"; that is, that it will more safely and more
certainly enforce their contracts than they can do it themselves.

And yet, in the same opinion--only two and three pages preceding this
extract--he declares emphatically that "the right" of government--or of
what he calls "society"--"_to prohibit such contracts as may be deemed
mischievous_, is _unquestionable_."--_p. 347._

And as an illustration of the exercise of this right of "society" to
prohibit such contracts "as may be deemed mischievous," he cites the
usury laws, thus:

     The acts against usury declare the contract to be void in the
     beginning. They deny that the instrument ever became a
     contract. They deny it all original obligation; and cannot
     impair that which never came into existence.--_p. 348._

All this is as much as to say that, when a man has voluntarily "come
into society," and has "surrendered" to society "his original and
natural right of coercing" the fulfilment of his contracts, and when he
has done this in the confidence that society will fulfil its pledge to
"give him a more safe and more certain coercion" than he was capable of
himself, "society" may then turn around to him, and say:

     We acknowledge that you have a natural right to make your own
     contracts. We acknowledge that your contracts have "an
     intrinsic obligation." We acknowledge that you had "an original
     and natural right" to coerce the fulfilment of them. We
     acknowledge that it was solely in consideration of our pledge
     to you, that we would give you a more safe and more certain
     coercion than you were capable of yourself, that you
     "surrendered" to us your right to coerce a fulfilment of them.
     And we acknowledge that, _according to our pledge_, you have
     now a right to require of us that we coerce a fulfilment of
     them. But after you had "surrendered" to us your own right of
     coercion, we took a different view of the pledge we had given
     you; and concluded that it would be "mischievous" to allow you
     to make such contracts. We therefore "prohibited" your making
     them. And having prohibited the making of them, we cannot now
     admit that they have any "obligation." We must therefore
     decline to enforce the fulfilment of them. And we warn you
     that, if you attempt to enforce them, by virtue of your own
     "original and natural right of coercion," we shall be obliged
     to consider your act a breach of "the general peace," and
     punish you accordingly. We are sorry that you have lost your
     property, but "society" must judge as to what contracts are,
     and what are not, "mischievous." We can therefore give you no
     redress. Nor can we suffer you to enforce your own rights, or
     redress your own wrongs.

Such is Marshall's theory of the way in which "society" got possession
of all men's "original and natural right" to make their own contracts,
and enforce the fulfilment of them; and of the way in which "society"
now justifies itself in prohibiting all contracts, though "intrinsically
obligatory," which it may choose to consider "mischievous." And he
asserts that, in this way, "society" has acquired "_an unquestionable
right_" to cheat men out of all their "original and natural right" to
make their own contracts, and enforce the fulfilment of them.

A man's "original and natural right" to make all contracts that are
"intrinsically obligatory," and to coerce the fulfilment of them, is one
of the most valuable and indispensable of all human possessions. But
Marshall assumes that a man may "surrender" this right to "society,"
under a pledge from "society," that it will secure to him "a more safe
and certain" fulfilment of his contracts, than he is capable of himself;
and that "society," having thus obtained from him this "surrender," may
then turn around to him, and not only refuse to fulfil its pledge to
him, but may also prohibit his own exercise of his own "original and
natural right," which he has "surrendered" to "society!"

This is as much as to say that, if A can but induce B to intrust his
(B's) property with him (A), for safekeeping, under a pledge that he
(A) will keep it more safely and certainly than B can do it himself, _A
thereby acquires an "unquestionable right" to keep the property forever,
and let B whistle for it!_

This is the kind of assumption on which Marshall based all his ideas of
the constitutional law of this country; that _constitutional_ law, which
he was so famous for expounding. It is the kind of assumption, by which
he expounded the people out of all their "original and natural rights."

He had just as much right to assume, and practically did assume, that
the people had voluntarily "come into society," and had voluntarily
"surrendered" to their governments _all their other natural rights_, as
well as their "original and natural right" to make and enforce their own
contracts.

He virtually said to all the people of this country:

     You have voluntarily "come into society," and have voluntarily
     "surrendered" to your governments all your natural rights, of
     every name and nature whatsoever, _for safe keeping;_ and now
     that these governments have, _by your own consent_, got
     possession of all your natural rights, they have an
     "_unquestionable right_" to withhold them from you forever.

If it were not melancholy to see mankind thus cheated, robbed, enslaved,
and murdered, on the authority of such naked impostures as these, it
would be, to the last degree, ludicrous, to see a man like
Marshall--reputed to be one of the first intellects the country has ever
had--solemnly expounding the "constitutional powers," as he called them,
by which the general and State governments were authorized to rob the
people of all their natural rights as human beings.

And yet this same Marshall has done more than any other one
man--certainly more than any other man within the last eighty-five
years--to make our governments, State and national, what they are. He
has, for more than sixty years, been esteemed an oracle, not only by his
associates and successors on the bench of the Supreme Court of the
United States, but by all the other judges, State and national, by all
the ignorant, as well as knavish, lawmakers in the country, and by all
the sixty to a hundred thousand lawyers, upon whom the people have been,
and are, obliged to depend for the security of their rights.

This system of false definitions, false assumptions, and fraud and
usurpation generally, runs through all the operations of our
governments, State and national. There is nothing genuine, nothing real,
nothing true, nothing honest, to be found in any of them. They all
proceed upon the principle, that governments have all power, and the
people no rights.


SECTION XXV.

But perhaps the most absolute proof that our national lawmakers and
judges are as regardless of all constitutional, as they are of all
natural, law, and that their statutes and decisions are as destitute of
all constitutional, as they are of all natural, authority, is to be
found in the fact that these lawmakers and judges have trampled upon,
and utterly ignored, certain amendments to the constitution, which had
been adopted, and (constitutionally speaking) become authoritative, as
early as 1791; only two years after the government went into operation.

If these amendments had been obeyed, they would have compelled all
congresses and courts to understand that, if the government had any
constitutional powers at all, they were simply powers to protect men's
natural rights, and not to destroy any of them.

These amendments have actually forbidden any lawmaking whatever in
violation of men's natural rights. And this is equivalent to a
prohibition of any lawmaking at all. And if lawmakers and courts had
been as desirous of preserving men's natural rights, as they have been
of violating them, they would long ago have found out that, since these
amendments, the constitution authorized no lawmaking at all.

These amendments were ten in number. They were recommended by the first
congress, at its first session, in 1789; two-thirds of both houses
concurring. And in 1791, they had been ratified by all the States: and
from that time they imposed the restrictions mentioned upon all the
powers of congress.

These amendments were proposed, by the first congress, for the reason
that, although the constitution, as originally framed, had been adopted,
its adoption had been procured only with great difficulty, and in spite
of great objections. _These objections were that, as originally framed
and adopted, the constitution contained no adequate security for the
private rights of the people._

These objections were admitted, by very many, if not all, the friends of
the constitution themselves, to be very weighty; and such as ought to be
immediately removed by amendments. And it was only because these friends
of the constitution pledged themselves to use their influence to secure
these amendments, that the adoption of the constitution itself was
secured. And it was in fulfilment of these pledges, and to remove these
objections, that the amendments were proposed and adopted.

The first eight amendments specified particularly various prohibitions
upon the power of congress; such, for example, as those securing to the
people the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech and the
press, the right to keep and bear arms, etc., etc. Then followed the
ninth amendment, in these words:

     The enumeration in the constitution, of certain rights,
     [retained by the people] shall not be construed to deny or
     disparage others retained by the people.

Here is an authoritative declaration, that "the people" have "_other
rights_" than those specially "enumerated in the constitution"; and that
these "_other rights_" were "_retained by the people_"; that is, _that
congress should have no power to infringe them_.

What, then, were these "other rights," that had not been "enumerated";
but which were nevertheless "retained by the people"?

Plainly they were men's natural "rights"; for these are the only
"rights" that "the people" ever had, or, consequently, that they could
"retain."

And as no attempt is made to enumerate _all_ these "other rights," or
any considerable number of them, and as it would be obviously impossible
to enumerate all, or any considerable number, of them; and as no
exceptions are made of any of them, the necessary, the legal, the
inevitable inference is, that they were _all_ "retained"; and that
congress should have no power to violate any of them.

Now, if congress and the courts had attempted to obey this amendment, as
they were constitutionally bound to do, they would soon have found that
they had really no lawmaking power whatever left to them; because they
would have found that they could make no law at all, _of their own
invention_, that would _not_ violate men's natural rights.

All men's natural rights are co-extensive with natural law, the law of
justice; or justice as a science. This law is the exact measure, and the
only measure, of any and every man's natural rights. No one of these
natural rights can be taken from any man, without doing him an
injustice; and no more than these rights can be given to any one, unless
by taking from the natural rights of one or more others.

In short, every man's natural rights are, first, the right to do, with
himself and his property, everything that he pleases to do, and that
justice towards others does not forbid him to do; and, secondly, to be
free from all compulsion, by others, to do anything whatever, except
what justice to others requires him to do.

Such, then, has been the constitutional law of this country since 1791;
admitting, for the sake of the argument--what I do not really admit to
be a fact--that the constitution, so called, has ever been a law at all.

This amendment, from the remarkable circumstances under which it was
proposed and adopted, must have made an impression upon the minds of all
the public men of the time; although they may not have fully
comprehended, and doubtless did not fully comprehend, its sweeping
effects upon all the supposed powers of the government.

But whatever impression it may have made upon the public men of that
time, its authority and power were wholly lost upon their successors;
and probably, for at least eighty years, it has never been heard of,
either in congress or the courts.

John Marshall was perfectly familiar with all the circumstances, under
which this, and the other nine amendments, were proposed and adopted. He
was thirty-two years old (lacking seven days) when the constitution, as
originally framed, was published (September 17, 1787); and he was a
member of the Virginia convention that ratified it. He knew perfectly
the objections that were raised to it, in that convention, on the ground
of its inadequate guaranty of men's natural rights. He knew with what
force these objections were urged by some of the ablest members of the
convention. And he knew that, to obviate these objections, the
convention, as a body, without a dissenting voice, so far as appears,
recommended that very stringent amendments, for securing men's natural
rights, be made to the constitution. And he knew further, that, but for
these amendments being recommended, the constitution would not have been
adopted by the convention.[6]

    [6] For the amendments recommended by the Virginia convention,
    see "Elliot's Debates," Vol. 3, pp. 657 to 663. For the debates
    upon these amendments, see pages 444 to 452, and 460 to 462, and
    466 to 471, and 579 to 652.

The amendments proposed were too numerous to be repeated here, although
they would be very instructive, as showing how jealous the people were,
lest their natural rights should be invaded by laws made by congress.
And that the convention might do everything in its power to secure the
adoption of these amendments, it resolved as follows:

     And the convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of
     this commonwealth, enjoin it upon their representatives in
     congress to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable
     and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the foregoing
     alterations and provisions, in the manner provided by the 5th
     article of the said Constitution; and, in all congressional
     laws to be passed in the meantime, to conform to the spirit of
     these amendments, as far as the said Constitution will
     admit.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 3, p. 661._

In seven other State conventions, to wit, in those of Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and South
Carolina, the inadequate security for men's natural rights, and the
necessity for amendments, were admitted, and insisted upon, in very
similar terms to those in Virginia.

In Massachusetts, the convention proposed nine amendments to the
constitution; and resolved as follows:

     And the convention do, in the name and in the behalf of the
     people of this commonwealth, enjoin it upon their
     representatives in Congress, at all times, until the
     alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered,
     agreeably to the 5th article of the said Constitution, to exert
     all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods,
     to obtain a ratification of the said alterations and
     provisions, in such manner as is provided in the said
     article.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 2, p. 178._

The New Hampshire convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed
twelve amendments, and added:

     And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of
     this State, enjoin it upon their representatives in congress,
     at all times, until the alterations and provisions aforesaid
     have been considered agreeably to the fifth article of the said
     Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use all
     reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the
     said alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided
     in the article.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 1, p. 326._

The Rhode Island convention, in ratifying the constitution, put forth a
declaration of rights, in eighteen articles, and also proposed
twenty-one amendments to the constitution; and prescribed as follows:

     And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of
     the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, enjoin it
     upon their senators and representative or representatives,
     which may be elected to represent this State in congress, to
     exert all their influence, and use all reasonable means, to
     obtain a ratification of the following amendments to the said
     Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in all laws
     to be passed by the congress in the mean time, to conform to
     the spirit of the said amendments, as far as the Constitution
     will admit.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 1, p. 335._

The New York convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed a
great many amendments, and added:

     And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of
     the State of New York, enjoin it upon their representatives in
     congress, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable
     means, to obtain a ratification of the following amendments to
     the said Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in
     all laws to be passed by the congress, in the mean time, to
     conform to the spirit of the said amendments as far as the
     Constitution will admit.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 1, p. 329._

The New York convention also addressed a "CIRCULAR LETTER" to the
governors of all the other States, the first two paragraphs of which are
as follows:

                            THE CIRCULAR LETTER,

     _From the Convention of the State of New York to the Governors
     of the several States in the Union._

                                         POUGHKEEPSIE, JULY 28, 1788.

     Sir, We, the members of the Convention of this State, have
     deliberately and maturely considered the Constitution proposed
     for the United States. Several articles in it appear so
     exceptionable to a majority of us, that nothing but the fullest
     confidence of obtaining a revision of them by a general
     convention, and an invincible reluctance to separating from our
     sister States, could have prevailed upon a sufficient number to
     ratify it, without stipulating for previous amendments. We all
     unite in opinion, that such a revision will be necessary to
     recommend it to the approbation and support of a numerous body
     of our constituents.

     We observe that amendments have been proposed, and are
     anxiously desired, by several of the States, as well as by
     this; and we think it of great importance that effectual
     measures be immediately taken for calling a convention, to meet
     at a period not far remote; for we are convinced that the
     apprehensions and discontents, which those articles occasion,
     cannot be removed or allayed, unless an act to provide for it
     be among the first that shall be passed by the new
     congress.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 2, p. 413._

In the Maryland convention, numerous amendments were proposed, and
thirteen were agreed to; "most of them by a unanimous vote, and all by a
great majority." Fifteen others were proposed, but there was so much
disagreement in regard to them, that none at all were formally
recommended to congress. But, says Elliot:

     All the members, who voted for the ratification [of the
     constitution], declared that they would engage themselves,
     under every tie of honor, to support the amendments they had
     agreed to, both in their public and private characters, until
     they should become a part of the general government.--_Elliot's
     Debates, Vol. 2, pp. 550, 552-3._

The first North Carolina convention refused to ratify the constitution,
and

     _Resolved_, That a declaration of rights, asserting and
     securing from encroachments the great principles of civil and
     religious liberty, and the inalienable rights of the people,
     together with amendments to the most ambiguous and
     exceptionable parts of the said constitution of government,
     ought to be laid before congress, and the convention of States
     that shall or may be called for the purpose of amending the
     said Constitution, for their consideration, previous to the
     ratification of the Constitution aforesaid, on the part of the
     State of North Carolina.--_Elliot's Debates, Vol. 1, p. 332._

The South Carolina convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed
certain amendments, and

     _Resolved_, That it be a standing instruction to all such
     delegates as may hereafter be elected to represent this State
     in the General Government, to exert their utmost abilities and
     influence to effect an alteration of the Constitution,
     conformably to the foregoing resolutions.--_Elliot's Debates,
     Vol. 1. p. 325._

In the Pennsylvania convention, numerous objections were made to the
constitution, but it does not appear that the convention, as a
convention, recommended any specific amendments. But a strong movement,
outside of the convention, was afterwards made in favor of such
amendments. ("Elliot's Debates," Vol. 2, p. 542.)

Of the debates in the Connecticut convention, Elliot gives only what he
calls "_A Fragment_."

Of the debates in the conventions of New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia,
Elliot gives no accounts at all.

I therefore cannot state the grounds, on which the adoption of the
constitution was opposed. They were doubtless very similar to those in
the other States. This is rendered morally certain by the fact, that the
amendments, soon afterwards proposed by congress, were immediately
ratified by all the States. Also by the further fact, that these States,
by reason of the smallness of their representation in the popular branch
of congress, would naturally be even more jealous of their rights, than
the people of the larger States.

It is especially worthy of notice that, in some, if not in all, the
conventions that ratified the constitution, although the ratification
was accompanied by such urgent recommendations of amendments, and by an
almost absolute assurance that they would be made, it was nevertheless
secured only by very small majorities.

Thus in Virginia, the vote was only 89 ayes to 79 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 3,
p. 654.)

In Massachusetts, the ratification was secured only by a vote of 187
yeas to 168 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 2, p. 181.)

In New York, the vote was only 30 yeas to 27 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 2, p.
413.)

In New Hampshire and Rhode Island, neither the yeas nor nays are given.
(Elliot, Vol. 1, pp. 327-335.)

In Connecticut, the yeas were 128; _nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol. 1. p.
321-2.)

In New Jersey, the yeas were 38; _nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p.
321.)

In Pennsylvania, the yeas were 46; _the nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol.
1, p. 320.)

In Delaware, the yeas were 30; _nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p.
319.)

In Maryland, the vote was 57 yeas; _nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p.
325.)

In North Carolina, neither the yeas nor nays are given. (Elliot, Vol. 1,
p. 333.)

In South Carolina, neither the yeas nor nays are given. (Elliot, Vol. 1,
p. 325.)

In Georgia, the yeas were 26; _nays not given_. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p.
324.)

We can thus see by what meagre votes the constitution was adopted. We
can also see that, but for the prospect that important amendments would
be made, specially for securing the natural rights of the people, the
constitution would have been spurned with contempt, as it deserved to
be.

And yet now, owing to the usurpations of lawmakers and courts, the
original constitution--with the worst possible construction put upon
it--has been carried into effect; and the amendments have been simply
cast into the waste baskets.

Marshall was thirty-six years old, when these amendments became a part
of the constitution in 1791. Ten years after, in 1801, he became Chief
Justice. It then became his sworn constitutional duty to scrutinize
severely every act of congress, and to condemn, as unconstitutional, all
that should violate any of these natural rights. Yet he appears never to
have thought of the matter afterwards. Or, rather, this ninth amendment,
the most important of all, seems to have been so utterly antagonistic to
all his ideas of government, that he chose to ignore it altogether, and,
as far as he could, to bury it out of sight.

Instead of recognizing it as an absolute guaranty of all the natural
rights of the people, he chose to assume--for it was all a mere
assumption, a mere making a constitution out of his own head, to suit
himself--that the people had all voluntarily "come into society," and
had voluntarily "surrendered" to "society" all their natural rights, of
every name and nature--trusting that they would be secured; and that
now, "society," having thus got possession of all these natural rights
of the people, had the "unquestionable right" to dispose of them, at the
pleasure--or, as he would say, according to the "wisdom and
discretion"--of a few contemptible, detestable, and irresponsible
lawmakers, whom the constitution (thus amended) had forbidden to dispose
of any one of them.

If, now, Marshall did not see, in this amendment, any legal force or
authority, what becomes of his reputation as a constitutional lawyer? If
he did see this force and authority, but chose to trample them under his
feet, he was a perjured tyrant and traitor.

What, also, are we to think of all the judges,--forty in all,--his
associates and successors, who, for eighty years, have been telling the
people that the government has all power, and the people no rights? Have
they all been mere blockheads, who never read this amendment, or knew
nothing of its meaning? Or have they, too, been perjured tyrants and
traitors?

What, too, becomes of those great constitutional lawyers, as we have
called them, who have been supposed to have won such immortal honors, as
"expounders of the constitution," but who seem never to have discovered
in it any security for men's natural rights? Is their apparent
ignorance, on this point, to be accounted for by the fact, that that
portion of the people, who, by authority of the government, are
systematically robbed of all their earnings, beyond a bare subsistence,
are not able to pay such fees as are the robbers who are authorized to
plunder them?

If any one will now look back to the records of congress and the courts,
for the last eighty years, I do not think he will find a single mention
of this amendment. And why has this been so? Solely because the
amendment--if its authority had been recognized--would have stood as an
insuperable barrier against all the ambition and rapacity--all the
arbitrary power, all the plunder, and all the tyranny--which the
ambitious and rapacious classes have determined to accomplish through
the agency of the government.

The fact that these classes have been so successful in perverting the
constitution (thus amended) from an instrument avowedly securing all
men's natural rights, into an authority for utterly destroying them, is
a sufficient proof that no lawmaking power can be safely intrusted to
any body, for any purpose whatever.

And that this perversion of the constitution should have been sanctioned
by all the judicial tribunals of the country, is also a proof, not only
of the servility, audacity, and villainy of the judges, but also of the
utter rottenness of our judicial system. It is a sufficient proof that
judges, who are dependent upon lawmakers for their offices and salaries,
and are responsible to them by impeachment, cannot be relied on to put
the least restraint upon the acts of their masters, the lawmakers.

Such, then, would have been the effect of the ninth amendment, if it had
been permitted to have its legitimate authority.


SECTION XXVI.

The tenth amendment is in these words:

     The powers not delegated to the United States by the
     constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved
     to the States respectively, _or to the people_.

This amendment, equally with the ninth, secures to "the people" all
their natural rights. And why?

Because, in truth, no powers at all, neither legislative, judicial, nor
executive, had been "delegated to the United States by the
constitution."

But it will be said that the amendment itself implies that certain
lawmaking "powers" had been "delegated to the United States by the
constitution."

No. It only implies that those who adopted the amendment _believed_ that
such lawmaking "powers" had been "delegated to the United States by the
constitution."

But in this belief, they were entirely mistaken. And why?

1. Because it is a natural impossibility that any lawmaking "powers"
whatever can be delegated by any one man, or any number of men, to any
other man, or any number of other men.

Men's natural rights are all inherent and inalienable; and therefore
cannot be parted with, or delegated, by one person to another. And all
contracts whatsoever, for such a purpose, are necessarily absurd and
void contracts.

For example. I cannot delegate to another man any right to _make_
laws--that is, laws of his own invention--and compel me to obey them.

Such a contract, on my part, would be a contract to part with my natural
liberty; to give myself, or sell myself, to him as a slave. Such a
contract would be an absurd and void contract, utterly destitute of all
legal or moral obligation.

2. I cannot delegate to another any right to make laws--that is, laws of
his own invention--and compel a third person to obey them.

For example. I cannot delegate to A any right to make laws--that is,
laws of his own invention--and compel Z to obey them.

I cannot delegate any such right to A, because I have no such right
myself; and I cannot delegate to another what I do not myself possess.

For these reasons no lawmaking powers ever could be--and therefore no
lawmaking powers ever were--"delegated to the United States by the
constitution"; no matter what the people of that day--any or all of
them--may have attempted to do, or may have believed they had power to
do, in the way of delegating such powers.

But not only were no lawmaking powers "delegated to the United States by
the constitution," but neither were any _judicial_ powers so delegated.
And why? Because it is a natural impossibility that one man can delegate
his judicial powers to another.

Every man has, by nature, certain judicial powers, or rights. That is to
say, he has, by nature, the right to judge of, and enforce his own
rights, and judge of, and redress his own wrongs. But, in so doing, he
must act only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, _and
subject to his own personal responsibility, if, through either ignorance
or design, he commits any error injurious to another_.

Now, inasmuch as no man can delegate, or impart, his own judgment or
conscience to another, it is naturally impossible that he can delegate
to another his judicial rights or powers.

So, too, every man has, by nature, a right to judge of, and enforce, the
rights, and judge of, and redress the wrongs, of any and all other men.
This right is included in his natural right to maintain justice between
man and man, and to protect the injured party against the wrongdoer.
But, in doing this, he must act only in accordance with his own judgment
and conscience, and subject to his own personal responsibility for any
error he may commit, either through ignorance or design.

But, inasmuch as, in this case, as in the preceding one, he can neither
delegate nor impart his own judgment or conscience to another, he cannot
delegate his judicial power or right to another.

But not only were no lawmaking or judicial powers "delegated to the
United States by the constitution," neither were any executive powers so
delegated. And why? Because, in a case of justice or injustice, it is
naturally impossible that any one man can delegate his executive right
or power to another.

Every man has, by nature, the right to maintain justice for himself, and
for all other persons, by the use of so much force as may be reasonably
necessary for that purpose. But he can use the force only in accordance
with his own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal
responsibility, if, through ignorance or design, he commits any wrong to
another.

But inasmuch as he cannot delegate, or impart, his own judgment or
conscience to another, he cannot delegate his executive power or right
to another.

_The result is, that, in all judicial and executive proceedings, for the
maintenance of justice, every man must act only in accordance with his
own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal responsibility for
any wrong he may commit; whether such wrong be committed through either
ignorance or design._

The effect of this principle of personal responsibility, in all judicial
and executive proceedings, would be--or at least ought to be--that no
one would give any judicial opinions, or do any executive acts, except
such as his own judgment and conscience should approve, _and such as he
would be willing to be held personally responsible for_.

No one could justify, or excuse, his wrong act, by saying that a power,
or authority, to do it had been delegated to him, by any other men,
however numerous.

For the reasons that have now been given, neither any legislative,
judicial, nor executive powers ever were, or ever could have been,
"delegated to the United States by the constitution"; no matter how
honestly or innocently the people of that day may have believed, or
attempted, the contrary.

And what is true, in this matter, in regard to the national government,
is, for the same reasons, equally true in regard to all the State
governments.

But this principle of personal responsibility, each for his own judicial
or executive acts, does not stand in the way of men's associating, at
pleasure, for the maintenance of justice; and selecting such persons as
they think most suitable, for judicial and executive duties; and
_requesting_ them to perform those duties; and then paying them for
their labor. But the persons, thus selected, must still perform their
duties according to their own judgments and consciences alone, and
subject to their own personal responsibility for any errors of either
ignorance or design.

To make it safe and proper for persons to perform judicial duties,
subject to their personal responsibility for any errors of either
ignorance or design, two things would seem to be important, if not
indispensable, _viz._:

1. That, as far as is reasonably practicable, all judicial proceedings
should be in writing; that is, that all testimony, and all judicial
opinions, even to quite minute details, should be in writing, and be
preserved; so that judges may always have it in their power to show
fully what their acts, and their reasons for their acts, have been; and
also that anybody, and everybody, interested, may forever after have the
means of knowing fully the reasons on which everything has been done;
and that any errors, ever afterwards discovered, may be corrected.

2. That all judicial tribunals should consist of so many judges--within
any reasonable number--as either party may desire; or as may be
necessary to prevent any wrong doing, by any one or more of the judges,
either through ignorance or design.

Such tribunals, consisting of judges, numerous enough, and perfectly
competent to settle justly probably ninety-nine one-hundredths of all
the controversies that arise among men, could be obtained in every
village. They could give their immediate attention to every case; and
thus avoid most of the delay, and most of the expense, now attendant on
judicial proceedings.

To make these tribunals satisfactory to all reasonable and honest
persons, it is important, and probably indispensable, that all judicial
proceedings should be had, _in the first instance_, at the expense of
the association, or associations, to which the parties to the suit
belong.

An association for the maintenance of justice should be a purely
voluntary one; and should be formed upon the same principle as a mutual
fire or marine insurance company; that is, each member should pay his
just proportion of the expense necessary for protecting all.

A single individual could not reasonably be expected to delay, or
forego, the exercise of his natural right to enforce his own rights, and
redress his own wrongs, except upon the condition that there is an
association that will do it promptly, and without expense to him. But
having paid his proper proportion of the expense necessary for the
protection of all, he has then a right to demand prompt and complete
protection for himself.

Inasmuch as it cannot be known which party is in the wrong, until the
trial has been had, the expense of both parties must, _in the first
instance_, be paid by the association, or associations, to which they
belong. But after the trial has been had, and it has been ascertained
which party was in the wrong, and (if such should be the case) so
clearly in the wrong as to have had no justification for putting the
association to the expense of a trial, he then may properly be compelled
to pay the cost of all the proceedings.

If the parties to a suit should belong to different associations, it
would be right that the judges should be taken from both associations;
or from a third association, with which neither party was connected.

If, with all these safeguards against injustice and expense, a party,
accused of a wrong, should refuse to appear for trial, he might
rightfully be proceeded against, in his absence, if the evidence
produced against him should be sufficient to justify it.

It is probably not necessary to go into any further details here, to
show how easy and natural a thing it would be, to form as many voluntary
and mutually protective judicial associations, as might be either
necessary or convenient, in order to bring justice home to every man's
door; and to give to every honest and dishonest man, all reasonable
assurance that he should have justice, and nothing else, done for him,
or to him.


SECTION XXVII.

Of course we can have no courts of justice, under such systems of
lawmaking, and supreme court decisions, as now prevail.

We have a population of fifty to sixty millions; _and not a single court
of justice, State or national!_

But we have everywhere courts of injustice--open and avowed
injustice--claiming sole jurisdiction of all cases affecting men's
rights of both person and property; and having at their beck brute force
enough to compel absolute submission to their decrees, whether just or
unjust.

Can a more decisive or infallible condemnation of our governments be
conceived of, than the absence of all courts of justice, and the
absolute power of their courts of injustice?

Yes, they lie under still another condemnation, to wit, that their
courts are not only courts of injustice, but they are also secret
tribunals; adjudicating all causes according to the secret instructions
of their masters, the lawmakers, and their authorized interpreters,
their supreme courts.

I say _secret tribunals_, and _secret instructions_, because, to the
great body of the people, whose rights are at stake, they are secret to
all practical intents and purposes. They are secret, because their
reasons for their decrees are to be found only in great volumes of
statutes and supreme court reports, which the mass of the people have
neither money to buy, nor time to read; and would not understand, if
they were to read them.

These statutes and reports are so far out of reach of the people at
large, that the only knowledge a man can ordinarily get of them, when he
is summoned before one of the tribunals appointed to execute them, is
to be obtained by employing an expert--or so-called lawyer--to enlighten
him.

This expert in injustice is one who buys these great volumes of statutes
and reports, and spends his life in studying them, and trying to keep
himself informed of their contents. But even he can give a client very
little information in regard to them; for the statutes and decisions are
so voluminous, and are so constantly being made and unmade, and are so
destitute of all conformity to those natural principles of justice which
men readily and intuitively comprehend; and are moreover capable of so
many different interpretations, that he is usually in as great
doubt--perhaps in even greater doubt--than his client, as to what will
be the result of a suit.

The most he can usually say to his client, is this:

     Every civil suit must finally be given to one of two persons,
     the plaintiff or defendant. Whether, therefore, your cause is a
     just, or an unjust, one, you have at least one chance in two,
     of gaining it. But no matter how just your cause may be, you
     need have no hope that the tribunal that tries it, will be
     governed by any such consideration, if the statute book, or the
     past decisions of the supreme court, are against you. So, also,
     no matter how unjust your cause may be, you may nevertheless
     expect to gain it, if the statutes and past decisions are in
     your favor. If, therefore, you have money to spend in such a
     lottery as this, I will do my best to gain your cause for you,
     whether it be a just, or an unjust, one.

If the charge is a criminal one, this expert says to his client:

     You must either be found guilty, or acquitted. Whether,
     therefore, you are really innocent or guilty, you have at least
     one chance in two, of an acquittal. But no matter how innocent
     you may be of any real crime, you need have no hope of an
     acquittal, if the statute book, or the past decisions of the
     supreme court, are against you. If, on the other hand, you have
     committed a real wrong to another, there may be many laws on
     the statute book, many precedents, and technicalities, and
     whimsicalities, through which you may hope to escape. But your
     reputation, your liberty, or perhaps your life, is at stake. To
     save these you can afford to risk your money, even though the
     result is so uncertain. Therefore you had best give me your
     money, and I will do my best to save you, whether you are
     innocent or guilty.

But for the great body of the people,--those who have no money that they
can afford to risk in a lawsuit,--no matter what may be their rights in
either a civil or criminal suit,--their cases are hopeless. They may
have been taxed, directly and indirectly, to their last dollars, for the
support of the government; they may even have been compelled to risk
their lives, and to lose their limbs, in its defence; yet when they want
its protection,--that protection for which their taxes and military
services were professedly extorted from them,--they are coolly told that
the government offers no justice, nor even any chance or semblance of
justice, except to those who have more money than they.

But the point now to be specially noticed is, that in the case of either
the civil or criminal suit, the client, whether rich or poor, is nearly
or quite as much in the dark as to his fate, and as to the grounds on
which his fate will be determined, as though he were to be tried by an
English Star Chamber court, or one of the secret tribunals of Russia, or
even the Spanish Inquisition.

Thus in the supreme exigencies of a man's life, whether in civil or
criminal cases, where his property, his reputation, his liberty, or his
life is at stake, he is really to be tried by what is, _to him_, at
least, _a secret tribunal_; a tribunal that is governed by what are, _to
him_, _the secret instructions_ of lawmakers, and supreme courts;
neither of whom care anything for his rights of property in a civil
suit, or for his guilt or innocence in a criminal one; but only for
their own authority as lawmakers and judges.

The bystanders, at these trials, look on amazed, but powerless to defend
the right, or prevent the wrong. Human nature has no rights, in the
presence of these infernal tribunals.

Is it any wonder that all men live in constant terror of such a
government as that? Is it any wonder that so many give up all attempts
to preserve their natural rights of person and property, in opposition
to tribunals, to whom justice and injustice are indifferent, and whose
ways are, to common minds, hidden mysteries, and impenetrable secrets.

But even this is not all. The mode of trial, if not as infamous as the
trial itself, is at least so utterly false and absurd, as to add a new
element of uncertainty to the result of all judicial proceedings.

A trial in one of these courts of injustice is a trial by battle,
almost, if not quite, as really as was a trial by battle, five hundred
or a thousand years ago.

Now, as then, the adverse parties choose their champions, to fight their
battles for them.

These champions, trained to such contests, and armed, not only with all
the weapons their own skill, cunning, and power can supply, but also
with all the iniquitous laws, precedents, and technicalities that
lawmakers and supreme courts can give them, for defeating justice,
and accomplishing injustice, can--if not always, yet none but
themselves know how often--offer their clients such chances of
victory--independently of the justice of their causes--as to induce the
dishonest to go into court to evade justice, or accomplish injustice,
not less often perhaps than the honest go there in the hope to get
justice, or avoid injustice.

We have now, I think, some sixty thousand of these champions, who make
it the business of their lives to equip themselves for these conflicts,
and sell their services for a price.

Is there any one of these men, who studies justice as a science, and
regards that alone in all his professional exertions? If there are any
such, why do we so seldom, or never, hear of them? Why have they not
told us, hundreds of years ago, what are men's natural rights of person
and property? And why have they not told us how false, absurd, and
tyrannical are all these lawmaking governments? Why have they not told
us what impostors and tyrants all these so-called lawmakers, judges,
etc., etc., are? Why are so many of them so ambitious to become
lawmakers and judges themselves?

Is it too much to hope for mankind, that they may sometime have courts
of justice, instead of such courts of injustice as these?

If we ever should have courts of justice, it is easy to see what will
become of statute books, supreme courts, trial by battle, and all the
other machinery of fraud and tyranny, by which the world is now ruled.

If the people of this country knew what crimes are constantly committed
by these courts of injustice, they would squelch them, without mercy, as
unceremoniously as they would squelch so many gangs of bandits or
pirates. In fact, bandits and pirates are highly respectable and
honorable villains, compared with the judges of these courts of
injustice. Bandits and pirates do not--like these judges--attempt to
cheat us out of our common sense, in order to cheat us out of our
property, liberty, or life. They do not profess to be anything but such
villains as they really are. They do not claim to have received any
"Divine" authority for robbing, enslaving, or murdering us at their
pleasure. They do not claim immunity for their crimes, upon the ground
that they are duly authorized agents of any such invisible, intangible,
irresponsible, unimaginable thing as "society," or "the State." They do
not insult us by telling us that they are only exercising that authority
to rob, enslave, and murder us, which we ourselves have delegated to
them. They do not claim that they are robbing, enslaving, and murdering
us, solely to secure our happiness and prosperity, and not from any
selfish motives of their own. They do not claim a wisdom so superior to
that of the producers of wealth, as to know, better than they, how their
wealth should be disposed of. They do not tell us that we are the freest
and happiest people on earth, inasmuch as each of our male adults is
allowed one voice in ten millions in the choice of the men, who are to
rob, enslave, and murder us. They do not tell us that all liberty and
order would be destroyed, that society itself would go to pieces, and
man go back to barbarism, if it were not for the care, and supervision,
and protection, they lavish upon us. They do not tell us of the
almshouses, hospitals, schools, churches, etc., which, out of the purest
charity and benevolence, they maintain for our benefit, out of the money
they take from us. They do not carry their heads high, above all other
men, and demand our reverence and admiration, as statesmen, patriots,
and benefactors. They do not claim that we have voluntarily "come into
their society," and "surrendered" to them all our natural rights of
person and property; nor all our "original and natural right" of
defending our own rights, and redressing our own wrongs. They do not
tell us that they have established infallible supreme courts, to whom
they refer all questions as to the legality of their acts, and that they
do nothing that is not sanctioned by these courts. They do not attempt
to deceive us, or mislead us, or reconcile us to their doings, by any
such pretences, impostures, or insults as these. _There is not a single
John Marshall among them._ On the contrary, they acknowledge themselves
robbers, murderers, and villains, pure and simple. When they have once
taken our money, they have the decency to get out of our sight as soon
as possible; they do not persist in following us, and robbing us, again
and again, so long as we produce anything that they can take from us. In
short, they acknowledge themselves _hostes humani generis: enemies of
the human race_. They acknowledge it to be our unquestioned right and
duty to kill them, if we can; that they expect nothing else, than that
we will kill them, if we can; and that we are only fools and cowards, if
we do not kill them, by any and every means in our power. They neither
ask, nor expect, any mercy, if they should ever fall into the hands of
honest men.

For all these reasons, they are not only modest and sensible, but really
frank, honest, and honorable villains, contrasted with these courts of
injustice, and the lawmakers by whom these courts are established.

Such, Mr. Cleveland, is the real character of the government, of which
you are the nominal head. Such are, and have been, its lawmakers. Such
are, and have been, its judges. Such have been its executives. Such is
its present executive. Have you anything to say for any of them?

                 Yours frankly,                     LYSANDER SPOONER.

    BOSTON, MAY 15, 1886.


                                THE END.



Transcriber's Notes:

Text in italics was enclosed with underscores (_italics_).

Text in small caps was replaced with ALL CAPS (SMALL CAPS).

On page 22, there was the use of double quotation marks within double
quotation marks. That usage was not changed.

On page 43, "at bank" was replaced "at a bank".

On page 60, "_viz._, 1," was replaced with "_viz._, 1.".

On page 105, "viz." was italized.

On page 65, a period as added after "indebted to".





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