Philadelphia Lawyers and a Mock Nobility
"Nothing can be more unfortunate for the United States, than for those citizens who hold the power of leading fashion to grow by degrees into a mock nobility, employing their wealth and influence to try to refine laziness and make vice attractive, instead of feeling an interest in the welfare of their country."
Such prophetic words! And written by William S. Cardell, Esquire, of New York City in 1821.
"Learning has been made unnecessarily aristocratic," wrote Cardell, in a Circular to the American Academy of Languages & Belles-Lettres (of which he was the Corresponding Secretary). Dated July 12th, 1821, this important pamphlet was later collected and published in a special bound edition. Printed in the City of New York, Cardell was writing to the officers and the principal members of this academic society, including Henry Clay, Daniel and Noah Webster, with John Quincy Adams as the President of the Academy.
"In associating true liberty with moral virtue, and both with intellectual excellence," noted Cardell, "it is [an] obligation to give the impulse and light the way. After forty years of trial, our civil institutions are ... an incomplete experiment." But the heart of the matter discussed in this pamphlet, which was circulated among the leading lawyers in Virginia -- including Dabney Carr, Henry St. George Tucker, and Chapman Johnson, Esquire -- was education and its proper role in the new Republic.
"The means of instruction is the common right of every free citizen," wrote Cardell, which puts this New York attorney somewhere in the stream of the democratic radicalism of his day, "and it is the excellence of our political system ...."
To an Academy membership which included Washington Irving, Josiah Meigs, and William Wirt, the Attorney General of the United States, Cardell wrote: "The humblest American should be taught to look on useful knowledge with respect, and not with jealousy."
Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821, six years after he was finished off at Waterloo, and the federalist intellectuals represented in this society of Belles-Lettres seemed greatly cheered by a new spirit of democratic, and popular, participation in their rapidly growing society. The United States was approaching ten millions in population, or about half of that of Great Britain, at 20.6 million. Two new states had been established: Maine was in the union and Missouri was about to be admitted, establishing the bona fides of the Missouri Compromise.
By contrast, the British had gone into a state of economic crisis, after both the American war and the Napoleonic campaigns were concluded. By 1816 a wave of immigration to Canada and the new States was underway, and by 1817 there were riots over declining wages in the British Isles, while the U.S. was beginning work on the Erie Canal. However, overseas, the East India Company was establishing a settlement at Singapore, while British political control of the Rajput States in India was being consolidated in 1818.
Cardell and the other educated men who made up this Academy were products of the new political environment -- established by the hesitant union of the States who ratified the Constitution -- and they were dramatically affected by the addition of so many new States in the wake of the War of 1812. The Circular of July, 1821 covers twenty pages or more. William S. Cardell writes as one who is mostly concerned with fostering public virtue through education:
"The admiration of virtue is the stimulus to great actions."
James Monroe had been re-elected in 1820 and Virginia's dominance of the political powers of the executive branch must have seemed unshakable, to these leading men of the law and of letters. For those who were reading Cardell's Circular, there could be no doubt of Virginia's legislative actions in the previous eighteen months: The New Revised Code of the Laws of Virginia had been approved on March 12, 1819. Four thousand copies of the new edition were being produced by printer Thomas Ritchie, for distribution to every Justice of the Peace, every Prosecuting Attorney and most of Virginia's executive branch (commencing late in 1819). They were made available for public purchase at about the same time.
The Assembly's resolution of February 24, 1820 dictated that copies of this new edition, containing the U.S. Constitution with Article 13 listed as valid and ratified, be delivered to the presiding Secretary of State, both houses of Congress, and the Library of Congress. Nothing in Cardell's essay indicates any "public discomfort" with the specifics of that new section, and the bitter rhetoric of 1815 towards the Madisonians is gone, or completely muted.
Given that John Quincy Adams was involved in all the controversies surrounding this Titles of Nobility Amendment, and that former Speaker Henry Clay was among the Academy's members; it beggars the imagination to suggest that the Academy of Languages and Belles-Lettres was not perfectly aware of Virginia's action. In fact, there is every indication in this essay, that these leaders were accepting of the basic conditions imposed on their government by this new anti-royalist Amendment.
"By the fundamental principles of our government, we can have no royal splendor nor hereditary nobility to support:", Cardell adds, "no stars nor ribbons to bestow. We can confer no durable possession of power."
In this one statement, the clarity of the protective clauses of Article 13 are clearly illuminated: "we can have no royal splendor," writes Cardell, "no stars nor ribbons to bestow." The prohibitions on Titles of Nobility in the body of Constitution are not as specific as these words indicate. Only the restrictions listed in that Amendment could evoke his words -- "no stars nor ribbons to bestow." All of the bribery and chicanery of European military orders, and the trappings of royalist offices were to be banned, and a penalty so Draconian -- loss of citizenship -- was written into the Constitution to enforce that ban. There is no indication that these men who held the appellation "Esquire," considered themselves to be under the jurisdiction of that Amendment. For them, adding an Esq. to their names was akin to a medical doctor having the right to add an M.D. to his name. One would suppose that this would be foremost among the concerns of these men, including Joseph Story of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, who was a Vice-President of the Academy. Nothing in Cardell's essay indicates any concern that these august men of law were in peril of their citizenship, for having claimed the use of "Esquire."
"Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?" asked George Washington, in his Farewell Address of September 19, 1796. "Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, Rivalship, Interest, Humour or Caprice?"
There can be no doubt that this nativist philosophy was dominant in the minds of the leaders of the Eleventh Congress: the language of the so-called original Thirteenth Amendment echoes this sentiment, and attempts to insulate our republican state governments from the many and varied corruptions of foreign intrigue.
The Madisonians suspected the hand of Great Britain in the secessionist impulses of New England, while the plain and simple Yankees disdained the riotous democratic clubs inspired by the likes of Edmond Genet in 1790s; and they disdained the slave-driven plantation aristocrats of Louisiana and Mississippi, even as they hired out to transport their cargo. Both sides discovered in this proposed section something to benefit their causes, and their political alliances, and its rapid march toward ratification in just over two years, appears to have seriously disconcerted the British money factors and their allies and agents operating in Philadelphia and New York.
All of the scholarship and all of the research done on this matter of the "original" Thirteenth Amendment, providing a Draconian penalty for violating the ban on Titles of Nobility and Honour and establishing Congressional jurisdiction over "any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever," leads inevitably to one of two conclusions:
Either this Amendment was lawfully ratified by thirteen of the seventeen states of the union as of 1810, concluding with Virginia's actions of 1819 and the publication of its Revised Code; and therefore, suppressed completely after 1876, or --
This Amendment was incomplete in its lawful ratification, which means that either any one of the four States which did not agree to it (or which did not decide on it), could now take it up, and ratify it and make it part of the Constitution; or former Senator George Mitchell was right when he suggested that this section will require twenty-six additional ratifications, by the states which joined the union since 1810, even though they were not present in the Article V proposing process. Since that is not stipulated in Article V, nor anywhere else in the Constitution for these United States, it is a difficult proposition to entertain for long.
To accept that Virginia's actions of 1819 and 1820 were incomplete or unlawful is also a difficult proposition to entertain. The economy of the Commonwealth was rocked, in 1819, by bankruptcies and the failure of numerous banks. The men of wealth and means who made up the General Assembly would certainly not have approved this Amendment had they been persuaded it would further damage their vital interests, or as it would be said in the vernacular of the day -- "their personal economies." Virginia was not a land of rough-hewn pioneers and log cabin lawyers. It was settled, prosperous, and with a well-defined class structure -- one that was seriously rocked by the hardships of the 1819 financial panic.
In that environment, in that social class, financial ruin was tantamount to a death sentence, and bankruptcy often had just that effect. For example, W. Cary Nicholas was Governor of Virginia in 1818 and the director of a Richmond bank. After the panic of 1819 ruined his "personal economy," his $300,000 fortune evaporated and soon afterwards, he died. Upon his death, his good friend Thomas Jefferson was required to assume the payments of a loan he had co-signed with Nicholas for the princely sum of $20,000. The annual interest of $1200 contributed mightily to all of the financial hardships that plagued Jefferson in the last years of his life.
The Creation of Financial and Judicial Nobility
A conspiracy theorist might find some rich material in this chain of events: as the Titles of Nobility Amendment speeds its way through the State legislatures, acquiring twelve of the thirteen needed ratifications by the end of 1812, war clouds gather and conflict with Great Britain appears inevitable. Yet for what reason would the British want to engage their former colonies in another expensive war? Their naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805 guaranteed them near-absolute control of the world's shipping and oceanic commerce, something they had dominated for the previous forty years.
In 1809 the British had secured a treaty with the Sikhs in northern India, and in 1811 they occupied the spice island of Java. Their commercial power was growing well, resting on the strength of their naval forces. That power was apparent in the wealth added to the royal family of the King. However, for an accurate understanding of the value of their technological advances, it is crucial to read what R. Buckminster Fuller said about Great Britain, in his 1981 book, "Critical Path."
"In our tracing of the now completely invisible world power structures", said Fuller, "it is important to note that, while the British Empire as a world government lost the American Revolution, the power structure behind it did not lose the war. The most visible of the power-structure identities was the East India Company, an entirely private enterprise, whose flag as adopted by Queen Elizabeth in 1600 happened to have thirteen red and white horizontal stripes with a blue rectangle in its upper left-hand corner. The blue rectangle bore ... the superimposed crosses of St. Andrew and St. George."
As Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome and the Dymaxion car, viewed history, those Virginia landholders were crucial to Britain: "international trading became the most profitable of all enterprises, and great land-"owners" with clear-cut king's "deeds" to their land went often to international gold moneylenders. The great land barons underwrote the building of enterprisers' ships with their cattle or other real wealth, the regenerative products of their lands, turned over to the lender as collateral.
"If the ship did come back, both the enterpriser and the bankers realized a great gain. The successful ship venturer paid the banker back, and the banker who had been holding the cattle as collateral returned them to their original proprietor. [However] the cattle that were born while the collateral was held by the banker were to belong to the banker."
"It was the financing of such international voyaging, trading, and individual travel as well as of vaster games of governmental takeovers that built the enormous wealth-controlling fortunes of early European private banking families."
Here then, from the pen of a world-renowned inventor, architect and professor -- not some rightward-leaning Populist lunatic or a radio preacher -- is the identification of the true powers behind the British and Dutch royal families. Many of the older British claims in our new Republic were not settled until 1825. The state of Rhode Island was unable to shed its English Charter until 1842, requiring numerous constitutional conventions and ending in a full-fledged insurrection, led by the supporters of "The People's Constitution" and the Suffrage Association.
So, while the banking families and the money factors of Europe looked increasingly to international trade, and spent their money on improving their ships, boats and naval weaponry (as fronted for them by the nation-states and their royal families), the new Republic in northern America was growing rich in landholdings. Alexander Hamiliton and his allies in New York society identified themselves with those powers, although Hamilton himself disdained titles of nobility. The several States were developed from the Colonies, with deeds and royal land grants remaining intact.
Buckminster Fuller analyzed this situation, and wrote of it in the following way:"deed-processing produced a vast number of court decisions and legal precedent based on centuries and centuries of deed inheritances. Thus, landlord's deeds evolved from deeds originally dispensed from deeds of war. Then the great landlords loaned parcels of their lands to sharecropping farmers, who had to pay the landlord a tithe, or rent, and 'interest' out of the wealth produced by nature within the confines of the deeded land."
In a second bold and masterful stroke, Fuller identifies the principal allies employed by the international bankers, their money factors and their royalist front operations:" a vast number of court decisions" required a vast number of lawyers, judges, and attorneys at the Bar. There is no indication that Thomas Jefferson or James Madison considered the appellation of "Esquire" to be a functioning title of nobility -- nor did the members of the Academy of Languages and Belles-Lettres, as noted previously.
There is, however, every indication that both the federalists and the Democratic-Republicans feared the rise of a great military leader, whose prowess might corrupt the American citizenry with a mighty array of gold medals, silver arrows, ribbons and privileges, including grants of land. The excesses of democracy in revolutionary France, and the destruction of those republican states created during Napoleon's rise to power were foremost in the concerns of the men of the new United States. Only the Madisonian faction also had the measure of the secret British policies of this era, which were seemingly designed to cause New England to secede en masse.
"Since the plan of an organized opposition to the project of Mr. Jefferson was put into operation, the whole of the New England States have transferred their political power to his political enemies; It should therefore be the peculiar care of G. Britain to foster divisions between the north and south" -- From a collection of letters sold by a British Spy, John Henry, to James Madison and transmitted to Congress.
Three years after that purchase (1809), the Committee on Foreign Relations attached a Report to James Madison's Message to Congress of June 1, 1812, seeking a Declaration of War:
"The attempt to dismember our Union and overthrow our excellent constitution, by a secret mission, the object of which was to foment discontents and excite insurrection against the constituted authorities and laws of the nation, as lately disclosed by the agent employed in it, affords full proof that there is no bound to the hostility of the British government towards the United States -- no act, however unjustifiable, which it would not commit to accomplish their ruin."
Not much of a leap of faith is required to see this conduct -- the insertion of spies and agents of influence into the new States -- as being related to the banking crisis of 1819, which was so ruinous to Virginia. The money factors in Europe were still the biggest players in the world's markets. It can be argued that Great Britain provoked a war with the United States in order to break up the Union before this Amendment could be ratified, and that when it seemed evident Virginia would put the measure over by approving it in early 1819, the same interests tried to instigate an economic collapse in the new nation's wealthiest State. Perhaps the time has come to stop looking at the British government, which represents the interests of the Windsors, their royal family -- and largest landholder -- as being a true friend. Whatever good will the American people might keep towards the establishment of Britain, must be counter-balanced by the treachery and double-dealing of that government.
Consider that James Buchanan, who was elected President in 1856, came straight to the White House from the Court of St. James, where he was the American ambassador. During those four crucial years, leading up to the four-way race of 1860 and the triumph of Lincoln, Buchanan was singularly ineffective as "the Chief Magistrate" of the Republic. He did nothing while the clouds of war gathered and the leaders of secessionism plotted their treasons.
During the Civil War, the southern States had every hope that the cotton industry of Great Britain would be so damaged by the blockade against Confederate shipping, that their mighty naval forces might intervene on behalf of the rebellion. So, too, the federal government had an immediate and long-standing need for money and credit. What compromises were wrought, on the back stairs, by Abraham Lincoln and his fellow Republicans, in the name of the Union? What was the price demanded by the British and Dutch money factors, and their royalist allies, for this credit?
Early in the political turmoil of Lincoln's first term as President, his allies in Congress produced this proposed Amendment to the Constitution:
"Article Thirteen: No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."
Only Illinois ratified this Amendment proposal, but it remains active and "in play," as it was issued by Congress without a time limit.
Even a cursory reading of this measure, however, reveals that Abraham Lincoln was apparently desperate to offer the southern states something concrete to prevent them from seceding (or continuing in their rebellion). In drafting this proposed article of amendment, though, Lincoln decided to ignore the six different editions of Illinois' organic laws, which contained the Titles of Nobility Amendment as the valid Article 13 -- the most recent edition having been issued in 1845. As a leading Republican politician and lawyer, how could Lincoln not know what was in the law books of his own State?
Then there was the 1855 edition of the organic laws of the Territory of Kansas; or, the three subsequent editions of the same for Nebraska, by 1858. All four of those printings contain the Titles of Nobility Amendment as being the valid Article 13. Where that section is not to be found, though, is in the law books printed privately by the mainline publishers of Philadelphia and Boston.
"An Analytical Digest of the Laws of the United States from the Adoption of the Constitution to the end of the 34th Congress, 1789-1857" was prepared by Frederick C. Brightly, Esquire, of the Philadelphia Bar. Published by Kay & Brother publishers and importers, in 1858, it contains the following dedication: "Respectfully Dedicated to James Buchanan, President. A Jurist and a Statesman."
There is no mention of the Titles of Nobility as either Article 13 or as a proposed Amendment. Rather startling, since no new Amendments were issued by any Congress, between the Eleventh in 1810 and the newly-seated members in 1861!
So, too, "The General Laws of the United States, with references," was edited by James Dunlop of the Bar of Pennsylvania. It was published in 1856 in Philadelphia by J. B. Lippincott and Company. There is no Thirteenth Amendment included. In fact, the first time a privately prepared edition omits this crucial and lawful section of the Constitution, is in 1828. And the culprit is none other than Joseph Story, Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court (and formerly Vice President of the Academy of Languages and Belles-Lettres). It is a most curious development:
"The Public and General Statutes passed by Congress, 1789-1827," was prepared by Justice Story. It was published by Wells & Lilly of Boston in 1828. In Volume Two there is no mention of any Article 13 belonging in the Constitution, while in the proceedings of the Eleventh Congress there is no mention of the Resolution which issued the proposed Amendment to the States. So, too, there is no indication that Massachusetts approved the Titles of Nobility on February 27, 1812.
Just seven years had passed since William S. Cardell had heaped scorn upon the idea of "a mock nobility" developing here, in his Circular of 1821; what could possibly motivate a State Supreme Court Justice to betray his oath to the Constitution, his responsibilities to his State, and the confidence of his friends and colleagues in a gathering like the Academy? However, there it is, and thus begins the conflict between State and Territorial editions of organic laws which show this Amendment as the valid Article 13, and the privately printed editions of U.S. law which do not include any Amendment after Article 12. The contradictions continue into the 1860s, including the first edition of the State laws of Nebraska, the 1867 organic laws of the Territory of the Dakotas, and Colorado in 1868.
The Territory of Colorado's organic laws are most interesting for the scholar of this controversy: the 1868 edition shows the Titles of Nobility Amendment as correct and properly ratified, Article 13 -- with the anti-slavery Amendment pushed by Lincoln and issued by the Congress in 1865 as the valid Article 14. So, too the Territory of Wyoming piques the imagination of the researcher with its organic laws of 1876:Article 13 is intact, the anti-slavery Amendment is Article 14, and the additional Amendment now listed as Article 15 is also intact, and shown as valid. There was then a great controversy abroad in the States over the true status of what is now called "the Fourteenth Amendment." New Jersey and Ohio had tried to rescind their ratifications of this section, California rejected it and Oregon protested that its vote had been tainted by improperly elected State Representatives voting on the section.
No matter. The authorities in charge of Reconstruction were determined to have it, and to have revenge against the former officers of the Confederacy through it. This Amendment was ratified under duress, by several rump State governments installed by military force. By comparison the Titles of Nobility Amendment was adopted almost by popular acclamation -- by Maryland, which met on Christmas Day of 1810 to approve this section -- and eleven other States in just two years. The decisions of the leaders of Virginia in 1819 have previously been recounted.
See Also Utah Supreme Court Opinion, Dyett vs Turner, a March 22, 1968 opinion of the Utah Supreme Court. It is the official view of the Court on the flawed nature of the so-called Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
End of Chapter 3
Introduction - "The Original 13th Amendment Titles of Nobility and Honour"
Chapter 1 -The Prohibition of Titles of Nobility and Honour
Chapter 2 - Ratification 1810-1820
Chapter 3 - Philadelphia Lawyers and a Mock Nobility
Chapter 4 - Panic, War & Opium
Chapter 5 - One Hundred Years of Pain
Chapter 6 - The Secret Armies
Table of Ratification and Publications
The 13th Anti-Slavery Amendment and The Flawed 14th Amendment
Our Enemy, The State by Albert Jay Nock, The Classic Critique Distinguishing "Government" from "State"
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