Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Declaration of the Pennsylvania Provincial Conference

June 24, 1776

The Conference Met. The committee appointed for that purpose brought in a draft of a Declaration on the subject of Independence of this Colony of the Crown of Great Britain, which was ordered to be read, by special order. The same was read a second time, and, being fully considered, it was, with the greatest unanimity of all the Members, agreed to and adopted, and is in the words following, viz:

“Whereas, George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c., in violation of the principals of the British Constitution, and of the laws of justice and humanity, hath, by an accumulation of oppressions unparalleled in history, excluded the inhabitants of this, with the other American Colonies, from his protection and whereas he hath paid no regard to any of our numerous and dutiful petitions for a redress of our complicated grievances, but hath lately purchased foreign troops to assist in enslaving us, and hath excited the savages of this country to carry on a war against us, as also the negroes to imbrue their hands in the blood of their masters, in a manner unpracticed by civilized nations; and hath lately insulted our calamities, by declaring that he will show us no mercy until he has reduced us: And whereas the obligations of allegiance (being reciprocal between a King and his subjects) are not dissolved on the side of the Colonists, by the despotism of the said King, insomuch that it now appears that loyalty to him is treason against the good people of this country: And whereas not only the Parliament, but, there is reason to believe, too many of the people of Great Britain, have concurred in the aforesaid arbitrary and unjust proceedings against us: And whereas the publick virtue of this Colony (so essential to its liberty and happiness) must be endangered by a future political union with, or dependence upon, a Crown and nation so lost to justice, patriotism, and magnanimity:- We, the Deputies of the people of Pennsylvania, assembled in full Provincial Conference, for forming a plan for executing the Resolve of Congress of the 15th of May last, for suppressing all authority in this Province derived from the Crown of Great Britain, and for establishing a Government upon the authority of the people only, now, in this publick manner, in behalf of ourselves, and with the approbation, consent, and authority of our constituents, unanimously declare our willingness to concur in a vote of the Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States, provided the forming the Government, and regulation of the internal police of this Colony, be always reserved to the people of the said Colony; and we do further call upon the nations of Europe, and appeal to the great Arbiter and Governour of the Empires of the World, to witness for us that this declaration did not originate in ambition, or in an impatience of lawful authority, but that we were driven to it, in obedience to the first principles of nature, by the oppressions and cruelties of the aforesaid King and Parliament of Great Britain, as the only possible measure that was left us to preserve and establish our liberties, and to transmit them inviolate to posterity.”

Ordered, That this Declaration be signed at the table, and that the President deliver it to Congress.

Instructions of the Assembly of Pennsylvania to their Delegates in Congress

June 8, 1776

Gentlemen: When, by our instructions of last November, we strictly enjoined you, in behalf of this Colony, to dissent from, and utterly reject any proposition, should such be made, that might cause or lead to a separation from Great Britain, or a change of the form of this Government, our restrictions did not arise from any diffidence of your ability, prudence, or integrity, but from an earnest desire to serve the good people of Pennsylvania with fidelity, in times so full of alarming dangers and perplexing difficulties.

The situation of publick affairs is since so greatly altered, that we now think ourselves justifiable in removing the restrictions laid upon you by those instructions.

The contempt with which the last petition of the honourable Congress has been treated; the late act of Parliament declaring the just resistance of the Colonists against violences actually offered, to be rebellion, excluding them from the protection of the Crown, and even compelling some of them to bear arms against their countrymen; the treaties of the King of Great Britain with other Princes for engaging foreign mercenaries to aid the forces of that kingdom in their hostile enterprises against America, and his answer to the petition of the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen and Commons, of the City of London, manifest such a determined and implacable resolution to effect the utter destruction of these Colonies, that all hopes of a reconciliation, on reasonable terms, are extinguished. Nevertheless, it is our ardent desire that a civil war, with all its attending miseries, could be ended by a secure and honourable peace.

We therefore hereby authorize you to concur with the other Delegates in Congress in forming such further compacts between the United Colonies, concluding such treaties with foreign Kingdoms and States, and in adopting such other measures as shall be judged necessary for promoting the liberty, safety, and interests of America; reserving to the people of this Colony the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police of the same.

The happiness of these Colonies has, during the whole course of this fatal controversy, been our first wish; their reconciliation with Great Britain our next. Ardently have we prayed for the accomplishment of both. But if we must renounce the one or the other, we humbly trust in the mercies of the Supreme Governour of the Universe, that we shall not stand condemned before His throne if our choice is determined by that overruling law of self-preservation, which His divine wisdom has thought fit to implant in the hearts of His creatures.

Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress

Excerpts from the
Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress
October 14, 1774

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by statute in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of Admiralty not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent on the Crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace. And it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a statute made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of king Henry the Eight, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies; and by a late statute, such trial have been directed in cases therein mentioned.

And whereas, in the last session of Parliament, three statutes were made…[the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, the Administration of Justice Act], and another statute was then made [the Quebec Act]…All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.

And whereas, Assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, & reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by His Majesty’s ministers of state:

The good people of the several Colonies of New-hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode-island and Providence plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Delaware, Pennsylvania, Newcastle Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted:

Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these Colonies, taking into their most serious consideration the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place, as Englishmen their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, declare,

That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following Rights:

Resolved, N.C.D.

1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, & they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects within the realm of England.

3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.

4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed. But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bona fide retrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members excluding every idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America without their consent.

5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.

6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes, as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.

7. That these, his majesty’s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.

8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the King; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal.

9. That the keeping a Standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of that legislature of that colony in which such army is kept, is against the law.

10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed during pleasure, by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.

All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves, and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislatures.

The Declaration of Rights

Die Martis 12 February 1688/9

The Declaration of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons Assembled at Westminster

Whereas the late King James, the second, by the Assistance of divers Evil Counsellors, Judges, and Ministers, imployed by him did endeavour to Subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion, and the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome.

1. By assuming and exercising a Power of dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes, and the Execution of Lawes without the Consent of Parliament.

2. By committing and prosecuting diverse worthy Prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed Power.

3. By issuing and causing to be Executed a Commission, under the Great Seale, for erecting a Court called Courte of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes.

4. By leaving Money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of Prerogative for other Time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament.

5. By raiseing and keeping a standing army within this Kingdom in time of Peace without Consent of Parliament and quartering Souldiers contrary to the Law.

6. By causing several good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both armed and Employed contrary to Law.

7. By violating the freedome of Election of Members to serve in Parliament.

8. By prosecutions in the Courte of King’s Bench for matters and Causes Cognizable only in Parliament And by divers other Arbitrary and illegal Courses.

9. And whereas of late Years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have been returned and served on Juryes in tryalls and, particularly divers Jurors in Tryalls for high Treason which were not freeholders.

10. And excessive Bayle hath been required of persons Committed in Criminal Cases to elude the benefitt of the Lawes made for the liberty of the Subjects.

11. And excessive fynes have been imposed.

12. And illegal and cruell punishments inflicted

13. And several Grants and promises made of fynes and forfeitures before any Conviction or Judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied.

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the knowne Lawes and Statutes and freedome of this Realme.

And whereas the said late King James the second having abdicated the Government and the throne being thereby vacant.

His Highnesse the Prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make his glorious Instrument of delivering this kingdom from Popery and Arbitrary Power) Did (by advice of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and divers principall persons of the Commons) Cause Letters to be written to the Lords Spirituall and Temporall being Protestants and other Letters to the several Countyes Citties Universities Burroughs and Cinqe Ports for the chuseing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to Parliament to meet and sitt at Westminster upon the two and twentiesth day of January in this Year 1688 in order to such an establishment as that their Religion Lawes and Libertyes might not againe be in danger of being subverted. Upon with Letters Elections having been accordingly made.

And thereupon the said Lords SPirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nations taking into their most serious consideration the best meanes for atteyneing the ends aforesaid Doe in the first place (as their Ancestors in like Case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their antient rights and Liberties, Declare.

1. That the pretended power of suspending of Lawes or the execution of Lawes by Regall Authority without Consent of Parliament is illegal.

2. That the pretended power of dispensing with lawes or the Execution of lawes by regall authority as it has been assumed and exercised of late is illegall.

3. That the Commission for erecting the late Courte of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes and all other Commissions and Courts of life nature are illegall and pernicious.

4. That levying of money for or to the use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative without grant of Parliament for longer time or in other manner, than the same is or shall be granted is illegall.

5. That it is the right of Subjects to petition the King and all Commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegall.

6. That the raiseing or keeping a Standing Army within the Kingdom in time of Peace unlesse it be with consent of Parliament is against the Law.

7. That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Armes for their defence Suitable to their Condition and as allowed by Law.

8. That Elections of Members of Parliament out to be free.

9. That the freedome of Speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Courte or place out of Parliament.

10. That excessive Bayle ought not to be required nor excessive fynes imposed nor cruel and unusuall Punishments inflicted.

11. That Jurors ought to be duley impannelled and returned and Jurors which passé upon men in tryalls for high treasons ought to be freeholders.

12. That all grants and promises of fynes and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegall and void.

13. And that for redress of all greivances and for the amending strengthening and preserving of the Lawes, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

And they do claime demand and insist upon all singular the premises as their undoubted Rights and Liberties and that noe Declarations Judgements Doeings or proceedings to the prejudice of the People in any of the said premises ought in any wise to bee drawn hereafter into Consequence or Example.

To which demand of their rights they are particularly Encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the Prince of Orange as being the only Meanes for obteyning a full redress and remedy therein.

Having therefore an intire Confidence that his said Highness the Prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance soe farr advanced by him and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have asserted and from all other attempts upon their Religion Rights and Liberties.

The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons Assembled at Westminster doe Resolve,

That William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange bee and bee declared, King and Queen of England France and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging to hold the Crowne and Royall dignity of the said Kingdom’s and Dominions to them the said Prince and Princess during their lives and the life of the Survivor of them and that the Sole and full exercise of the Regall Power be only in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the Names of the said Prince and Princesse during their Joynt lives And after their deceases the said Crowne and Royall Dignity of the said Kingdoms and Dominions to be to the heires of the body of the said Princesse: And for default of such Issue to the Princesse Anne of Denmarke and the heires of her body. And for default of such Issue to their heires of the body of the said Prince of Orange.
And the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe pray the said Prince and Princesse of Orange to accept the same accordingly.

And that the Oathes hereafter mentioned bee taken by all persons of whom the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy might be required by Law instead of them. And that the said Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy might be required by Law instead of them. And that the said Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy bee abrogated.

I A.B. doe sincerely promise and sweare That I will be faithfull and beare true Allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary. Soe help mee God.
I. A.B. doe sweare That I doe from my heart Abhoure, detest, and Abjure as impious and Hereticall this Damnable Doctrine and Position That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the see of Rome may be deposed or Murdered by their Subjects or any other whatsoever And I doe Declare That noe foreign Prince Person Prelate State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authority Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme. Soe held mee God.

It is Ordered By the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons now assembled at Westminster That is declaration be ingrossed in Parliament and inrolled amongst the Rolls of Parliament and Recorded in Chancery.

[no date]
Signed: Jo, Browne, Cleris

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Law of Nature - Sir William Blackstone, Knight

Excerpts from Commentaries on the Laws of England

Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being. A being independent of any other, has no rule to pursue, but such as he prescribes to himself; but a state of dependence will inevitably oblige the inferior to take the will of him on whom he depends as the rule of his conduct; not, indeed, in every particular, but in all those points wherein his dependence consists. This principle, therefore, has more or less extent and effect, in proportion as the superiority of the one and dependence of the other is greater or less, absolute or limited.
And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should, in all points; conform to his Maker’s will.

This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it will a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion, so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.

Considering the Creator only as a being of infinite power, he was able unquestionably to have prescribed whatever laws; he pleased to his creature, man, however unjust or severe. But, as he is also a being of infinite wisdom, he has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such, among others, are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to every one his duel to which thee general precepts Justinian (a) has reduced the whole doctrine of law.

But if the discovery of these first principles of the law of nature depended only upon the due exertion of right reason, and could not otherwise be obtained than by a chain of metaphysical disquisitions, mankind would have wanted some inducement to have quickened their inquiries and the greater part of the world would have rested content in mental indolence, and ignorance, its inseparable companion. As, therefore, the Creator is a being not only of infinite power, and wisdom, but also of infinite goodness, he has been pleased so to contrive the constitution and frame of humanity, that we should want no other prompter to inquire after and pursue the rule of right, boy only our own self-love, that universal principle of action. For he has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter.
In consequence of which mutual connection of justice and human felicity, he has not perplexed the law of nature with a multitude of abstracted rules and precepts, referring merely to the fitness of unfitness of things, as some have vainly surmised, but has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one paternal precept, “that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness.” This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law; for the several articles into which it is branched in our system, amount to no more than demonstrating that this or that action tends to man’s real happiness, and therefore very justly concluding that the performance of it is a part of the law of nature; or, on the other hand, that this or that action is destructive of man real happiness, and therefore that the law of nature forbids it.

This law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.

But, in order to apply this to the particular exigencies of each individual, it is still necessary to have recourse to reason, whose office is to discover, as was before observed, what the law of nature directs in every circumstance of life, by considering what method will tend the most effectually to our own substantial happiness. And if our reasons were always ,as in our first ancestor before his transgression, clear and perfect, unruffled by passions, unclouded by prejudice, unimpaired by disease or intemperance, the task would be pleasant and easy; we would need no other guide but this. But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reason is corrupt, and his understating full of ignorance and error.

This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine Providence, which in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason, hath been pleased, at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparisons to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity, But we are not from thence to conclude that the knowledge of these truths was attainable by reason, in its present corrupted state; since we found that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wisdom of ages. As then the moral precepts of this law are indeed of the same original with those of the law of nature, so their intrinsic obligation is of equal strength and perpetuity. Yet undoubtedly the revealed law is of infinitely more authenticity than the moral system which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the natural law; because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.

Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation depend all human laws; this is to day, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.

Grand Jury Indictment Of The Federal Reserve

Defendants ______________________________

Inasmuch as we have issued indictments and subpoenas which the U.S. Attorney and the courts would not act upon, we issue this final indictment of the Federal Reserve and its principals (Board of Governors, Directors of Federal Reserve and Members of the Open Market Committee). This is not done in anger or as an act of disrespect, but still disagreeing with the U.S. Attorney and the courts.

The Grand Jury finds that—The power to print paper money or to issue bills of credit, was never given to the Federal government and it is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution for it to do so.

While the power “to coin money, regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin” and the power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States” were both delegated to the Congress, the power to print money was never given. A proposal was made in the Constitutional convention to give Congress this power and it was defeated by a vote of nine states against, two for. (See Madison’s Notes on Debates in the Federal Convention for August 16, 1787). But the wording of the Constitution itself denies such a power to Congress. It provides that “No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” This being so, when the Federal government issues irredeemable paper as a tender in payment of debts it compels them to violate this prohibition. Inasmuch as the laws dealing with lawful money are still intact (gold and silver coin) the federal reserve, in ignoring these laws is also violating statutes.

“No state shall…pass any law…impairing the obligation of contract.” By compelling the states to use irredeemable paper as a tender in payment of debts, Congress thereby causes the states to impair the obligation of contracts to the extent of billions of dollars each year. This can be seen by noting the effect which inflation has upon people. According to the Statistical Abstract of 1980 there was at the end of 1979 $3,222 Billion of Life Insurance in force. Assuming an annual inflation rate of just 10%, holders of policies are systematically robbed each year of over $322 Billion. The combined CPI for the past five years totaled 48.6% inflation (1977, 6.5%; 1978, 7.7%; 1979, 11.3%, 1980, 14.4%; 1981, 8.7%). Life insurance in force averaged approximately $3,024 Billion per year. 48.6% X $3,024 Billion = $1,469 Billion, or nearly $1.5 Trillion impairment of insurance in force. Holders of the national debt would be robbed of over $100 Billion at just 10% inflation annually. This is not to mention the loss being suffered by old age pensions, retired people, people with bonds, savings accounts, and holders of mortgages, etc. The states, by ignoring their constitutional charge are guilty of participating with the Federal Reserve in impairing contracts, violating citizens civil and property rights, all without due process of law for citizens. Why then do governments leave good money and go to bad? One reason is that it enables them to effectively eliminate (assuming a 10% inflation rate) 10% of their obligations annually and to pay off long term bonds with severely devalued dollars, except as offset by excessive interest.

The purpose of the Constitution’s provision is to protect the right of private property including contract rights, not to impair them.
The Grand Jury finds that—The founding fathers interpreted the Constitution as requiring the use of gold and silver coin as the only legal tender which could be used in the nation.

It is a fact that for the first seventy years of its existence, the nation was on a silver and gold standard. This is all the evidence one would ever need as to the type of monetary system intended for this nation by those who drafted and adopted the United States Constitution. It was not until the great crisis brought on by the Civil War that the North, in an attempt to provide additional financing, for the first time issued “bills of credit” and made them a tender in payment of debts.

An irredeemable currency is directly contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which was designed to protect contract rights. There is a specific provision contained in the Constitution which says: “No state shall…pass any law…impairing the obligation of contract.” This same law should apply to the federal government. By printing worthless currency and compelling state courts to use it as a legal tender in payment of debts, it forces them to disobey the prohibition. Recognizing the danger of allowing state governments to pass laws destroying contract rights and also desiring that states should act honorable, this prohibition was adopted. Morally and legally, it is equally applicable to the Federal.

If this matter was so plain to those who drafted the Constitution, how did it happen that we use neither gold nor silver today but only an irredeemable paper and a debased coinage? The answer is found in the fact that when a nation gets into serious trouble, those in government tend to ignore the restraints of the Constitution, and the people, under the stress of the times tend to permit it.

Thus it happened that in the desperate days of the Civil War, a sorely beset Congress first authorized the issue of paper money by the Federal Government. The term “greenbacks” was used to describe this issue and they were made a legal tender in payment of debts both public and private. Of course the constitutionality of this act was tested in the United States Supreme Court which held in a five to three decision that paper money was unconstitutional.

This victory for sound money did not last long however because shortly thereafter when the personnel of the Court had been changed by the addition of two new members, another case involving essentially the same issue was brought before it, and this time in a five to four majority reversed the prior decision. It is a matter for reflection that the decision of a single Court Justice can affect the destiny of an entire nation.

Eventually the issue of greenbacks was redeemed in gold and silver coin as was always intended, and the nation returned to a hard money system which continued until the money manipulation policies of the Federal Reserve created the Great Depression. It was during the agony of that crisis that government once again ignored the Constitution, and a confused and distraught nation failed to restrain them. A prior Congress passed an administration measure under which the use by citizens of gold as money was made a criminal offense, the gold of the citizens was confiscated and paper was issued in its place. The private Federal Reserve banks in 1934 issued to themselves the only gold redeemable certificates—laying claim to the gold just taken from the citizens. Once more the matter came before a prior Supreme Court—and once more in another 5 to 4 decision the Court upheld Congress. This opened the door to an unlimited issue of paper money for the citizens which has continued ever since.
The change in our national fiscal affairs since the hard money system was abandoned to the federal reserve is reflected in the following approximated figures:

1933 1982
National Debt $27 Billion $1,000 Billion
Annual National Budget $5 Billion $750 Billion
*Gold and Prices, George F. Warren & Frank A. Person, John Welsey & Sons (1935), Page 138.

The Grand Jury Finds—Why it is so important that we use the precious metals rather than paper for money. The virtue of gold and silver is that governments or private credit monopolies cannot destroy citizens contract rights.

Gold and silver are perfectly suited to serve as money. Being largely impervious to decay, their value is not destroyed by the passage of time. Also they are probably the most versatile of all metals and this intrinsic worth together with their natural beauty has preserved their value in every nation and in every age. Every civilization has found them desirable and sought after them and it is this fact which makes them more stable than any other standard of value. Governments and private credit monopolies cannot manipulate nor corrupt this standard without such coming to the immediate attention of the people—and it has. Gold and silver have very distinctive physical characteristics which makes it relatively easy to observe a reduction in the weight or size of coins.

One ofttimes hears it said that there is not enough gold in the world to serve our monetary needs today—that the demand for money has grown so enormously since the Constitution was adopted that the monetary system it provided for will no longer suffice. The first answer to this argument is that the Constitution does not provide for a gold standard, but for a standard of gold and silver. Both metals were decreed as legal tender.

A second answer to the shortage argument is that it is utterly wrong to assume that we need a stock of gold and silver equal to the amount of money in circulation. We need only a small fraction of that amount. The truth of this fact can be seen by noting that the size of our gold stocks when we were on the gold standard between 1900 and 1933 was generally less than 10% (Statistical Abstract of the U.S. [1937]. Pages 163 & 200) of the total money and bank deposits. The reason why such a relatively small amount of the precious metals will suffice is easily seen.

Imagine, if you can, everyone who has a claim for money simultaneously demanding that his debtor pay in gold and silver coin. Such a situation is unthinkable, especially when it is realized that we are all debtor and creditors at the same time. The great majority of us cannot afford to invest in the precious metals. When we have a claim for money we want to turn that claim into food, clothing, services, etc. as soon as possible without going through the cumbersome and useless process of converting it into gold and silver first.

But the scarcity argument is seen in its most ridiculous light when it is remembered that it is this very scarcity which makes it possible to use gold and silver as an unchanging standard of value. If they were to become as plentiful as, say paper, they could not possibly retain their value in the eyes of the people. It is the very fact that they are scarce together with the fact that they have intrinsic worth, which preserves their value from generation to generation.

On the other hand, paper has none of the characteristics needed as a standard of value because it has no intrinsic worth. This is not to say we should not use paper as a medium of exchange to represent a claim for money. Paper is certainly convenient to use for transferring claims to gold and silver and there is nothing against using it for this purpose. Common sense dictates that we do so. There is no danger in using paper as a claim or an evidence of ownership of something of value. The great danger—and indeed the terrible harm—comes from making it irredeemable—in asserting that the paper has value rather than that it represents a claim for some commodity which has value.

The Grand Jury Finds that—Irredeemable paper money is the fundamental cause of inflation, that this irredeemability is a violation of statutes dealing with lawful money and the money of account of the U.S. The federal reserve itself continued to publicly show its recognition of these statutes into the late 1960’s by printing on its notes we used as money that they were redeemable in lawful money. Statutes and the Constitution did not change, only their printing the recognition of their still existing obligation to redeem in lawful money changed.


The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper as legal tender in payment of debts the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks under authority of a prior congress is compelling the states to violate that provision of the Constitution which forbids them to make “anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.”


The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper money as legal tender in payment of debts, the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks is causing the states to violate that provision of the Constitution which forbids them to impair the obligations of contract.


The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper as legal tender in payment of debts the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks under authority of a prior congress is using something other than what the Constitution allows.


The Grand Jury Charges that:
In 1980 the FRB in this district in concert with agents and employees of other Federal Reserve banks did issue and put in circulation Federal Reserve notes in an amount in excess of $1,025,547,000 from the branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, some of which were also issued and put in circulation through the Salt Lake City Branch; and provisions of 12 U.S.C. 411 require that the said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national banks and member banks and Federal Reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues, and they shall be redeemed in lawful money of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve Bank, and as defined at 12 U.S.C. 152, the terms “lawful money” and “lawful money of the United States” shall be construed to mean gold or silver coin of the United States, and 18 U.S.C. 334, crimes and criminal procedure requires that whosoever, being a Federal Reserve Agent, or an agent or employee of such Federal Reserve Agent, or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, issues or puts in circulation any Federal Reserve notes, without complying with or in violation of the provisions of law regulating the issuance and circulation of Federal Reserve notes shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years or both, and the defendants being members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or agents or employees thereof, did issue and put in circulation Federal Reserve notes without complying with and in violation of the provisions of 12 U.S.C. 411, and that such Federal Reserve notes are not obligations of the United States as required at 12 U.S.C. 411 and as defined at 18 U.S.C. 8, and that such notes were issued and were not redeemed, are not now being redeemed nor can they be redeemed in lawful money of the United States which is defined in 12 U.S.C. 152 as gold and silver coin of the United States as required in 12 U.S.C. 411, and therefore the said notes were issued and put in circulation in violation of 18 U.S.C. 334.

/s/ Hans V. Andersen Jr.
Foreman of the Grand Jury
U.S. Attorney