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annulled, and the tenure of property carried back to -a system, not feudal in its military features, but much more strict and lasting than feudal tenure, Liberty remains, freedom of speech, of action, of the press, of religion, and of acquiring property; but equality is rapidly disappearing in the possession, distribution, and transniission of it. It may be asserted, with truth, that property is more equally divided and held in France than in Pennsylvania, where, though personal titles abound, yet property privileges are much less common than here. And here again it is proper to notice, not with censure but regret, that the courts of justice in this country have not controlled the predominance of corporations. The common law respecting them is simple and satisfactory. Incorporation gives to many men no dispensation from law, (except their peculiar privileges,) which is not the equat if not the better right of every man; and it is the settled law that corporate powers cannot be carried beyond the columns of its grant. Yet such has been the social and political influence of corporations, that every day they assume constructive powers transcending their charters with perfect impunity; and few, if any, are the instances in which any American court of justice has ever exercised the authority, said to belong to courts of justice alone, of annulling a charter or rebuking abuses of it. The great business of legislation, of late years, has been to grant charters; and no considerate man can reflect without mortification on the means by which they are accomplished, the purposes to which they are too often applied, the manner of their organization, their number and their influence. Thoroughly impressed as your committee are with wellconsidered doubts of the constitutionality of many, and a strong conviction of the impolicy of most of them, they have no hesitation to avow, as will be obvious to this Convention, that the articles proposed to be incorporated in the constitution are designed to render it much more difficult than at present to procure an act of incorporation at all; so that hereafter no such act shall take place without the most cogent necessity."
There, Sir, your countrymen high in authority tell you that, if you be a considerate man, you cannot reflect without mortification on the immorality and wickedness with which your country abounds. A state of things that, I assure you, has caused no little mortification to your grievously disappointed, humble servant,
ON THOMAS PAINE'S PAMPHLET IN FAVOUR OF PAPER MONEY.
CHARACTER OF PAINE.
To William Williams, Esq., M.P.
Philadelphia, February 10, 1838. Knowing, as I do, that you are the constant and unyielding advocate of the productive classes, in opposition to the drones of society, to the democratic usurers, to the numerous race of jobbers, gamblers, and those who seek to delude the people for the purpose of robbing them, I take the liberty of addressing this letter to you, in the earnest hope that it may have the effect of calling your attention to my humble work, and thus strengthen and confirm you in your good and just principles, and to induce lyou to pursue their development with the same energy in future, which you have hitherto so laudably employed. It is not, however, on this account alone that I beg to call your
attention to the present and my other letters; I find with great regret that you are an admirer of the American system of government, or, in other words, of democracy; and that you are desirous, by introducing universal suffrage, annual parliaments, and election by ballot, to assimilate the polity of Great Britain to that of the United States of North America as closely as may be consistent with the preservation of the monarchy.
If, Sir, you were aware how inconsistent these opinions are with those which you hold with regard to the working classes, I am sure you would instantly abandon them. The principle of self-government, if that can be called a principle, which in the nature of things never can exist, has been tried, and has been found to entirely fail in the United States. The representative system there, it is true, exists in name, and in name only; for the officers of state, from the lowest to the highest, from the president to the constable, are the mere creatures of faction and corruption, the people as a body having nothing at all to do with their election. I speak of all parties, the one not being a jot better than the other. Their object is the deluding of the people for their own selfish interests ; and that they do
delude them for these purposes, I think, in the course of this work, I shall be able to prove to the perfect satisfaction of every unprejudiced and honest man, even from the writings and speeches of the Americans themselves.
At present, however, I shall confine myself to the opinions of Thomas Paine, particularly to those broached in that little-known pamphlet which this certainly able writer, but, in my humble opinion, weak and wicked politician, wrote in defence of the banking system of the United States, the michievous effects of which developed themselves at a very early period of the republic,
This pamphlet, which a friend of mine put into my hands, has been republished by the bankers! This, I suppose, is their last argument in favour of paper money. They have scattered it, I am told, all over the country; and it may be had without money or price, so important is it to make it appear that the “author of Common Sense "believed in the virtues of paper money, and was for a state of things like that which I have described.
I have spoken before of the writings of Paine, and have shown that his predictions, contained in his “ Rights of Man," have all turned out egregiously false. This “ Dissertation on Government, the affairs of the bank and paper money,” I never have seen before: it exhibits unusual labour on the part of the author to support that which he knew to be wrong, but which, from interested and wicked motives, he thought proper to justify. However, taken as a whole, I think the interests of the bankers will not be much forwarded by its republication.
Let us take a sort of cursory review of this pamphlet; printed by Charles Cist, in Philadelphia, in the year 1786, and reprinted from the original, without note or comment, by order of the bankers of 1838.
In the very first page we are informed that, “in republics, such as those established in America, the sovereign power, or the power over which there is no control, and which controls all other, remains, where Nature placed it—in the people : for the people in America are the fountain of power. It remains there as a matter of right, recognised in the constitution of the country, and the exercise of it is constitutional and legal. This sovereignty is exercised in electing and deputing a certain number of persons to represent and act for the whole, and who, if they do not act right, may be displaced by the same power that placed them there, and others elected in their stead, and the wrong measures of former representatives corrected and brought right by this means." Very well, this is all that we ask for or desire. Further, he says (in pages 8 and 9),
• The administration of a republic is supposed to be directed by certain fundamental principles of right and justice, from which there cannot, because there ought not, to be
any deviation ; and, whenever any deviation appears, there is a kind of stepping out of the republican principle, and an approach towards the despotic one." Well, how stands the case now? Haye we stepped out of the republican principle or not? Is it right and just for the people to have their substance devoured by the privileged orders, who have already obtained power enough to charter themselves, and have fortified them selves in the halls of government, so that it is impossible for the people to get in, not even to be heard, and much less to do their own business ?
“This administration," he says (page 9), " is executed by a select number of persons, periodically chosen by the people, who act as representatives and in behalf of the whole, and who are supposed to enact the same laws, and pursue the same line of administration, as the people would do were they all assembled together."
Now, whatever is supposed, the fact is, that the legislative assemblies in this country, and in this our day, on almost every occasion, aet just contrary to what the people would do were they all assembled together.
Were I to begin in a formal manner to show that the representatives do not do as the people would do, it would be thought that I was wasting my time to very little purpose indeed, since every body that lives in this country knows as well as I know that it is not so. They know that, when the people assemble together, they never fail to denounce their rulers for having betrayed them. The people never sanction the chartering of banks, and the constituting a parcel of thieves to prey upon them : it is not in the nature of things that it should be so. They mat nifested not their displeasure at the conduct of the notorious traitor Burdon, and the rest of the traitors, who, without having been applied to in a single instance, and after having, over and over again, pledged themselves to oppose the United States' bank, and all that thereunto belonged, in any and every form that it could be brought before theni-ed yet, they sold the rights of their constituents to that bank, as they would have sold beasts in the field. Is there an honest man living, who knows the state of the case, that will say, that that was not as base and as foul a transaction, nay, the very basest and fuulest that ever disgraced a nation? And look at the chartering of the Mechanics' bank, fraudulently appended or tacked, as you may have heard, that it might not be noticed, to an act for incorporating a canal company. But to run over these things would be an endless job; the legislatures for many years having done nothing but charter themselves and their friends and I will rest this question, as to whether the people, if they were altogether, would thus defraud themselves- I will rest this question, I say, ou the open confession of ex-governor Wolf, whọ, God knows, did enongh in these
matters himself, never to expect forgiveness, except this open and candid confession of the doings, that he and “ the morbid and restless" have been guilty of, in defiance of the people's seal of reprobation, and against the constitution of the country, which they had solemnly sworn to obey: except this confession weighs heavily in his favour, he is a lost man for ever and for ever. Remember, it was not, as it ought to have been, his last dying speech and confession, but it was his last annual message and confession. And here it is.
The open confession of George Wolf, late governor of the State of Pennsylvania, in the United States of North America. Made at the opening of the Legislative Assembly, December 3, in the year of our Lord 1834.
In which he fully discloses the facts, that depravity and unsoundness existed in the last, and in former legislative assemblies, to a frightful and most alarming extent. To wit, he saith
" It cannot be denied that every incorporation that is authorised, and every monopoly that is established, even for the most useful public purposes, is a deviation from that republican simplicity which the principles upon which our admirable form of government is predicated would seem to inculcate, and a virtual encroachment upon our liberties. By multiplying these formidable, irresponsible public bodies, we shall, in process of time, raise up within the commonwealth an aristocratical combination of power, which will dictate its own laws, and put at defiance the government of the people. We have recently had a strong illustration of the power and dangerous tendency of such institutions, and it may be well to learn wisdom from experience. These observations have been suggested by a knowledge of the fact, that a morbid, restless solicitude to produce a state of incautious legislation, tending to precipitate a system of legalised speculation upon the people of this commonwealth, has, for some time past, but too conspicuously manifested itself in our legislative hall, in the shape of applications for the incorporation of monopolies of various descriptions. A depraved, unsound spirit, evincing a vitiated anxiety for the establishment of banking institutions, and other corporations possessing exclusive privileges, seems to have marked the era in which we live, as one peculiarly distinguished for its inveterate oppugnancy to the tardy but certain method of securing competency and independence pursued by the men of other days, as well as for its peculiar predilections in favour of some shorter and less difficult path, by which to arrive at wealth and power.
“ To encourage this spirit any further, 'at this time, would be as unwise as our too liberal legislation, in sustaining it heretofore, had been impolitic and injudicious: Public opinion seems to have set its seal of reprobation upon such a course, and, instead of being favourable to a