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Has there ever been a revolution backed by a royal or a noble against their own family?

Has there ever been a revolution backed by a royal or a noble against their own family?



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Has there ever been a true rebel in the higher Royal or noble society who charged against a regime or a kingdom that is run by his own family, for altruistic reasons?.


Louis Philippe II the Duke of Orléans, who avidly supported the French Revolution - arguably, the quintessential revolution of the modern era. As First Prince of the Blood, he was one of the most senior members of the ruling Bourbon dynasty. In fact his son would assume the French throne in 1830. I think he qualifies both as a royal and member of the high nobility.

Despite his lofty birth, Louis Philippe believed in the ideals of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and championed the cause of enlightenment and liberalism. He was a vocal critic of the monarchy in the Assembly of Notables and led a defection of a few nobles to join the Third Estate. He even voted to execute his own cousin, the King of France, in early 1793.

Ironically, Louis Philippe himself was guillotined under the Reign of Terror before the year was out. Given that he sought to abolish the nobility (i.e. by extension, his own privileges) and lost his head when the revolution was "successful", I'd argue he fits the no-personal-gain criterion.


In 1822, Dom Pedro I led a revolution of Brazil against its mother country, Portugal, that was (nominally) headed by his father.


The Glorious Revolution in England, where Mary II (although mostly by her husband William of Orange, later William III) deposed her brother, James II & VII.

I'm not entirely sure if it fulfils your criteria, there was not much more than a skirmish during the actual revolution, but it did result in the Jacobite uprising in Scotland and the Williamite war in Ireland. James being a Catholic meant he had more support in both Scotland and Ireland than his Protestant successors.


Prince Souphanouvong (a minor member of the Laotian royal family) headed the Pathet Lao faction during the Laotian civil war and later became president of the communist republic after the overthrow of the monarchy

Prince Daoud Khan (a minor member of the Afghani royal family) was involved in overthrowing his cousin, King Mohammed Zahir Shah, and rather than declare himself King, proclaimed a republic

Prince (and former, and later, King - its complicated) Norodom Sihanouk was involved in the overthrow of the US-backed Khmer republic by the communist Khmer Rouge and was later Head of State of the communist Democratic Kampuchea during the first year of its existence


List of French monarchs

The monarchs of the Kingdom of France ruled from the establishment of the Kingdom of the West Franks in 843 until the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870, with several interruptions. Between the period from King Charles the Bald in 843 to King Louis XVI in 1792, France had 45 kings. Adding the 7 emperors and kings after the French Revolution, this comes to a total of 52 monarchs of France.

In August 843 the Treaty of Verdun divided the Frankish realm into three kingdoms, one of which (Middle Francia) was short-lived the other two evolved into France (West Francia) and, eventually, Germany (East Francia). By this time the eastern and western parts of the land already had different languages and cultures.

The Capetian dynasty, the male-line descendants of Hugh Capet, included the first rulers to adopt the title of 'King of France' for the first time with Philip II (r. 1180–1223). The Capetians ruled continuously from 987 to 1792 and again from 1814 to 1848. The branches of the dynasty which ruled after 1328, however, are generally given the specific branch names of Valois (until 1589) and Bourbon (from 1589).

During the brief period when the French Constitution of 1791 was in effect (1791–92) and after the July Revolution in 1830, the style of "King of the French" was used instead of "King of France (and Navarre)". It was a constitutional innovation known as popular monarchy, which linked the monarch's title to the French people rather than to the possession of the territory of France. [1]

With the House of Bonaparte, the "emperors of the French" ruled in 19th-century France between 1804 and 1814, again in 1815, and between 1852 and 1870.


Letters in the forgotten war: Memories of mail on the front lines of Korea

Posted On December 06, 2020 20:45:43

Editor’s Note: This interview of Marine and Korean War veteran Charles U. Daly was written by his son, Charlie Daly.

Charles U. Daly led a rifle platoon in Charlie Company, 1/5 Marines through some of the most intense combat of the Korean war. He received the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He went on to work for President Kennedy and is the last living member of JFK’s West Wing congressional liaison staff. He tells his story in the memoir,Make Peace or Die: a Life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares.

What are your memories of mail while you were deployed?

I remember the lack of mail hurt some of my Marines. That’s a tough thing when everyone else is receiving mail, and there’s none for you. The guys who didn’t get any were stoic, and they didn’t show that it bothered them. They just turned around and hoped to get some another day, I guess. It was my job to lead them and look after them I could make sure they had almost anything else they needed. But there was nothing I could do for a guy who hadn’t gotten a letter from home. I’d give those men anything, but I couldn’t give them that.

Chuck remembers one letter he wrote to his late wife, Mary, in which he joked about single-handedly winning the war. A couple of days after he sent it, the Chinese began the 1951 Spring Offensive, an unsuccessful attempt to win the war in 7 days, during which Chuck’s platoon in 1/5 Marines had to hold a hilltop, totally cut off from friendly forces.

On the night of April 21, I sent a note to Mary, brimming with overconfidence:

My Darling—

Just a note to say that I’m o.k.—We moved quite a way today & continue on tomorrow—w/any luck we should be north of Hwachon (sic), North Korea tomorrow.

I’m exhausted & will hit the sack—I love you, my wife—take it easy.

—Your mick

(Make Peace or Die, 60)

You got one very special telegram announcing the birth of your first son, Michael.

I had been anxiously awaiting that news, but I didn’t expect it to reach me the way it did, as a special message, hand-delivered by a runner. That was a note I won’t forget.

A runner followed Dacy and the replacements up the hill with a telegram for me:

PLEASE PASS TO LT CHARLES U. DALY 050418 X SON MICHAEL WEIGHING 5 POUNDS 12 AND 3/4 OUNCES BORN SATURDAY 19 MAY AT 2:06 PM X A BLACK-HAIRED MICK X MARY AND MICHAEL BOTH FINE X LOVE MARY

(Make Peace or Die, 80)

Pete had received news about a baby daughter two days before. Our platoons were delighted. They said, “we” made a baby. It was good news, and it was tough news. I folded up the telegram and put it in my wallet and thought it’d be nice to have if I made it.

Now that note belongs to Michael’s first daughter, my first grandchild, Sinéad.

Charles U. Daly (left) with Pete McCloskey in a valley near Wonju, spring 1951. Pete and Chuck both left pregnant wives at home when they deployed. Chuck’s son and Pete’s daughter were born while their fathers were in combat. (Photo/ Department of Defense)

What was it like trying to do your job as a platoon leader while you were waiting for that big news?

I was trying to concentrate on my responsibility for Marines in combat. When I had time to think, I thought a lot about my wife and my hopes for our family. But I knew that if I didn’t concentrate on the job, I would never get to fulfill those hopes.

You wrote to your father after the firefight for which you were awarded the Silver Star.

I wanted him to know I’d done well. In case I didn’t make it, I wanted him to know I had died trying. He had led a platoon in the First World War I suppose I wanted him to know that I understood something of his experience.

Shortly after my own war, I asked Dad, “When do the bad memories fade?”

“It will take a long, long time, but finally they will fade.”

As of today, mine have not.

(Make Peace or Die, 23)

A few weeks later, you finally got Michael’s picture in the mail.

That was good. I noticed the Heath chocolate bar in the envelope first. The photo was a big surprise. I wish I still had it, but it got ruined by the melted chocolate.

The platoon sergeant and I laid-up in an abandoned enemy bunker… An attack on our position that night could have doomed us, but it didn’t come. I felt good. Even though I still had little hope of living to hold my son, a picture Mary had sent me of him had arrived in a letter enclosed with a melted Heath bar. Having seen my son Michael’s face, I suddenly had more to lose.

(Make Peace or Die, 97.)

Nowadays, a Marine in the field can sometimes send texts or make video calls. Sometimes, you can even get in touch with your family via satellite from the most remote outpost.

What would be your advice to families writing to a loved one who’s downrange?

Start with good news. Try to have good news. Bad news can wait, but if you have to pass it on, be delicate about it. Life at home isn’t always going to be all lovely every day, but it helps to let your son or daughter or spouse know that everything’s alright and there’s no need to feel bad about not being home to deal with life’s little challenges. But I don’t think it’s possible to say the wrong thing. No matter what you write, your letter is going to be the bright spot in their day.

My one suggestion, based on experience: SAVE YOUR LETTERS! When we were working on my book, we managed to find a couple of my letters home, but most were lost to time. I don’t remember what I wrote.

Make Peace or Die: A life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares is available through Amazon and Indiebound, or you can ask your local bookstore to order it. An early draft was featured on Jocko Podcast episode 196.

MIGHTY HISTORY

The Real Robin Hood

The subject of ballads, books and films, Robin Hood has proven to be one of popular culture’s most enduring folk heroes. Over the course of 700 years, the outlaw from Nottinghamshire who robs from the rich to give to the poor has emerged as one of the most enduring folk heroes in popular culture𠄺nd one of the most versatile. But how has the legend of Sherwood Forest’s merry outlaws evolved over time, and did a real Robin Hood inspire these classic tales?

Beginning in the 15th century and perhaps even earlier, Christian revelers in certain parts of England celebrated May Day with plays and games involving a Robin Hood figure with near-religious significance. In the 19th century, writer-illustrators like Howard Pyle adapted the traditional tales for children, popularizing them in the United States and around the world. More recently, bringing Robin to the silver screen has become a rite of passage for directors ranging from Michael Curtiz and Ridley Scott to Terry Gilliam and Mel Brooks.

Throughout Robin’s existence, writers, performers and filmmakers have probed their imaginations for new incarnations that resonate with their respective audiences. In 14th-century England, where agrarian discontent had begun to chip away at the feudal system, he appears as an anti-establishment rebel who murders government agents and wealthy landowners. Later variations from times of less social upheaval dispense with the gore and cast Robin as a dispossessed aristocrat with a heart of gold and a love interest, Maid Marian.

Academics, meanwhile, have combed the historical record for evidence of a real Robin Hood. English legal records suggest that, as early as the 13th century, “Robehod,” “Rabunhod” and other variations had become common epithets for criminals. But what had inspired these nicknames: a fictional tale, an infamous bandit or an amalgam of both? The first literary references to Robin Hood appear in a series of 14th- and 15th-century ballads about a violent yeoman who lived in Sherwood Forest with his men and frequently clashed with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Rather than a peasant, knight or fallen noble, as in later versions, the protagonist of these medieval stories is a commoner. Little John and Will Scarlet are part of this Robin’s “merry” crew—meaning, at the time, an outlaw’s gang𠅋ut Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and Alan-a-Dale would not enter the legend until later, possibly as part of the May Day rituals.

While most contemporary scholars have failed to turn up solid clues, medieval chroniclers took for granted that a historical Robin Hood lived and breathed during the 12th or 13th century. The details of their accounts vary widely, however, placing him in conflicting regions and eras. Not until John Major’s “History of Greater Britain” (1521), for example, is he depicted as a follower of King Richard, one of his defining characteristics in modern times.

We may never know for sure whether Robin Hood ever existed outside the verses of ballads and pages of books. And even if we did, fans young and old would still surely flock to England’s Nottinghamshire region for a tour of the legend’s alleged former hangouts, from centuries-old pubs to the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. What we do know is that the notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions, has universal appeal—whether he’s played by Erroll Flynn, Russell Crowe or even, as on a 1979 episode of “The Muppet Show,” Kermit the Frog.


7 The Torture

Bathory didn&rsquot just feel compelled to bathe in the blood of virgin girls she also felt a real need to torture them. For her own pleasure, Bathory had a torture chamber outfitted in her castle, called &ldquoHer Ladyship&rsquos Torture Chamber.&rdquo

The most unimaginable cruelties were performed upon her young victims. Sometimes, Bathory would bite her victims to death, and there are reports that she would sometimes rip their mouths apart using her own hands. She also liked to burn her victims. She would hold candles to their genitals, and she also liked to burn them with hot metal rods. Pins were used under fingernails and toenails, and she occasionally liked to push the pins through her victims&rsquo nipples and lips.

In the winter, she would strip down a girl and toss her out into the courtyard, where cold water was thrown onto her so that she would freeze to death. Bathory would also pour boiling water on her victims and seemed to enjoy peeling off their cooked skin, like a scalded tomato.


The Fate of the European Nobility

In England they own a disproportionate share, but not a vast amount. Once new land stopped being handed to them through feudal grants, charters, and revocations, and tenants' tax could no longer pay all their bills, the writing was on the wall for the big estates. Most had to sell off vast segments of land to pay bills, the taxman, and death duties. Others got gavelled through marriage or parcelled out to multiple heirs. Now the only example of a feudal landowing corporation on a scale worth talking about is the Duchy of Cornwall, and that's a royal annex.

Sindane

As I understand it, the First Duke of Northumberland, from whom the present dukes are descended, was not originally a member of the medieval Percy family, but married Elizabeth Seymour, the great-granddaughter and heiress of the last male member of the Percy family in the direct line in the 18th Century, and adopted the name Percy. His original name was Smithson, and apparently the Smithsonian Museum is named after one of his sons.

I think my maternal grandmother descended from one of the younger sons of the medieval Percy family who did not inherit any of the lands or titles, and whose descendants gradually lost their noble status. Possibly her ancestor was one of the many Percies who were disinherited for rebellion against the King of England.

As I wrote, her father was a Newcastle coalminer, so her branch of the family, whatever its origin, had obviously come a long way down in the world.

Sindane

Virtually all European states were monarchies at one point in the past. While many states have abolished monarchy and replaced it with other forms of government, other states have remained monarchies even today, or have actually re-introduced monarchy.

Now, a traditional monarchy usually does not only consist of a king and his family, but of a wider network of nobility that enjoys certain privileges. How did this nobility fare in different European countries? When and how did these nobles lose their privileges? Did they lose them because the king became stronger, or because the aristocracy as a whole became weaker, i.e. by redistributing powers to a parliament, or an increasingly independent judiciary system?

Are there still privileges they enjoy today in some countries? How did the attitude of the common people towards the aristocracy develop? Have they come under criticism for their lifestyle during different time periods have there been demands of a redistribution of their wealth? In which countries were they expropriated, or even expelled or killed?

An interesting example is the United Kingdom, which is one of the few countries that can boast of a more or less continuous state tradition of almost a millennium. Although there were several changes in the royal dynasty and some minor breaks and revolutions especially in the 17th century, many traditions have been preserved and continue to this very day. How did the English/ Scottish and later British nobility fare during this time? For example, it is well known that the English parliament emancipated itself from the king in particular in the 17th century, but what about the other aristocrats?

How does the situation of the aristocracy in Britain compare to that in other European countries, for example France, Germany, or Spain? What happened to the Russian nobility?


RWANDAN GENOCIDE

From April to mid-July 1994, members of the Hutu majority in Rwanda murdered some 500,000 to 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority, with horrifying brutality and speed. As with the former Yugoslavia, the international community did little to stop the Rwandan Genocide while it was occurring, but that fall the U.N. expanded the mandate of the ICTY to include the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Tanzania.

The Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals helped clarify exactly what types of actions could be classified as genocidal, as well as how criminal responsibility for these actions should be established. In 1998, the ICTR set the important precedent that systematic rape is in fact a crime of genocide it also handed down the first conviction for genocide after a trial, that of the mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba.


In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.

By Matthew Desmond AUG. 14, 2019

A couple of years before he was convicted of securities fraud, Martin Shkreli was the chief executive of a pharmaceutical company that acquired the rights to Daraprim, a lifesaving antiparasitic drug. Previously the drug cost $13.50 a pill, but in Shkreli’s hands, the price quickly increased by a factor of 56, to $750 a pill. At a health care conference, Shkreli told the audience that he should have raised the price even higher. “No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it,” he explained. 𠇋ut this is a capitalist society, a capitalist system and capitalist rules.”

This is a capitalist society. It’s a fatalistic mantra that seems to get repeated to anyone who questions why America can’t be more fair or equal. But around the world, there are many types of capitalist societies, ranging from liberating to exploitative, protective to abusive, democratic to unregulated. When Americans declare that “we live in a capitalist society” — as a real estate mogul told The Miami Herald last year when explaining his feelings about small-business owners being evicted from their Little Haiti storefronts — what they’re often defending is our nation’s peculiarly brutal economy. “Low-road capitalism,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Joel Rogers has called it. In a capitalist society that goes low, wages are depressed as businesses compete over the price, not the quality, of goods so-called unskilled workers are typically incentivized through punishments, not promotions inequality reigns and poverty spreads. In the United States, the richest 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of the country’s wealth, while a larger share of working-age people (18-65) live in poverty than in any other nation belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.).

Or consider worker rights in different capitalist nations. In Iceland, 90 percent of wage and salaried workers belong to trade unions authorized to fight for living wages and fair working conditions. Thirty-four percent of Italian workers are unionized, as are 26 percent of Canadian workers. Only 10 percent of American wage and salaried workers carry union cards. The O.E.C.D. scores nations along a number of indicators, such as how countries regulate temporary work arrangements. Scores run from 5 (“very strict”) to 1 (“very loose”). Brazil scores 4.1 and Thailand, 3.7, signaling toothy regulations on temp work. Further down the list are Norway (3.4), India (2.5) and Japan (1.3). The United States scored 0.3, tied for second to last place with Malaysia. How easy is it to fire workers? Countries like Indonesia (4.1) and Portugal (3) have strong rules about severance pay and reasons for dismissal. Those rules relax somewhat in places like Denmark (2.1) and Mexico (1.9). They virtually disappear in the United States, ranked dead last out of 71 nations with a score of 0.5.

Those searching for reasons the American economy is uniquely severe and unbridled have found answers in many places (religion, politics, culture). But recently, historians have pointed persuasively to the gnatty fields of Georgia and Alabama, to the cotton houses and slave auction blocks, as the birthplace of America’s low-road approach to capitalism.

Slavery was undeniably a font of phenomenal wealth. By the eve of the Civil War, the Mississippi Valley was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Cotton grown and picked by enslaved workers was the nation’s most valuable export. The combined value of enslaved people exceeded that of all the railroads and factories in the nation. New Orleans boasted a denser concentration of banking capital than New York City. What made the cotton economy boom in the United States, and not in all the other far-flung parts of the world with climates and soil suitable to the crop, was our nation’s unflinching willingness to use violence on nonwhite people and to exert its will on seemingly endless supplies of land and labor. Given the choice between modernity and barbarism, prosperity and poverty, lawfulness and cruelty, democracy and totalitarianism, America chose all of the above.

Nearly two average American lifetimes (79 years) have passed since the end of slavery, only two. It is not surprising that we can still feel the looming presence of this institution, which helped turn a poor, fledgling nation into a financial colossus. The surprising bit has to do with the many eerily specific ways slavery can still be felt in our economic life. 𠇊merican slavery is necessarily imprinted on the DNA of American capitalism,” write the historians Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman. The task now, they argue, is �taloging the dominant and recessive traits” that have been passed down to us, tracing the unsettling and often unrecognized lines of descent by which America’s national sin is now being visited upon the third and fourth generations.

They picked in long rows, bent bodies shuffling through cotton fields white in bloom. Men, women and children picked, using both hands to hurry the work. Some picked in Negro cloth, their raw product returning to them by way of New England mills. Some picked completely naked. Young children ran water across the humped rows, while overseers peered down from horses. Enslaved workers placed each cotton boll into a sack slung around their necks. Their haul would be weighed after the sunlight stalked away from the fields and, as the freedman Charles Ball recalled, you couldn’t 𠇍istinguish the weeds from the cotton plants.” If the haul came up light, enslaved workers were often whipped. 𠇊 short day’s work was always punished,” Ball wrote.

Cotton was to the 19th century what oil was to the 20th: among the world’s most widely traded commodities. Cotton is everywhere, in our clothes, hospitals, soap. Before the industrialization of cotton, people wore expensive clothes made of wool or linen and dressed their beds in furs or straw. Whoever mastered cotton could make a killing. But cotton needed land. A field could only tolerate a few straight years of the crop before its soil became depleted. Planters watched as acres that had initially produced 1,000 pounds of cotton yielded only 400 a few seasons later. The thirst for new farmland grew even more intense after the invention of the cotton gin in the early 1790s. Before the gin, enslaved workers grew more cotton than they could clean. The gin broke the bottleneck, making it possible to clean as much cotton as you could grow.

The Limits of Banking Regulation

At the start of the Civil War, only states could charter banks. It wasn’t until the National Currency Act of 1863 and the National Bank Act of 1864 passed at the height of the Civil War that banks operated in this country on a national scale, with federal oversight. And even then, it was only law in the North. The Union passed the bills so it could establish a national currency in order to finance the war. The legislation also created the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (O.C.C.), the first federal bank regulator. After the war, states were allowed to keep issuing bank charters of their own. This byzantine infrastructure remains to this day and is known as the dual banking system. Among all nations in the world, only the United States has such a fragmentary, overlapping and inefficient system — a direct relic of the conflict between federal and state power over maintenance of the slave-based economy of the South.

Both state regulators and the O.C.C., one of the largest federal regulators, are funded by fees from the banks they regulate. Moreover, banks are effectively able to choose regulators — either federal or state ones, depending on their charter. They can even change regulators if they become unsatisfied with the one they’ve chosen. Consumer-protection laws, interest-rate caps and basic-soundness regulations have often been rendered ineffectual in the process — and deregulation of this sort tends to lead to crisis.

In the mid-2000s, when subprime lenders started appearing in certain low-income neighborhoods, many of them majority black and Latino, several state banking regulators took note. In Michigan, the state insurance regulator tried to enforce its consumer-protection laws on Wachovia Mortgage, a subsidiary of Wachovia Bank. In response, Wachovia’s national regulator, the O.C.C., stepped in, claiming that banks with a national charter did not have to comply with state law. The Supreme Court agreed with the O.C.C., and Wachovia continued to engage in risky subprime activity.

Eventually loans like those blew up the banking system and the investments of many Americans — especially the most vulnerable. Black communities lost 53 percent of their wealth because of the crisis, a loss that a former congressman, Brad Miller, said “has almost been an extinction event.”

The United States solved its land shortage by expropriating millions of acres from Native Americans, often with military force, acquiring Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. It then sold that land on the cheap — just $1.25 an acre in the early 1830s ($38 in today’s dollars) — to white settlers. Naturally, the first to cash in were the land speculators. Companies operating in Mississippi flipped land, selling it soon after purchase, commonly for double the price.

Enslaved workers felled trees by ax, burned the underbrush and leveled the earth for planting. “Whole forests were literally dragged out by the roots,” John Parker, an enslaved worker, remembered. A lush, twisted mass of vegetation was replaced by a single crop. An origin of American money exerting its will on the earth, spoiling the environment for profit, is found in the cotton plantation. Floods became bigger and more common. The lack of biodiversity exhausted the soil and, to quote the historian Walter Johnson, “rendered one of the richest agricultural regions of the earth dependent on upriver trade for food.”

As slave labor camps spread throughout the South, production surged. By 1831, the country was delivering nearly half the world’s raw cotton crop, with 350 million pounds picked that year. Just four years later, it harvested 500 million pounds. Southern white elites grew rich, as did their counterparts in the North, who erected textile mills to form, in the words of the Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, an “unhallowed alliance between the lords of the lash and the lords of the loom.” The large-scale cultivation of cotton hastened the invention of the factory, an institution that propelled the Industrial Revolution and changed the course of history. In 1810, there were 87,000 cotton spindles in America. Fifty years later, there were five million. Slavery, wrote one of its defenders in De Bow’s Review, a widely read agricultural magazine, was the “nursing mother of the prosperity of the North.” Cotton planters, millers and consumers were fashioning a new economy, one that was global in scope and required the movement of capital, labor and products across long distances. In other words, they were fashioning a capitalist economy. “The beating heart of this new system,” Beckert writes, “was slavery.”

Perhaps you’re reading this at work, maybe at a multinational corporation that runs like a soft-purring engine. You report to someone, and someone reports to you. Everything is tracked, recorded and analyzed, via vertical reporting systems, double-entry record-keeping and precise quantification. Data seems to hold sway over every operation. It feels like a cutting-edge approach to management, but many of these techniques that we now take for granted were developed by and for large plantations.

When an accountant depreciates an asset to save on taxes or when a midlevel manager spends an afternoon filling in rows and columns on an Excel spreadsheet, they are repeating business procedures whose roots twist back to slave-labor camps. And yet, despite this, “slavery plays almost no role in histories of management,” notes the historian Caitlin Rosenthal in her book �ounting for Slavery.” Since the 1977 publication of Alfred Chandler’s classic study, “The Visible Hand,” historians have tended to connect the development of modern business practices to the 19th-century railroad industry, viewing plantation slavery as precapitalistic, even primitive. It’s a more comforting origin story, one that protects the idea that America’s economic ascendancy developed not because of, but in spite of, millions of black people toiling on plantations. But management techniques used by 19th-century corporations were implemented during the previous century by plantation owners.

Planters aggressively expanded their operations to capitalize on economies of scale inherent to cotton growing, buying more enslaved workers, investing in large gins and presses and experimenting with different seed varieties. To do so, they developed complicated workplace hierarchies that combined a central office, made up of owners and lawyers in charge of capital allocation and long-term strategy, with several divisional units, responsible for different operations. Rosenthal writes of one plantation where the owner supervised a top lawyer, who supervised another lawyer, who supervised an overseer, who supervised three bookkeepers, who supervised 16 enslaved head drivers and specialists (like bricklayers), who supervised hundreds of enslaved workers. Everyone was accountable to someone else, and plantations pumped out not just cotton bales but volumes of data about how each bale was produced. This organizational form was very advanced for its time, displaying a level of hierarchal complexity equaled only by large government structures, like that of the British Royal Navy.

Like today’s titans of industry, planters understood that their profits climbed when they extracted maximum effort out of each worker. So they paid close attention to inputs and outputs by developing precise systems of record-keeping. Meticulous bookkeepers and overseers were just as important to the productivity of a slave-labor camp as field hands. Plantation entrepreneurs developed spreadsheets, like Thomas Affleck’s “Plantation Record and Account Book,” which ran into eight editions circulated until the Civil War. Affleck’s book was a one-stop-shop accounting manual, complete with rows and columns that tracked per-worker productivity. This book “was really at the cutting edge of the informational technologies available to businesses during this period,” Rosenthal told me. “I have never found anything remotely as complex as Affleck’s book for free labor.” Enslavers used the book to determine end-of-the-year balances, tallying expenses and revenues and noting the causes of their biggest gains and losses. They quantified capital costs on their land, tools and enslaved workforces, applying Affleck’s recommended interest rate. Perhaps most remarkable, they also developed ways to calculate depreciation, a breakthrough in modern management procedures, by assessing the market value of enslaved workers over their life spans. Values generally peaked between the prime ages of 20 and 40 but were individually adjusted up or down based on sex, strength and temperament: people reduced to data points.

This level of data analysis also allowed planters to anticipate rebellion. Tools were accounted for on a regular basis to make sure a large number of axes or other potential weapons didn’t suddenly go missing. “Never allow any slave to lock or unlock any door,” advised a Virginia enslaver in 1847. In this way, new bookkeeping techniques developed to maximize returns also helped to ensure that violence flowed in one direction, allowing a minority of whites to control a much larger group of enslaved black people. American planters never forgot what happened in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in 1791, when enslaved workers took up arms and revolted. In fact, many white enslavers overthrown during the Haitian Revolution relocated to the United States and started over.

Overseers recorded each enslaved worker’s yield. Accountings took place not only after nightfall, when cotton baskets were weighed, but throughout the workday. In the words of a North Carolina planter, enslaved workers were to be 𠇏ollowed up from day break until dark.” Having hands line-pick in rows sometimes longer than five football fields allowed overseers to spot anyone lagging behind. The uniform layout of the land had a logic a logic designed to dominate. Faster workers were placed at the head of the line, which encouraged those who followed to match the captain’s pace. When enslaved workers grew ill or old, or became pregnant, they were assigned to lighter tasks. One enslaver established a “sucklers gang” for nursing mothers, as well as a “measles gang,” which at once quarantined those struck by the virus and ensured that they did their part to contribute to the productivity machine. Bodies and tasks were aligned with rigorous exactitude. In trade magazines, owners swapped advice about the minutiae of planting, including slave diets and clothing as well as the kind of tone a master should use. In 1846, one Alabama planter advised his fellow enslavers to always give orders “in a mild tone, and try to leave the impression on the mind of the negro that what you say is the result of reflection.” The devil (and his profits) were in the details.

Fiat Currency and the Civil War

The Constitution is riddled with compromises made between the North and South over the issue of slavery — the Electoral College, the three-fifths clause — but paper currency was too contentious an issue for the framers, so it was left out entirely. Thomas Jefferson, like many Southerners, believed that a national currency would make the federal government too powerful and would also favor the Northern trade-based economy over the plantation economy. So, for much of its first century, the United States was without a national bank or a uniform currency, leaving its economy prone to crisis, bank runs and instability.

At the height of the war, Lincoln understood that he could not feed the troops without more money, so he issued a national currency, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury — but not by gold. (These bills were known derisively as “greenbacks,” a word that has lived on.) The South had a patchwork currency that was backed by the holdings of private banks — the same banks that helped finance the entire Southern economy, from the plantations to the people enslaved on them. Some Confederate bills even had depictions of enslaved people on their backs.

In a sense, the war over slavery was also a war over the future of the economy and the essentiality of value. By issuing fiat currency, Lincoln bet the future on the elasticity of value. This was the United States’ first formal experiment with fiat money, and it was a resounding success. The currency was accepted by national and international creditors — such as private creditors from London, Amsterdam and Paris — and funded the feeding and provisioning of Union troops. In turn, the success of the Union Army fortified the new currency. Lincoln assured critics that the move would be temporary, but leaders who followed him eventually made it permanent — first Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression and then, formally, Richard Nixon in 1971.

The uncompromising pursuit of measurement and scientific accounting displayed in slave plantations predates industrialism. Northern factories would not begin adopting these techniques until decades after the Emancipation Proclamation. As the large slave-labor camps grew increasingly efficient, enslaved black people became America’s first modern workers, their productivity increasing at an astonishing pace. During the 60 years leading up to the Civil War, the daily amount of cotton picked per enslaved worker increased 2.3 percent a year. That means that in 1862, the average enslaved fieldworker picked not 25 percent or 50 percent as much but 400 percent as much cotton than his or her counterpart did in 1801.

Today modern technology has facilitated unremitting workplace supervision, particularly in the service sector. Companies have developed software that records workers’ keystrokes and mouse clicks, along with randomly capturing screenshots multiple times a day. Modern-day workers are subjected to a wide variety of surveillance strategies, from drug tests and closed-circuit video monitoring to tracking apps and even devices that sense heat and motion. A 2006 survey found that more than a third of companies with work forces of 1,000 or more had staff members who read through employees’ outbound emails. The technology that accompanies this workplace supervision can make it feel futuristic. But it’s only the technology that’s new. The core impulse behind that technology pervaded plantations, which sought innermost control over the bodies of their enslaved work force.

The cotton plantation was America’s first big business, and the nation’s first corporate Big Brother was the overseer. And behind every cold calculation, every rational fine-tuning of the system, violence lurked. Plantation owners used a combination of incentives and punishments to squeeze as much as possible out of enslaved workers. Some beaten workers passed out from the pain and woke up vomiting. Some �nced” or “trembled” with every hit. An 1829 first-person account from Alabama recorded an overseer’s shoving the faces of women he thought had picked too slow into their cotton baskets and opening up their backs. To the historian Edward Baptist, before the Civil War, Americans “lived in an economy whose bottom gear was torture.”

There is some comfort, I think, in attributing the sheer brutality of slavery to dumb racism. We imagine pain being inflicted somewhat at random, doled out by the stereotypical white overseer, free but poor. But a good many overseers weren’t allowed to whip at will. Punishments were authorized by the higher-ups. It was not so much the rage of the poor white Southerner but the greed of the rich white planter that drove the lash. The violence was neither arbitrary nor gratuitous. It was rational, capitalistic, all part of the plantation’s design. �h individual having a stated number of pounds of cotton to pick,” a formerly enslaved worker, Henry Watson, wrote in 1848, “the deficit of which was made up by as many lashes being applied to the poor slave’s back.” Because overseers closely monitored enslaved workers’ picking abilities, they assigned each worker a unique quota. Falling short of that quota could get you beaten, but overshooting your target could bring misery the next day, because the master might respond by raising your picking rate.

Profits from heightened productivity were harnessed through the anguish of the enslaved. This was why the fastest cotton pickers were often whipped the most. It was why punishments rose and fell with global market fluctuations. Speaking of cotton in 1854, the fugitive slave John Brown remembered, “When the price rises in the English market, the poor slaves immediately feel the effects, for they are harder driven, and the whip is kept more constantly going.” Unrestrained capitalism holds no monopoly on violence, but in making possible the pursuit of near limitless personal fortunes, often at someone else’s expense, it does put a cash value on our moral commitments.

Slavery did supplement white workers with what W.E.B. Du Bois called a “public and psychological wage,” which allowed them to roam freely and feel a sense of entitlement. But this, too, served the interests of money. Slavery pulled down all workers’ wages. Both in the cities and countryside, employers had access to a large and flexible labor pool made up of enslaved and free people. Just as in today’s gig economy, day laborers during slavery’s reign often lived under conditions of scarcity and uncertainty, and jobs meant to be worked for a few months were worked for lifetimes. Labor power had little chance when the bosses could choose between buying people, renting them, contracting indentured servants, taking on apprentices or hiring children and prisoners.

This not only created a starkly uneven playing field, dividing workers from themselves it also made 𠇊ll nonslavery appear as freedom,” as the economic historian Stanley Engerman has written. Witnessing the horrors of slavery drilled into poor white workers that things could be worse. So they generally accepted their lot, and American freedom became broadly defined as the opposite of bondage. It was a freedom that understood what it was against but not what it was for a malnourished and mean kind of freedom that kept you out of chains but did not provide bread or shelter. It was a freedom far too easily pleased.

In recent decades, America has experienced the financialization of its economy. In 1980, Congress repealed regulations that had been in place since the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, allowing banks to merge and charge their customers higher interest rates. Since then, increasingly profits have accrued not by trading and producing goods and services but through financial instruments. Between 1980 and 2008, more than $6.6 trillion was transferred to financial firms. After witnessing the successes and excesses of Wall Street, even nonfinancial companies began finding ways to make money from financial products and activities. Ever wonder why every major retail store, hotel chain and airline wants to sell you a credit card? This financial turn has trickled down into our everyday lives: It’s there in our pensions, home mortgages, lines of credit and college-savings portfolios. Americans with some means now act like 𠇎nterprising subjects,” in the words of the political scientist Robert Aitken.

As it’s usually narrated, the story of the ascendancy of American finance tends to begin in 1980, with the gutting of Glass-Steagall, or in 1944 with Bretton Woods, or perhaps in the reckless speculation of the 1920s. But in reality, the story begins during slavery.

Cotton and the Global Market

Cotton produced under slavery created a worldwide market that brought together the Old World and the New: the industrial textile mills of the Northern states and England, on the one hand, and the cotton plantations of the American South on the other. Textile mills in industrial centers like Lancashire, England, purchased a majority of cotton exports, which created worldwide trade hubs in London and New York where merchants could trade in, invest in, insure and speculate on the cotton—commodity market. Though trade in other commodities existed, it was cotton (and the earlier trade in slave-produced sugar from the Caribbean) that accelerated worldwide commercial markets in the 19th century, creating demand for innovative contracts, novel financial products and modern forms of insurance and credit.

Like all agricultural goods, cotton is prone to fluctuations in quality depending on crop type, location and environmental conditions. Treating it as a commodity led to unique problems: How would damages be calculated if the wrong crop was sent? How would you assure that there was no misunderstanding between two parties on time of delivery? Legal concepts we still have to this day, like “mutual mistake” (the notion that contracts can be voided if both parties relied on a mistaken assumption), were developed to deal with these issues. Textile merchants needed to purchase cotton in advance of their own production, which meant that farmers needed a way to sell goods they had not yet grown this led to the invention of futures contracts and, arguably, the commodities markets still in use today.

From the first decades of the 1800s, during the height of the trans-Atlantic cotton trade, the sheer size of the market and the escalating number of disputes between counterparties was such that courts and lawyers began to articulate and codify the common-law standards regarding contracts. This allowed investors and traders to mitigate their risk through contractual arrangement, which smoothed the flow of goods and money. Today law students still study some of these pivotal cases as they learn doctrines like forseeability, mutual mistake and damages.

Consider, for example, one of the most popular mainstream financial instruments: the mortgage. Enslaved people were used as collateral for mortgages centuries before the home mortgage became the defining characteristic of middle America. In colonial times, when land was not worth much and banks didn’t exist, most lending was based on human property. In the early 1700s, slaves were the dominant collateral in South Carolina. Many Americans were first exposed to the concept of a mortgage by trafficking in enslaved people, not real estate, and “the extension of mortgages to slave property helped fuel the development of American (and global) capitalism,” the historian Joshua Rothman told me.

Or consider a Wall Street financial instrument as modern-sounding as collateralized debt obligations (C.D.O.s), those ticking time bombs backed by inflated home prices in the 2000s. C.D.O.s were the grandchildren of mortgage-backed securities based on the inflated value of enslaved people sold in the 1820s and 1830s. Each product created massive fortunes for the few before blowing up the economy.

Enslavers were not the first ones to securitize assets and debts in America. The land companies that thrived during the late 1700s relied on this technique, for instance. But enslavers did make use of securities to such an enormous degree for their time, exposing stakeholders throughout the Western world to enough risk to compromise the world economy, that the historian Edward Baptist told me that this can be viewed as 𠇊 new moment in international capitalism, where you are seeing the development of a globalized financial market.” The novel thing about the 2008 foreclosure crisis was not the concept of foreclosing on a homeowner but foreclosing on millions of them. Similarly, what was new about securitizing enslaved people in the first half of the 19th century was not the concept of securitization itself but the crazed level of rash speculation on cotton that selling slave debt promoted.

As America’s cotton sector expanded, the value of enslaved workers soared. Between 1804 and 1860, the average price of men ages 21 to 38 sold in New Orleans grew to $1,200 from roughly $450. Because they couldn’t expand their cotton empires without more enslaved workers, ambitious planters needed to find a way to raise enough capital to purchase more hands. Enter the banks. The Second Bank of the United States, chartered in 1816, began investing heavily in cotton. In the early 1830s, the slaveholding Southwestern states took almost half the bank’s business. Around the same time, state-chartered banks began multiplying to such a degree that one historian called it an “orgy of bank-creation.”

When seeking loans, planters used enslaved people as collateral. Thomas Jefferson mortgaged 150 of his enslaved workers to build Monticello. People could be sold much more easily than land, and in multiple Southern states, more than eight in 10 mortgage-secured loans used enslaved people as full or partial collateral. As the historian Bonnie Martin has written, “slave owners worked their slaves financially, as well as physically from colonial days until emancipation” by mortgaging people to buy more people. Access to credit grew faster than Mississippi kudzu, leading one 1836 observer to remark that in cotton country “money, or what passed for money, was the only cheap thing to be had.”

Planters took on immense amounts of debt to finance their operations. Why wouldn’t they? The math worked out. A cotton plantation in the first decade of the 19th century could leverage their enslaved workers at 8 percent interest and record a return three times that. So leverage they did, sometimes volunteering the same enslaved workers for multiple mortgages. Banks lent with little restraint. By 1833, Mississippi banks had issued 20 times as much paper money as they had gold in their coffers. In several Southern counties, slave mortgages injected more capital into the economy than sales from the crops harvested by enslaved workers.

Global financial markets got in on the action. When Thomas Jefferson mortgaged his enslaved workers, it was a Dutch firm that put up the money. The Louisiana Purchase, which opened millions of acres to cotton production, was financed by Baring Brothers, the well-heeled British commercial bank. A majority of credit powering the American slave economy came from the London money market. Years after abolishing the African slave trade in 1807, Britain, and much of Europe along with it, was bankrolling slavery in the United States. To raise capital, state-chartered banks pooled debt generated by slave mortgages and repackaged it as bonds promising investors annual interest. During slavery’s boom time, banks did swift business in bonds, finding buyers in Hamburg and Amsterdam, in Boston and Philadelphia.

Some historians have claimed that the British abolition of the slave trade was a turning point in modernity, marked by the development of a new kind of moral consciousness when people began considering the suffering of others thousands of miles away. But perhaps all that changed was a growing need to scrub the blood of enslaved workers off American dollars, British pounds and French francs, a need that Western financial markets fast found a way to satisfy through the global trade in bank bonds. Here was a means to profit from slavery without getting your hands dirty. In fact, many investors may not have realized that their money was being used to buy and exploit people, just as many of us who are vested in multinational textile companies today are unaware that our money subsidizes a business that continues to rely on forced labor in countries like Uzbekistan and China and child workers in countries like India and Brazil. Call it irony, coincidence or maybe cause — historians haven’t settled the matter — but avenues to profit indirectly from slavery grew in popularity as the institution of slavery itself grew more unpopular. “I think they go together,” the historian Calvin Schermerhorn told me. “We care about fellow members of humanity, but what do we do when we want returns on an investment that depends on their bound labor?” he said. “Yes, there is a higher consciousness. But then it comes down to: Where do you get your cotton from?”

Banks issued tens of millions of dollars in loans on the assumption that rising cotton prices would go on forever. Speculation reached a fever pitch in the 1830s, as businessmen, planters and lawyers convinced themselves that they could amass real treasure by joining in a risky game that everyone seemed to be playing. If planters thought themselves invincible, able to bend the laws of finance to their will, it was most likely because they had been granted authority to bend the laws of nature to their will, to do with the land and the people who worked it as they pleased. Du Bois wrote: “The mere fact that a man could be, under the law, the actual master of the mind and body of human beings had to have disastrous effects. It tended to inflate the ego of most planters beyond all reason they became arrogant, strutting, quarrelsome kinglets.” What are the laws of economics to those exercising godlike power over an entire people?

How Slavery Made Wall Street

While “Main Street” might be anywhere and everywhere, as the historian Joshua Freeman points out, “Wall Street” has only ever been one specific place on the map. New York has been a principal center of American commerce dating back to the colonial period — a centrality founded on the labor extracted from thousands of indigenous American and African slaves.

Desperate for hands to build towns, work wharves, tend farms and keep households, colonists across the American Northeast — Puritans in Massachusetts Bay, Dutch settlers in New Netherland and Quakers in Pennsylvania — availed themselves of slave labor. Native Americans captured in colonial wars in New England were forced to work, and African people were imported in greater and greater numbers. New York City soon surpassed other slaving towns of the Northeast in scale as well as impact.

Founded by the Dutch as New Amsterdam in 1625, what would become the City of New York first imported 11 African men in 1626. The Dutch West India Company owned these men and their families, directing their labors to common enterprises like land clearing and road construction. After the English Duke of York acquired authority over the colony and changed its name, slavery grew harsher and more comprehensive. As the historian Leslie Harris has written, 40 percent of New York households held enslaved people in the early 1700s.

New Amsterdam’s and New York’s enslaved put in place much of the local infrastructure, including Broad Way and the Bowery roads, Governors Island, and the first municipal buildings and churches. The unfree population in New York was not small, and their experience of exploitation was not brief. In 1991, construction workers uncovered an extensive 18th-century African burial ground in Lower Manhattan, the final resting place of approximately 20,000 people.

And New York City’s investment in slavery expanded in the 19th century. In 1799 the state of New York passed the first of a series of laws that would gradually abolish slavery over the coming decades, but the investors and financiers of the state’s primary metropolis doubled down on the business of slavery. New Yorkers invested heavily in the growth of Southern plantations, catching the wave of the first cotton boom. Southern planters who wanted to buy more land and black people borrowed funds from New York bankers and protected the value of bought bodies with policies from New York insurance companies. New York factories produced the agricultural tools forced into Southern slaves’ hands and the rough fabric called “Negro Cloth” worn on their backs. Ships originating in New York docked in the port of New Orleans to service the trade in domestic and (by then, illegal) international slaves. As the historian David Quigley has demonstrated, New York City’s phenomenal economic consolidation came as a result of its dominance in the Southern cotton trade, facilitated by the construction of the Erie Canal. It was in this moment — the early decades of the 1800s — that New York City gained its status as a financial behemoth through shipping raw cotton to Europe and bankrolling the boom industry that slavery made.

In 1711, New York City officials decreed that “all Negro and Indian slaves that are let out to hire . be hired at the Market house at the Wall Street Slip.” It is uncanny, but perhaps predictable, that the original wall for which Wall Street is named was built by the enslaved at a site that served as the city’s first organized slave auction. The capital profits and financial wagers of Manhattan, the United States and the world still flow through this place where black and red people were traded and where the wealth of a region was built on slavery.

We know how these stories end. The American South rashly overproduced cotton thanks to an abundance of cheap land, labor and credit, consumer demand couldn’t keep up with supply, and prices fell. The value of cotton started to drop as early as 1834 before plunging like a bird winged in midflight, setting off the Panic of 1837. Investors and creditors called in their debts, but plantation owners were underwater. Mississippi planters owed the banks in New Orleans $33 million in a year their crops yielded only $10 million in revenue. They couldn’t simply liquidate their assets to raise the money. When the price of cotton tumbled, it pulled down the value of enslaved workers and land along with it. People bought for $2,000 were now selling for $60. Today, we would say the planters’ debt was “toxic.”

Because enslavers couldn’t repay their loans, the banks couldn’t make interest payments on their bonds. Shouts went up around the Western world, as investors began demanding that states raise taxes to keep their promises. After all, the bonds were backed by taxpayers. But after a swell of populist outrage, states decided not to squeeze the money out of every Southern family, coin by coin. But neither did they foreclose on defaulting plantation owners. If they tried, planters absconded to Texas (an independent republic at the time) with their treasure and enslaved work force. Furious bondholders mounted lawsuits and cashiers committed suicide, but the bankrupt states refused to pay their debts. Cotton slavery was too big to fail. The South chose to cut itself out of the global credit market, the hand that had fed cotton expansion, rather than hold planters and their banks accountable for their negligence and avarice.

Even academic historians, who from their very first graduate course are taught to shun presentism and accept history on its own terms, haven’t been able to resist drawing parallels between the Panic of 1837 and the 2008 financial crisis. All the ingredients are there: mystifying financial instruments that hide risk while connecting bankers, investors and families around the globe fantastic profits amassed overnight the normalization of speculation and breathless risk-taking stacks of paper money printed on the myth that some institution (cotton, housing) is unshakable considered and intentional exploitation of black people and impunity for the profiteers when it all falls apart — the borrowers were bailed out after 1837, the banks after 2008.

During slavery, 𠇊mericans built a culture of speculation unique in its abandon,” writes the historian Joshua Rothman in his 2012 book, 𠇏lush Times and Fever Dreams.” That culture would drive cotton production up to the Civil War, and it has been a defining characteristic of American capitalism ever since. It is the culture of acquiring wealth without work, growing at all costs and abusing the powerless. It is the culture that brought us the Panic of 1837, the stock-market crash of 1929 and the recession of 2008. It is the culture that has produced staggering inequality and undignified working conditions. If today America promotes a particular kind of low-road capitalism — a union-busting capitalism of poverty wages, gig jobs and normalized insecurity a winner-take-all capitalism of stunning disparities not only permitting but awarding financial rule-bending a racist capitalism that ignores the fact that slavery didn’t just deny black freedom but built white fortunes, originating the black-white wealth gap that annually grows wider — one reason is that American capitalism was founded on the lowest road there is.


The Fate of the European Nobility

Virtually all European states were monarchies at one point in the past. While many states have abolished monarchy and replaced it with other forms of government, other states have remained monarchies even today, or have actually re-introduced monarchy.

Now, a traditional monarchy usually does not only consist of a king and his family, but of a wider network of nobility that enjoys certain privileges. How did this nobility fare in different European countries? When and how did these nobles lose their privileges? Did they lose them because the king became stronger, or because the aristocracy as a whole became weaker, i.e. by redistributing powers to a parliament, or an increasingly independent judiciary system?

Are there still privileges they enjoy today in some countries? How did the attitude of the common people towards the aristocracy develop? Have they come under criticism for their lifestyle during different time periods have there been demands of a redistribution of their wealth? In which countries were they expropriated, or even expelled or killed?

An interesting example is the United Kingdom, which is one of the few countries that can boast of a more or less continuous state tradition of almost a millennium. Although there were several changes in the royal dynasty and some minor breaks and revolutions especially in the 17th century, many traditions have been preserved and continue to this very day. How did the English/ Scottish and later British nobility fare during this time? For example, it is well known that the English parliament emancipated itself from the king in particular in the 17th century, but what about the other aristocrats?

How does the situation of the aristocracy in Britain compare to that in other European countries, for example France, Germany, or Spain? What happened to the Russian nobility?


“Conflict Cannot Be Resolved with Violence’’

Statement of Intention:
Human nature seeks ways in which to resolve any conflict that’s we are confronted with. The use of violence seems to be an attractive method to put an end to conflict. History has shown that violence has been an effective tool to resolve conflict, and there is no doubt that violence can resolve violence in given situations. However we need to ask ourselves, is violence the only way to resolve conflict? And does it always resolve the conflict? Due to the recent increase in violent behavior amongst teenagers in our society I would like to present a speech on use of violence in response to conflict. I am writing this speech to present to my fellow peers as I think that it would be the best way to get my point across to my audience and maintain the seriousness of the issue. I will use formal language which will also uphold the seriousness of the issue being discussed. I will be referring to Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible to support my ideas and add credibility to my argument. My purpose of delivering this speech is to convince my audience that violence is not the only way to deal with conflict and doesn’t always resolve the conflict.

Good Morning Staff and fellow students. My name is Dick Head and I will be talking to you on the notion that conflict cannot be resolved with violence. Conflict. What is conflict? Is it an argument you had with a sibling over the use of the play station? Or is it a showdown of nuclear weapons on the battlefields between powerful nations? These are prime examples of conflict. Conflict, however, is a disagreement between two or more contradictory ideas. As long as there are opposing ideas there is bound to be conflict because each individual has their own views. However, having no conflict would mean everyone to have the same views, and this would paralyze any opportunities for growth. This is why conflict is inevitable and it is important we need to learn how to deal with it. So what does it.


Novanglus Essays No. 7 – John Adams

John Adams, under the signature of Novanglus, published a series of essays in Boston just prior to the start of the armed conflict in America. An answer to the Massachusettensis essays, Adams laid out the American position on the natural rights of individual Americans and the rights enjoyed by all colonial governments under British law.

I have said, that the practice of free governments alone can be quoted with propriety, to shew the sense of nations. But the sense and practice of nations is not enough. Their practice must be reasonable, just and right, or it will not govern Americans.

No. VII. —————

ADDRESSED To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 6, 1775.

OUR rhetorical magician, in his paper of January the 9th continues to wheedle. “You want nothing but to know the true state of facts, to rectify whatever is amiss.” He becomes an advocate for the poor of Boston! Is for making great allowance for the whigs. “The whigs are too valuable a part of the community to lose. He would not draw down the vengeance of Great Britain. He shall become an advocate for the leading whigs.” &c. It is in vain for us to enquire after the sincerity or consistency of all this. It is agreeable to the precept of Horace. Irritat, mutcet,falsis terroribus implet, ut magus. And that is all he desires.

After a long discourse, which has nothing in it, but what has been answered already, he comes to a great subject indeed, the British constitution and undertakes to prove that “the authority of parliament extends to the colonies.”

Why will not this writer state the question fairly? The whigs allow that from the necessity of a case not provided for by common law, and to supply a defect in the British dominions, which there undoubtedly is, if they are to be governed only by that law, America has all along consented, still consents, and ever will consent, that parliament being, the most powerful legislature in the dominions, should regulate the trade of the dominions. This it founding the authority of parliament to regulate our trade, upon compact and consent of the colonies, not upon any principle of common or statute law, not upon any orignal principle of the English constitution, not upon the principle that parliament is the supreme and sovereign legislature over them in all cases whatsoever.

The question is not therefore, whether the authority of parliament extends to the colonies in any case for it is admitted by the whigs that it does in that of commerce: but whether it extends in all cases.

We are then detained with a long account of the three simple forms of government and are told that “the British constitution consisting of king, lords and commons, is formed upon the principles of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, in due proportion that it includes the principal excellencies, and excludes the principal defects of the other kinds of government—the most perfect system that the wisdom of ages has produced, and Englishmen glory in being subject to and protected by it.”

Then we are told, “that the colonies are a part of the British empire.” But what are we to understand by this? Some of the colonies, most of them indeed, were settled before the kingdom of Great Britain was brought into existence. The union of England and Scotland, was made and established by act of parliament in the reign of queen Ann and it was this union and statute which erected the kingdom of Great Britain. The colonies were settled long before, in the reigns of the Jameses and Charleses. What authority over them had Scotland? Scotland, England, and the colonies were all under one king before that the two crowns of England and Scotland, united on the head of James the first, and continued united on that of Charles the first, when our first charter was granted. Our charter being granted by him, who was king of both nations, to our ancestors, most of whom were post nati, born after the union of the two crowns, and consequently, as was adjudged in Calvin’s case, free, natural subjects of Scotland, as well as England had not the king as, good a right to have governed the colonies by his Scottish, as by his English parliament, and to have granted our charters under the seal of Scotland, as well as that of England?

But to wave this. If the English parliament were to govern us, where did they get the right, without our consent to take the Scottish parliament into a participation of the government over us? When this was done, was the American share of the democracy of the constitution consulted? If not, were not the Americans deprived of the benefit of the democratical part of the constitution? And is not the democracy as essential to the English constitution, as the monarchy or aristocracy? Should we have been more effectually deprived of the benefit of the British or English constitution, if one or both houses of parliament, or if our house and council had made this union with the two houses of parliament in Scotland, without the king?

If a new constitution was to be formed for the whole British dominions, and a supreme legislature coextensive with it, upon the general principles of the English constitution, an equal mixture of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, let us see what would be necessary. England had six millions of people we will say: America had three. England has five hundred members in the house of commons we will say: America must have two hundred and fifty. Is it possible she should maintain them there, or could they at such a distance know the state, the sense or exigencies of their constituents? Ireland, too, must be incorporated, and send another hundred or two of members. The territory in the East Indies and West India Islands must send members. And after all this, every navigation act, every act of trade must be repealed. America and the East and West Indies and Africa too must have equal liberty to trade with all the world, that the favoured inhabitants of Great Britain have now. Will the ministry thank Massachusettcnsis for becoming an advocate for such an union and incorporation of all the dominions of the king of Great Britain? Yet without such an union, a legislature which shall be sovereign and supreme in all cases whatsoever, and coextensive with the empire, can never be established upon the general principles of the English constitution, which Massachusettensis lays down, viz an equal mixture of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. Nay further, in order to comply with this principle, this new government, this mighty Colossus, which is to bestride the narrow world, must have an house of lords consisting of Irish, East and West Indian, African, American, as well as English and Scottish noblemen for the nobility ought to be scattered about all the dominions, as well as the representatives of the commons. If in twenty years more America should have six millions of inhabitants, as there is a boundless territory to till up, she must have five hundred representatives. Upon these principles, if in forty years she should have twelve millions, a thousand and if the inhabitants of the three kingdoms remain as they are, being already full of inhabitants, what will become of your supreme legislative? It will be translated, crown and all, to America. This is a sublime system for America. It will flatter those ideas of independency, which the tories impute to them, if they have any such, more than any other plan of independency that I have ever heard projected.

“The best writers upon the law of nations, tell us, that when a nation takes possession of a distant country and settles there, that country, though separated from the principal establishment, or mother country, naturally becomes a part of the state, equal with its ancient possessions.” We are not told who these “best writers” are: I think we ought to be introduced to them. But their meaning may be no more, than that it is best they should be incorporated with the ancient establishment by contract, or by some new law and institution, by which the new country shall have equal right, powers and privileges, as well as equal protection and be under equal obligations of obedience with the old. Has there been any such contract between Britain and the colonies? Is America incorporated into the realm? Is it a part of the realm? Is it a part of the kingdom? Has it any share in the legislative of the realm? The constitution requires that every foot of land should be represented in the third estate, the democratical branch of the constitution. How many millions of acres in America, how many thousands of wealthy landholders, have no representatives there.

But let these “best writers” say what they will, there is nothing in the law of nations, which is only the law of right reason, applied to the conduct of nations, that requires that emigrants from a state that should continue, or be made a part of the state.

The practice of nations has been different. The Greeks planted colonies, and neither demanded nor pretended any authority over them, but they became distinct independent commonwealths.

The Romans continued their colonies under the jurisdiction of the mother commonwealth but, nevertheless, she allowed them the privileges of cities. Indeed that sagacious city seems to have been aware of difficulties, similar to those, under which Great Britain is now labouring she seems to have been sensible of the impossibility of keeping colonies, planted at great distances, under the absolute controul of her senatus consulta. Harrington tells us, Oceana p. 43. that the commonwealth of Rome, by planting colonies of its citizens within the bounds of Italy, took the best way of propagating itself, and naturalizing the country whereas if it had planted such colonies without the bounds of Italy, it would have alienated the citizens, and given a root to liberty abroad, that might have sprung up foreign, or savage and hostile to her: wherefore it never made any such dispersion of itself and its strength, till it was under the yoke of the emperors, who disburdening themselves of the people, as having less apprehension of what they could do abroad than at home, took a contrary course.” But these Italian cities, although established by decrees of the senate of Rome, to which the colonist was always party, either as a Roman citizen about to emigrate, or as a conquered enemy treating upon terms were always allowed all the rights of Roman citizens, and were governed by senates of their own. It was the policy of Rome to conciliate her colonies, by allowing them equal liberties with her citizens. Witness the example of the Privernates. This people had been conquered, and complaining of oppressions, revolted. At last they sent ambassadors to Rome to treat of peace. The senate was divided in opinion. Some were for violent, others for lenient measures. In the course of the debate, a senator, whose opinion was for bringing them to his feet, proudly asked one of the ambassadors, what punishment he thought his countrymen deserved? Eam inquit, quam merentur, qui se libertate dignos censent. That punishment which those deserve, who think themselves worthy of liberty. Another senator, seeing that the ministerial members were exasperated with the honest answer, in order to divert their anger, asks another question. What if we remit all punishment? What kind of a peace may we hope for with you? Si boncan dederitif, inquit et fidam, et perpetuam si malam, haud diuturnam. If you give us a just peace, it will be faithfully observed, and perpetually: but if a bad one, it will not last long. The ministerial senators were all on fire at this answer, cried out sedition and rebellion but the wiser majority decreed, “viri et liberi, vocemauditam, an credi posse, ullum populum, aut hominem denique, in ea conditione, citjus cum paeniteai, diutius, quam necesse sit, mansurum? Ibi pacem esse fidem, ubi volimtarii pacati sint neque eo loco, ubi servitutem me velint, fidem sperandam esse.” “That they had heard the voice of a man and a son of liberty that it was not natural or credible that any people, or any man, would continue longer than necessity should compel him, in a condition that grieved and displeased him. A faithful peace was to be expected from men whose affections were conciliated, nor was any kind of fidelity to be expected from slaves.” The consul exclaimed, “Eos demum qui nihil, praeterquam de libertate, existent, dignos esse qui Romani fiant.” That they who regarded nothing so much as their liberty, deserved to be Romans. “Itaque et in senatu causam obtinuere, et ex auctoritate patrum, latum ad populum est, ut Privernatibus civitat darteur.” Therefore the Privernates obtained their cause in the senate, and it was by the authority of those fathers, recommended to the people, that the privileges of a city should be granted them. The practice off free nations only can be adduced, as precedents of what the law of nature has been thought to dictate upon this subject of colonies. Their practice is different. The senate and people of Rome did not interfere commonly by making laws for their colonies, but left them to be ruled by their governors and senates. Can Massachuaettensis produce from the whole history of Rome, or from the Digest, one example of a Senatus consultum or a Plebiscitum lading taxes on the colony?

Having mentioned the wisdom of the Romans, for not planting colonies out of Italy, and their reasons for it, I cannot help recollecting an observation of Harrington, Oceana. p. 44. “For the colonies in the Indies,” says he, “they are yet babes, that cannot live without sucking the breasts of their mother cities but such as I mistake, if, when they come of age, they do not wean themselves, which causes me to wonder at princes that delight to be exhausted that way.” This was written 120 years ago the colonies are now nearer manhood than ever Harrington foresaw they would arrive, in such a period of time. Is it not astonishing then, that any British minister should ever have considered this subject so little, as to believe it possible for him to new model all our governments, to tax us by an authority that never taxed us before, and subdue us to an implicit obedience to a legislature, that millions of us scarcely ever thought any thing about?

I have said, that the practice of free governments alone can be quoted with propriety, to shew the sense of nations. But the sense and practice of nations is not enough. Their practice must be reasonable, just and right, or it will not govern Americans.

Absolute monarchies, whatever their practice may be, are nothing to us. For as Harrington observes, “Absolute monarchy, as that of the Turks, neither plants its people at home nor abroad, otherwise than as tenants for life or at will wherefore its national and provincial government is all one.”

I deny, therefore, that the practice of free nations, or the opinions of the best writers upon the law of nations, will warrant the position of Massachusettensis, that when a nation takes possession of a distant territory, that becomes a part of the state equally with its ancient possessions. The practice of free nations, and the opinions of the best writers, are in general on the contrary.

I agree, that “two supreme and independent authorities cannot exist in the same state,” any more than two supreme beings in one universe. And therefore I contend, that our provincial legislatures are the only supreme authorities in our colonies. Parliament, notwithstanding this, may be allowed an authority supreme and sovereign over the ocean, which may be limited by the banks of the ocean, or the bounds of our charters our charters give us no authority over the high seas. Parliament has our consent to assume a jurisdiction over them. And here is a line fairly drawn between the rights of Britain and the rights of the colonies, viz. the banks of the ocean, or low water mark the line of division between common law and civil, or maritime law. If this is not sufficient—if parliament are at a loss for any principle of natural, civil, maritime, moral or common law, on which to ground any authority over the high seas, the Atlantic especially, let the Colonies be treated like reasonable creatures, and they will discover great ingenuity and modesty. The acts of trade and navigation might be confirmed by provincial laws, and carried into execution by our own courts and juries, and in this case illicit trade would be cut up by the roots forever. I knew the smuggling tories in New-York and Boston would cry out against this, because it would not only destroy their profitable game of smuggling, but their whole place and pension system. But the whigs, that is a vast majority of the whole continent, would not regard the smuggling tories. In one word, if public principles and motives and arguments, were alone to determine this dispute between the two countries, it might be settled forever, in a few hours but the everlasting clamours of prejudice, passion and private interest, drown every consideration of that sort, and are precipitating us into a civil war.

“If then we are a part of the British empire, we must be subject to the supreme power of the state, which is vested in the estates in parliament.”

Here again we are to be conjured out of our senses by the magic in the words “British empire,” and “supreme power of the state.” But however it may sound, I say we are not a part of the British empire because the British government is not an empire. The governments of France, Spain, &c. are not empires, but monarchies, supposed to be governed by fixed fundamental laws, though not really. The British government is still less intited to the style of an empire: it is a limited monarchy. If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic, than an empire. They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. If this definition is just, the British constitution is nothing more nor less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government’s being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend. An empire is a despotism, and an emperor a despot, bound by no law or imitation, but his own will: it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy. For although the will of an absolute monarch is law, yet his edicts must be registered by parliaments Even this formality is not necessary in an empire. There the maxim is quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem, even without having that will and pleasure recorded. There are but three empires now in Europe, the German, or holy Roman, the Russian and the Ottoman.

There is another sense indeed, in which the word empire is used, in which it may be applied to the government of Geneva, or any other republic, as well as to monarchy. or despotism. In this sense it is synonimous with government, rule, or dominion. In this sense, we are within the dominion, rule, or government of the king of Great Britain.

The question should be whether we are a part of the kingdom of Great Britain: this is the only language, known in English laws. We are not then a part of the British kingdom, realm or state and therefore the supreme power of the kingdom, realm or state, is not upon these principles, the supreme power of us. That “supreme power over America is vested in the estates in parliament,” is an affront to us for there is not an acre of American land represented there>—there are no American estates in parliament.

To say that we “must be” subject, seems, to betray a consciousness, that we are not by any law or upon any principles, but those of mere power and an opinion that we ought to be or that it is necessary that we should be. But if this should be, admitted, for argument’s sake only, what is the consequence? The consequences that may fairly be drawn are these:—That Britain has been imprudent enough to let colonies be planted, until they are become numerous and important, without ever having wisdom enough to concert a plan for their government, consistent with her own welfare: that now it is necessary to make them submit to the authority of parliament: and because there is no principle of law or justice, or reason, by which she can effect it therefore she will resort to war and conquest—to the maxim delenda est Carthago. These are the consequences, according to this writers idea. We think the consequences are, that she has after 150 years, discovered a defect in her government, which ought to be supplied by some just and reasonable means that is, by the consent of the colonies for metaphysicians and politicians may dispute forever, but they will never find any other moral principle or foundation of rule or obedience, than the consent of governors and governed. She has found out that the great machine will not go any longer without a new wheel. She will make this herself. We think she is making it of such materials and workmanship as will tear the whole machine to pieces. We are willing if she can convince us of the necessity of such a wheel, to assist with artists and materials, in making it, so that it may answer the end. But she says, we shall have no share in it and if we will not let her patch it up as she pleases, her Massachusettensis and other advocates tell us, she will tear it to pieces herself, by cutting our throats. To this kind of reasoning we can only answer, that we will not stand still to he butchered. We will defend our lives as long as providence shall enable us.

“It is beyond doubt, that it was the sense both of the parent country and our ancestors, that they were to remain subject to parliament.”

This has been often asserted, and as often contradicted, and fully confuted. The confutation may not, however, have come to every eye which has read this newspaper.

The public acts of kings and ministers of state, in that age, when our ancestors emigrated, which were not complained of, remonstrated and protested against by the commons, are looked upon as sufficient proof of the “sense” of the parent country.

The charter to the treasurer and company of Virginia, 23d March, 1609, grants ample power of government, legislative, executive and judicial, and then contains an express covenant “to and with the said treasurer and company, their successors, factors and assigns, that they, and every of them, shall be free from all taxes and impositions forever, upon any goods or merchandizes, at any time or times hereafter, either upon importation thither, or exportation from thence, into our realm of England, or into any other of our realms or dominions.”

I agree with this writer, that the authority of a supreme legislature, includes the right of taxation. Is not this quotation then an irresistible proof, that “it was not the sense of king James or his ministers, or of the ancestors of the Virginians, that they were to remain subject to parliament as a supreme legislature?”

After this, James issued a proclamation, recalling the patent, but this was never regarded. Then Charles issued another proclamation, which produced a remonstrance from Virginia, which was answered by a letter from the lords of the privy council, 22d July, 1634, containing the royal assurance that “all their estates, trade, freedom, and privileges should be enjoyed by them, in as extensive a manner, as they enjoyed them before those proclamations.”

Here is another evidence of the sense of the king and his ministers.

Afterwards parliament sent a squadron of ships to Virginia the colony rose in open resistance until the parliamentary commissioners granted them conditions, that they should enjoy the privileges of Englishmen that their assembly should transact the affairs of the colonies that they should have a free trade to all places and nations, as the people of England and fourthly, that “Virginia shall be free from all taxes, customs, and impositions whatever, and none shall be imposed on them without consent of their general assembly and that neither forts nor castles be erected, or garrisons maintained, without their consent.”

One would think this was evidence enough of the sense both of the parent country and our ancestors.

After the acts of navigation were passed, Virginia sent agents to England, and a remonstrance against those acts. Charles, in answer, sent a declaration under the privy seal, 19th April, 1676, affirming, “that taxes ought not to be laid upon the inhabitants and proprietors of the colony, but by the common consent of the general assembly except such impositions as the parliament should lay on the commodities imported into England from the colony.” And he ordered a charter, under the great seal, to secure this right to the Virginians.

What becomes of the “sense” of the parent country and our ancestors? for the ancestors of the Virginians are our ancestors, when we speak of ourselves as Americans. From Virginia let us pass to Maryland. Charles 1st, in 1633, gave a charter to the baron of Baltimore, containing ample powers of government, and this express covenant: “to and with the said lord Baltimore, his heirs and assigns, that we, our heirs and successors, shall at no time hereafter, set or make, or cause to be set any imposition, custom, or other taxation, rate, or contribution whatsoever, in and upon the dwellings and inhabitants of the aforesaid province, for their lands, tenements, goods or chattels, within the said province or to be laden or unladen, within the ports or harbours of the said province.”

What then was the “sense” of the parent country, and the ancestors of Maryland? But if by “our ancestors,” he confines his idea to New England or this province, let us consider. The first planters of Plymouth were our ancestors in the strictest sense. They had no charter or patent for the land they took possession of, and derived no authority from the English parliament or crown, to set up their government. They purchased land of the Indians, and set up a government of their own, on the simple principle of nature, and afterwards purchased a patent for the land of the council at Plymouth, but never purchased any charter for government of the crown, or the king, and continued to exercise all the powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, upon the plain ground of an original contract among independent individuals for 68 years, i. e. until their incorporation with Massachusetts by our present charter. The same may be said of the colonies which emigrated to Say-Brook, New-Haven, and other parts of Connecticut. They seem to have had no idea of dependence on parliament, any more than on the conclave. The secretary of Connecticut has now in his possession, an original letter from Charles 2d. to that colony, in which he considers them rather as friendly allies, than as subjects to his English parliament, and even requests them to pass a law in their assembly relative to piracy.

The sentiments of your ancestors in the Massachusetts, may be learned from almost every ancient paper and record. It would be endless to recite all the passages, in which it appears that they thought themselves exempt from the authority of parliament, not only in the point of taxation, but in all cases whatsoever. Let me mention one. Randolph, one of the predecessors of Massachusettensis, in a representation to Charles 2d. dated 20th September, 1676, says, “I went to visit the governor at his house, and among other discourse, I told him I took notice of several ships that were arrived at Boston, some since my being there, from Spain, France, Streights, Canaries, and other parts of Europe, contrary to your majesty’s laws for encouraging navigation and regulating the trade of the plantations.” He freely declared to me, that the law made by your majesty and your parliament, obligeth them in nothing but what consists with the interest of that colony, that the legislative power is and abides in them solely to act and make laws by virtue of a charter from your majesty’s royal father. Here is a positive assertion of an exemption from the authority of parliament, even in the case of the regulation of trade.

Afterwards in 1677, the general court passed a law, which shews the sense of our ancestors in a very strong light. It is in these words. “This court being informed, by letters received this day from our messengers, of his majesty’s expectation that the acts of Trade and Navigation be exactly and punctually observed by this his majesty’s colony, his pleasure therein not having before now, signified unto us, either by express from his majesty, or any of his ministers of state It is therefore hereby ordered, and by the authority of this court enacted, that henceforth, all masters of ships, ketches, or other vessels, of greater or lesser burthen, arriving in, or sailing from any of the ports in this jurisdiction, do, without coven, or fraud, yield faithful and constant obedience unto, and observation of all the said acts, of navigation and trade, on penalty of suffering such forfeitures, loss and damage as in the said acts art particularly expressed. And the governor and council, and all officers commissionated and authorised by them, are hereby ordered and required to see to the strict observation of the said acts.” As soon as they had passed this law, they wrote a letter to their agent, in which they acknowledge they had not conformed to the acts of trade and they say, they “apprehended them to be an invasion of the right, liberties and properties of the subjects of his majesty in the colony, they not being represented in parliament, and according to the usual sayings of the learned in the law, the laws of England were bounded within the four seas, and did not reach America. However, as his majesty had signified his pleasure, that these acts should be observed in the Massachusetts, they had made provision by a law of the colony, that they should be strictly attended to, from time to time, although it greatly discouraged trade, and was great a damage to his majesty’s plantation.”

Thus it appears, that the ancient Massachusettensians and Virginians, had precisely the same sense of the authority of parliament viz. that it had none at all: and the same sense of the necessity, that by the voluntary act of the colonies, their free cheerful consent, it should be allowed the power of regulating trade: and this is precisely the idea of the late congress at Philadelphia, expressed in the fourth proposition in their Bill of Rights.

But this was the sense of the parent country too, at that time for king Charles II. in a letter to the Massachusetts, after this law. had been laid before him, has these words “We are informed that you have lately made some good provision for observing the acts of trade and navigation, which is well pleasing unto us.” Had he, or his ministers an idea that parliament was the sovereign legislative over the colony? If he had, would he not have censured this law, as an insult to that legislature?

I sincerely hope, we shall see no more such round affirmations, that it was the sense of the parent country and our ancestors, that they were to remain subject to parliament.

So far from thinking themselves subject to parliament, that during the Interregnum, it was their desire and design to have been a free commonwealth, an independent republic and after the restoration, it was with the utmost reluctance, that in the course of 16 or 17 years, they were brought to take the oaths of allegiance: and for some time after this, they insisted upon taking an oath of fidelity to the country, before that of allegiance to the king.

That “it is evident from the charter itself,” that they were to remain subject to parliament, is very unaccountable, when there is not one word in either charter concerning parliament.

That the authority of parliament has been exercised almost ever since the settlement of the country, is a mistake for there is no instance, until the first Navigation Act, which was in 166O, more than 40 years after the first settlement. This act was never executed or regarded, until 17 years afterwards, and then it was not executed as an act of parliament, but as a law of the colony, to which the king agreed.

“This has been expressly acknowledged by our provincial legislatures.” There is too much truth in this. It has been twice acknowledged by our house of Representatives, that parliament was the supreme legislative but this was directly repugnant to a multitude of other votes by which it was denied. This was in conformity to the distinction between taxation and legislation, which has since been found to be a distinction without a difference.

When a great question is first started, there are very few, even of the greatest minds, which suddenly and intuitively comprehend it, in all its consequences.

It is both “our interest and our duty to continue subject to the authority of parliament,” as far as the regulation of our trade, if it will be content with that, but no longer.

“If the colonies are not subject to the authority of parliament, Great Britain and the colonies must be distinct states, as completely so as England and Scotland were before the union, or as Great Britain and Hanover are now.” There is no need of being startled at this consequence. It is very harmless. There is no absurdity all in it. Distinct states may be united under one king. And those states may be further cemented and united together, by a treaty of commerce. This is the case. We have, by our own express consent, contracted to observe the navigation act, and by our implied consent, by long usage and uninterrupted acquiescence, have submitted to the other acts of trade, however grievous some of them may be. This may be compared to a treaty of commerce, by which those distinct states are cemented together, in perpetual league and amity. And if any further ratifications of this pact or treaty are necessary, the colonies would readily enter into them, provided their other liberties were inviolate.

That the colonies owe “no allegiance” to any imperial crown, provided such a crown involves in it an house of lords and a house of commons, is certain. Indeed, we owe no allegiance to any crown at all. We owe allegiance to the person of his majesty, king George the third, whom God preserve. But allegiance is due universally, both from Britons and Americans to the person of the king, not to his crown: to his natural, not his politic capacity: as I will undertake to prove hereafter, from the highest authorities, and most solemn adjudications, which were ever made within any part of the British dominions.

If his majesty’s title to the crown is “derived from an act of parliament, made since the settlement of these colonies,” it was not made since the date of our charter. Our charter was granted by king William and queen Mary, three years after the revolution and the oaths of allegiance are established by a law of the province. So that our allegiance to his majesty is not due by virtue of any act of a British parliament, but by our own charter and province laws. It ought to be remembered, that there was a revolution here, as well as in England, and that we mode an original, express contract with king William, as well as the people of England.

If it follows from thence, that he appears king of the Massachusetts, king of Rhode-Inland, king of Connecticut, &c. this is no absurdity at all. He will appear in this light, and does appear so, whether parliament has authority over us or not. He is king of Ireland, I suppose, although parliament is allowed to have authority there. As to giving his majesty those titles, I have no objection at all: I wish he would be graciously pleased to assume them.

The only proposition in all this writer’s long string of pretended absurdities, which he says follows from the position, that we are distinct states, is this: That, “as the king must govern each state by its parliament, those several parliaments would pursue the particular interest of its own state and however well disposed the king might be to pursue a line of interest that was common to all, the checks and controul that he would meet with, would render it impossible.” Every argument ought to be allowed its full weight: and therefore candour obliged to acknowledge, that here lies all the difficulty that there is in this whole controversy. There has been, from first to last, on both sides of the Atlantic, an idea, an apprehension that it was necessary, there should be some superintending power, to draw together all the wills, and unite all the strength of the subjects in all the dominions, in case of war, and in the case of trade. The necessity of this, in case of trade, has been so apparent, that, as has often been said, we have consented that parliament should exercise such a power. In case of war, it has by some been thought necessary. But, in fact and experience, it has not been found so. What though the proprietary colonies, on account of disputes with the proprietors, did not come in so early to the assistance of the general cause in the last war, as they ought, and perhaps one of them not at all! The inconveniences of this were small, in comparison of the absolute ruin to the liberties of all which must follow the submission to parliament, in all cases, which would be giving up all the popular limitations upon the government. These inconveniences fell chiefly upon New England. She was necessitated to greater exertions: but she had rather suffer these again and again, than others infinitely greater. However this subject has been so long in contemplation, that it is fully understood now, in all the colonies so that there is no danger in case of another war, of any colony’s failing of its duty.

But admitting the proposition in its full force, that it is absolutely necessary there should be a supreme power, co-extensive with all the dominions, will it follow that parliament, as now constituted, has a right to assume this supreme jurisdiction? By no means.

A union of the colonies might be projected, and an American legislature for, if America has 3,000,000 people, and the whole dominions 12,000,000, she ought to send a quarter part of all the members to the house of commons, and instead of holding parliaments always at Westminster, the haughty members for Great Britain must humble themselves, one session in four, to cross the Atlantic, and hold the parliament in America.

There is no avoiding all inconveniences in human affairs. The greatest possible or conceivable would arise from ceding to parliament power over us, without a representation in it. The next greatest would accrue from any plan that can be devised for a representation there. The least of all would arise from going on as we begun, and fared well for 150 years, by letting parliament regulate trade, and our own assemblies all other matters.

As to “the prerogatives not being defined, or limited,” it is as much so in the colonies as in Great Britain, and as well understood, and as cheerfully submitted to in the former as the latter.

But “where is the British constitution, that we all agree we are entitled to?” I answer, if we enjoy, and are entitled to more liberty than the British constitution allows, where is the harm? Or, if we enjoy the British constitution in greater purity and perfection than they do in England, as is really the case, Whose fault is this? Not ours.

We may find all the blessings “of this constitution in our provincial assemblies.” Our houses of Representatives have, and ought to exercise, every power of the House of Commons. The first charter to this colony is nothing to the present argument: but it did grant a power of taxing the people, implicitly, though not in express terms. It granted all the rights and liberties of Englishmen, which include the power of taxing the people.

“Our council boards,” in the royal governments, “are destitute of the noble independence and splendid appendages of peerages.” Most certainly: they are the meanest creatures and tools in the political creation dependent every moment for their existence on the tainted breath of a prime minister. But they have the authority of the house of lords, in our little models of the English constitution and it is this which makes them so great a grievance. The crown has really two branches of our legislature in its power. Let an act of parliament pass at home, putting it in the power of the king, to remove any peer from the house of lords at his pleasure, and what will become of the British constitution? It will be overturned from the foundation. Yet we are perpetually insulted, by being told, that making our council by mandamus, brings us nearer to the British constitution. In this province, by charter, the council certainly hold their seats for the year, after being chosen and approved, independent of both the other branches. For their creation, they are equally obliged to both the other branches so that there is little or no bias in favour of either, if any, it is in favour of the prerogative. In short, it is not easy without an hereditary nobility, to constitute a council more independent, more nearly resembling the house of lords, than the council of this province has ever been by charter. But perhaps it will be said that we are to enjoy the British constitution in our supreme legislature, the parliament, not in our provincial legislatures.

To this I answer, if parliament is to be our supreme legislature, we shall be under a complete oligarchy or aristocracy, not the British constitution, which this writer himself defines a mixture of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.—For king, lords and commons will constitute one great oligarchy, as they will stand related to America, as much as the decemvirs did in Rome with this difference for the worse, that our rulers are to be three thousand miles off. The definition of an oligarchy, is a government by a number of grandees, over whom the people have no controul. The states of Holland were once chosen by the people frequently then chosen for life. Now they are not chosen by the people at all. When a member dies, his place is filled up, not by the people he is to represent, but by the states. Is not this depriving the Hollanders of a free constitution, and subjecting them to an aristocracy, or oligarchy? Will not the government of America be like it? Will not representatives be chosen for them by others, whom they never saw nor heard of? If our provincial constitutions are in any respect imperfect and want alteration, they have capacity enough to discern it, and power enough to effect it, without the interposition of parliament? There never was an American constitution attempted by parliament, before the Quebec bill and Massachusetts bill. These are such samples of what they may, and probably will be, that few Americans are in love with them. However, America will never allow that parliament has any authority to alter their constitution at all. She is wholly penetrated with a sense of the necessity of resisting it, at all hazards. And she would resist it, if the constitution of the Massachusetts had been altered as much for the better, as it is for the worse. The question we insist on most is not whether the alteration is for the better or not, but whether parliament has any right to make any alteration at all. And it is the universal sense of America, that it has none.

We are told that “the provincial constitutions have no principle of stability within themselves.” This is so great a mistake, that there is not more order, or stability in any government upon the globe, than there ever has been in that of Connecticut. The same may be said of the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and indeed of the others very nearly. “That these constitutions in turbulent times would become wholly monarchial, or wholly republican” they must be such times as would have a similar effect upon the constitution at home. But in order to avoid the danger of this, what is to be done? Not give us an English constitution, it seems, but make sure of us at once, by giving us constitutions wholly monarchical, annihilating our houses of representatives first, by taking from them the support of government, &c. and then making the councils and judges wholly dependant on the crown.

That a representation in parliament is impracticable we all agree: but the consequence is, that we must have a representation in our supreme legislatures here. This was the consequence that was drawn by kings, ministers, our ancestors, and the whole nation, more than a century ago, when the colonies were first settled, and continued to be the general sense until the last peace and it must be the general sense again soon, or Great Britain will lose her colonies.

“This is apparently the meaning of that celebrated passage in Gov. Hutchinson’s letter, that rung through the continent, viz. “There must be an abridgment of what is called English liberties.” But all the art and subtlety of Massachusettensis will never vindicate or excuse that expression. According to this writer, it should have been “there is an abridgment of English liberties, and it cannot be otherwise.” But every candid reader must see that the letter writer had more than that in his view and in his wishes. In the same letter, a little before, he says, “what marks of resentment the parliament will shew, whether they will be upon the province in general, or particular persons, is extremely uncertain but that they will be placed somewhere is most certain, and I add, because I think it ought to be so.” Is it possible to read this without thinking of the port bill, the charter bill, and the resolves for sending persons to England by the statute of Henry VIII. to be tried! But this is not all. “This is most certainly a crisis,” says he, &c. “If no measure shall have been taken to secure this dependence, (i. e. the dependence ‘which a colony ought to have upon the parent state) it is all over with us.” “The friends of government will be utterly disheartened and the friends of anarchy will be afraid of nothing, fee it ever so extravagant.” But this is not all. “I never think of the measures necessary for the peace and good order of the colonies without pain.” “There must be an abridgment of what are called English liberties.” What could he mean? Any thing less than depriving us of trial by jury? Perhaps he wanted an act of parliament to try persons here for treason by a court of admiralty. Perhaps an act that the province should be governed by a governor and a mandamus council, without an house of representatives. But to put it out of all doubt that his meaning was much worse than Massachusettensis endeavors to make it, he explains himself in a subsequent part of the letter. “I wish,” says he, “the good of the colony, when I wish to see some further restraint of liberty.” Here it is rendered certain, that he is pleading for a further restraint of liberty, not explaining the restraint, he apprehended the constitution had already laid us under.

My indignation at this letter, has sometimes been softened by compassion. It carries on the face of it evident marks of madness. It was written in such a transport of passions, ambition and revenge chiefly, that his reason was manifestly overpowered. The vessel was tost in such a hurricane, that she could not feel her helm. Indeed, he seems to have had a confused consciousness of this himself. “Pardon me this excursion, says he, it really proceeds from the state of mind into which our perplexed affaire often throws me.”

“It is our highest interest to continue a part of the British empire and equally our duty to remain subject to the authority of parliament,” says Massachusettensis.

We are a part of the British dominions, that is of the king of Great Britain, and it is Our interest and duty to continue so. It is equally our interest and duty to continue subject to the authority of parliament, in the regulation of our trade, as long as she shall leave us to govern our internal policy, and to give and grant our own money, and no longer.

This letter concludes with an agreeable flight of fancy. The time may not be so far off, however, as this writer imagines, when the colonies may have the balance of numbers and wealth in her favour. But when that shall happen, if we should attempt to rule her by an American parliament, without an adequate representation in it, she will infallibly resist us by her arms.