| "And the laws?" |
| "WHOSE 'laws', Fulgor?" |
| (*Pedro Paramo* by Juan Rulfo) |
The highwayman "infested human society at very early periods...
When such characters become numerous and confederate in large
numbers they are called brigands."
Piracy (armed robbery upon the seas) also has a long history.
The pirates were even sometimes secretly approved by their own
governments. "Letters of Marque" were "a license or
extraordinary commission, granted by the supreme power of one
state" which gave covert permission to certain pirates "to make
reprisals at sea" upon the subjects of rival governments.
Tacit sanction of piracy waned, and it was more or less gone
by the close of the 16th century. (Except in the Americas, where
it was a large problem until about the end of the 17th century.)
"But when piracy received its fatal blow at the close of the
sixteenth century, it was immediately succeeded at the opening of
the seventeenth by a still greater scourge, the corporation -- a
pirate in fact."
The corporation "sprang into existence bearing a commission
from the State, its creator, which authorized it to rob legally
both by sea and by land." The first great corporation was....
The English East India Company
This band of cut-throats was chartered by Queen Elizabeth in
1600. "Its accursed progeny have scourged the world for three
centuries... The history of this company is one of unparalleled
cruelty, pillage and conquest. It equipped fleets, patrolled the
seas with the British navy, made war, conquered provinces... To
protect the properties and privileges of the East India Company
Britain has waged war by land and by sea and shed the blood and
spent the treasure of her people."
Joint Stock Companies
As the profits of the East India Company catapulted into the
stratosphere, the "cupidity [greed] of all the surrounding
nations was wrought up to the highest pitch." These rival
nations each chartered their own companies for trade to the East
Indias. In England, there grew a fever to concoct similar
schemes. "Both sea and land were ransacked to find foothold for
corporate adventure... The rage for organizing corporations --
joint stock companies as they were generally called -- became
epidemic and spread far and wide. They extended to the trading
in wine, coal, salt, starch, dressed meats, beavers, belting,
bonelace, leather, pins and indeed to nearly all of the
necessaries of life."
In a speech given to Parliament, Sir John Culpepper had this
to say about the proliferating joint stock companies:
"They are a nest of wasps -- a swarm of vermin which have
overcrept the land. Like the frogs of Egypt, they have
gotten possession of our dwellings, and we have scarce a
room free from them."
Next in the list of brigands is....
The Bank of England
"The next great step towards the enslavement and degradation of
modern civilization through the agency of corporations, was taken
in the year 1694, when Charles Montague... after consultation
with King William and his ministers, introduced the bill to
incorporate The Bank of England." In July, 1694, in
consideration of a "loan" of 1.2 million British pounds to the
English government, a charter was issued to a group calling
themselves "The Governor and Company of the Bank of England."
The initial "loan" received by the British government has never
been repaid. As of 1892, the "charter has been eleven times
renewed, each in consideration of a fresh loan to the royal
treasury, and in fact the corporation [Bank of England] may be
regarded as existing in perpetuity. It has grown to be a part,
and indeed a very important part of the Government itself...
[The Bank of England] has grown to be the most powerful moneyed
institution on the globe. It has shaped the financial
institutions of all modern civilized nations and dictates the
fiscal policy of christendom... The ravages of piracy in its
palmiest days were mere passing trifles compared with the scourge
of general spoliation, bankruptcy and business death which this
Goliath among fiscal institutions can inflict and repeatedly has
inflicted upon the commerce of the world."
"Montague had charge of the bill to incorporate [The Bank of
England] while it was pending in Parliament, but the real
authorship of the measure is due to one William Patterson...
Upon the incorporation of the bank he became one of its original
directors for a short time, while Montague was made First Lord of
the Treasury... The name of Charles Montague will be forever
associated with three of the great commercial and political
factors of modern times -- the East India Company, which has
spawned its voracious progeny over all christendom; the Bank of
England, which was its off-shoot and complement, and the British
national debt upon which the bank is founded and which now exists
in perpetuity to curse mankind. The bank and the debt were
contemporaneous in origin; and the Sovereign power of the Kingdom
of Great Britain to issue its own money and to control the volume
thereof, was parted with in consideration of the trifling loan
heretofore mentioned. The bank attends to all the fiscal
business of the Government."
Corporations Are Fictitious Entities
In the United States, the founding fathers and those who
influenced early legislation had passively accepted the dogma
that the power to create corporations was a prerogative of the
crown. "The transition was easy to that cognate fiction, that
the power to create incorporated trade associations was a
prerogative inherent in Government, without regard to whether it
was a monarchy or a republic."
"An incorporated trade association does not result from the
operation of any law of nature nor from the exercise of any of
the natural powers belonging to humanity. No number of men, in
the absence of statutory authority, can confer upon themselves
the powers and immunities of a corporation. They may associate
in business as partners, but the death of one of the members, in
the natural order of things, works a dissolution of the
association. Each member of the firm is personally responsible,
where company property cannot be found, for all the debts of the
co-partnership. If then it be true that a corporation does not
spring from any law of nature and cannot, in the absence of
statute, be brought into being by agreement among individuals,
whence is the boasted prerogative of the Crown or of the
legislature to create a corporation derived? How can man confer
upon the legislature a power, not even the germ of which exists
within himself? By nature he has the right to trade, to
associate and to organize Civil government; but he can never, in
business affairs, span the chasm of death, escape individual
responsibility, nor confer upon the legislature a power which he
does not himself possess. The corporation then, exists beyond
the domain of nature, is in conflict with the limitations of
human life, and is a remnant of usurpation and kingcraft which
lingers in modern society to make war upon the individual and to
eat up his substance. It exists by bold, daring usurpation and
not of right."
"The Government of the United States is one of enumerated
powers. The Constitution does not even vaguely hint at the power
of Congress to incorporate a trade association, or to grant a
charter for such purpose. Driven from the field of expressed
power, how can the authority of Congress be implied, when the
individuals from whom the Government was derived have no such
power to surrender and make no pretense even of doing so?"
The Bank of the United States
The bill incorporating The Bank of the United States was passed
on February 25, 1791. Its charter was renewed in 1818, during
the presidency of James Madison. The original charter and its
later renewal were both opposed by Thomas Jefferson. Under the
original charter, the U.S. government held only one-fifth of the
bank's stock. The charter granted in 1818 was only procured
after the government had received a "bonus" of $1.5 million from
the banksters. The Bank of the United States was finally
overthrown by President Andrew Jackson and his allies, after a
fierce battle, and its charter expired in 1836. But Thomas H.
Benton warned that "Jackson had not slain the United States Bank.
The bank was a wounded tigress. She had fled to the jungles but
would return again bringing her whelps with her."
"It is gratifying to know that all attempts to establish this
bank met with the unconquerable opposition of both Jefferson and
A Roaring Flood of Incorporations
Erroneous and ill-founded court decisions bolstered the false
idea that government, and especially that of a republic founded
on Natural Law, has the power to grant charters and create
corporations. Once the dam had been breached, incorporation laws
came flooding in like cockroaches riding twigs on a river -- for
** The National Banking Acts
** The Acts Incorporating the Pacific Railroads
** The Act Incorporating Savings Banks in the District
** The Act to Incorporate the Nicaragua Canal Company
"Soon the whole country was submerged and swept beneath the
resistless current. For a full quarter of a century [ca.
1865-1890] the individual, as such, has been lost sight of in a
mad rush for corporate adventure... The man and the family have
been driven to the wall, the weak trampled under foot and the
choicest opportunities of the century showered upon chartered
combinations. Wealth, already possessing great advantages, is
not satisfied, and incorporates in order that it may have still
greater power. Every class of business, every calling,
everything except poverty, operates under a charter. The poor
must defend themselves as best they can, single-handed and
alone..." These monstrous combinations of wealth, these
Frankensteins operating outside Natural Law, these corporations,
"exist in every State in the Union, by thousands. They control
the business of every city, thrust their paid lobbyists within
the corridors and onto the floor of every legislative assembly,
and importune every city council for exemptions, concession and
[Source: *A Call To Action* by General James B. Weaver (1892).
Republished in 1974 by Arno Press.]
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