|   "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
     of Columbia 
  ** 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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