CONFIRMED: The Original Thirteenth Amendment Was Ratified, And Then Improperly Removed From The Constitution
Did the unlawful removal occur because it outlawed BAR-registered attorneys in the United States?
The 13th Article of Amendment added an enforceable strict penalty — inability to hold office and loss of citizenship
Ratification and Suppression of the Original Thirteenth Article
of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
The Titles of Nobility and Honour Thirteenth Article of Amendment
To The Constitution For The United States Of America
By calling it “Constitutional Nonsense,” Mr. Silversmith — of Harvard and the London School of Economics — vigorously disputes the research of Dodge and others, and focuses quite rightly on Virginia, and what happened there in the years following the issuance of the original Thirteenth (hereinafter referred to by his appellation, TONA). Mr. Dodge and others focus on the issue of whether or not lawyers, or more specifically, attorneys at the bar, hold titles of honour in modern society, which Jol. Silversmith says they do not have.
This assertion can be successfully disputed, but as any person who has really studied this subject of the original Thirteenth Amendment — also called ‘the Phantom Amendment’ — its history is fraught with difficulties, mystery, missing documents and peculiar contradictions. Protections against espionage, influence-peddling, graft, bribery, and the meddling of foreign agents in the domestic affairs and elections of the federal government and the several united States are built into the seventy-seven words approved by Congress, yet these are rarely discussed by its critics.
This, then, is what everybody agrees on concerning this article of amendment:
The final text was proposed by properly elected Senators, sitting with no vacancies caused by secession or civil war, and approved by overwhelming votes in both houses. Every Legislature which approved it was lawfully elected and no body has since voted to repudiate it or to withdraw their prior approval, unlike the so-called Article XIV.
The authors of the amendment were learned men, lawyers and physicians, some tried in the battles of the Revolution and schooled in the common law of their country. They were not frivolous, silly, dandified political hacks, but serious and competent American leaders.
The States where it was ratified were as disparate as New Hampshire, Delaware, and Georgia could possibly be. None of the State legislatures which rejected this proposed article had their proceedings interrupted by federal troops, or their votes over-turned by rump parliaments backed by federal bayonets (as was the case with the so-called Fourteenth Amendment). There are sound and logical reasons to believe it was properly ratified, and there is a fifty-seven year period in American history where many State law books and privately published editions of the Constitution show it to be valid. And, while this period of time is now revered as “the Jacksonian era,” it is no accident that modern historians either know nothing of this Amendment, or regard it as “fluff.”
Its lawful ratification can be proved by deduction, and its importance to an American Republic now entered upon a new millennium lies in the amendment’s origins: its original purposes were:
a) to protect the elections in the sovereign states from bribery, graft and political chicanery, and
b) to shield the federal government itself from both espionage and the domestic intrigues of agents-provocateur, and the insidious combination of secret multi-national societies, and the purchase of favored position from Congress and Bureaucracies by any means.
The British ambassador was, “a Minister sent among us to excite the demon of discord and division; a legalized spy, prowling from Hampton to New York and through every city, town, and village, to designate the victims of corruption, and to subvert, if possible, the allegiance of the citizens from their Government, and thereby promote the views of the King, his master.”
Historians concur in Poindexter’s assessment of the perfidious nature of the British government, and their penchant for mischief.
“Politically speaking, Great Britain was one of the most corrupt oligarchies in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century.” Writing in 1932, Frederick C. Dietz of the University of Illinois adds, “the practice of politics gave the control of the government to a small number of important families.”
“It was the assembly of the landowning aristocracy,” said Dietz of the House of Lords, “who were still dominant in Parliament”. Seats in the House of Commons were regularly purchased by men who simply bought the votes of the so-called “decayed boroughs.” Dietz also notes in his landmark work, A Political And Social History of England, that “in some cases boroughs were owned outright by a peer, and he had the absolute right to name their members in the House. The Duke of Norfolk controlled eleven seats … Sir James Lowther, nine seats — Lowther’s ninepins; Lord Darlington, [controlled] seven.” These facts were well-known to those American men seated in the Eleventh Congress, and especially to those Senators selected by freely-elected State Legislatures. The American experiment was truly a functional, revolutionary body by comparison, with democratic process inside of a Republic.
Formed by an act of Congress in 1798, the Mississippi Territory comprised lands ceded to the federal government by both South Carolina and Georgia. It had rich soil and moderate weather conditions. Interaction with white Americans and Europeans had produced an extraordinary combination of mixed-blood people, who carried English names, but who adhered to the matrilineal families and social clans of Creek society. Thousands of Creek and Seminole warriors lived peaceably in the many towns and settlements which dotted the rivers west of the Georgia frontier.
However, their kinsmen living in Florida, under Spanish rule, were undisciplined raiders by comparison, and their towns were havens for runaway slaves. Men of the western frontier were well aware that the great Creek leader, Alexander McGillivray, had served as a colonel in the British Army during the Revolution, and had grown wealthy as a civil servant of Spain. Shortly before his death in 1793, McGillivray, a mixed-blood chief of the Creek and Seminole, had repudiated the treaty of peace he negotiated in 1790 at New York.
Poindexter, the Virginia-born lawyer, was fully cognizant of what almost all the men of the western frontier knew at that time: British policy — under the leadership of Sir James Craig, Governor-in-Chief of Canada — was to encourage the Indian tribes and clans from southern Ontario to western Florida to resist both American diplomacy and expansion. To accomplish his goals Craig recruited the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who was the son of a Creek woman and thus respected in their Upper and Lower Towns.
“The British Ministry,” said Poindexter, who was openly disdainful of New England’s Federalists in the House, “on every occasion which required extraordinary duplicity, have availed themselves of this incendiary [Francis J. Jackson].” British hypocrisy in their own relations with the Indians was insignificant, compared to the threat that civilized, intelligent Creek leaders like William Weatherford — also known as Red Eagle,  the nephew of McGillivray — might quickly turn against their frontier American neighbors.
When Poindexter’s comments are coupled with an equally critical, and lengthy, speech given by Senator William Branch Giles of Virginia on December 8th, 1809, there can be no doubt that the growing antagonism against Britain, and its new ally, Spain, had reached a slow boil in the Congress of the new United States. There can also be no doubt that the long-standing animosity towards the British and the Spanish, in this era, was most pronounced among the southerners and Jeffersonians on the frontier. There men lived by their wits, by words and by their honor, and all wealth was based on two important variables: who owned the lands and who had the right to navigate the rivers.
“The war between Great Britain and France that began in May, 1803 was the product of an antagonism between neighbors which had endured through many years of European political history.” Maurice Ashley, in his History of Europe, 1648-1815, notes that the British considered Napoleon Bonaparte “an upstart and greedy tyrant. Napoleon, for his part, thought that Great Britain was ruled by a selfish and drunken aristocracy which maltreated soldiers and exploited the proletariat. He once declared that had he conquered Great Britain, he would have overthrown the aristocracy and established an egalitarian system.”
New England Federalists had their own set of antagonisms: the descendants of Puritans distrusted all things Jeffersonian, French and democratic; given the copious number of sailing masters who called Boston or New London their homes, Bonaparte’s animosity toward their British cousins had to be well-known. It is not surprising, then, that these hard-headed Protestants also focused on Napoleon Bonaparte’s family and his tendency to foment revolution, and then to replace weakly-drawn republican governors with aristocratic titles for his kinfolk, whose regimes were enforced by his imperial French armies. One of Bonaparte’s most successful creations was the Legion of Honour, which provided rewards and ranks both civil and military, in 1802.
The sailing ships of this new country, the United States, ranged far and wide, which was why both French and British political leaders sought to control their ports of entry. War with France was narrowly averted in 1798. Partisanship among American politicians dissolved at water’s edge: all agreed that the British practice of stopping ships at sea, and taking, or “impressing”those sailors they considered to be English was an outrage,a rank insult to the American flag and government.
Xenophobia is a malady often suffered by mature societies, or aging autocracies like those which dominated both China and Ottoman Turkey at the turn of the 20th Century. For it to prosper as a social philosophy requires the decline of optimism and economic growth, although every known society is subject to flare-ups of intolerance or animosity towards the “stranger,” or barbarians. To compare the frontiersmen of Kentucky and Tennessee with the corrupt Sultanate of the Ottomans is ridiculous, and insulting to the memory of so many great Americans. In North Carolina there were some counties where slavery was not permitted, and even in Louisiana there were free men of color, as well as many Haitian refugees: Fort McHenry in Baltimore was built by French engineers, while German immigration from the principalities bordering Denmark and Poland was welcomed, as were the Swedes.
Aggressively committed to foreign commerce and fishing, the Federalists of Boston and Providence were building ships; meanwhile the new, democratic “nabobs” of the western frontier were setting up shops and manufacturing at Pittsburgh, Louisville, Natchez and Cincinnati. Thousands of planters and farmers, especially in the Mississippi Territory, looked to sell their commodities at New Orleans. Both the flatboat shippers and the Yankee sea captains had been injured by the Spanish decision to close the port of New Orleans in 1802. The Spanish were despised, but it was the British, meddling among the Indians, who provoked the most resentment among the frontier “nabobs” like Andrew Jackson and George Poindexter.
In a letter to Caesar A. Rodney, from February 10, 1810, Thomas Jefferson noted “the hurricane which is now blasting the world, physical and moral, has prostrated all the mounds of reason as well as right. It is a blessing, however, that our people are reasonable; that they are kept so well informed of the state of things as to judge for themselves … the true sources of their difficulties, and to maintain their confidence undiminished in the wisdom and integrity of their functionaries [Congress].”
Therefore, both of the principal factions in the Senate had excellent reasons to seek a constitutional solution to the threats that the powerful, rich, and quarrelsome European monarchies now posed to their young Republic. Indeed, the leaders in the Senate were seeking to protect their young creation – not by passing federal laws which might not be firmly grounded in the Constitution, but by solving the problem confronting them democratically! To craft a constitutional amendment, at a time when the State legislatures were clearly in constant communication with each other on any and all such subjects, was the preferred method. In other words, the leaders were being true to “republican principles” as elucidated by George Washington, by submitting their remedies to an election, i.e., ratification votes, of their sovereign legislatures.
By creating severe penalties for espionage, and by clearly marking “titles of honour” (or honor, with this additional prohibition), as an insertion to the Constitution — these American titans were seeking protection from those political hurricanes stirring in the world at large. Nothing is hidden at all. The motive was not racist or exclusionary, nor was it a measure specifically designed to end slavery in those states where it was then legal. That is why both the free State of Ohio and the slave-holding State of Georgia witnessed unanimous votes of their legislatures, which resulted in their approvals.
Those reasons which Jol. Silversmith finds obscure are readily apparent to scholars, or to any other persons, who have the inclination to look beyond the sugar-coated historical capsules dispensed by revisionist historians and their allies, the Marxist-feminist educators. Bonapartism was surely one of them!
Joseph Bonaparte was made King of Naples in 1806 and Jerome Bonaparte — well-known to Americans in Maryland — became the King of Westphalia in 1807. Louis Bonaparte was installed as the King of Holland, which he governed poorly, from 1806 to 1810. Never one to stand on protocol, his brother forced him to abdicate and Holland was folded into France. Napoleon had taken similar liberties with Spanish territory, including Louisiana, which had been previously ceded to Spain on November 3, 1762. Reclaiming those lands in 1800, the French had agreed not to sell or alienate the territory under the Treaty of Ildefonso. A British plot to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte, and to install a sympathetic royalist in Paris, led directly to the outbreak of war in 1803: needing money, Bonaparte ignored the Treaty and sold Louisiana to the United States. By the beginning of 1810 Sir Arthur Wellesley, now Lord Wellington, was igniting Spanish resistance and winning in the field against Bonaparte’s armies.
Federalists led by Josiah Quincy had vigorously opposed Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory, fearing that it would eventually add unrepentant French libertines and slave-owners to the union. But the deepwater sailors in the shipping business — carrying furs, the new manufactured goods and cotton from New Orleans to Europe, with both passengers and sugar bound for New England itself — soon dissolved those objections. Although the western frontier was distant from the eastern States, to travel from New Orleans to Washington, Baltimore, or Boston by sea was relatively very easy.
The vigorous and robust frontier leaders of 1810 — like Andrew Jackson of Tennessee — were easily some of the most brilliant and peculiar men in history. And they were Jeffersonian democrats, even if they did not countenance voting rights for women or free black men. Their lives were completely intertwined with the land, and with the mysteries of the frontier itself.
Quick-tempered and volatile, most of these “nabobs” knew more about the scalping knife than drawing-room manners. The new post roads enabled letters and newspapers to move quickly around the country. So, as Jefferson noted, the argument cannot be made that the leaders in the seventeen States did not know much about what was going on in Washington, or that they were out of touch with the philosophy and political views of the democratic Virginians.
When Tecumseh and his brother, known as the Prophet, began agitating for an Indian confederacy in 1809, and when they confronted the unscrupulous William Henry Harrison in 1810, demanding the return of purloined lands, westerners needed little coaching to detect the insidious influence of the British governor in Canada. The United States could have secured an alliance with Tecumseh, simply by respecting the Treaty of Greenville and forcing Harrison to cede the land he had purchased illegally. But Harrison’s intransigence pushed Tecumseh completely into the British camp, which in the autumn of 1811 was led by Sir George Prevost, in charge of Canada. The alliance was a cold-hearted calculation for the English, nothing more.
Writing to Governor John Langdon of New Hampshire, Thomas Jefferson — confirming the views of Frederick Dietz — bitterly attacked the British ruling class:
“The parliament is, by corruption, the mere instrument of the will of the administration. The real power … in the government is in the great aristocratical families of the nation.”
Jefferson continues, railing against the policies of the British in his letter of March 5, 1810: “their government is yet the most unprincipled at this day known.”
“The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked;” said Jefferson in his letter to Governor Langdon March 5, 1810. He concludes that the only question for the British, whether it was their Indian policy or their maritime laws, was “whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them [the aristocrats] in their places.”
So, too, the partisan political disputes which set northern Federalists against southern Democratic-Republicans are not reflected in the overwhelming vote for the Titles of Nobility Amendment, in both houses. However, a major contradiction to Mr. Silversmith occurs on the vote taken in the Senate: he asserts that the vote in the Senate was taken on April 27th, 1810, and was registered as 19-5. But, using the federal repository library known as Seeley-Mudd, at Yale University, and their copy of The Debates And Proceedings in the Congress of the United States with an Appendix … published by Gales and Seaton, Washington, in 1853, a different result is apprehended.
Gales and Seaton records that vote as being taken on Thursday, April 26th: first, a motion to delay voting on the proposed amendment was defeated 8-20, then the proposal was approved by the margin of 26 to 1, with seven Senators either absent or not voting. Then, on Friday, April 27th, the Senate moved to the business of approving legislation for the Territory of Orleans. This is a fact crucial to subsequent arguments about the TONA and Louisiana.
By a margin of 15 to 8, the Territory was authorized to form a government with a view towards its eventual admission as a new State. Mr. Silversmith also asserts that Nicholas Gilman of New Hampshire voted against the TONA in the Senate, whereas the Gales and Seaton indicates that he approved it, while Nahum Parker did not vote on it.
Contrary to what Silversmith asserts, these men who voted on the TONA went on from the Senate to become leaders in their home states, many with illustrious careers in the law: for example, after ten years as a judge, Nahum Parker was made President of the New Hampshire Senate in 1828. Samuel Smith led the defense of Baltimore in 1814. These distinctions are important because of what transpires in the years after this action, including the War of 1812, and the financial panic of 1819.
Moving over to the House of Representatives, that body was wrapping up the business of the Second Session of the Eleventh Congress. On May 1st, 1810, a constitutional amendment proposed by Nathaniel Macon — to limit members of Congress from taking appointments in the executive branch before the end of their elected terms — was tabled (and thus, killed). With considerable support both from Federalists in New York and Massachusetts, and Democratic-Republicans in the south, the TONA was approved by a vote of 87-3. Eighteen of the 21 members from Virginia voted for it. Seventeen of the 18 members from Pennsylvania voted for it, while those from New York numbered 7 for it, 6 absent or not voting, and 1 against. Rhode Island’s Richard Jackson, Jr. was absent, but the Revolutionary War veteran Elisha R. Potter, voted for it, and his life history is also crucial to a clear understanding the lawfulness of the TONA.
The destruction of the Library of Congress and of many of the secret journals of the House of Representatives, in 1814, makes it impossible to know exactly what was on the minds of the men, led by Philip Reed of Maryland, who drafted and approved this measure in the Senate of the United States. Furthermore, every scholar of the Constitution agrees that this article was voted on properly and was issued by a lawfully elected Congress. In distinction, neither the Corwin Amendment of 1861 nor the so-called Fourteenth Amendment enjoy such constitutional bona fides. Clearly both the sense of the proposition and the final language were broadly acceptable.
Concern over the political machinations of the Bonaparte family — Jerome Bonaparte having been married to an American named Elizabeth Patterson for three years — surely influenced the judgement of Congress. The amended version reported to the Senate on February 15th of 1810, includes the phrase “title of distinction,” but this TONA was too cumbersome in construction even for those flowery times. However, the idea that the Senate would draft a frivolous amendment just to punish a social butterfly from Baltimore, while right in the midst of an ever-deepening diplomatic crisis and with Spain falling into the arms of the British (after being conquered by France), is blatantly absurd. The survival of the Republic was in doubt.
This statement causes nothing but confusion, because, in his footnote to that assertion, Mr. Silversmith adds: “The House of Delegates previously had approved TONA on February 2, 1811.”
Published by Earl G. Swem, Assistant Librarian, A Bibliography of Virginia was issued in two parts, under the heading “Bulletin Virginia State Library” in 1917. Part II reads: “Containing the Titles of the Printed Official Documents of the Commonwealth, 1776-1916.” The compilation was executed by William Torrence of the State Library Staff, but Mr. Swem adds considerable cachet to the publication, with this statement, quoted as is, from the Introduction:
“It would have been impossible to clear up the uncertainty about many items printed from 1776 to 1820, if the original vouchers of the public printers had not been found. These vouchers were among the manuscripts which the compiler of this volume removed from the auditor’s storage rooms in 1913.”
From page 122 of this Bibliography, the Journal of the House of Delegates for the session beginning December 3rd, 1810 and concluding on February 14, 1811 has fourteen separate entries. These are numbered items representing Reports of committees or other things ordered printed, and for which vouchers were drawn.
There is no entry for a report on a vote for or against the TONA, but there is an entry “on the petition from Accomac for a convention to revise and amend the constitution of the state”, at pages 84-85.
Further complicating this mysterious business, the Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth records only five items ordered printed: however, the extant copies of this Journal are located, according to Swem, in the Library of Congress and in the library of the British museum! So, too, the Journal of the Senate from 1808-1809 can be found there, with one other copy in the New York public library. Hardly any other documents from Virginia in that era are listed by Swem as being held in the British museum. Then Mr. Silversmith puts forward the following letter (with facts which, he asserts, have never been seen before), from January of 1814, written by then-Governor James Barbour, to the Senate and the House of Delegates:
“I have received a letter from the Secretary of State [James Monroe] requesting to be advised whether the Legislature of Virginia had agreed to, or rejected, an amendment proposed to the Constitution of the United States, which had for its object the prevention of any citizen accepting any title of nobility, present, pension, or office, from any foreign prince or power.”
“Upon reference to the archives of this Department, no official document can be found which justifies a reply affirmatively or negatively. I submit to the Legislature the propriety of adopting some mode by which the difficulty maybe obviated.”
Page 138 of the Bibliography does record the order to print this letter (p. 145-146 of the Journal), and also notes that there is “no copy seen” of the Journal of the Senate for this same period, December 6, 1813 through February 16, 1814. Unfortunately for Mr. Silversmith and other critics of the lawfulness of this amendment, Governor Barbour’s letter is completely disingenuous, and suggests only a bureaucratic embarrassment.
James Barbour was elected to the House of Delegates in 1796. He was elected as Speaker of the House in 1809 and served until 1812, which includes the session ending on February 14th, 1811. If Virginia’s House of Delegates approved the TONA on one day in February of that year, and then the Senate rejected it only twelve days later, why was Governor Barbour writing to the House and Senate at all? What is this letter, if not a legalistic fiction, a contrivance to cover up an administrative blunder, like not ordering the results of the vote to be printed as a public document?
Are scholars of this era to suppose that James Barbour could not remember what had happened? That his memory failed after just three years?
Since Barbour was later sent to the U.S. Senate by his Legislature, the idea that he was somehow mentally incompetent and forgetful is another absurdity. He served in the Senate until 1825 and was elected President pro tempore on February 15th, 1819, or just a few weeks before Virginia’s legislators voted to issue their Revised Code.
“Contemporary scholars understood that the amendment had not been ratified.” This assertion by Jol. Silversmith falls flat on its face when compared to the great multitude of facts surrounding the Revised Code of Virginia, and his citations of works by Joseph Story, Esquire, (and others), only serves to raise numerous questions about the veracity of great men, great men of law, from this era.
On December 2nd, 1817, these gentlemen or “revisors” reported to the general assembly “on the subjects of those laws which, from their multiplicity, require to be reduced into single acts; as also, their report of such laws and parts of laws of a general concern, as shall remain in force at the close of the present session”. When the work was concluded the legislators voted to issue the Revised Code with both the constitution of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States including the original Thirteenth Amendment intact and in its proper place.
It was a landmark publication.
Speaking of the Revised Code, the librarian Swem adds the following caveats:
“The code of 1819 is as valuable to historical students as Hening’s statutes. The footnotes are numerous and elaborate. On the subjects of many chapters the notes give an historical survey from 1619. There is a complete index of nearly 200 pages.”
In addition, Swem’s notes in the Bibliography of Virginia explain that Benjamin Watkins Leigh was put in charge of the publication of the code, to be printed under bond by Thomas Ritchie, and that his assistants were W.W. Hening and William Munford, the most prominent legal scholars of that time (p. 170).
Furthermore, at thirty years of age, Leigh had served in the House of Delegates during the session most in question by Mr. Silversmith — 1811-1813 — when the TONA was supposedly approved and then defeated, and was again elected to their House in 1830. Additionally, Leigh was a delegate to the constitutional convention for Virginia in 1829-1830. It must be recognized, as well, that Leigh was a skilled and accomplished political leader. He was sent to the U.S. Senate in 1834 and served for two years. He was certainly one of the leaders in the convention of 1830, and thus, one of the most trusted legal experts in the State of Virginia.
Therefore, the preponderance of evidence must go against Mr. Silversmith and his assertion that the Delegates of Virginia rejected the original Thirteenth Amendment in 1811, because the Bibliography does not record any orders to print such a result, and:
a) Benjamin Watkins Leigh was a Delegate in that session, and could have exercised a veto power over the inclusion of that amendment in his designated role as the superintendent of the Revised Code in 1819;
b) James Barbour, author of the disingenuous letter of 1814, was Speaker of that House in 1811; as a State Rights Senator, and President pro tempore in 1819, he was in an excellent position to protest any irregular publication made by the legislature which elected him;
c) Daniel Sheffey, a Federalist Representative from Virginia, voted for the TONA and later served in the Virginia House in 1822-1823, and he was a cautious and reasoned opponent of the War of 1812;
d) Representative John Randolph, a State Rights Democrat and a fiery opponent of James Madison, voted for the TONA, and was returned to the House in March of 1819 (following an 1812 election loss), and would have denounced any improper ratification of the federal charter, if for no other reason than to embarrass the Jeffersonians.
Then there is the case of Burwell Bassett, who voted for the TONA as a Virginian member of the House in 1810, served one term in the House of Delegates (1819-1821), in between his terms of federal service, and was thus in a position to object to any irregularities in the Revised Code. His fellow Virginian, Philip Pendleton Barbour was elected as Speaker of the House for the Seventeenth Congress on December 4, 1821. This Barbour had been in the House of Delegates in 1812, while his brother was Governor, and it would have been very easy for Bassett to raise any questions concerning the legitimacy of the original Thirteenth Amendment, and its presence in the Revised Code. If Mr. Silversmith’s assertion that the contemporary authorities did not consider the TONA to be ratified is correct, why were these men all silent on the issue, at the time?
To be even more specific: the man who was Speaker when the supposed rejection vote occurred was then elected Governor, Senator, and President pro tempore of the Senate; his brother, who also served in the House of Delegates, was elected to Congress and served five terms, including one as Speaker of the House; then he was subsequently elected President of the State’s Constitutional Convention, 1829-30. Representative Bassett, who voted for the TONA, served in the State House in the session following issuance of the Revised Code, and then returns to Congress for another three terms! These men did not protest its publication because they knew it was correct and properly, lawfully done — and remember, these were men who would not brook any interference with the legitimate rights of their home State of Virginia, in any way.
So, too, the previously mentioned Elisha R. Potter of Rhode Island left Washington after the 13th Congress: he again was elected to that State House, where he had served as Speaker in 1795 and ’96. He served from 1816 through 1835 (with one break in 1818), and was thus present in that assembly in 1822, when they issued their State laws with the Constitution, including the original Thirteenth Amendment, attached.
Potter — a blacksmith who studied the law — was a Revolutionary War soldier who gave more than forty years of service as an elected official. He was a political giant. For what reason would he have countenanced an irregular ratification? He voted against Madison and the War Hawks in 1812: and, it is simply impossible to believe that he did not know of the vote to reject the TONA, taken by Rhode Island in 1814.
Mr. Silversmith asserts (p. 587), that Weldon N. Edwards, a Representative from North Carolina, made a request to President James Monroe concerning the ratifications of the original Thirteenth, and that the administration’s reply indicates that Virginia did not ratify it — at least not as of December of 1817. The Gales and Seaton covering the Fifteenth Congress does record his resolution (p. 530), addressed to the House: “Mr. Edwards stated that his motion was induced by some doubts whether the article referred to had been ratified by a sufficient number of the States to make it a part of the Constitution, although it appeared as such, he perceived, in the copies printed for the use of the members of the House; and it was desirable that a fact so important should be placed beyond question.”
The very next item of business for the House that day was an appropriation for federal officers in the new State of Mississippi, an issue raised by George Poindexter, the fiery “nabob” of 1809. There was continuity in that House, or what is now often termed “institutional memory.” As a southerner, Representative Edwards could have asked, suggested, or demanded, that both Louisiana and Mississippi be instructed to consider ratification of the TONA. He did not. Neither does he appear as an opponent of the measure.
As a lawyer, Weldon Nathaniel Edwards would surely have opposed most vigorously any measure of the federal government which denied him his livelihood or stripped him of his rights. The TONA is not specifically an anti-lawyer provision, but rather a constitutional bulwark against bribery, graft, espionage, and foreign meddling in domestic American affairs and elections, by instituting a specific severe penalty against persons so engaged. Edwards concluded his service in the House on March 3rd, 1827, and returned to his plantation, Poplar Mount.
In 1828 the North Carolina legislature approved a new edition of their laws including the original Thirteenth Amendment. Edwards was elected to the State Senate in 1833, and served eleven years; and, he was made a member of the State’s constitutional convention of 1835. Edwards was returned to the State Senate in 1850 and then elected its President. In all of this public service, he had ample opportunity, and certainly a good position, to protest an irregular ratification! He was, in fact, the president of the State’s secession convention held in 1861, which identifies him as an intensely political man. No such protests have yet been found.
The work of the Revised Code was authorized by an act of a lawfully-elected State legislature, conducted by the leading legal scholars and judges of that State; it was printed under bond by the Printer to the Commonwealth; published by law and with the direction of a highly esteemed former member of the House of Delegates, and paid for by public monies. The inclusion of the original Thirteenth Amendment in its text can not be considered to be a fluke or a mistake, when two full years worth of work went into the compilation of this Code. John Coalter and Spencer Roane continued their service in the courts of Virginia after the Code was published. Although Roane died in 1822, he had nearly three full years in which to re-consider any errors they might have made!
Finally, the legislature of Virginia authorized the distribution of the Revised Code of 1819. Again, the Revised Code contained the Constitution — including the original Thirteenth Amendment as written in 1810 — with ten copies designated for the executive branch of Virginia, five copies for the Clerk of the general assembly, and four copies for the Secretary of State of the United States; one copy each for Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and President James Monroe; one copy each for the federal Senate, House, and Library of Congress, and one copy for every judge in the courts of the United States in Virginia. Thus was the Federal government notified of the ratification by Virginia. By February of 1820, sufficient copies of the Revised Code had been printed to make it available for public sale, and it was advertised as such in a Richmond newspaper. Research conducted on this subject indicates that at least six or seven other Virginia newspapers also carried advertisements for the new Code.
Article V of the Constitution does not stipulate that the States, having ratified or rejected a constitutional amendment, be required to report their actions in any one particular way. Therefore, under the Tenth Amendment, each State is left free to publish the actions of its legislative bodies in any manner whatsoever. Federal law as of 1818, and as amended in 1820, requires that the Secretary of State give public notice of such ratifications as may be reported by the States. That law cannot and does not impair the rights of the States to issue their notices in any manner that their lawfully elected representatives deem proper. Indeed, the Revised Code of 1819 was, and is, the fulfillment of a contract made between those in government and those who have given their consent to be governed, in this case the free men of Virginia.
He asserts that the learned men of that era were confused, and that the original Thirteenth Amendment was published by mistake, and re-published by compounding that mistake, some seventy different times over almost fifty-seven years, from 1819 to 1876. But were the leading intellectuals of that era operating en vacuo, without the benefits of good communications or stimulating debates? Or were they well-informed?
“Learning has been made unnecessarily aristocratic”, wrote William S. Cardell, Esquire. “The means of instruction is the common right of every free citizen, and it is the excellence of our political system ….” Cardell was the Corresponding Secretary, in 1821, of the American Academy of Languages & Belles-Lettres, and an attorney in New York.
“The humblest American should be taught to look on useful knowledge with respect,” wrote Cardell, in the Academy’s circular letter of July, 1821, “and not with jealousy …. Nothing can be more unfortunate for the United States, than for those citizens who hold the power of leading fashion to grow by degrees into a mock nobility, employing their wealth and influence to try to refine laziness and make vice attractive.”
What else did Cardell communicate to the various members of this Academy, including Daniel and Noah Webster, Washington Irving, Dabney Carr, and Josiah Meigs, or its Vice President Joseph Story, and its President, John Quincy Adams, then serving as Secretary of State? Attend to the following comments, written in early 1821, or one year after the Revised Code of Virginia went on sale to the book-buying public:
“By the fundamental principles of our government, we can have no royal splendor nor hereditary nobility to support: no stars nor ribbons to bestow.” And, “we can confer no durable possession of power.”
Titles of Nobility were prohibited in the body of the Constitution, as Jol. Silversmith notes in his argumentative style (p. 578). But “stars and ribbons to bestow” can only mean, and clearly refers to, knighthoods and special titles of military honour like the Legion of Honour, the Brothers of the Sword, and certain creations of the secret societies then popular inside of the British Army.
“In associating true liberty with moral virtue, and both with intellectual excellence,” wrote Cardell, concerning what to teach children, “it is a paternal obligation to give the impulse and light their way. After forty years of trial, our civil institutions are … an incomplete experiment.” Cardell’s circular went out to the leading men of law in the union, and clearly their usage of the appellation Esquire in the terms of 1821, did not and could not conflict with these new prohibitions on titles of honour, which have “stars and ribbons to bestow.” But what is truly troubling follows Cardell’s slender pamphlet by just seven years: in 1828, Wells & Lilly of Boston publish the Public and General Statutes passed by Congress, 1789-1827, and as edited by Joseph Story.
In that work the Constitution for the United States is reproduced in Volume II, and it contains neither the joint resolution as reported out of the Eleventh Congress, Second Session, nor the original Thirteenth Amendment as ratified. Bear in mind that only the States have jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, either by ratifying conventions or their legislatures, and that judges have none. Even so august a personage as Joseph Story, Associate Justice, has no authority to speak from the bench of the Supreme Court, and to stipulate what is in the actual text of the foundation of all American law.
At least twenty-two separate publications of State law, with the original Thirteenth included, had been issued at public expense by the beginning of 1828. Story’s home State of Massachusetts ratified the Amendment on February 27, 1812, and then published it as being valid in 1823. Connecticut, which rejected the measure in 1813, had issued two separate editions of their laws with the original Thirteenth Amendment included.
Furthermore, a popular “reading book,” used in the finest academies of that day, and edited by Samuel Williams, L.L.D. — The History of the American Revolution — was first published in New Haven in 1824 and went through thirteen editions in seven years and this text book concludes with the Constitution and its Amendments numbered I through XIII. Yet Story’s two volume set doesn’t even mention the issuance of the proposal! Therefore, this is the beginning of the conspiracy to suppress the original Thirteenth.
Those lawyers who were allied to the Bar of Philadelphia and the Bank of the United States, or who were otherwise opposed to Andrew Jackson and his democratic reforms, begin the process of just “ignoring” this troublesome article of Amendment. But the real work of destruction — the demolition by neglect — does not begin until after the great Federalists like Timothy Pitkin, Jr. of Connecticut, retire from the House of Representatives. Like Ezekiel Bacon, his fellow graduate of Yale College, Pitkin voted for the TONA in the Eleventh Congress.
Like Elisha Potter, he served in his State House for many years after leaving Congress, and was present when that body approved new editions of the State’s laws. Mr. Silversmith cannot explain why such staunch opponents of the democrats from the western frontier, who were present when the TONA was launched, never protested its many publications — both by their home States and out west — without having to admit that it was properly ratified. They did not protest what they believed to be correct. Pitkin died in 1847, at the age of 81. In that year, Lives of the Heroes of the American Revolution is registered in “the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts”, and published in 1848 by Phillips & Sampson. It contains the Constitution with the original Thirteenth intact.
But down in Philadelphia, sponsored by the friends of James Buchanan — who has advanced to Secretary of State — William Hickey’s new edition  of the Constitution (with the endorsements of Roger Taney and other judges), does not contain the article. And, like Story’s 1828 publication, every detail concerning the first twelve amendments is provided, but the work of the Eleventh Congress is missing.
The General Laws of the United States, with references, was compiled by James Dunlop of the Bar of Pennsylvania in 1856. Published at Philadelphia by J.B. Lippincott & Co., it bears an astonishing resemblance to Story’s two volume set, with no Article XIII. In 1858, Kay & Brother Publishers issued An Analytical Digest of the Laws of the United States from the adoption of the Constitution to the end of the 34th Congress, 1789-1857. As edited by Frederick C. Brightly, Esquire, of the Philadelphia Bar, it contains the following legend on its front page: “Respectfully dedicated to James Buchanan, President. A jurist and a statesman.” Again, there is no Article XIII included, nor any mention of its proposal by the Eleventh Congress.