|FOUNDATION OF THE GOVERNMENT’S JURISDICTION: THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE|
|In all of history there has been but one successful protest against an income tax. It is little understood in that light, primarily because the remnants of protest groups still exist, but no longer wish to appear to be “anti-government.” They don’t talk much about these roots. Few even know them. We need to go back in time about 400 years to find this success. It succeeded only because the term “jurisdiction” was still well understood at that time as meaning “oath spoken.” “Juris,” in the original Latin meaning, is “oath.” “Diction” as everyone knows, means “spoken.” The protest obviously didn’t happen here. It occurred in England. Given that the origins of our law are traced there, most of the relevant facts in this matter are still applicable in this nation. Here’s what happened.The Bible had just recently been put into print. To that time, only the churches and nobility owned copies, due to given to the extremely high cost of paper. Contrary to what you’ve been taught, it was not the invention of movable type that led to printing this and other books. That concept had been around for a very long time. It just had no application. Printing wastes some paper. Until paper prices fell, it was cheaper to write books by hand than to print them with movable type. The handwritten versions were outrageously costly, procurable only by those with extreme wealth: churches, crowns and the nobility. The wealth of the nobility was attributable to feudalism. “Feud” is Old English for “oath.” The nobility held the land under the crown. But unimproved land, itself, save to hunter/gatherers, is rather useless. Land is useful to farming. So that’s how the nobility made their wealth. No, they didn’t push a plow. They had servants to do it. The nobility wouldn’t sell their land, nor would they lease it. They rented it.Ever paid rent without a lease? Then you know that if the landlord raised the rent, you had no legal recourse. You could move out or pay. But what if you couldn’t have moved out? Then you’d have a feel for what feudalism was all about.A tenant wasn’t a freeman. He was a servant to the (land)lord, the noble. In order to have access to the land to farm it, the noble required that the tenant kneel before him, hat in hand, swear an oath of fealty and allegiance and kiss his ring (extending that oath in that last act to the heirs of his estate). That oath established a servitude. The tenant then put his plow to the fields. The rent was a variable. In good growing years it was very high, in bad years it fell. The tenant was a subsistence farmer, keeping only enough of the produce of his labors to just sustain him and his family. Rent was actually an “income tax.” The nobleman could have demanded 100% of the productivity of his servant except . . . under the common law, a servant was akin to livestock. He had to be fed. Not well fed, just fed, same as a horse or cow. And, like a horse or cow, one usually finds it to his benefit to keep it fed, that so that the critter is productive. Thus, the tenant was allowed to keep some of his own productivity. Liken it to a “personal and dependent deductions.”
The freemen of the realm, primarily the tradesmen, were unsworn and unallieged. They knew it. They taught their sons the trade so they’d also be free when grown. Occasionally they took on an apprentice under a sworn contract of indenture from his father. His parents made a few coins. But the kid was the biggest beneficiary. He’d learn a trade. He’d never need to become a tenant farmer. He’d keep what he earned. He was only apprenticed for a term of years, most typically about seven. The tradesmen didn’t need adolescents; they needed someone strong enough to pull his own weight. They did not take on anyone under 13. By age 21 he’d have learned enough to practice the craft. That’s when the contract expired. He was then called a “journeyman.” Had he made a journey? No. But, if you pronounce that word, it is “Jur-nee-man.” He was a “man,” formerly (“nee”), bound by oath (“jur).”
He’d then go to work for a “master” (craftsman). The pay was established, but he could ask for more if he felt he was worth more. And he was free to quit. Pretty normal, eh? Yes, in this society that’s quite the norm.
But 400 some years ago these men were the exceptions, not the rule. At some point, if the journeyman was good at the trade, he’d be recognized by the market as a “master” (craftsman) and people would be begging him to take their children as apprentices, so they might learn from him, become journeymen, and keep what they earned when manumitted at age 21! The oath of the tenant ran for life. The oath of the apprentice’s father ran only for a term of years. Still, oaths were important on both sides. In fact, the tradesmen at one point established guilds (means “gold”) as a protection against the potential of the government attempting to bind them into servitudes by compelled oaths.
When an apprentice became a journeyman, he was allowed a membership in the guild only by swearing a secret oath to the guild. He literally swore to “serve gold.” Only gold. He swore he’d only work for pay! Once so sworn, any other oath of servitude would be a perjury of that oath. He bound himself for life to never be a servant, save to the very benevolent master: gold! (Incidentally, the Order of Free and Accepted Masons is a remnant of one of these guilds. Their oath is a secret. They’d love to have you think that the “G” in the middle of their logo stands for “God.” The obvious truth is that it stands for “GOLD.”)
Then the Bible came to print. The market for this tome wasn’t the wealthy. They already had a handwritten copy. Nor was it the tenants. They were far too poor to make this purchase.
The market was the tradesmen – and the book was still so costly that it took the combined life savings of siblings to buy a family Bible. The other reason that the tradesmen were the market was that they’d also been taught how to read as part of their apprenticeship.
As contractors they had to know how to do that! Other than the families of the super-rich (and the priests) nobody else knew how to read.
These men were blown away when they read Jesus’ command against swearing oaths (Matt 5: 33-37).
This was news to them. For well over a millennia they’d been trusting that the church – originally just the Church of Rome, but now also the Church of England – had been telling them everything they needed to know in that book. Then they found out that Jesus said, “Swear no oaths.” Talk about an eye-opener.
Imagine seeing a conspiracy revealed that went back over 1,000 years. Without oaths there’d have been no tenants, laboring for the nobility, and receiving mere subsistence in return.
The whole society was premised on oaths; the whole society CLAIMED it was Christian, yet, it violated a very simple command of Christ! And the tradesmen had done it, too, by demanding sworn contracts of indenture for apprentices and giving their own oaths to the guilds.
They had no way of knowing that was prohibited by Jesus! They were angry. “Livid” might be a better term. The governments had seen this coming. What could they do? Ban the book? The printing would have simply moved underground and the millennia long conspiracy would be further evidenced in that banning. They came up with a better scheme. You call it the “Reformation.”
In an unprecedented display of unanimity, the governments of Europe adopted a treaty. This treaty would allow anyone the State-right of founding a church. It was considered a State right, there and then.
The church would be granted a charter. It only had to do one very simple thing to obtain that charter. It had to assent to the terms of the treaty. Buried in those provisions, most of which were totally innocuous, was a statement that the church would never oppose the swearing of lawful oaths. Jesus said, “None.” The churches all said (and still say), “None, except . . .” Who do you think was (is) right?
The tradesmen got even angrier! They had already left the Church of England.
But with every new “reformed” church still opposing the clear words of Christ, there was no church for them to join – or found.
They exercised the right of assembly to discuss the Bible. Some of them preached it on the street corners, using their right of freedom of speech. But they couldn’t establish a church, which followed Jesus’ words, for that would have required assent to that treaty which opposed what Jesus had commanded.
To show their absolute displeasure with those who’d kept this secret for so long, they refused to give anyone in church or state any respect. It was the custom to doff one’s hat when he encountered a priest or official. They started wearing big, ugly black hats, just so that the most myopic of these claimed “superiors” wouldn’t miss the fact that the hat stayed atop their head.
Back then the term “you” was formal English, reserved for use when speaking to a superior. “Thee” was the familiar pronoun, used among family and friends. So they called these officials only by the familiar pronoun “thee” or by their Christian names, “George, Peter, Robert, etc.”
We call these folk “Quakers.” That was a nickname given to them by a judge. One of them had told the judge that he’d better “Quake before the Lord, God almighty.” The judge, in a display of irreverent disrespect replied, “Thee are the quaker here.”
They found that pretty funny, it being such a total misnomer (as you shall soon see), and the nickname stuck. With the huge membership losses from the Anglican Church – especially from men who’d been the more charitable to it in the past – the church was technically bankrupt. It wasn’t just the losses from the Quakers. Other people were leaving to join the new “Reformed Churches.” Elsewhere in Europe, the Roman Church had amassed sufficient assets to weather this storm. The far newer Anglican Church had not.
But the Anglican Church, as an agency of the State, can’t go bankrupt. It becomes the duty of the State to support it in hard times. Parliament did so. It enacted a tax to that end. A nice religious tax, and by current standards a very low tax, a tithe (10%).
But it made a deadly mistake in that. The Quakers, primarily as tradesmen, recognized this income tax as a tax “without jurisdiction,’ at least so far as they went. As men unsworn and unallieged, they pointed out that they didn’t have to pay it, nor provide a return.
Absent their oaths establishing this servitude, there was “no jurisdiction.” And they were right. Despite laws making it a crime to willfully refuse to make a return and pay this tax, NONE were charged or arrested.
That caused the rest of the society to take notice. Other folk who’d thought the Quakers were “extremists” suddenly began to listen to them. As always, money talks. These guys were keeping all they earned, while the rest of the un-sworn society, thinking this tax applied to them, well; they were out 10%.
The Quaker movement expanded significantly, that proof once made in the marketplace. Membership in the Anglican Church fell even further, as did charity to it. The taxes weren’t enough to offset these further losses. The tithe (income) tax was actually counterproductive to the goal of supporting the church. The members of the government and the churchmen were scared silly.
If this movement continued to expand at the current rate, no one in the next generation would swear an oath. Who’d then farm the lands of the nobility? Oh, surely someone would, but not as a servant working for subsistence. The land would need to be leased under a contract, with the payment for that use established in the market, not on the unilateral whim of the nobleman. The wealth of the nobility, their incomes, was about to be greatly diminished.
And the Church of England, what assets it possessed, would need to be sold-off, with what remained of that church greatly reduced in power and wealth. But far worse was the diminishment of the respect demanded by the priests and officials. They’d always held a position of superiority in the society. What would they do when all of society treated them only as equals?
They began to use the term “anarchy.” But England was a monarchy, not an anarchy. And that was the ultimate solution to the problem, or so those in government thought. There’s an aspect of a monarchy that Americans find somewhat incomprehensible, or at least we did two centuries ago. A crown has divine right, or at least it so claims. An expression of the divine right of a crown is the power to rule by demand. A crown can issue commands. The king says, “jump.” Everyone jumps. Why do they jump? Simple. It’s a crime to NOT jump. To “willfully fail (hey, there’s a couple of familiar terms) to obey a crown command” is considered to be a treason, high treason. The British crown issued a Crown Command to end the tax objection movement. Did the crown order that everyone shall pay the income tax? No, that wasn’t possible. There really was “no jurisdiction.” And that would have done nothing to cure the lack of respect. The crown went one better. It ordered that every man shall swear an oath of allegiance to the crown! Damned Christian thing to do, eh? Literally!
A small handful of the tax objectors obeyed. Most refused. It was a simple matter of black and white. Jesus said “swear not at all.” They opted to obey Him over the crown. That quickly brought them into court, facing the charge of high treason. An official would take the witness stand, swearing that he had no record of the defendant’s oath of allegiance. Then the defendant was called to testify, there being no right to refuse to witness against one’s self. He refused to accept the administered oath. That refusal on the record, the court instantly judged him guilty. Took all of 10 minutes. That expedience was essential, for there were another couple hundred defendants waiting to be tried that day for their own treasons against the crown. In short order the jails reached their capacity, plus. But they weren’t filled as you’d envision them. The men who’d refused the oaths weren’t there. Their children were. There was a “Stand-in” law allowing for that. There was no social welfare system. The wife and children of a married man in prison existed on the charity of church and neighbors, or they ceased to exist, starving to death. It was typical for a man convicted of a petty crime to have one of his kid’s stand in for him for 30 or 90 days. That way he could continue to earn a living, keeping bread on the table, without the family having to rely on charity. However, a man convicted of more heinous crimes would usually find it impossible to convince his wife to allow his children to serve his time. The family would prefer to exist on charity rather than see him back in society. But in this case the family had no option. The family was churchless. The neighbors were all in the same situation. Charity was non-existent for them. The family was destined to quick starvation unless one of the children stood- in for the breadwinner. Unfortunately, the rational choice of which child should serve the time was predicated on which child was the least productive to the family earnings.
That meant nearly the youngest, usually a daughter. Thus, the prisons of England filled with adolescent females, serving the life sentences for their dads. Those lives would be short. There was no heat in the jails. They were rife with tuberculosis and other deadly diseases. A strong man might last several years. A small girl measured her remaining time on earth in months. It was Christian holocaust, a true sacrifice of the unblemished lambs. (And, we must note, completely ignored in virtually every history text covering this era, lest the crown, government and church be duly embarrassed.) Despite the high mortality rate the jails still overflowed. There was little fear that the daughters would be raped or die at the brutality of other prisoners. The other prisoners, the real felons, had all been released to make room. Early release was premised on the severity of the crime. High treason was the highest crime. The murderers, thieves, arsonists, rapists, etc., had all been set free. That had a very profound effect on commerce. It stopped. There were highwaymen afoot on every road. Thugs and muggers ruled the city streets. The sworn subjects of the crown sat behind bolted doors, in cold, dark homes, wondering how they’d exist when the food and water ran out. They finally dared to venture out to attend meetings to address the situation. At those meetings they discussed methods to overthrow the crown to which they were sworn! Call that perjury. Call that sedition. Call it by any name, they were going to put their words into actions, and soon, or die from starvation or the blade of a thug. Here we should note that chaos (and nearly anarchy: “no crown”) came to be, not as the result of the refusal to swear oaths, but as the direct result of the governmental demand that people swear them! The followers of Jesus’ words didn’t bring that chaos, those who ignored that command of Christ brought it. The crown soon saw the revolutionary handwriting on the wall and ordered the release of the children and the recapture of the real felons, before the government was removed from office under force of arms. The courts came up with the odd concept of an “affirmation in lieu of oath.” The Quakers accepted that as a victory. Given what they’d been through, that was understandable. However, Jesus also prohibited affirmations, calling the practice an oath “by thy head.” Funny that He could foresee the legal concept of an affirmation 1600 years before it came to be. Quite a prophecy!
When the colonies opened to migration, the Quakers fled Europe in droves, trying to put as much distance as they could between themselves and crowns. They had a very rational fear of a repeat of the situation. That put a lot of them here, enough that they had a very strong influence on politics. They could have blocked the ratification of the Constitution had they opposed it. Some of their demands were incorporated into it, as were some of their concessions, in balance to those demands. Their most obvious influence found in the Constitution is the definition of treason, the only crime defined in that document. Treason here is half of what can be committed under a crown. In the United States treason may only arise out of an (overt) ACTION. A refusal to perform an action at the command of the government is not a treason, hence, NOT A CRIME. You can find that restated in the Bill of Rights, where the territorial jurisdiction of the courts to try a criminal act is limited to the place wherein the crime shall have been COMMITTED. A refusal or failure is not an act “committed” – it’s the opposite, an act “omitted.” In this nation “doing nothing” can’t be criminal, even when someone claims the power to command you do something. That concept in place, the new government would have lasted about three years. You see, if it were not a crime to fail to do something, then the officers of that government would have done NOTHING – save to draw their pay. That truth forced the Quakers to a concession.
Anyone holding a government job would need be sworn (or affirmed) to support the Constitution. That Constitution enabled the Congress to enact laws necessary and proper to control the powers vested in these people. Those laws would establish their duties. Should such an official “fail” to perform his lawful duties, he’d evidence in that omission that his oath was false. To swear a false oath is an ACTION. Thus, the punishments for failures would exist under the concept of perjury, not treason. But that was only regarding persons under oath of office, who were in office only by their oaths. And that’s still the situation. It’s just that the government has very cleverly obscured that fact so that the average man will pay it a rent, a tax on income. As you probably know, the first use of income tax here came well in advance of the 16th amendment. That tax was NEARLY abolished by a late 19th century Supreme Court decision (Pollock v. Farmers Loan and Trust, 157 U.S. 429 (1895)). The problem was that the tax wasn’t apportioned, and couldn’t be apportioned, that because of the fact that it rested on the income of each person earning it, rather than an up-front total, divided and meted out to the several States according to the census. But the income tax wasn’t absolutely abolished. The court listed a solitary exception. The incomes of federal officers, derived as a benefit of office, could be so taxed. You could call that a “kick back” or even a “return.” Essentially, the court said that what Congress gives, it can demand back. As that wouldn’t be income derived within a State, the rule of apportionment didn’t apply. Make sense?
Now, no court can just make up rulings. The function of a court is to answer the questions posed to it. And in order to pose a question, a person needs standing.” The petitioner has to show that an action has occurred which affects him, hence, giving him that standing. For the Supreme Court to address the question of the income of officers demonstrates that the petitioner was such. Otherwise, the question couldn’t have come up.
Congress was taxing his benefits of office. But Congress was ALSO taxing his outside income, that from sources within a State. Could have been interest, dividends, rent, royalties, and even alimony. If he had a side job, it might have even been commissions or salary. Those forms of income could not be taxed. However, Congress could tax his income from the benefits he derived by being an officer.
That Court decision was the end of all income taxation. The reason is pretty obvious. Rather than tax the benefits derived out of office, it’s far easier to just reduce the benefits up front! Saves time. Saves paper. The money stays in Treasury rather than going out, then coming back as much as 15 or 16 months later. So, even though the benefits of office could have been taxed, under that Court ruling, that tax was dropped by Congress. There are two ways to overcome a Supreme Court ruling. The first is to have the court reverse itself. That’s a very strange concept at law. Actually, it’s impossibility at law. The only way a court can change a prior ruling is if the statutes or the Constitution change, that changing the premises on which its prior conclusion at law was derived. Because it was a Supreme Court ruling nearly abolishing the income tax, the second method, an Amendment to the Constitution, was used to overcome the prior decision. That was the 16th Amendment.
The 16th allows for Congress to tax incomes from whatever source derived, without regard to apportionment. Whose incomes? Hey, it doesn’t say (nor do the statues enacted under it). The Supreme Court has stated that this Amendment granted Congress “no new powers.” That’s absolutely true. Congress always had the power to tax incomes, but only the incomes of officers and only their incomes derived out of a benefit of office. All the 16th did was extend that EXISTING POWER to tax officers’ incomes (as benefits of office) to their incomes from other sources (from whatever source derived). The 16th Amendment and the statutes enacted thereunder don’t have to say whose incomes are subject to this tax. The Supreme Court had already said that: officers. That’s logical. If it could be a crime for a freeman to “willfully fail” to file or pay this tax, that crime could only exist as a treason by monarchical definition. In this nation a crime of failure may only exist under the broad category of a perjury. Period, no exception.
Thus, the trick employed by the government is to get you to claim that you are an officer of that government. Yeah, you’re saying, “Man, I’d never be so foolish as to claim that.” I’ll betcha $100 I can prove that you did it and that you’ll be forced to agree. Did you ever sign a tax form, a W-4, a 1040? Then you did it.
Look at the fine print at the bottom of the tax forms you once signed. You declared that it was “true” that you were “under penalties of perjury.” Are you? Were you? Perjury is a felony. To commit a perjury you have to FIRST be under oath (or affirmation). You know that. It’s common knowledge. So, to be punished for a perjury you’d need to be under oath, right? Right. There’s no other way, unless you pretend to be under oath. To pretend to be under oath is a perjury automatically. There would be no oath. Hence it’s a FALSE oath. Perjury rests on making a false oath. So, to claim to be “under penalties of perjury” is to claim that you’re under oath. That claim could be true, could be false. But if false, and you knowingly and willingly made that false claim, then you committed a perjury just by making that claim.
You’ve read the Constitution. How many times can you be tried and penalized for a single criminal act? Once? Did I hear you right? Did you say once; only once? Good for you. You know that you can’t even be placed in jeopardy of penalty (trial) a second time. The term “penalties” is plural. More than one. Oops. Didn’t you just state that you could only be tried once, penalized once, for a single criminal action? Sure you did. And that would almost always be true. There’s a solitary exception. A federal official or employee may be twice tried, twice penalized. The second penalty, resulting out of a conviction of impeachment, is the loss of the benefits of office, for life. Federal officials are under oath, an oath of office. That’s why you call them civil servants. That oath establishes jurisdiction (oath spoken), allowing them to be penalized, twice, for a perjury (especially for a perjury of official oath). You have been tricked into signing tax forms under the perjury clause. You aren’t under oath enabling the commission of perjury. You can’t be twice penalized for a single criminal act, even for a perjury. Still, because you trusted that the government wouldn’t try to deceive you, you signed an income tax form, pretending that there was jurisdiction (oath spoken) where there was none.
Once you sign the first form, the government will forever believe that you are a civil servant. Stop signing those forms while you continue to have income and you’ll be charged with “willful failure to file,” a crime of doing nothing when commanded to do something!
Initially, the income tax forms were required to be SWORN (or affirmed) before a notary. A criminal by the name of Sullivan (U.S. v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259 (1927)) brought that matter all the way to the Supreme Court. He argued that if he listed his income from criminal activities, that information would later be used against him on a criminal charge. If he didn’t list it, then swore that the form was “true, correct and complete,” he could be charged and convicted of a perjury. He was damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. The Supreme Court could only agree. It ruled that a person could refuse to provide any information on that form, taking individual exception to each line, and stating in that space that he refused to provide testimony against himself. That should have been the end of the income tax. In a few years everyone would have been refusing to provide answers on the “gross” and “net income” lines, forcing NO answer on the “tax due” line, as well. Of course, that decision was premised on the use of the notarized oath, causing the answers to have the quality of “testimony.”
Congress then INSTANTLY ordered the forms be changed. In place of the notarized oath, the forms would contain a statement that they were made and signed “Under penalties of perjury.” The prior ruling of the Supreme Court was made obsolete. Congress had changed the premise on which it had reached its conclusion. The verity of the information on the form no longer rested on a notarized oath. It rested on the taxpayer’s oath of office. And, as many a tax protestor in the 1970s and early 1980s quickly discovered, the Supreme Court ruling for Sullivan had no current relevance.
There has never been a criminal trial in any matter under federal income taxation without a SIGNED tax form in evidence before the court. The court takes notice of the signature below the perjury clause and assumes the standing of the defendant is that of a federal official, a person under oath of office who may be twice penalized for a single criminal act of perjury (to his official oath). The court has jurisdiction to try such a person for a “failure.” That jurisdiction arises under the concept of perjury, not treason.
However, the court is in an odd position here. If the defendant should take the witness stand, under oath or affirmation to tell the truth, and then truthfully state that he is not under oath of office and is not a federal officer or employee, that statement would contradict the signed statement on the tax form, already in evidence and made under claim of oath. That contradiction would give rise to a technical perjury. Under federal statutes, courtroom perjury is committed when a person willfully makes two statements, both under oath, which contradict one another.
The perjury clause claims the witness to be a federal person. If he truthfully says the contrary from the witness stand, the judge is then duty bound to charge him with the commission of a perjury! At his ensuing perjury trial, the two contradictory statements “(I’m) under penalties of perjury” and “I’m not a federal official or employee” would be the sole evidence of the commission of the perjury. As federal employment is a matter of public record, the truth of the last statement would be evidenced. That would prove that the perjury clause was a FALSE statement. Can’t have that proof on the record, can we? About now you are thinking of some tax protester trials for “willful failure” where the defendant took the witness stand and testified, in full truth, that he was not a federal person. This writer has studied a few such cases. Those of Irwin Schiff and F. Tupper Saussy come to mind. And you are right; they told the court that they weren’t federal persons. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell the court that while under oath. A most curious phenomenon occurs at “willful failure” trials where the defendant has published the fact, in books or newsletters, that he isn’t a federal person. The judge becomes very absent-minded – at least that’s surely what he’d try to claim if the issue were ever raised. He forgets to swear-in the defendant before he takes the witness stand. The defendant tells the truth from the witness stand, but does so without an oath. As he’s not under oath, nothing he says can constitute a technical perjury as a contradiction to the “perjury clause” on the tax forms already in evidence. The court will almost always judge him guilty for his failure to file. Clever system. And it all begins when a person who is NOT a federal officer or employee signs his first income tax form, FALSELY claiming that he’s under an oath which if perjured may bring him a duality of penalties. It’s still a matter of jurisdiction (oath spoken). That hasn’t changed in over 400 years. The only difference is that in this nation, we have no monarch able to command us to action. In the United States of America, you have to VOLUNTEER to establish jurisdiction. Once you do, then you are subject to commands regarding the duties of your office. Hence the income tax is “voluntary,” in the beginning, but “compulsory” once you volunteer. You volunteer when you sign your very first income tax form, probably a Form W-4 and probably at about age 15. You voluntarily sign a false statement, a false statement that claims that you are subject to jurisdiction. Gotcha! Oh, and when the prosecutor enters your prior signed income tax forms into evidence at a willful failure to file trial, he will always tell the court that those forms evidence that you knew it was your DUTY to make and file proper returns. DUTY! A free man owes no DUTY. A free man owes nothing to the federal government, as he receives nothing from it. But a federal official owes a duty. He receives something from that government – the benefits of office. In addition to a return of some of those benefits, Congress can also demand that he pay a tax on his other forms of income, now under the 16th Amendment, from whatever source they may be derived. If that were ever to be understood, the ranks of real, sworn federal officers would diminish greatly. And the ranks of the pretended federal officers (including you) would vanish to zero. It’s still the same system as it was 400 years ago, with appropriate modifications, so you don’t immediately realize it. Yes, it’s a jurisdictional matter. An Oath-spoken matter. Quite likely you, as a student of the Constitution, have puzzled over the 14th Amendment. You’ve wondered who are persons “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States and in the alternative, who are not. This is easily explained, again in the proper historical perspective. The claimed purpose of the 14th was to vest civil rights to the former slaves. A method was needed to convert them from chattel to full civil beings. The Supreme Court had issued rulings that precluded that from occurring. Hence, an Amendment was necessary. But it took a little more than the amendment. The former slaves would need to perform an act, subjecting themselves to the “jurisdiction” of the United States. You should now realize that an oath is the way that was/is accomplished.
After the battles of the rebellion had ceased, the manumitted slaves were free, but rightless. They held no electoral franchise – they couldn’t vote. The governments of the Southern States were pretty peeved over what had occurred in the prior several years, and they weren’t about to extend electoral franchises to the former slaves. The Federal government found a way to force that.
It ordered that voters had to be “registered.” And it ordered that to become a registered voter, one had to SWEAR an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The white folks, by and large, weren’t about to do that. They were also peeved that the excuse for all the battles was an unwritten, alleged, Constitutional premise, that a “State had no right to secede.” The former slaves had no problem swearing allegiance to the Constitution. The vast majority of them didn’t have the slightest idea of what an oath was, nor did they even know what the Constitution was!
Great voter registration drives took place. In an odd historical twist, these were largely sponsored by the Quakers who volunteered their assistance. Thus, most of the oaths administered were administered by Quakers! Every former slave was sworn-in, taking what actually was an OATH OF OFFICE. The electoral franchise then existed almost exclusively among the former slaves, with the white folks in the South unanimously refusing that oath and denied their right to vote. For a while many of the Southern State governments were comprised of no one other than the former slaves. The former slaves became de jure (by oath) federal officials, “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” by that oath. They were non-compensated officials, receiving no benefits of their office, save what was then extended under the 14th Amendment. There was some brief talk of providing compensation in the form of 40 acres and a mule, but that quickly faded.
Jurisdiction over a person (called “in personam jurisdiction”) exists only by oath. Always has, always will. For a court to have jurisdiction, some one has to bring a charge or petition under an oath. In a criminal matter, the charge is forwarded under the oaths of the grand jurors (indictment) or under the oath of office of a federal officer (information). Even before a warrant may be issued, someone has to swear there is probable cause. Should it later be discovered that there was NOT probable cause, that person should be charged with a perjury. It’s all about oaths. And the one crime for which immunity, even “sovereign immunity,” cannot be extended is … perjury.
You must understand “jurisdiction.” That term is only understandable when one understands the history behind it. Know what “jurisdiction” means. You didn’t WILLFULLY claim that you were “Under penalties of perjury” on those tax forms you signed. You may have done it voluntarily, but you surely did it ignorantly! You didn’t realize the import and implications of that clause. It was, quite frankly, a MISTAKE. A big one. A dumb one. Still it was only a mistake. Willfulness rests on intent. You had no intent to claim that you were under an oath of office, a perjury of which could bring you dual penalties. You just didn’t give those words any thought. What do you do when you discover you’ve made a mistake? As an honest man, you tell those who may have been affected by your error, apologize to them, and usually you promise to be more careful in the future, that as a demonstration that you, like all of us, learn by your mistakes. You really ought to drop the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States a short letter, cc it to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Explain that you never realized that the fine print on the bottom of all income tax forms meant that you were claiming to be “under oath” a perjury of which might be “twice” penalized. Explain that you’ve never sworn such an oath and that for reasons of conscience, you never will. You made this mistake on every tax form you’d ever signed. But now that you understand the words, you’ll most certainly not make that mistake again! That’ll be the end of any possibility that you’ll ever be charged with “willful failure to file.” Too simple? No, it’s only as simple as it’s supposed to be. Jurisdiction (oath spoken) is a pretty simple matter. Either you are subject to jurisdiction, by having really sworn an oath, or you are not. If you aren’t under oath, and abolish all the pretenses, false pretenses you provided, on which the government assumed that you were under oath, then the jurisdiction fails and you become a freeman. A freeman can’t be compelled to perform any act and threatened with a penalty, certainly not two penalties, should he fail to do so. That would constitute a treason charge by the part of the definition abolished here.
It’s a matter of history. European history, American history, and finally, the history of your life. The first two may be hidden from you, making parts of them difficult to discover. But the last history you know. If you know that you’ve never sworn an oath of office, and now understand how that truth fits the other histories, then you are free. Truth does that. Funny how that works.
Jesus was that Truth. His command that His followers “Swear not at all.” That was the method by which He set men free. Israel was a feudal society. It had a crown; it had landlords; they had tenant farmers bound by oath to them. Jesus scared them silly. Who’d farm those lands in the next generation, when all of the people refused to swear oaths? Ring a bell? And what did the government do to Jesus? It tried to obtain jurisdiction on the false oath of a witness, charging Him with “sedition” for the out-of-context, allegorical statement that He’d “tear down the temple” (a government building). At that trial, Jesus stood mute, refusing the administered oath. That was unheard of!
The judge became so frustrated that he posed a trick question attempting to obtain jurisdiction from Jesus. He said, “I adjure you in the name of the Living God, are you the man (accused of sedition).” An adjuration is a “compelled oath.” Jesus then broke his silence, responding, “You have so said.”
He didn’t “take” the adjured oath. He left it with its speaker, the judge! That bound the judge to truth. Had the judge also falsely said that Jesus was the man (guilty of sedition)? No, not out loud, not yet. But in his heart he’d said so. That’s what this trial was all about. Jesus tossed that falsehood back where it belonged as well as the oath. In those few words, “You have so said,” Jesus put the oath, and the PERJURY of it, back on the judge, where it belonged. The court couldn’t get jurisdiction.
Israel was occupied by Rome at that time. The court then shipped Jesus off to the martial governor, Pontius Pilate, hoping that martial power might compel him to submit to jurisdiction. But Pilate had no quarrel with Jesus. He correctly saw the charge as a political matter, devoid of any real criminal act. Likely, Pilate offered Jesus the “protection of Rome.” Roman law extended only to sworn subjects. All Jesus would need do is swear an oath to Caesar, then Pilate could protect him. Otherwise, Jesus was probably going to turn up dead at the hands of “person or persons unknown” which would really be at the hands of the civil government, under the false charge of sedition. Pilate administered that oath to Caesar. Jesus stood mute, again refusing jurisdiction. Pilate “marveled at that.” He’d never before met a man who preferred to live free or die. Under Roman law the unsworn were considered to be unclean – the “great unwashed masses.” The elite were sworn to Caesar. When an official errantly extended the law to an unsworn person that “failure of jurisdiction” required that the official perform a symbolic act. To cleanse himself and the law, he would “wash his hands.” Pilate did so. Under Roman law, the law to which he was sworn, he had to do so. The law, neither Roman law nor the law of Israel, could obtain jurisdiction over Jesus. The law couldn’t kill Him, nor could it prevent that murder. Jesus was turned over to a mob, demanding His death. How’s that for chaos? Jesus was put to death because He refused to be sworn. But the law couldn’t do that. Only a mob could do so, setting free a true felon in the process. Thus, Jesus proved the one failing of the law – at least the law then and there – the law has no ability to touch a truly free man. A mob can, but the result of that is chaos, not order.
In every situation where a government attempts to compel an oath, or fails to protect a man of conscience who refuses it, the result is chaos. That government proves itself incapable of any claimed powers as the result, for the only purpose of any government should be to defend the people establishing it – all of those people – and not because they owe that government any duty or allegiance, but for the opposite reason, because the government owes the people its duty and allegiance under the law. This nation came close to that concept for quite a few decades. Then those in federal office realized that they could fool all of the people, some of the time. That “some of the time” regarded oaths and jurisdiction. We were (and still are) a Christian nation, at least the vast majority of us claim ourselves to be Christian. But we are led by churchmen who still uphold the terms of that European treaty. They still profess that it is Christian to swear an oath, so long as it’s a “lawful oath.” We are deceived. As deceived as the tenant in 1300, but more so, for we now have the Words of Jesus to read for ourselves.
Jesus said (in Matt. 5:33-37), “Swear no oaths,” extending that even to oaths which don’t name God. If His followers obeyed that command, the unscrupulous members of the society in that day would have quickly realized that they could file false lawsuits against Jesus’ followers, suits that they couldn’t answer (under oath). Thus, Jesus issued a secondary command, ordering His followers to sell all they had, making themselves what today we call “judgment proof.” They owned only their shirt and a coat. If they were sued for their shirt, they were to offer to settle out-of-court (without oath) by giving the plaintiff their coat. That wasn’t a metaphor. Jesus meant those words in the literal sense!
It’s rather interesting that most income tax protestors are Christian and have already made themselves virtually judgment proof, perhaps inadvertently obeying one of Jesus’ commands out of a self-preservation instinct. Do we sense something here? You need to take the final step. You must swear no oaths. That is the penultimate step in self-preservation, and in obedience to the commands of Christ. It’s all a matter of “jurisdiction” (oath spoken), which a Christian can’t abide. Christians must be freemen. Their faith, duty and allegiance can go to no one on earth. We can’t serve two masters. No one can. As Christians our faith and allegiance rests not on an oath. Our faith and allegiance arise naturally. These are duties owed by a child to his father. As Children of God, we must be faithful to Him, our Father, and to our eldest Brother, the Inheritor of the estate. That’s certain.
As to what sort of a society Jesus intended without oaths or even affirmations, this writer honestly can’t envision. Certainly it would have been anarchy (no crown). Would it have also been chaos? My initial instinct is to find that it would lead to chaos. Like the Quakers in 1786, I can’t envision a functional government without the use of oaths. Yet, every time a government attempts to use oaths as a device to compel servitudes, the result is CHAOS. History proves that. The Dark Ages were dark, only because the society was feudal, failing to advance to enlightenment because they were sworn into servitudes, unwittingly violating Jesus’ command. When the British crown attempted to compel oaths of allegiance, chaos certainly resulted. And Jesus’ own death occurred only out of the chaos derived by His refusal to swear a compelled oath and an offered oath.
The current Internal Revenue Code is about as close to legislated chaos as could ever be envisioned. No two people beginning with identical premises will reach the same conclusion under the IRC. Is not that chaos? Thus, in every instance where the government attempts to use oaths to bind a people, the result has been chaos.
Hence, this writer is forced to the conclusion that Jesus was right. We ought to avoid oaths at all costs, save our own souls, and for precisely that reason. Yet, what system of societal interaction Jesus envisioned, without oaths, escapes me. How would we deal with murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. present in the society without someone bringing a complaint, sworn complaint, before a Jury (a panel of sworn men), to punish them for these criminal actions against the civil members of that society? Perhaps you, the reader, can envision what Jesus had in mind. Even if you can’t, you still have to obey His command. That will set you free. As to where we go from there, well, given that there has never been a society, neither civil nor martial, which functioned without oaths, I guess we won’t see how it will function until it arrives.
Meanwhile, the first step in the process is abolishing your prior FALSE claims of being under oath (of office) on those income tax forms. You claimed “jurisdiction.” Only you can reverse that by stating the Truth. It worked 400 years ago. It’ll still work. It’s the only thing that’ll work. History can repeat, but this time without the penalty of treason extended to you (or your daughters). You can cause it. Know and tell this Truth and it will set you free. HONESTLY. Tell the government, then explain it to every Christian you know. Most of them will hate you for that bit of honesty. Be kind to them anyhow. Once they see that you are keeping what you earn, the market will force them to realize that you aren’t the extremist they originally thought! If only 2% of the American people understand what is written here, income taxation will be abolished – that out of a fear that the knowledge will expand. The government will be scared silly. What if no one in the next generation would swear an oath? Then there’d be no servants!
No, the income tax will be abolished long before that could ever happen. That’s only money. Power comes by having an ignorant people to rule. A government will always opt for power. That way, in two or three generations, the knowledge lost to the obscure “between the lines” of history, they can run the same money game. Pass this essay on to your Christian friends. But save a copy. Will it to your grandchildren. Someday, they too will probably need this knowledge. Teach your children well. Be honest; tell the truth. That will set you free – and it’ll scare the government silly.
Frank Eugene..Ellena, Celtic International
|Copyright Family Guardian Fellowship||Last revision: March 30, 2009 08:31 PM|
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Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation
Signed by American Ambassador to England, John Jay.
His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, being desirous, by a treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, to terminate their difference in such a manner, as, without reference to the merits of their respective complaints and pretentions, may be the best calculated to produce mutual satisfaction and good understanding; and also to regulate the commerce and navigation between their respective countries, territories and people, in such a manner as to render the same reciprocally beneficial and satisfactory; they have, respectively, named their Plenipotentiaries, and given them full powers to treat of, and conclude the said treaty, that is to say:
His Britannic Majesty has named for his Plenipotentiary, the Right Honorable William Wyndham Baron Grenville of Wotton, one of His Majesty’s Privy Council, and His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and the President of the said United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, hath appointed for their Plenipotentiary, the Honorable John Jay, Chief Justice of the said United States, and their Envoy Extraordinary to His Majesty; Who have agreed on and concluded the following articles:
There shall be a firm, inviolable and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between His Britannic Majesty, his heirs and successors, and the United States of America; and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns and people of every degree, without exception of persons or places.
His Majesty will withdraw all his troops and garrisons from all posts and places within the boundary lines assigned by the treaty of peace to the United States. This evacuation shall take place on or before the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninetysix, and all the proper measures shall in the interval be taken by concert between the Government of the United States and His Majesty’s Governor-General in America for settling the previous arrangements which may be necessary respecting the delivery of the said posts:
The United States in the mean time, at their discretion, extending their settlements to any part within the said boundary line, except within the precincts or jurisdiction of any of the said posts. All settlers and traders, within the precincts or jurisdiction of the said posts, shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, all their property of every kind, and shall be protected therein. They shall be at full liberty to remain there, or to remove with all or any part of their effects; and it shall also be free to them to sell their lands, houses or effects, or to retain the property thereof, at their discretion; such of them as shall continue to reside within the said boundary lines, shall not be compelled to become citizens of the United States, or to take any oath of allegiance to the Government thereof; but they shall be at full liberty so to do if they think proper, and they shall make and declare their election within one year after the evacuation aforesaid. And all persons who shall continue there after the expiration of the said year, without having declared their intention of remaining subjects of His Britannic Majesty, shall be considered as having elected to become citizens of the United States.
It is agreed that it shall at all times be free to His Majesty’s subjects, and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said boundary line, freely to pass and repass by land or inland navigation, into the respective territories and countries of the two parties, on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson’s Bay Company only excepted.) and to navigate all the lakes, rivers and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other. But it is understood that this article does not extend to the admission of vessels of the United States into the seaports, harbours, bays or creeks of His Majesty’s said territories; nor into such parts of the rivers in His Majesty’s said territories as are between the mouth thereof, and the highest port of entry from the sea, except in small vessels trading bona fide between Montreal and Quebec, under such regulations as shall be established to prevent the possibility of any frauds in this respect. Nor to the admission of British vessels from the sea into the rivers of the United States, beyond the highest ports of entry for foreign vessels from the sea.
The river Mississippi shall, however, according to the treaty of peace, be entirely open to both parties; and it is further agreed, that all the ports and places on its eastern side, to whichsoever of the parties belonging, may freely be resorted to and used by both parties, in as ample a manner as any of the Atlantic ports or places of the United States, or any of the ports or places of His Majesty in Great Britain All goods and merchandize whose importation into His Majesty’s said territories in America shall not be entirely prohibited, may freely, for the purposes of commerce, be carried into the same in the manner aforesaid, by the citizens of the United States, and such goods and merchandize shall be subject to no higher or other duties than would be payable by His Majesty’s subjects on the importation of the same from Europe into the said territories.
And in like manner all goods and merchandize whose importation into the United States shall not be wholly prohibited, may freely, for the purposes of commerce, be carried into the same, in the manner aforesaid, by His Majesty’s subjects, and such goods and merchandize shall be subject to no higher or other duties than would be payable by the citizens of the United States on the importation of the same in American vessels into the Atlantic ports of the said States.
And all goods not prohibited to be exported from the said territories respectively, may in like manner be carried out of the same by the two parties respectively, paying duty as aforesaid. No duty of entry shall ever be levied by either party on peltries brought by land or inland navigation into the said territories respectively, nor shall the Indians passing or repassing with their own proper goods and effects of whatever nature, pay for the same any impost or duty whatever.
But goods in bales, or other large packages, unusual among Indians, shall not be considered as goods belonging bona fide to Indians.
No higher or other tolls or rates of ferriage than what are or shall be payable by natives, shall be demanded on either side; and no duties shall be payable on any goods which shall merely be carried over any of the portages or carrying places on either side, for the purpose of being immediately reembarked and carried to some other place or places.
But as by this stipulation it is only meant to secure to each party a free passage across the portages on both sides, it is agreed that this exemption from duty shall extend only to such goods as are carried in the usual and direct road across the portage, and are not attempted to be in any manner sold or exchanged during their passage across the same, and proper regulations may be established to prevent the possibility of any frauds in this respect.
As this article is intended to render in a great degree the local advantages of each party common to both, and thereby to promote a disposition favorable to friendship and good neighborhood, it is agreed that the respective Governments will mutually promote this amicable intercourse, by causing speedy and impartial justice to be done, and necessary protection to be extended to all who may be concerned therein.
Whereas it is uncertain whether the river Mississippi extends so far to the northward as to be intersected by a line to be drawn due west from the Lake of the Woods, in the manner mentioned in the treaty of peace between His Majesty and the United States:
it is agreed that measures shall be taken in concert between His Majesty’s Government in America and the Government of the United States, for making a joint survey of the said river from one degree of latitude below the falls of St. Anthony, to the principal source or sources of the said river, and also of the parts adjacent thereto; and that if, on the result of such survey, it should appear that the said river would not be intersected by such a line as is above mentioned, the two parties will thereupon proceed, by amicable negotiation, to regulate the boundary line in that quarter, as well as all other points to be adjusted between the said parties, according to justice and mutual convenience, and in conformity to the intent of the said treaty.
Whereas doubts have arisen what river was truly intended under the name of the river St. Croix, mentioned in the said treaty of peace, and forming a part of the boundary therein described; that question shall be referred to the final decision of commissioners to be appointed in the following manner. viz.:
One commissioner shall be named by His Majesty, and one by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and the said two commissioners shall agree on the choice of a third; or if they cannot so agree, they shall each propose one person, and of the two names so proposed, one shall be drawn by lot in the presence of the two original Commissioners.
And the three Commissioners so appointed shall be sworn, impartially to examine and decide the said question, according to such evidence as shall respectively be laid before them on the part of the British Government and of the United States. The said commissioners shall meet at Halifax, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit.
They shall have power to appoint a Secretary, and to employ such surveyors or other persons as they shall judge necessary. The said Commissioners shall, by a declaration, under their hands and seals, decide what river is the river St. Croix, intended by the treaty.
The said declaration shall contain a description of the said river, and shall particularize the latitude and longitude of its mouth and of its source.
Duplicates of this declaration and of the statements of their accounts, and of the journal of their proceedings, shall be delivered by them to the agent of His Majesty, and to the agent of the United States, who may be respectively appointed and authorized to manage the business on behalf of the respective Governments. And both parties agree to consider such decision as final and conclusive, so as that the same shall never thereafter be called into question, or made the subject of dispute or difference between them.
Whereas it is alleged by divers British merchants and others His Majesty’s subjects, that debts, to a considerable amount, which were bona fide contracted before the peace, still remain owing to them by citizens or inhabitants of the United States, and that by the operation of various lawful impediments since the peace, not only the full recovery of the said debts has been delayed, but also the value and security thereof have been, in several instances, impaired and lessened, so that, by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, the British creditors cannot now obtain, and actually have and receive full and adequate compensation for the losses and damages which they have thereby sustained: It is agreed, that in all such cases, where full compensation for such losses and damages cannot, for whatever reason, be actually obtained, had and received by the said creditors in the ordinary course of justice, the United States will make full and complete compensation for the same to the said creditors:
But it is distinctly understood, that this provision is to extend to such losses only as have been occasioned by the lawful impediments aforesaid, and is not to extend to losses occasioned by such insolvency of the debtors or other causes as would equally have operated to produce such loss, if the said impediments had not existed; nor to such losses or damages as have been occasioned by the manifest delay or negligence, or wilful omission of the claimant.
For the purpose of ascertaining the amount of any such losses and damages, five Commissioners shall be appointed and authorized to meet and act in manner following, viz.:
Two of them shall be appointed by His Majesty, two of them by the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and the fifth by the unanimous voice of the other four; and if they should not agree in such choice, then the Commissioners named by the two parties shall respectively propose one person, and of the two names so proposed, one shall be drawn by lot, in the presence of the four original Commissioners. When the five Commissioners thus appointed shall first meet, they shall, before they proceed to act, respectively take the following oath, or affirmation, in the presence of each other; which oath, or affirmation, being so taken and duly attested, shall be entered on the record of their proceedings, viz.:
I, A.B., one of the Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the sixth Article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will honestly, diligently, impartially and carefully examine, and to the best of my judgment, according to justice and equity, decide all such complaints, as under the said article shall be preferred to the said Commissioners: and that I will forbear to act as a Commissioner, in any case in which I may be personally interested.
Three of the said Commissioners shall constitute a board, and shall have power to do any act appertaining to the said Commission, provided that one of the Commissioners named on each side, and the fifth Commissioner shall be present, and all decisions shall be made by the majority of the voices of the Commissioners than present.
Eighteen months from the day on which the said Commissioners shall form a board, and be ready to proceed to business, are assigned for receiving complaints and applications; but they are nevertheless authorized, in any particular cases in which it shall appear to them to be reasonable and just, to extend the said term of eighteen months for any term not exceeding six months, after the expiration thereof.
The said Commissioners shall first meet at Philadelphia, but they shall have power to adjourn from place to place as they shall see cause.
The said Commissioners in examining the complaints and applications so preferred to them, are empowered and required in pursuance of the true intent and meaning of this article to take into their consideration all claims, whether of principal or interest, or balances of principal and interest and to determine the same respectively, according to the merits of the several cases, due regard being had to all the circumstances thereof, and as equity and justice shall appear to them to require.
And the said Commissioners shall have power to examine all such persons as shall come before them on oath or affirmation, touching the premises; and also to receive in evidence, according as they may think most consistent with equity and justice, all written depositions, or books, or papers, or copies, or extracts thereof, every such deposition, book, or paper, or copy, or extract, being duly authenticated either according to the legal form now respectively existing in the two countries, or in such other manner as the said Commissioners shall see cause to require or allow.
The award of the said Commissioners, or of any three of them as aforesaid, shall in all cases be final and conclusive both as to the justice of the claim, and to the amount of the sum to be paid to the creditor or claimant; and the United States undertake to cause the sum so awarded to be paid in specie to such creditor or claimant without deduction; and at such time or times and at such place or places, as shall be awarded by the said Commissioners; and on condition of such releases or assignments to be given by the creditor or claimant, as by the said Commissioners may be directed: Provided always, that no such payment shall be fixed by the said Commissioners to take place sooner than twelve months from the day of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty.
Whereas complaints have been made by divers merchants and others, citizens of the United States, that during the course of the war in which His Majesty is now engaged, they have sustained considerable losses and damage, by reason of irregular or illegal captures or condemnations of their vessels and other property, under color of authority or commissions from His Majesty, and that from various circumstances belonging to the said cases, adequate compensation for the losses and damages so sustained cannot now be actually obtained, had, and received by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings; it is agreed, that in all such cases, where adequate compensation cannot, for whatever reason, be now actually obtained, had, and received by the said merchants and others, in the ordinary course of justice, full and complete compensation for the same will be made by the British Government to the said complainants.
But it is distinctly understood that this provision is not to extend to such losses or damages as have been occasioned by the manifest delay or negligence, or wilful omission of the claimant.
That for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of any such losses and damages, five Commissioners shall be appointed and authorized to act in London, exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the preceding article, and after having taken the same oath or affirmation, (mutatis mutandis,) the same term of eighteen months is also assigned for the reception of claims, and they are in like manner authorized to extend the same in particular cases.
They shall receive testimony, books, papers and evidence in the same latitude, and exercise the like discretion and powers respecting that subject; and shall decide the claims in question according to the merits of the several cases, and to justice, equity and the laws of nations.
The award of the said Commissioners, or any such three of them as aforesaid, shall in all cases be final and conclusive, both as to the justice of the claim, and the amount of the sum to be paid to the claimant; and His Britannic Majesty undertakes to cause the same to be paid to such claimant in specie, without any deduction, at such place or places, and at such time or times, as shall be awarded by the said Commissioners, and on condition of such releases or assignments to be given by the claimant, as by the said Commissioners may be directed.
And whereas certain merchants and others, His Majesty s subjects, complain that, in the course of the war, they have sustained loss and damage by reason of the capture of their vessels and merchandise, taken within the limits and jurisdiction of the States and brought into the ports of the same, or taken by vessels originally armed in ports of the said States:
It is agreed that in all such cases where restitution shall not have been made agreeably to the tenor of the letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Hammond, dated at Philadelphia, September 5, 1793, a copy of which is annexed to this treaty; the complaints of the parties shall be and hereby are referred to the Commissioners to be appointed by virtue of this article, who are hereby authorized and required to proceed in the like manner relative to these as to the other cases committed to them; and the United States undertake to pay to the complainants or claimants in specie, without deduction, the amount of such sums as shall be awarded to them respectively by the said Commissioners, and at the times and places which in such awards shall be specified; and on condition of such releases or assignments to be given by the claimants as in the said awards may be directed:
And it is further agreed, that not only the now existing cases of both descriptions, but also all such as shall exist at the time of exchanging the ratifications of this treaty, shall be considered as being within the provisions, intent and meaning of this article.
It is further agreed that the Commissioners mentioned in this and in the two preceding articles shall be respectively paid in such manner as shall be agreed between the two parties such agreement being to be settled at the time of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty.
And all other expenses attending the said Commissions shall be defrayed jointly by the two parties, the same being previously ascertained and allowed by the majority of the Commissioners.
And in the case of death, sickness or necessary absence, the place of every such Commissioner respectively shall be supplied in the same manner as such Commissioner was first appointed, and the new Commissioners shall take the same oath or affirmation and do the same duties.
It is agreed that British subjects who now hold lands in the territories of the United States, and American citizens who now hold lands in the dominions of His Majesty, shall continue to hold them according to the nature and tenure of their respective estates and titles therein; and may grant, sell or devise the same to whom they please, in like manner as if they were natives and that neither they nor their heirs or assigns shall, so far as may respect the said lands and the legal remedies incident thereto, be regarded as aliens.
Neither the debts due from individuals of the one nation to individuals of the other, nor shares, nor monies, which they may have in the public funds, or in the public or private banks, shall ever in any event of war or national differences be sequestered or confiscated, it being unjust and impolitic that debts and engagements contracted and made by individuals having confidence in each other and in their respective Governments, should ever be destroyed or impaired by national authority on account of national differences and discontents.
It is agreed between His Majesty and the United States of America, that there shall be a reciprocal and entirely perfect liberty of navigation and commerce between their respective people, in the manner, under the limitations, and on the conditions specified in the following articles.
His Majesty consents that it shall and may be lawful, during the time hereinafter limited, for the citizens of the United States to carry to any of His Majesty’s islands and ports in the West Indies from the United States, in their own vessels, not being above the burthen of seventy tons, any goods or merchandizes, being of the growth, manufacture or produce of the said States, which it is or may be lawful to carry to the said islands or ports from the said States in British vessels; and that the said American vessels shall be subject there to no other or higher tonnage duties or charges than shall be payable by British vessels in the ports of the United States; and that the cargoes of the said American vessels shall be subject there to no other or higher duties or charges than shall be payable on the like articles if imported there from the said States in British vessels.
And His Majesty also consents that it shall be lawful for the said American citizens to purchase, load and carry away in their said vessels to the United States, from the said islands and ports, all such articles, being of the growth, manufacture or produce of the said islands, as may now by law be carried from thence to the said States in British vessels, and subject only to the same duties and charges on exportation, to which British vessels and their cargoes are or shall be subject in similar circumstances.
Provided always, that the said American vessels do carry and land their cargoes in the United States only, it being expressly agreed and declared that, during the continuance of this article, the United States will prohibit and restrain the carrying any molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa or cotton in American vessels, either from His Majesty’s islands or from the United States to any part of the world except the United States, reasonable seastores excepted. Provided, also, that it shall and may be lawful, during the same period, for British vessels to import from the said islands into the United States, and to export from the United States to the said islands, all articles whatever, being of the growth, produce or manufacture of the said islands, or of the United States respectively, which now may, by the laws of the said States, be so imported and exported.
And that the cargoes of the said British vessels shall be subject to no other or higher duties or charges, than shall be payable on the same articles if so imported or exported in American vessels. It is agreed that this article, and every matter and thing therein contained, shall continue to be in force during the continuance of the war in which His Majesty is now engaged; and also for two years from and after the date of the signature of the preliminary or other articles of peace, by which the same may be terminated. And it is further agreed that, at the expiration of the said term, the two contracting parties will endeavour further to regulate their commerce in this respect, according to the situation in which His Majesty may then find himself with respect to the West Indies, and with a view to such arrangements as may best conduce to the mutual advantage and extension of commerce.
And the said parties will then also renew their discussions, and endeavour to agree, whether in any and what cases, neutral vessels shall protect enemy’s property; and in what cases provisions and other articles, not generally contraband, may become such.
But in the mean time, their conduct towards each other in these respects shall be regulated by the articles hereinafter inserted on those subjects.
His Majesty consents that the vessels belonging to the citizens of the United States of America shall be admitted and hospitably received in all the seaports and harbors of the British territories in the East Indies.
And that the citizens of the said United States may freely carry on a trade between the said territories and the said United States, in all articles of which the importation or exportation respectively, to or from the said territories, shall not be entirely prohibited. Provided only, that it shall not be lawful for them in any time of war between the British Government and any other Power or State whatever, to export from the said territories, without the special permission of the British Government there, any military stores, or naval stores, or rice.
The citizens of the United States shall pay for their vessels when admitted into the said ports no other or higher tonnage duty than shall be payable on British vessels when admitted into the ports of the United States. And they shall pay no other or higher duties or charges, on the importation or exportation of the cargoes of the said vessels, than shall be payable on the same articles when imported or exported in British vessels. But it is expressly agreed that the vessels of the United States shall not carry any of the articles exported by them from the said British territories to any port or place, except to some port or place in America, where the same shall be unladen and such regulations shall be adopted by both parties as shall from time to time be found necessary to enforce the due and faithful observance of this stipulation.
It is also understood that the permission granted by this article is not to extend to allow the vessels of the United States to carry on any part of the coasting trade of the said British territories; but vessels going with their original cargoes, or part thereof, from one port of discharge to another, are not to be considered as carrying on the coasting trade. Neither is this article to be construed to allow the citizens of the said States to settle or reside within the said territories, or to go into the interior parts thereof, without the permission of the British Government established there; and if any transgression should be attempted against the regulations of the British Government in this respect, the observance of the same shall and may be enforced against the citizens of America in the same manner as against British subjects or others transgressing the same rule. And the citizens of the United States, whenever they arrive in any port or harbour in the said territories, or if they should be permitted, in manner aforesaid, to go to any other place therein, shall always be subject to the laws, government and jurisdiction of what nature established in such harbor, port pr place, according as the same may be.
The citizens of the United States may also touch for refreshment at the island of St. Helena, but subject in all respects to such regulations as the British Government may from time to time establish there.
There shall be between all the dominions of His Majesty in Europe and the territories of the United States a reciprocal and perfect liberty of commerce and navigation.
The people and inhabitants of the two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely, and without hindrance and molestation, to come with their ships and cargoes to the lands, countries, cities, ports, places and rivers within the dominions and territories aforesaid, to enter into the same, to resort there, and to remain and reside there, without any limitation of time.
Also to hire and possess houses and warehouses for the purposes of their commerce, and generally the merchants and traders on each side shall enjoy the most complete protection and security for their commerce; but subject always as to what respects this article to the laws and statutes of the two countries respectively. It is agreed that no other or high duties shall be paid by the ships or merchandise of the one party in the ports of the other than such as are paid by the like vessels or merchandize of all other nations.
Nor shall any other or higher duty be imposed in one country on the importation of any articles the growth, produce or manufacture of the other, than are or shall be payable on the importation of the like articles being of the growth, produce or manufacture of any other foreign country.
Nor shall any prohibition be imposed on the exportation or importation of any articles to or from the territories of the two parties respectively, which shall not equally extend to all other nations. But the British Government reserves to itself the right of imposing on American vessels entering into the British ports in Europe a tonnage duty equal to that which shall be payable by British vessels in the ports of America; and also such duty as may be adequate to countervail the difference of duty now payable on the importation of European and Asiatic goods, when imported into the United States in British or in American vessels. The two parties agree to treat for the more exact equalization of the duties on the respective navigation of their subjects and people, in such manner as may be most beneficial to the two countries.
The arrangements for this purpose shall be made at the same time with those mentioned at the conclusion of the twelfth article of this treaty, and are to be considered as a part thereof. In the interval it is agreed that the United States will not impose any new or additional tonnage duties on British vessels, nor increase the nowsubsisting difference between the duties payable on the importation of any articles in British or in American vessels.
It is agreed that no other or high duties shall be paid by the ships or merchandise of the one party in the ports of the other than such as are paid by the like vessels or merchandize of all other nations. Nor shall any other or higher duty be imposed in one country on the importation of any articles the growth, produce or manufacture of the other, than are or shall be payable on the importation of the like articles being of the growth, produce or manufacture of any other foreign country. Nor shall any prohibition be imposed on the exportation or importation of any articles to or from the territories of the two parties respectively, which shall not equally extend to all other nations.
But the British Government reserves to itself the right of imposing on American vessels entering into the British ports in Europe a tonnage duty equal to that which shall be payable by British vessels in the ports of America; and also such duty as may be adequate to countervail the difference of duty now payable on the importation of European and Asiatic goods, when imported into the United States in British or in American vessels. The two parties agree to treat for the more exact equalization of the duties on the respective navigation of their subjects and people, in such manner as may be most beneficial to the two countries.
The arrangements for this purpose shall be made at the same time with those mentioned at the conclusion of the twelfth article of this treaty, and are to be considered as a part thereof. In the interval it is agreed that the United States will not impose any new or additional tonnage duties on British vessels, nor increase the nowsubsisting difference between the duties payable on the importation of any articles in British or in American vessels.
It shall be free for the two contracting parties, respectively, to appoint Consuls for the protection of trade, to reside in the dominions and territories aforesaid; and the said Consuls shall enjoy those liberties and rights which belong to them by reason of their function.
But before any Consul shall act as such, he shall be in the usual forms approved and admitted by the party to whom he is sent; and it is hereby declared to be lawful and proper that, in case of illegal or improper conduct towards the laws or Government, a Consul may either be punished according to law, if the laws will reach the case, or be dismissed, or even sent back, the offended Government assigning to the other their reasons for the same. Either of the parties may except from the residence of Consuls such particular places as such party shall judge proper to be so excepted.
It is agreed that in all cases where vessels shall be captured or detained on just suspicion of having on board enemy’s property, or of carrying to the enemy any of the articles which are contraband of war, the said vessels shall be brought to the nearest or most convenient port; and if any property of an enemy should be found on board such vessel, that part only which belongs to the enemy shall be made prize, and the vessel shall be at liberty to proceed with the remainder without any impediment. And it is agreed that all proper measures shall be taken to prevent delay in deciding the cases of ships or cargoes so brought in for adjudication, and in the payment or recovery of any indemnification, adjudged or agreed to be paid to the masters or owners of such ships.
In order to regulate what is in future to be esteemed contraband of war, it is agreed that under the said denomination shall be comprised all arms and implements serving for the purposes of war, by land or sea, such as cannon, muskets, mortars, petards, bombs, grenades, carcasses, saucisses, carriages for cannon, musketrests, bandoliers, gunpowder, match, saltpetre, ball, pikes, swords, headpieces, cuirasses, halberts, lances, javelins, horsefurniture, holsters, belts, and generally all other implements of war, as also timber for shipbuilding, tar or rozin, copper in sheets, sails, hemp, and cordage, and generally whatever may serve directly to the equipment of vessels, unwrought iron and fir planks only excepted, and all the above articles are hereby declared to be just objects of confiscation whenever they are attempted to be carried to an enemy.
And whereas the difficulty of agreeing on the precise cases in which alone provisions and other articles not generally contraband may be regarded as such, renders it expedient to provide against the inconveniences and misunderstandings which might thence arise:
It is further agreed that whenever any such articles so becoming contraband, according to the existing laws of nations, shall for that reason be seized, the same shall not be confiscated, but the owners thereof shall be speedily and completely indemnified; and the captors, or, in their default, the Government under whose authority they act, shall pay to the masters or owners of such vessels the full value of all such articles, with a reasonable mercantile profit thereon, together with the freight, and also the demurrage incident to such detention.
And whereas it frequently happens that vessels sail for a port or place belonging to an enemy without knowing that the same is either besieged, blockaded or invested, it is agreed that every vessel so circumstanced may be turned away from such port or place; but she shall not be detained, nor her cargo, if not contraband, be confiscated, unless after notice she shall again attempt to enter, but she shall be permitted to go to any other port or place she may think proper; nor shall any vessel or goods of either party that may have entered into such port or place before the same was besieged, blockaded, or invested by the other, and be found thereinafter the reduction or surrender of such place, be liable to confiscation, but shall be restored to the owners or proprietors there.
And that more abundant care may be taken for the security of the respective subjects and citizens of the contracting parties, and to prevent their suffering injuries by the menofwar, or privateers of either party, all commanders of ships of war and privateers, and all others the said subjects and citizens, shall forbear doing any damage to those of the other party or committing any outrage against them, and if they act to the contrary they shall be punished, and shall also be bound in their persons and estates to make satisfaction and reparation for all damages, and the interest thereof, of whatever nature the said damages may be.
For this cause, all commanders of privateers, before they receive their commissions, shall hereafter be obliged to give, before a competent judge, sufficient security by at least two responsible sureties, who have no interest in the said privateer, each of whom, together with the said commander, shall be jointly and severally bound in the sum of fifteen hundred pounds sterling, or, if such ships be provided with above one hundred and fifty seamen or soldiers, in the sum of three thousand pounds sterling, to satisfy all damages and injuries which the said privateer, or her officers or men, or any of them, may do or commit during their cruise contrary to the tenor of this treaty, or to the laws and instructions for regulating their conduct; and further, that in all cases of aggressions the said commissions shall be revoked and annulled. It is also agreed that whenever a judge of a court of admiralty of either of the parties shall pronounce sentence against any vessel or goods or property belonging to the subjects or citizens of the other party, a formal and duly authenticated copy of all the proceedings in the cause, and of the said sentence, shall, if required, be delivered to the commander of the said vessel, without the smallest delay, he paying all legal fees and demands for the same.
It is further agreed that both the said contracting parties shall not only refuse to receive any pirates into any of their ports, havens or towns, or permit any of their inhabitants to receive, protect, harbor, conceal or assist them in any manner, but will bring to condign punishment all such inhabitants as shall be guilty of such acts or offences. And all their ships, with the goods or merchandizes taken by them and brought into the port of either of the said parties, shall be seized as far as they can be discovered, and shall be restored to the owners, or their factors or agents, duly deputed and authorized in writing by them (proper evidence being first given in the court of admiralty for proving the property) even in case such effects should have passed into other hands by sale, if it be proved that the buyers knew or had good reason to believe or suspect that they had been piratically taken.
It is likewise agreed that the subjects and citizens of the two nations shall not do any acts of hostility or violence against each other, nor accept commissions or instructions so to act from any foreign Prince or State, enemies to the other party; nor shall the enemies of one of the parties be permitted to invite, or endeavor to enlist in their military service, any of the subjects or citizens of the other party; and the laws against all such offences and aggressions shall be punctually executed.
And if any subject or citizen of the said parties respectively shall accept any foreign commission or letters of marque for arming any vessel to act as a privateer against the other party, and be taken by the other party, it is hereby declared to be lawful for the said party to treat and punish the said subject or citizen having such commission or letters of marque as a pirate.
It is expressly stipulated that neither of the said contracting parties will order or authorize any acts of reprisal against the other, on complaints of injuries or damages, until the said party shall first have presented to the other a statement thereof, verified by competent proof and evidence, and demanded justice and satisfaction, and the same shall either have been refused or unreasonably delayed.
The ships of war of each of the contracting parties shall, at all times, be hospitably received in the ports of the other, their officers and crews paying due respect to the laws and Government of the country. The officers shall be treated with that respect which is due to the commissions which they bear, and if any insult should be offered to them by any of the inhabitants, all offenders in this respect shall be punished as disturbers of the peace and amity between the two countries.
And His Majesty consents that in case an American vessel should, by stress of weather, danger from enemies, or other misfortune, be reduced to the necessity of seeking shelter in any of His Majesty’s ports, into which such vessel could not in ordinary cases claim to be admitted, she shall, on manifesting that necessity to the satisfaction of the Government of the place, be hospitably received, and be permitted to refit and to purchase at the market price such necessaries as she may stand in need of, conformably to such orders and regulations at the Government of the place, having respect to the circumstances of each case, shall prescribe.
She shall not be allowed to break bulk or unload her cargo, unless the same should be bona fide necessary to her being refitted. Nor shall be permitted to sell any part of her cargo, unless so much only as may be necessary to defray her expences, and then not without the express permission of the Government of the place. Nor shall she be obliged to pay any duties whatever, except only on such articles as she may be permitted to sell for the purpose aforesaid.
It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers (not being subjects or citizens of either of the said parties) who have commissions from any other Prince or State in enmity with either nation to arm their ships in the ports of either of the said parties, nor to sell what they have taken, nor in any other manner to exchange the same; nor shall they be allowed to purchase more provisions than shall be necessary for their going to the nearest port of that Prince or State from whom they obtained their commissions.
It shall be lawful for the ships of war and privateers belonging to the said parties respectively to carry whithersoever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies, without being obliged to pay any fee to the officers of the admiralty, or to any judges whatever; nor shall the said prizes, when they arrive at and enter the ports of the said parties, be detained or seized, neither shall the searchers or other officers of those places visit such prizes, (except for the purpose of preventing the carrying of any of the cargo thereof on shore in any manner contrary to the established laws of revenue, navigation, or commerce,) nor shall such officers take cognizance of the validity of such prizes; but they shall be at liberty to hoist sail and depart as speedily as may be, and carry their said prizes to the place mentioned in their commissions or patents, which the commanders of the said ships of war or privateers shall be obliged to show.
No shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as have made a prize upon the subjects or citizens of either of the said parties; but if forced by stress of weather, or the dangers of the sea, to enter therein, particular care shall be taken to hasten their departure, and to cause them to retire as soon as possible. Nothing in this treaty contained shall, however, be construed or operate contrary to former and existing public treaties with other sovereigns or States. But the two parties agree that while they continue in amity neither of them will in future make any treaty that shall be inconsistent with this or the preceding article.
Neither of the said parties shall permit the ships or goods belonging to the subjects or citizens of the other to be taken within cannon shot of the coast, nor in any of the bays, ports or rivers of their territories, by ships of war or others having commission from any Prince, Republic or State whatever. But in case it should so happen, the party whose territorial rights shall thus have been violated shall use his utmost endeavors to obtain from the offending party full and ample satisfaction for the vessel or vessels so taken, whether the same be vessels of war or merchant vessels.
If at any time a rupture should take place (which God forbid) between His Majesty and the United States, and merchants and others of each of the two nations residing in the dominions of the other shall have the privilege of remaining and continuing their trade, so long as they behave peaceably and commit no offence against the laws; and in case their conduct should render them suspected, and the respective Governments should think proper to order them to remove, the term of twelve months from the publication of the order shall be allowed them for that purpose, to remove with their families, effects and property, but this favor shall not be extended to those who shall act contrary to the established laws; and for greater certainty, it is declared that such rupture shall not be deemed to exist while negociations for accommodating differences shall be depending, nor until the respective Ambassadors or Ministers, if such there shall be, shall be recalled or sent home on account of such differences, and not on account of personal misconduct, according to the nature and degrees of which both parties retain their rights, either to request the recall, or immediately to send home the Ambassador or Minister of the other, and that without prejudice to their mutual friendship and good understanding.
It is further agreed that His Majesty and the United States, on mutual requisitions, by them respectively, or by their respective Ministers or officers authorized to make the same, will deliver up to justice all persons who, being charged with murder or forgery, committed within the jurisdiction of either, shall seek an asylum within any of the countries of the other, provided that this shall only be done on such evidence of criminality as, according to the laws of the place, where the fugitive or person so charged shall be found, would justify his apprehension and commitment for trial, if the offence had there been committed. The expence of such apprehension and delivery shall be borne and defrayed by those who made the requisition and receive the fugitive.
It is agreed that the first ten articles of this treaty shall be permanent, and that the subsequent articles, except the twelfth, shall be limited in their duration to twelve years, to be computed from the day on which the ratifications of this treaty shall be exchanged, but subject to this condition. That whereas the said twelfth article will expire by the limitation therein contained, at the end of two years from the signing of the preliminary or other articles of peace, which shall terminate the present war in which His Majesty is engaged, it is agreed that proper measures shall by concert be taken for bringing the subject of that article into amicable treaty and discussion, so early before the expiration of the said term as that new arrangements on that head may by that time be perfected and ready to take place.
But if it should unfortunately happen that His Majesty and the United States should not be able to agree on such new arrangements, in that case all the articles of this treaty, except the first ten, shall then cease and expire together.
It is further agreed, between the said contracting parties, that the operation of so much of the twelfth article of the said treaty as respects the trade which his said Majesty thereby consents may be carried on between the United States and his islands in the West Indies, in the manner and on the terms and conditions therein specified, shall be suspended.
This treaty, when the same shall have been ratified by His Majesty and by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of their Senate, and the respective ratifications mutually exchanged, shall be binding and obligatory on His Majesty and on the said States, and shall be by them respectively executed and observed with punctuality and the most sincere regard to good faith; and whereas it will be expedient, in order the better to facilitate intercourse and obviate difficulties, that other articles be proposed and added to this treaty, which articles, from want of time and other circumstances, cannot now be perfected, it is agreed that the said parties will, from time to time, readily treat of and concerning such articles, and will sincerely endeavor so to form them as that they may conduce to mutual convenience and tend to promote mutual satisfaction and friendship; and that the said articles, after having been duly ratified, shall be added to and make a part of this treaty.
In faith whereof we, the undersigned Ministers Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Great Britain and the United States of America, have singed this present treaty, and have caused to be affixed thereto the seal of our arms.
Done at London this nineteenth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.
(SEAL.) JOHN JAY.
Concluded November 19, 1794; ratification advised by the senate with amendment June 24, 1795; ratified by the President; ratifications exchanged October 28, 1795; proclaimed February 29, 1796.
Source: Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.
Published by Neale and Kammerer,