John Taylor of Caroline on Debt

John Taylor

From Tyranny Unmasked:

The Committee inform [sic] us ‘that the true economy of individuals, is to earn more than they spend; het this is said to be bad policy for a nation. The first assertion is universally known to be true; but the second is gratuitously and unfairly attributed to their adversaries, to discredit the very principle by which only the first assertion can be realized, namely, that industry should be free to save as well as to earn.

Enmities among men are produced by a clashing of interests, and the intention of republican governments is not to promote, but to prevent this clashing, by a just and equal distribution of civil or legal rights . . . .As no government can patronize one class but at the expense of others, partialities to its clients beget mutual fears, hopes, and hatreds . . . .”

To get more than we spend is undoubtedly a thrifty maxim, applicable to governments and classes, as well as to nations and individuals.

Slavery, either personal or political, consists only in the powers of some natural heads to dictate to others. Political liberty consists only in a government constituted to preserve, and not to defeat the natural capacity of providing for our own good.

The States and the people, in constituting the Federal government intended to reserve the use of their own heads. The States never designed to subject themselves to be partially taxed by the brains of other States; nor the people to surrender their own heads to the use of those which manage exclusive privileges [the general government and Congress by loose construction of the Constitution].

Did the reservation to the States, or to the people, exclude a right essential to liberty? Certain rights were intended to be retained or surrendered to the Federal government; but it is now said to be difficult to draw a line between these two classes of rights, that it is best to obliterate it entirely, by an unlimited power in Congress to control all of our consumptions; and in virtue of this power to enable Congress [by the Tariff, funding system, paper money] to transfer our property to exclusive privileges.

But are high-minded Americans yet to learn, or can they be made to forget that every species of government, uncontrolled by constitutional checks, will become a despotism, and reduce their boasted liberties down to the standard of the rights of man . . . as they exist in Europe.

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