The Unseen Hand - Ralph Epperson

The American Revolution

Someone once wrote: "God cannot alter the past, only historians can!"

It is certainly not possible for historians to know about the "smoke-filled" rooms where the future is planned unless they are made privy to the future history being planned there. Therefore, most historians report the historical events without really knowing how the events were created.

In addition, those who plan the wars, depressions and other human calamities do not want the truth about their planning activities known. So the Revisionist Historians (those who seek the true causes of the historical events) must pursue the truth through the concealed accesses to the events of the past as seen by those who were there and have recorded their knowledge of the event as they remember it. These sources are generally hidden from the general public, but they do exist.

The version of history contained in the following chapters is not the traditionally accepted one, but it is nevertheless true. It has taken detailed research to ferret out this version of history, sifting through the smoke of the "smoke filled" rooms.

Reginald McKenna, past Chairman of the Board of the Midlands Bank of England, has written this about the power of the banking establishment:

"I am afraid the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that banks can and do create money . . . . And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of Governments and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people."

Abraham Lincoln also warned about a banking establishment, although he chose to call it the "money power." He wrote:

"The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that . . . causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. The money power of the country will endeavor to . . . work . . . upon the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed."

Another who warned about the powers of a banking establishment was Sir Josiah Stamp, a past President of the Bank of England:

"If you want to remain the slaves of the bankers, and pay the costs of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control the nation's credit."

President James Garfield also voiced a similar opinion:

"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce."

The goals of these banking establishments was detailed by Dr. Carroll Quigley in his book Tragedy and Hope:

". . . the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. The system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."

Thomas Jefferson was also aware of the power of the banking establishment, and he attempted to warn the American people of the money-debt cycle:

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes— a principle which, if acted on, would save one half of the wars of the world." And: "The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

Another of our founding fathers who feared the banking establishment and its ability to create money and debt was Benjamin Franklin, who wrote:

"The Borrower is a Slave to the Lender, and the Debtor to the Creditor. . . . Preserve your freedom, and maintain your independence. Be industrious and free; be frugal and free."

These warnings are very explicit. Banking establishments create national debt. National debt makes slaves of those who owe the debt. It becomes important, then, to understand the nature of banking establishments if they have the ability to create such human misery as has been described by the above cited authors.

Bankers who loan to governments all over the world are called "international bankers." And like all bankers, their success in business depends on their ability to have their loans repaid by the borrower. Just like the local banker, who must secure his loan with some form of collateral, the international banker is concerned with the debtor pledging something of value, something that could be sold to satisfy any outstanding balance owed by the defaulting borrower.

A local bank loans money on a house by having the debtor pledge the home as collateral. The banker can "foreclose" on the mortgage and become the sole owner should the payments not be made as promised.

The international banker faced a more complex problem than the local banker, though. What could he secure his loan with when he loaned money to the leader of a government? The head of the government had one power not shared by the homeowner: the right to "repudiate" the loan.

Repudiation is defined as: "The refusal of a national or state government to pay real or alleged pecuniary obligations."

The bankers had to develop a strategy by which they could make certain that the government they loaned to did not repudiate the loan that the bankers made to the governments.

The international bankers slowly developed their plan. It was called "Balance of Power Politics." This meant that the bankers loaned to two governments at the same time, affording them the opportunity to play one against the other as a means of forcing one to pay his debts to the banker. The most successful tool of insuring compliance with the terms of payment was the threat of war: the banker could always threaten the defaulting government with a war as a means of forcing it to make their payments. This act of repossessing the nation would almost always work as the head of government, anxious to keep his seat of power, would agree to the terms of the original loan, and continue making his payments.

The key to using this tool, however, was making certain that both kingdoms were nearly the same size, so that one nation would not become so powerful that the threat of a war with a weaker neighboring nation would not be sufficient to force it into making its payments.

In other words, both nations had to be approximately the same size and to have nearly the same potential to wage war with the other; if one nation had a larger potential than another, the larger nation would act as a threat against the smaller, but the smaller would not act as a threat against the larger. Both had to have the same potential or one would no longer be a threat to the other.

With the basic understanding of how international bankers operate, it is now possible to truly understand the nature of the recent past.

In his book, The Real History of the Rosicrucians, the author Arthur Edward Waite makes this statement:

"Beneath the broad tide of human history, there flow the stealthy undercurrents of the secret societies, which frequently determine in the depths the changes that take place upon the surface."

With this explanation in mind, a study of the recent past should start with the American Revolution of 1776. The traditional historians of the past have explained that the cause of the Revolution was America's resistance to "taxation without representation." But this supposed cause doesn't hold up when measured against the taxation the English government was imposing upon the Colonists. The tax was less than one percent of the nation's Gross National Product. And it would seem that it would take more than that to inflame the American people into a full-scale revolution against the British government, since the American taxpayers in 1980 were paying approximately forty percent of their income to the American government with little direct representation (for instance, when did the American people directly vote for foreign aid, the space race, welfare, etc.) without a revolution against the American government

Perhaps Mr. Waite is correct. Possibly the "secret societies" he mentions were at work in the American colonies prior to the founding of this nation, and the revolution against the English government.

Perhaps the beginning of the American Revolution can be traced back to June 24, 1717, when four masonic lodges united in London, England, to form the Grand Lodge of London. The basic tenet of the new Freemasonry, which up to that time was generally that of a guild of stone masons and other builders, changed during this uniting of these four lodges. From a guild, Freemasonry became a church, a new religion. It changed from a professional Masonry, to a philosophical Masonry:

"The inherent philosophy of Freemasonry implied a belief that mystic thought and feeling were bound to disappear and to be replaced by a strictly logical and rational era.

" . . [Freemasonry] . . tried to cooperate with the Church so as to be able to work from the inside, rationalize the doctrine of Jesus and empty it gradually of its mystic content Freemasonry hoped to become a friendly and legal heir to Christianity. They considered logic and the rules of scientific thinking as being the only absolute and permanent element of the human mind."

" . . [The new Masonry] . . . did not defend revelation, dogmas, or faith. Its conviction was scientific and its morality purely social. The new Masonry did not aim to destroy churches, but, with the aid of the progress in ideas, it prepared to replace them."

This new morality spread to France in 1725, and a few years later, in the early 1730's, to the United States, where Lodges of the Freemasons were formed in Philadelphia in 1731, and in Boston in 1733. 12 One of the well known members of the Philadelphia Lodge was Benjamin Franklin, who joined in 1732. Mr. Franklin later became Grand Master (the equivalent of President) of his lodge in 1734.

It was this Philadelphia Lodge that started the move to confederate the various colonies in America into a union of states. In 1731, this St. John Lodge in Philadelphia "got in touch with the Grand Lodge of London, and the Duke of Norfolk, then Grand Master of English Freemasonry, appointed a Grand Master for the Central Colonies. His name was Daniel Coxe. Coxe was the first public man to advise a federation of the colonies."

Other early members of the Masons in America were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, James Madison and Ethan Allen, all well known American patriots heavily involved with the American Revolution.

More recently, at least twelve other American Presidents have been members of the Masons: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford.

In addition to the direct influence of the Masons in the American Revolution, other Masons were also influencing America in indirect ways. One of these influences started on July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams to a committee of three to design the Seal of the United States. Two if not all three were members of the Freemasons, and the seal they designed, especially the reverse side, conceals Masonic symbols and secrets. According to the Masons:

"Being on the reverse of the Seal, this design reveals the 'Hidden Work,' the 'Lost Word' of Ancient Freemasonry. The motif used is the pyramid, for in ancient eras, where Freemasonry originated, the mission was the same as it is today: to do God's will on Earth. This labor is unfinished; therefore the pyramid on the Seal is not completed. Each Brother must contribute his portion, knowing that his work is watched over and guided by the All-seeing Eye of God."

Whatever the Freemasons are, they have stirred a constant controversy amongst the various levels of society, ever since their founding in 1717. The first formal declaration against this organization came just twenty-one years later, in 1738, when: "the Roman Catholic Church officially condemned Freemasonry . . . in the form of a Bull issued by Pope Clement XII "

The condemnations of the Masons have continued since 1738 as: "No fewer than eight Popes have condemned Freemasonry on 400 occasions since it was founded in Britain in 1717. The first publicly pronounced ban by Clement XII called the movement 'unprincipled.'"

One of his successors, Pope Leo XXIII, charged the Masons with aiming at the "overthrow of the whole religious, political and social order based on Christian institutions and the establishment of a state of things based on pure naturalism."

One of the more recent stands against the Freemasons came on March 21, 1981, when the Roman Catholic Church again warned that "all Roman Catholics who belong to Masonic lodges risk excommunication."

According to the book $$New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry## "the Latin Church . . . has agreed to regard Freemasonry as . . . those forces which are at work in the world against the work of the Church in that world."

In any event, "In the tense times before the American Revolution the secrecy of the Masonic lodges offered the Colonial patriots the opportunity to meet and plan their strategy."

One of the pre-American Revolutionary events obviously planned in secret was the Boston Tea Party where a group of individuals, disguised as Indians, dumped boxes of tea into the Boston harbor. The identity of these patriots has not been generally made known, until the Freemasons themselves offered this explanation of the event:

"The Boston Tea Party was entirely Masonic, carried out by members of the St John's Lodge (in Boston) during an adjourned meeting."

This revolutionary act had an almost immediate effect in the English Parliament, which passed laws closing the Boston port to all trade by sea and allowing the quartering of British troops in Massachusetts. These laws brought a deluge of protests from all of the colonies in America.

There is reason to believe that those who caused the event were intending to use the English retaliatory activities as the incidents to unify the American colonies against the English government. And the strategy worked.

The call to unify the states into a federal government was strong and the Masons were the key to that call. They were the ones who had a nationwide membership, many of whom were well known enough to expect the colonists to listen to their message. In fact, fifty-three of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of the Masons, as were the majority of the members of the Continental Congress.

Benjamin Franklin, partly because of his visibility as a member of the Masons, became a key to opening the doors of some of the European nations, often led by fellow Masons. His membership could gain him critical audiences with other Masons all over Europe and these contacts were to be used to gain support for the American Revolution.

Franklin also understood the true cause of the American Revolution. He was asked in London once:

"How do you account for the prosperity in the American colonies?"

Mr. Franklin replied:

"That is simple. It is only because in the colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Script and we issue it in the proper proportion to accommodate trade and commerce."

In other words, the colonies didn't use their power to create money to create inflation, and as a result the American nation was becoming prosperous.

This situation was to change, however, during the 1760's when the Bank of England introduced a bill in Parliament that no colony could issue its own script The colonies, according to this legislation, would have to issue bonds and sell them to the Bank, who would then loan them the money they were to use in their colonies. America's money was to be based upon borrowed debt The colonies would have to pay interest for the privilege of carrying their own money.

This action caused great unemployment when put into effect as the Bank of England only allowed the colonies to borrow one-half of the quantity of money previously in circulation. Franklin and others realized this, and Franklin is on record as saying:

"The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction."

And in a quote attributed to him, he said:

"The refusal of King George III to allow the colonies to operate an honest colonial money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution."

Franklin acknowledged that the cause of the Revolution was the resistance of the colonies to the idea of borrowed money, resulting in debt and inflation as well as interest payments, and not "taxation without representation," as is commonly believed.

One of the countries visited by the Mason Benjamin Franklin was France. In January of 1774, Franklin was dealing with certain Masonic leaders to buy guns for the American colonies. This transaction was made with the knowledge and support of the French Foreign Minister Vergennes, a fellow Mason.

In addition, the French government, again with the support of Vergennes, was loaning the American colonies a total of three million livres.

Another nation was also involving itself, although indirectly, in the American Revolution:

"At the birth of the American nation, during the Revolutionary War, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, refused the plea of King George III of England to send 20,000 Russian Cossacks to crush the rebellion of the colonies . . . which . . . helped the colonies to survive."

Russia, without a central bank controlling its decisions, had assisted the United States by refusing to send troops against the struggling colonies. Russia was exhibiting her friendship for the United States for the first time and would assist the United States once again in the Civil War, as will be shown in a later chapter.

It is interesting to discover why the two major leaders in the American Revolution of England were fellow Masons Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

"When America needed a national army and a national diplomat, it turned to Brother George Washington as the only officer who not only had national fame but who, due to his Masonic application, had friends in all parts of the Continent At the crucial moment when America, on the verge of defeat, needed foreign alliances, it turned to Brother Franklin—the only American who had world-wide fame and who, due to Masonry, had friends all over the world."

Washington in turn surrounded himself with fellow Masons: "All the staff officers Washington trusted were Masons, and all the leading generals of the Army were Masons."

These decisions by Washington paid an additional bonus, as it is likely that Washington himself had decided to staff his armies with fellow Masons for this reason:

"It seems even likely that the unforgettable and mysterious laxness of certain English military campaigns in America, particularly those of the Howe brothers, (one an admiral and the other a general) was deliberate and due to the Masonic desire of the English General to reach a peaceful settlement and shed as little blood as possible."

In other words, Washington selected fellow Masons as his general staff because he knew that the commanding general of the English troops was also a Mason. The fact that a Mason is duty bound not to kill a fellow Mason if he knows that his opponent is also a Mason, has made it extremely difficult for many non-Mason generals to get their troops to perform well in battle.

To show his public support for the Masons, after the American army retook the city of Philadelphia from the British army on December 27, 1778, General George Washington "his sword at his side, in full Masonic attire, and insignia of the Brotherhood, marched at the head of a solemn procession of three hundred brethren through the streets of Philadelphia This was the greatest Masonic parade that had ever been seen in the New World."

But even with the popular support of the Masons, Washington and the American people had to pay for the costs of the War against the British. In 1775, the Continental Congress voted to issue paper currency (Fiat Money) to finance the war. This money was not borrowed from any banking establishment. It was simply printed as a means of paying the government's expenses in the war. Therefore, it contained no provision for the paying of interest to a group of bankers who had created it out of nothing.

Most of the independent state legislatures, as a sign of good faith and as a recognition that the central government had saved the American people countless millions of dollars in interest payments, passed laws requiring citizens to accept the Continental currency as legal tender.

But by the end of 1776 the "Continental," as it was called, commanded only forty cents on the dollar when exchanged for silver coin. The federal printing presses continued printing these dollars, however, so that by 1776, there were $241.6 million of "Continentals" in circulation.

The merchants of America were accepting these dollars at a rate of 2.5 cents on the dollar, and for less than half a penny just two years later. Inflation had taken its toll in the value of the currency. It had become nearly worthless when measured against real money, a hard metal. The lowest trading price of the "Continental" occurred at the end of the war, when it took 500 paper dollars in exchange for one silver dollar.

It is now apparent why the American people coined the phrase "not worth a Continental." Inflation had occurred once again, in accordance with the economic law that works in every case where the quantity of money, unbacked by gold or silver, is increased rapidly.

It was during this time that a vital disagreement amongst the leading American patriots was coming to the surface.

The issue was whether or not the American government should establish a central bank. Thomas Jefferson was opposed to the establishment of any such bank and Alexander Hamilton was in favor. Jefferson supported his position by stating:

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

It was Hamilton's proposal that the United States create the Bank of the United States, a profit making institution to be privately owned and to enjoy special access to the public funds. The bank would have the legal power to create money out of nothing, and loan it, at interest, to the government.

Hamilton felt that the majority of the people couldn't handle their own money. He proposed that these matters would be best left up to the wealthy. He wrote:

"No society could succeed which did not unite the interest and credit of rich individuals with those of the state. All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are rich and well-born, the other the mass of the people. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right"

Jefferson responded with his charge that banking establishments, when given the ability to inflate and deflate the quantity of money at will, lend themselves to a continuing series of oppressions of the people. He wrote:

"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministry, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery."

The conspiracy that Jefferson saw forming in the United States was a group called the Jacobins, created by the French Branch of the Illuminati.

Today's dictionary defines the Jacobins as "one of a society of radical democrats in France during the revolution of 1789; hence a plotter against an existing government"

John Robison in his classic work on the Illuminati, titled Proofs of a Conspiracy, said this about the Jacobins: "The intelligent saw in the open system of the Jacobins the hidden system of the Illuminati."

(Note: This group will play an important part in the Civil War of 1861-65 as will be covered in a later chapter.)

Unfortunately for the United States, President George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of the Treasury in 1788. Three years later, in 1791, the United States government granted a twenty-year charter to its first national bank, called the First Bank of the United States. This charter was to expire in 1811, and then the American citizens were to have a chance to discuss the Bank and its merits before it could be rechartered.

Jefferson quietly joined in the discussion about the First Bank, stating that Congress did not have any Constitutional authority to charter such an institution and that the Bank was therefore a non-entity. He based his arguments on Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. This section reads: "The Congress shall have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof "

Jefferson argued that Congress had no authority to delegate the money power to another agency, certainly not to an agency that was privately owned and had not only the power to coin money but to print it and then loan it back to the government However, such questions about the constitutionality of the Bank were, unfortunately, just questions, and the Bank survived until 1811, when President James Monroe let the charter lapse.

Even with the pressure on the government from the Bank to borrow to pay off the debts of the American revolution. Presidents Jefferson and Monroe paid off all of the debts of the United States Government without their assistance.

But the pressure to re-charter the Bank started the next year when England started the War of 1812 against the United States. This war was intended to force the United States into a position of needing a central bank to pay for the costs of the war, thus creating interest payments and debt It was hoped by the English bankers that the Americans would re-charter the First National Bank, or create another under a different name.

Two Americans, Henry Clay and John G Calhoun, were early supporters of the American government's entry into the War of 1812. They were also the main supporters of creating another bank under another name: The Second Bank of the United States.

The war with England proved expensive, and raised the debt of the United States from $45 million to $127 million.

Some Americans saw the war as the workings of a conspiracy. One, for instance, was the president of Harvard, Joseph Willard, who made what is now a famous speech declaring the involvement of the secret Illuminati in the events of the day. He said, on July 4, 1812:

"There is sufficient evidence that a number of societies of the Illuminati have been established in this land. They are doubtless striving to secretly undermine all our ancient institutions, civil and sacred. These societies are clearly leagued with those of the same order in Europe. The enemies of all order are seeking our ruin. Should infidelity generally prevail, our independence would fall of course. Our republican government would be annihilated."

Unfortunately, the American people did not heed his warnings and the conspiracy continued its deadly work in the United States.

The pressure to find a way to pay the costs of the War of 1812 through the re-chartering of a national bank continued, and in 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was chartered with a twenty-year charter. This bank was given the ability to loan the government $60 million The money was created out of nothing, evidenced by bonds, and loaned to the federal government. The Second Bank now had the ability, as one writer put it, "to control the entire fiscal structure of the country.

In 1816, Thomas Jefferson once again tried to warn the American people, this time in a letter to John Taylor;

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

"Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance.

"The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the Government, to whom it properly belongs."

It didn't take long for the Bank to exercise its powers.

"The inflationary policies of the Second United States Bank in the first few years after 1812 caused banks to spread fairly discriminately through Kentucky, Tennessee, and other Western States. Then, with the depression of 1819, the big Bank, reversing its policy, began a peremptory contraction. Specie flowed out of the West, leaving in its wake a trail of bankruptcies and a large debtor population unable to meet its obligations."

The Bank was using its powers to increase and decrease the money supply to cause, first inflation, and then deflation. This cycle was of benefit to the bankers who were able to repossess large quantities of property at a fraction of its real value.

But the debt of the War of 1812 was paid up by the end of 1834, an action that was not certain to please the owners of the Second Bank.

But one thing that happened was pleasing to the bankers. The Bank was declared constitutional in 1819 by Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, a member of the Masons, in the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland.

He decreed that Congress had the implied power to create the Bank of the United States.

There was no specific power granted to Congress to create the Bank, so the Constitution was stretched to fit the circumstances by declaring that the Constitution had some mysterious "implied power" that enabled it to do whatever the "stretchers" wanted. The arguments of Jefferson had not been heeded. Hamilton had won.

The next relevant step in America's history occurred in 1826 when a member of the Freemasons, Captain William Morgan, published a book entitled: Illustrations of Masonry By One of the Fraternity Who Has Devoted Thirty Years to the Subject; Captain W. Morgan's Exposition of Freemasony.

This rather thin book of only 110 pages contained the "secrets" of the Freemasons, or as Captain Morgan put it: ". . . the Lodge—room Signs, Grips, and Masonic Emblems."

Less than a month after the book appeared, Captain Morgan was: "carried away . . . by a number of Freemasons . . . " and murdered.

It was alleged, according to a book entitled The Revolutionary Age of Andrew Jackson, by Robert Remini, that: ". . . the Masonic Order had arranged his abduction and probable murder."

The charge that Morgan was killed because he had broken his pledge of secrecy in all Masonic affairs by publishing a book detailing all of the secrets of the Order was certainly in keeping with an understanding of the Masonic ritual. Captain Morgan detailed the procedures of the ritual of becoming a Mason wherein the prospective Mason is caused a slight pain and then warned: "As this is a torture to your flesh, so may it ever be to your mind and conscience if ever you should attempt to reveal the secrets of Masonry unlawfully."

This single act by Captain Morgan was to have major ramifications in the years to come, especially in the Presidential election of 1832. This election was the second one for Andrew Jackson who had been elected first in 1828, primarily because he was in opposition to the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson was on record as saying:

"I was one of those who do not believe that a national bank is a national blessing, but rather a curse to a republic; inasmuch as it is calculated to raise around the administration a moneyed aristocracy dangerous to the liberties of the country."

The election of 1832 was a crucial one to the Bank, because the charter was to be renewed during the term of the president elected that year. Jackson promised the American people: "The Federal Constitution must be obeyed, state rights preserved, our national debt must be paid, direct taxes and loans avoided, and the Federal Union preserved."

He continued: "These are the objects I have in view, and regardless of all consequences, will carry into effect."

(Note: It is revealing that even then, in 1832, Jackson was concerned about the preservation of the Union, the issue that would supposedly cause the Civil War several years away.)

It was prior to this election, in 1830, that a new political party was formed, called the Anti-Mason party, primarily as a warning to the American people about the menace of the Masons in the country and as a response to the murdering of Captain Morgan. According to Mackey's Encyclopaedia, the new party was organized: ". . . to put down the Masonic Institution as subversive of good government . . .."

The Anti-Masons met on September 11 in Philadelphia, where delegates from eleven states met to "denounce the Freemasonic Order and to call upon their countrymen to join a political crusade to save the nation from subversion and tyranny at the hands of the Masons."

One of the delegates to that convention was William Seward from New York, who later became Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln.

Another of those who became concerned about the Masons was John Quincy Adams, president from 1825 to 1829. He published a series of letters "abusive of Freemasonry, directed to leading politicians, and published in the public journals from 1831 to 1833."

But the main issue of the 1832 election was the renewal of the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. The President of this organization, Nicholas Biddle, "decided to ask Congress for a renewal of the Bank's charter in 1832, four years before its current charter expired."

The strategy behind Biddle's move was simple: ". . . since Jackson was seeking re-election, he might see it to his advantage not to allow the matter to become an issue and thus permit the Bank to have its recharter."

Henry Clay, later to become the Republican candidate for the presidency against Jackson, and his colleague Daniel Webster took the lead in guiding the re-chartering bill through the Congress. They were not to be disappointed as the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 28 to 20 and the House by a vote of 107 to 85. But President Jackson had the last opportunity to act on the Bill and he vetoed it on July 10, 1832. In his veto, Jackson again warned the American people by saying:

"It is regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of governments to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, of wealth, cannot be produced by human institutions.

"In the full enjoyment of the gifts of heaven, and the fruits of superior industry, economy and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law, but when the law undertakes to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer, and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of their injustice to their government."

He continued by stating that he held "the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the Constitution, subversive of the rights of the States, and dangerous to the liberties of the people—"

However, even though he had vetoed the re-chartering bill, thereby risking the wrath of the American people had they decided they had wanted the Bank, Jackson decided to let the 1832 election decide its fate. Jackson, who ran on the basic platform of "Bank and no Jackson or No Bank and Jackson," faced great opposition, especially in the press of the United States, "largely because of advertising pressure."

This meant that there were elements inside the business community which had something to gain by the re-chartering of the Bank.

The only ones, apparently, who did not favor the re-chartering were the American people, who responded by re-electing Andrew Jackson by the following vote:

Candidate % of total votes
Jackson55 percent
Clay 37 percent
Anti-Masons8 percent

That meant that approximately 2 out of every 3 voters, those who voted for either Jackson or the Anti-Masons, voted against the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. (An interesting footnote to history is the fact that the Anti-Masons actually carried the state of Vermont and thereby received its votes in the Electoral College.)

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


After the election, President Jackson ordered Biddle to withdraw government funds on deposit in the Bank, and Biddle refused. And to show his displeasure at Jackson's directive, Biddle called for a "general curtailment of loans throughout his entire banking system. Biddle's order was so sudden and its financial effect so devastating, that it pitched the country into an economic panic. $$Which was precisely what Biddle wanted##."

The awesome power of the Bank to destroy in the market place was now being utilized against the American people, even though they voted against it in the 1832 election. The people were right. They wanted no part of a banking establishment and they were being punished for their votes against it.

Biddle reduced the amount of loans outstanding between August 1, 1833, and November 1, 1834, by $18,000,000 and for the next five months, they were reduced by almost $14,500,000. Then Biddle reversed himself and forced the banks to increase the quantity of money from $52,000,000 on January 1, 1833, to $108,000,000 a year later, and to $120,000,000 a year after that Biddle was "in fact embarked on the campaign the radicals above all feared: the deliberate creation of a panic in order to blackmail the government into re-chartering the Bank." He was quoted as saying:

"Nothing but the evidence of suffering abroad will produce any effect in Congress. My own course is decided—all other Banks and all the merchants may break, but the Bank of the United States shall not break."

And of course, the contraction and expansion cycle caused the types of economic problems that Biddle had anticipated. "Businesses failed, men were thrown out of work, money was unobtainable."

President Jackson saw through Biddle's activities and once again warned the American people:

"The bold effort the present bank had made to control the Government, the distress it had wantonly produced . . . are but premonitions of the fate that awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution, or the establishment of another like it."

Jackson not only saw that Biddle's efforts would destroy the economy of the United States, he also felt that Europe would suffer as well. But his real fears were that the Bank constituted a threat to his very existence. He told his Vice President, Martin Van Buren, "The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me. But I will kill it."

It is not certain whether Jackson meant that the Bank was trying to destroy his political career or to murder him, but on January 30, 1835, a would-be assassin named Richard Lawrence stepped into his path and fired two pistols at close range at him. Both pistols misfired, and President Jackson was not hurt. Lawrence later claimed that he had been "in touch with the powers in Europe, which had promised to intervene if any attempt was made to punish him."

In addition to being the subject of the first presidential assassination attempt in the United States, President Jackson was made the subject of the first censure of a President The Senate, in March, 1834, "agreed by a vote of 26 to 20 to officially censure Andrew Jackson for removing the government's deposits from the Bank of the United States without the express authorization of the United States Congress."

Jackson apparently blamed the Bank. He said:

"So glaring were the abuses and corruptions of the Bank . . . so palpable its design by its money and power to control the government and change its character." Someone had attempted to control the government by removing him from the presidency.

The Senate of 1837 later reversed this action by voting to expunge the censure by a vote of 24 to 19.

Even with all of the toils and tribulations of the period, Jackson was able to completely liquidate the national debt during his eight years in office.

As Jackson was leaving the presidency, he once again warned the American people in his Farewell Address:

"The Constitution of the United States unquestionably intended to secure to the people a circulating medium of gold and silver. But the establishment of a national bank by Congress, with the privilege of issuing paper money receivable in the payment of public dues . . . drove from general circulation the constitutional currency and substituted one of paper in its place."

But all of these defeats at the hands of Jackson and the American people didn't deter the bankers from attempting to re-charter the Bank. President John Tyler vetoed two bills in 1841 to revive the Second Bank of the United States.

So the Bank's charter expired in 1836 and, for the next 24 years, until the Civil War started in 1861, the United States had no central bank. So for the years up until 1841, at least, the bankers had been foiled in their attempts to completely enmesh the United States in the web of a permanent banking establishment