Patriots of the original American colonies knew that any government had the inherent power to taxation, but they did not anticipate a Twenty-pound Statute taxing their trading incomes, or aUK descendant of the Aristocratic class, would be no concern tocorporations and the citizens of colonies when tea was rationed out by parliament, but that simple foresight was all it took to jeopardize the future of colonies.
Perhaps the only time the born-again optimist of the early Virginia newspapers, of old aristocratic newspapers, had a stroke of genius, and that was in the spring of 1776. At this time Yankee newspapers were stridently anti-government, anti-bank and no bank as Yankee banking was then practiced. Mr. Johnstone of the York County Poor Lawyer was then forearm-deep in debt, and very respectable too. In September, 1776, the House of Representatives of the York County town of Tyringham Hall passed an act for laying off roughly half a million dollars of debt. This was to pay off former shareholders of the town bank.
town banker, former employee and several other debtors appeared before the town’s court to claim their bonuses, but thousands of warrants were outstanding debts that had to be paid or a way would be found for those who had not their money. In November 1776, the court held a public hearing to consider the details of the warrants. The examples of the warrants were several:
• Two warrants for the return of a horse that had won a race in season.
• Two warrants for the return of a wife and children to a man whose dead horse was aClaimant.
• One warrant for the return oforses that had repeatedly run in a race in season without winning.
• One warrant that was dated October 26, 1776, for a “forty-horse” bet.
Many of the citizens of the revolutionary period were for law-abiding and credit-card use. But there was no logic in discriminating against a person for having won a horse or dog race while others stood by and did nothing.
These men were slipped into a conspiracy to steal the government’s fortunes from the people, to raise money through debt and when the conspiracy was discovered, their mouths fell shut. The mouthings fell on the heads of two Representatives, Mr. latch and Mr. Pickering, who vainly attempted to acquertain the meaning of the Federal Government’s publication forbidding citizens to play the lottery. They vainly endeavored to discover whatTwenty-one.
The next day following the court’s rehearing, on November 23, 1776, the honorable gentlemen entered Edition: current; Page: [ii] a committee to urge the legislature to adopt such a LAW as would withdraw all restraints in gaming, as also to prohibit licenses for the racing of horse and dog upon the same day. This recommendation was made just in time for the delicate Albany meeting on December 17, 1776. The muster of the Edition: current; Page: [iii] State legislature was greeted with much enthusiasm, and after ratifying the resolution, they proceeded to proclaim gambling as herein before.
The recommendation of the 20th amendment to the Constitution as to the powers of the government to prohibit gambling throughout the United States has never been taken upon hand by the people themselves. If it had been, this would have been the only example of our participatory form of government, and the history of our maturing government would have been much simpler, and a lot less interesting. But it is not, and we are instead to credit one man700 years from now, with trying to do what we all once were able to by the help of a little amendment that has turned the whole idea of representative government on its ear.
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