Missives of October, Part 2

This final letter of October 26th is to the king. This letter has returned to the style of the flattering preamble with phrases such as most excellent Majesty, Most Gracious Sovereign, faithful subjects, and humble petition. These are not men who are taking lightly the position of the king in his role as God’s man over the people. They treat him with due deference without mockery or scorn.

IN CONGRESS IN PHILADELPHIA

October 26, 1774

To the King’s most excellent Majesty:

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, — We, your majesty’s faithful subjects, of the colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, on behalf of ourselves and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, by this our humble petition beg leave to lay our grievances before the throne.


In the first eleven of the grievances they do not lay blame on the king even thought it is obvious the actions must have been his. For example, they say “A standing army” and “this army” even though they know it’s the king’s army. Also, “Counselors, holding their commissions during pleasure” refers to the king’s pleasure. This letter walks a fine line of complaining while not blaming the king. Yet.


A standing army has been kept in these colonies ever since the conclusion of the late war, without the consent of our Assemblies; and this army, with a considerable naval armament, has been employed to enforce the collection of taxes. The authority of the commander-in-chief, and under him the brigadier-general, has, in time of peace, been rendered supreme in all the civil governments of America.

The commander-in-chief of all your majesty’s forces in North America has, in time of peace, been appointed governor of a colony.

The charges of usual officers have been greatly increased and new, expensive, and oppressive offices have been multiplied.

The judges of admiralty and vice-admiralty courts are empowered to receive their salaries and fees from the effects condemned by themselves.

The officers of the customs are empowered to break open and enter houses without the authority of any civil magistrate, founded on legal information.

The judges of courts of common law have been made entirely dependent on one part of the Legislature for their salaries as well as for the duration of their commissions.

Counselors, holding their commissions during pleasure, exercise legislative authority.

Humble petitions, from the representatives of the people, have been fruitless.

The agents of the people have been discountenanced, and governors have been instructed to prevent the payment of the salaries.

Assemblies have been repeatedly and injuriously dissolved.

Commerce has been burdened with many useless and oppressive restrictions.


The next paragraphs lay the blame largely on Parliament.


By several acts of Parliament, made in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years of your majesty’s reign, duties are imposed on us for the purpose of raising a revenue; and the powers of admiralty and vice-admiralty courts are extended beyond their ancient limits, whereby our property is taken from us without our consent, the trial by jury in many civil cases is abolished, enormous forfeitures are incurred for slight offenses, vexatious informers are exempted from paying damages to which they are justly liable, and oppressive security is required from owners before they are allowed to defend their right.

Both Houses of Parliament have resolved that colonists may be tried in England for offenses alleged to have been committed in America, by virtue of a statute passed in the thirty-fifth year of Henry the Eighth, and in consequence thereof attempts have been made to enforce that statute.

A statute was passed in the twelfth year of your majesty’s reign, directing that persons charged with committing any offense therein described, in any place out of the realm, may be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm, whereby inhabitants of these colonies may, in sundry cases by that statute made capital, be deprived of a trial by their peers of the vicinage.

In the last session of Parliament, an act was passed for blocking up the harbor of Boston; another, empowering the governor of the Massachusetts Bay to send persons indicted for murder in that province to another colony, or even to Great Britain, for trial, whereby such offenders may escape legal punishment; a third for altering the chartered constitution of government in that province, and a fourth for altering the limits of Quebec, abolishing the English and restoring the French laws, whereby great numbers of British Frenchmen are subjected to the latter, and establishing an absolute government and the Roman Catholic religion throughout those vast regions that border on the westerly and northerly boundaries of the free, Protestant, English settlements; and a fifth for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty’s service in North America.


In the following paragraphs they again assert the sovereignty of the king and their loyalty. They deny any seditious intent in their petitions.


To a sovereign who glories in the name of Britain, the bare recital of these acts must, we presume, justify the loyal subjects who fly to the foot of his throne and implore his clemency for protection against them.

From this destructive system of colony administration, adopted since the conclusion of the last war, have flowed those distresses, dangers, fears, and jealousies that overwhelm your majesty’s dutiful colonists with affliction; and we defy our most subtile and inveterate enemies to trace the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these colonies from an earlier period, or from other causes, than we have assigned.

Had they proceeded on our part from a restless levity of temper, unjust impulses of ambition, or artful suggestions of seditious persons, we should merit the opprobrious terms frequently bestowed upon us by those we revere. But, so far from promoting innovations, we have only opposed them, and can be charged with no offense unless it be one to receive injuries, and be sensible of them.


In this next paragraph the men state that it was the goodness of the Creator that allowed them to be born in freedom and be subject under this king whose ancestors were “seated on the throne” (chosen to rule) in order to “rescue” Britain from “popery (the Pope) and “superstition” (the Catholic faith). They speak of the king’s “royal wisdom” and the “blessing of divine Providence” they wish to guard.


Had our Creator been pleased to give us existence in a land of slavery, the sense of our condition might have been mitigated by ignorance and habit. But, thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were born the heirs of freedom, and ever enjoyed our right under the auspices of your royal ancestors, whose family was seated on the throne to rescue and secure a pious and gallant nation from the popery and despotism of a superstitious and inexorable tyrant. Your majesty, we are confident, justly rejoices that your our title to the crown is thus founded on the title of your people to liberty; and, therefore, we doubt not but your royal wisdom must approve the sensibility that teaches your subjects anxiously to guard the blessing they received from divine Providence, and thereby to prove the performance of that compact which elevated the illustrious house of Brunswick to the imperial dignity it now possesses.


The remainder of the petition is filled with pledges of loyalty and duty to the king. It is Parliament that has caused the problem, not the king. They call him an “honorable prince.” They wish him “felicity” and a “long and glorious reign”. This will change in the not too distant future.


The apprehension of being degraded into a state of servitude from the preeminent rank of English freemen, while our minds retain the strongest love of liberty, and clearly foresee the miseries preparing for us and our posterity, excites emotions in our breasts which, though we can not describe, we should not wish to conceal. Feeling as men, and thinking as subjects, in the manner we do, silence would be disloyalty. By giving this faithful information, we do all in our power to promote the great objects of your royal cares, the tranquility of your government and the welfare of your people.

Duty to your majesty, and regard for the preservation of ourselves and our posterity, the primary obligations of nature and society, command us to entreat your royal attention; and, as your majesty enjoys the signal distinction of reigning over freemen we apprehend the language of freemen will not be displeasing. Your royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who, daringly interposing themselves between your royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society, by abusing your majesty’s authority, misrepresenting your American subjects, and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries, too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty’s repose by our complaints.

These sentiments are extorted from hearts that much more willingly would bleed in your majesty’s service. Yet so greatly have we been misrepresented, that a necessity has been alleged of taking away our property from us without our consent, “to defray the charge of the administration of justice, the support of civil government, and the defense, protection, and security of the colonies.” But we beg leave to assure your majesty that such provision has been and will be made for defraying the first two articles as has been and shall be judged, by the Legislatures of the several colonies, just and suitable to their respective circumstances; and, for the defense, protection, and security of the colonies, their militia, if properly regulated, as they earnestly desire may immediately be done, would be fully sufficient, at least in times of peace; and in case of war, your faithful colonists will be ready and willing, as they ever have been, when constitutionally required, to demonstrate their loyalty to your majesty, by exerting their most strenuous efforts in granting supplies and raising for ces. Yielding to no British subjects in affectionate attachment to your majesty’s person, family, and government, we too dearly prize the privilege of expressing that attachment by those proofs that are honorable to the prince who receives them and to the people who give them, ever to resign it to any body of men upon earth.

Had we been permitted to enjoy in quiet the inheritance left us by our forefathers, we should at this time have been peaceably, cheerfully, and usefully employed in recommending ourselves by every testimony of devotion to your majesty, and of veneration to the state from which we derive our origin. But though now exposed to unexpected and unnatural scenes of distress by a contention with that nation in whose parental guidance, on all important affairs, we have hitherto, with filial reverence, constantly trusted, and therefore can derive no instruction in our present unhappy and perplexing circumstances from any former experience, yet we doubt not the purity of our intention and the integrity of our conduct will justify us at that grand tribunal before which all mankind must submit to judgment.

We ask but for peace, liberty, and safety. We wish not a diminution of the prerogative, nor do we solicit the grant of any new right in our favor. Your royal authority over us, and our connection with Great Britain, we shall always carefully and zealously endeavor to support and maintain.

Filled with sentiments of duty to your majesty, and of affection to our parent state, deeply impressed by our education, and strongly confirmed by our reason, and anxious to evince the sincerity of these dispositions, we present this petition only to obtain redress of grievances and relief from fears and jealousies occasioned by the system of statutes and regulations, adopted since the close of the late war, for raising a revenue in America; extending the powers of courts of admiralty and vice admiralty; trying persons in Great Britain for offenses alleged to be committed in America, affecting the province or Massachusetts Bay; and altering the government and extending the limits of Quebec; by the abolition of which system the harmony between Great Britain and these colonies, so necessary to the happiness of both, and so ardently desired by the latter, and the intercourses will be immediately restored. In the magnanimity and justice of your majesty and Parliament, we confide for a redress of our other grievances, trusting that, when the causes of our apprehensions are removed, our future conduct will prove us not unworthy of the regard we have been accustomed, in our happier days, to enjoy; for, appealing to that Being who searches thoroughly the hearts of his creatures, we solemnly profess that our councils have been influenced by no other motives than a dread of impending destruction.

Permit us, then, most gracious sovereign, in the name of all your faithful people in America, with the utmost humility, to implore you, for the honor of Almighty God, whose pure religion our enemies are undermining; for your glory, which can be advanced only by rendering your subjects happy, and keeping them united; for the interests of your family, depending on an adherence to the principles that enthroned it; for the safety and welfare of your kingdoms and dominions, threatened with almost unavoidable dangers and distresses, that your majesty, as the loving father of your whole people, connected by the same bonds of law, loyalty, faith, and blood though dwelling in various countries, will not suffer the transcendent relation formed by these ties to be further violated, in uncertain expectation of effects that, if attained, never can compensate for the calamities through which they must be gained.

We, therefore, most earnestly beseech your majesty that your royal authority and interposition may be used for our relief, and that a gracious answer may be given to this petition.

That your majesty may enjoy every felicity through a long and glorious reign, over loyal and happy subjects, and that your descendants may inherit your prosperity and dominions till time shall be no more, is, and always will be, our sincere and fervent prayer.

By order of the Congress,
Henry Middleton, President.

The Missives of October

October of 1774 was a busy month of writing for the Continental Congress. First up was the Declaration and Resolves, also known as the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, on October 14th.

This letter is to Parliament and lacks the preamble of the letters to His Majesty.

IN CONGRESS IN PHILADELPHIA

October 14, 1774

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various presence’s, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county:

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace:

And whereas it has lately been resolved in parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned:

And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; one entitled, “An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New England; — another entitled, “An act for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New England; — and another entitled, “An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England; — and another statute was then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, etc. — All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights:

And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by his Majesty’s ministers of state: The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted: Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE,

That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following RIGHTS:

Resolved, N.C.D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England.

Resolved, N.C.D. 3.That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise andenjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.

Resolved, N.C.D. 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed: But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bonfide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects, in America, without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.

Resolved, N.C.D. 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes, as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.

Resolved, N.C.D. 7. That these, his Majesty’s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.

Resolved, N.C.D. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal.

Resolved, N.C.D. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.

Resolved, N.C.D. 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.

All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves, and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties, which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislature.

In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and violations of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire, that harmony and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been adopted since the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.

Resolved, N.C.D. 11. That the following acts of parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially necessary, in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.

The several acts of Geo. III. ch. 15, and ch. 34.-5 Geo. III. ch.25.-6 Geo. ch. 52.-7 Geo.III. ch. 41 and ch. 46.-8 Geo. III. ch. 22. which impose duties for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, extend the power of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to, requiring oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American rights.

Also 12 Geo. III. ch. 24, entitled, “An act for the better securing his majesty’s dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores, — which declares a new offence in America, and deprives the American subject of a constitutional trial by jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial of any person, charged with the committing any offence described in the said act, out of the realm, to be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm. Also the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston, for altering the charter and government of Massachusetts-Bay, and that which is entitled, “An act for the better administration of justice, etc.—

Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic religion, in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger (from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law and government) of the neighboring British colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.

Also the act passed in the same session, for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty’s service, in North-America.

Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.

To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures:

1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association.

2. To prepare an address to the people of Great-Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and

3. To prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions already entered into.

Signed, PEYTON RANDOLPH, President.

The letter continues to blame Parliament for the violations of their rights as Englishmen and there are many phrases that will be repeated in future letters that will also appear in a more polished form in the final Declaration of 1776.


On October 21st the Congress wrote the Address to the People of Great Britain. Again they laid out there grievances. They appeal to the “virtue, justice and public spirit of the English Nation.

“To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and desirous of independence. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory, and our greatest happiness; we shall ever be ready to contribute all in our power to the welfare of the empire; we shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and your interest as our own.”

The letter closes with another jab at the Parliament and a polite mention of the King.

“But we hope that the magnanimity and justice of the British nation will furnish a Parliament of such wisdom, independence, and public spirit as may save the violated rights of the whole empire from the devices of wicked ministers and evil counselors, whether in or out of office, and thereby restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal affection between all the inhabitants of His Majesty’s kingdoms and territories so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.”

By order of the Congress,
Henry Middleton, President.


This letter is followed by one on October 24th entitled To The Inhabitants of the Several Anglo-American Colonies. They state that their hopes rest on Divine Favour and that

“we have diligently, deliberately, and calmly inquired into and considered those exertions, both of the legislative and executive power of Great Britain, which have excited so much uneasiness in America, and have with equal fidelity and attention considered the conduct of the colonies. Upon the whole, we find ourselves reduced to the disagreeable alternative of being silent and betraying the innocent, or of speaking out and censuring those we wish to revere. In making our choice of these distressing difficulties, we prefer the course dictated by honesty and a regard for the welfare of our country.”


On October 26th the Congress sent an Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec. In it they ask the province to join in solidarity in asking for redress of the grievances in the address to the Parliament. The lengthy letter closes with these paragraphs:

We do not ask you, by this address, to commence acts of hostility against our common sovereign. We only invite you to consult your own glory and welfare, and not to suffer yourselves to be inveigled or intimidated by infamous ministers, so far as to become the instruments of their cruelty and despotism, but to unite with us in one social compact, formed on the generous principles of equal liberty, and cemented by such an exchange of beneficial and endearing offices as to render it perpetual. In order to complete this highly desirable union, we submit it to your consideration, whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts, and elect deputies who, afterward meeting in a Provincial Congress, may choose delegates to represent your province in the Continental Congress to be held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, 1775.

In this present Congress, beginning on the fifth of the last month, and continued to this day, it has been with universal pleasure, and a unanimous vote, resolved that we should consider the violation of your rights, by the act for altering the government of your province, as a violation of our own, and that you should be invited to accede to our confederation, which has no other objects than the perfect security of the natural and civil rights of all the constituent members, according to their respective circumstances, and the preservation of a lasting and happy connection with Great Britain on the statutory and constitutional principles herein before mentioned. For effecting these purposes, we have addressed an humble and loyal petition to his majesty, praying relief of our and your grievances, and have associated to stop all importations from Great Britain and Ireland, after the first day of December, and all exportations to those kingdoms and the West Indies, after the tenth day of next September, unless the said grievances are redressed.

That Almighty God may incline your minds to approve our equitable and necessary measures, to add yourselves to us, to put your fate, whenever you suffer injuries which you are determined to oppose, not on the small influence of your single province, but on the consolidated powers of North America and may grant to our joint exertions an event as happy as our cause is just, is the fervent prayer of us, your sincere and affectionate friends and fellow subjects.

By order of the Congress,
Henry Middleton, President.


The final letter, also on October 26th, is to the king. They return to respectful preamble to His Majesty followed by their grievances in which they lay most of the blame on Parliament.

To the King’s most excellent Majesty:

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, — We, your majesty’s faithful subjects, of the colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, on behalf of ourselves and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, by this our humble petition beg leave to lay our grievances before the throne.

Because of the length of this particular letter and its many religious overtones I will write about it in tomorrow’s post.

The Stamp Act Congress believed kings were divinely authorized

Now when I say divinely appointed, I mean in the sense of Romans 13:1-4 “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” and in 1 Peter 2:1-14 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” Do notice, however, that both Apostles add a caveat about governments doing good for those who do good and punishing those who do wrong. The idea that “divine right of kings” meant that kings could do whatever they want is not biblical. That is an idea from the so-called enlightenment anti-theists that tried to discredit everything that had a Christian basis.

Now on to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765.

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

The members of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to His Majesty’s person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the Protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time would permit, the circumstances of said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations, of our humble opinions, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labor, by reason of several late acts of Parliament.

Notice that even though they are asserting their rights, they do so with the respect due the king. The “present happy establishment of the Protestant succession refers to the fact that this is King George III who has ascended to the throne upon his father’s death. The members of Congress are “sincerely devoted”and have the “warmest sentiments of affection and DUTY to His Majesty’s person and government.”

1st. That His Majesty’s subjects in these colonies owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body, the Parliament of Great Britain.

2d. That His Majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies are entitled to all the inherent rights and privileges of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain.

Here they call themselves subjects and liege subjects. Now a subject is someone who is simply subject to the rule of someone else. A liege subject, however, is in a mutual bond. The liege subject obeys and serves the ruler and the liege ruler sustains and defends the subject.It is a mutually beneficial allegiance. This specific use of the term liege links their ideas to those of Romans and 1 Peter.

The Declaration of Rights closes with this:

Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies to the best of sovereigns, to the mother-country, and to themselves, to endeavor, by a loyal and dutiful address to His Majesty, and humble application to both houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of Parliament whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of the American commerce.

Again they mention duty and also qualify that it is to the best of sovereigns, a term they apply to the current king out of respect and because they believe a good king would give them what they want, the repeal of the Stamp Act.

An association and agreement

If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed…to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. — William Bradford

The first document of self government was written in 1620 by the male passengers of the Mayflower. It is known today as the Mayflower Compact, but was known at the time only as “an association and agreement”.

In the original:

In ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith, &c

Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte, constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie:  vnto which we promise all due submission and obedience.  In witnes wherof we haue herevnder subscribed our names at Cape
Codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620·

In modern American English:

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

Notice that the king is such “by the grace of God” and that they write “in the name of God”. They undertook the trip “for the glory of God”, “the Advancement of the Christian faith”, and “the honor of the king”. They make the agreement “in the presence of God” as well as each other.

Notice also that it is a “civil body politic” not a religious order. This does not mean that religion was not important, it was because it governed their personal lives and consciences. However, not all of the men were part of the church, but they would be part of the community. The Saints (the people we call pilgrims) were Congregationalists and believed that God governed them individually, not corporately, as this would keep the people in the most direct relationship to God.

Additionally, they would “enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony;”. The government would not make rules for everything and would not be a constant presence in the lives of the people. The people were expected to be self-governed, which means responsible for their own behavior. [Self government and self-government are not the same thing. The first means that people have a voice in their community government, the second means they have self-control and bear personal responsibility for their actions.]

The phrase continues: “unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.” This means submission and obedience was DUE (that is owed or deserved) to those laws that are just and equal, and “most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony”. Just and equal are self-explanatory. General good means for EVERY person in the colony, not just some. The phrase meet (adj. from the Greek meaning “suitable, fitting) and convenient (the archaic meaning of “proper” not the modern meaning of easy or nearby) has the same meaning as “necessary and proper” that appears in the Constitution. The AND is important in that the laws must meet two requirements, not just one. A law might be thought suitable or fitting by some, but not be in the proper purview of the government. The law might be in the purview of the government, but not be suitable because it can be handled in some other way. The implication of the word due (which will be repeated in future documents) is that only laws that are “just, equally applied, and both necessary and proper” deserve to be obeyed. This is well supported in scripture such as in the book of Daniel and also in the lives of the Apostles, who “obeyed God rather than men”. However, it was not license to disobey a law that was simply disagreed with, nor did it mean there would be no consequences. When the people in the Bible disobeyed human laws they were still subject to the authorities and took their punishment, which may or may not have been mitigated by God’s intervention. This is what the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was talking about in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. These words of Jesus should govern the actions of all: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 22:35-40

To summarize: this document clearly contains the idea of divine authority vested in a king and respect and reverence for that authority. However, there is the reminder that justice will play a part in whether or not obedience is deserved.

Kings and Kingdoms

In discussing divine right from the viewpoint of the American founding, one must follow the thread of history’s tapestry back to ancient Israel. After the nation of Israel was established by God in the land of Canaan, it was ruled by God through judges and guided by prophets. That changed into kingship at the request of the people. The story is told in 1 Samuel, chapter 8:

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

In 1 Samuel, chapter 10, verse 1 the king is annointed:

Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?

Although the Lord had already shown Samuel who was to be king, and Saul had been told and anointed, the people had not been told yet. The announcement is made later in chapter 10:

17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others.24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.

The only other king directly appointed by God was David. David was chosen to replace Saul after God removed the kingdom from him due to his disobedience.

1 Samuel, chapter 13:

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; theLord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept theLord’s command.”

1 Samuel, chapter 16:

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsomefeatures.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

From then on it was kingship by inheritance and God did not directly intervene to choose a king. But the people understood that this was the will of God and that kings would rule and should be honored and that they would be punished and removed at His timing.

An aside about kings and kingdoms in ancient history: the reign of kings was not neat and orderly the way we think they should be – one king dies and a new one takes the throne on a specific date. In ancient times kings sometimes overlapped because of rival claims over the same land and people. Don’t get stuck on dates and territories. Here I am just discussing the general idea of kingship and where if came from to explain the belief system of the founders.

There are too many verses to list them all here, but the Old Testament is full of stories of kings both good and bad. Kings used as examples to follow and not to follow. And kings being confronted by God’s prophets telling them what to do or how to behave or warning them of punishment to come. The  New Testament has few mentions of earthly kings, but does have verses that pertain to this discussion of divine right in light of the American founding:

Christians are instructed to treat the government and God as separate, not one and the same – Luke 20:25 (also in Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17)

He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Christians are to put God above the government – Acts 5:29

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Christians are to pray for kings and other leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

And most critically, Christians are to obey authority – Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Note especially verse 7:

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Verse seven is the most important in relation to the founding as will be shown when I discuss the documents of the settlement and founding of the United States. Christians only owe obedience to kings that act in accordance with God’s law.  The Old Testament habit of confronting kings who behaved badly will figure prominently in the founding.

Back to Basics

There are many blogs that talk about current events in both politics and economics that say pretty much what I would want to say only better, so I think I will go back to what I know best and what I have not seen much of – explicating the Constitution and it’s origins.

I will be starting with the topic of kings/rulers/authority from the Judeo-Christian viewpoint. I had this in mind before the royal baby mania, so this only appears to have a pop culture reference.

In most, if not all, textbooks on government, the four “theories of government” are listed as evolutionary (family), force, divine right, and social contract. They are often spoken of as mutually exclusive but should be seen as more of a continuum along which one can move in either direction.

The evolutionary, or family, government is still with us in every society. The first government system everyone is born into is some type of family wherein an adult or adults are in charge and teach and guide children. With extended families tribal governments based on kinship would naturally develop. This type of government is still in existence in many parts of the world as is seen on any news story about the developing world.

As family groups traveled, following game or other resources, and came across one another, what would usually happen is that there would be a fight over the resources. Conflict was the natural outcome of most encounters, not a “let’s all sit around the campfire and sing Kum By Ya” kind of situation. One group would prevail over the other and then one or some combination of three things happened: annihilation, assimilation, or/and enslavement. Annihilation would eliminate the need to share scarce resources. Assimilation (generally only females of child bearing age) would be used if the winner deemed it beneficial to them. Enslavement was used if extra labor was needed and the winning group was confident of maintaining control or if the slaves could quickly be sold to another group. With assimilation or enslavement there is a change from family government, with allegiance based on kinship ties, to force government, with rule through fear.

Ruling by force requires surveillance and a large military or security presence. This type of government uses resources to keep the security forces happy lest they overpower the ruler and take over for themselves. Rule by force is inherently unstable.

Ruling by force and fear doesn’t keep everyone in line, so the usefulness of divinity becomes obvious as it is much easier to maintain control over people by ruling with the authority of the religion of the people. By claiming either divinity in oneself or the direct support of the god of the people, many simply obey through allegiance with the religion. Even though the fear of punishment was still there, since disobeying the king would be disobeying the god, there was still the desire to please that is not present in a pure forced government.

It is important to understand the idea of what political scientists call the “divine right” theory of government. European kings are always mentioned as the main or even the only supporters of the theory of divine right government. Sometimes a magical story of how a man became a king is used to discredit the idea and make people seem foolish to believe in the concept, such as the story of King Arthur. However, people in Europe didn’t actually believe that receiving a sword from a lady in a lake is how someone gets divine authority. (I do, however, enjoy the “Dennis the Peasant” scene form Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie and I have shown it to my students every year.) European Divine right is also said to mean that the ruler’s power was unconditional, that is, unrelated to behavior. It is contrasted with the Asian idea of the Mandate of Heaven, which is conditional on the ruler’s behavior. The subtext is that the Christian idea of divine authority is inferior to the Asian idea of divine authority. A proper analysis of the Biblical text and historical documents of the American founding will show that the behavior of the ruler does matter. While earthly authority might rest only in the king, he was subject to God and His laws.

While the term “divine right of kings” is considered by many to apply only to the rulers of Europe from the early middle ages until the “Enlightenment”, the idea of divine rule is much older. The Pharaohs of Egypt were considered to be reincarnations of the god Horus. Before the Pharaohs, the fist written evidence of divine rule comes from Mesopotamia. The ruler who declared himself divine was Naram-Sin of Akkad. He identified himself as the husband of the goddess Ishtar. Divine rule was not claimed by every Mesopotamian king and some 200 years passed before another king claimed divinity. There is also some evidence that Babylonian kings used deification as a means of consolidating their power over regions. In the Roman empire the emperors claimed divinity for themselves.

In the next post I will address divine right in the context of the American settlement and founding.

New semester

So the whole semester passed with no posting until now. I could say I was busy, but really I was distressed at what I thought was a hopeless cause, the prevention of the re-election of Barack Obama. I did not believe the American people could see through the lies of the media and I was correct. While there is plenty of alternative media, most people still watch and/or read the old media which was 100% behind the re-election of Obama. The Republicans did not have enough coherence, and the Libertarians never had a chance.
This semester is economics, which may or may not be a depressing topic, depending on what happens. It is fitting since my last posts were all economic instead of government topics, so I will simply continue with other economic concepts. Currently the topic is money and personal finance with a side helping of the health insurance bill. I have a good group of students that I hope will take to heart the lessons of this semester.

Seen and Unseen

The concept of “the seen and the unseen” is one of the most famous ideas of the French classical liberal Frederic Bastiat. In his essay of “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” Bastiat explains that people only see the immediate effects of something and not the longer run effects. The famous story is told about a broken window and is often called the broken window fallacy.
It is a simple concept yet is so often overlooked, especially in this campaign season. The “stimulus”, the auto bailouts, other bailouts, “investing’ in green energy, all have immediate effects that may indeed be desirable, though often they fail to do even that. The problem is the part that is unseen. The jobs that were lost and will continue to be lost because the bankruptcy process was corrupted, or the money was ill spent, etc. An even worse problem is the damage done to the rule of law when contracts were violated by the government choosing winners and losers in the bailouts. But, the most egregious of the unseen damage, is that done to individual liberty. The more the government does, the more it puts its many tentacles into the lives of the American people, and the less free we become. Regulation and crony capitalism crush our prosperity, government schools snuff out individual thought, and the nanny state infantalizes a dependent populace. Instead of free thinking Americans we are becoming a nation of babies perpetually sucking at the government teat. When the milk runs out, what will we do then?

Guns and Butter

In every high school economics textbook that I have seen is the classic production possibilities problem known as “guns and butter”.
First a definition:
A production possibility frontier (PPF) or production possibility curve (PPC) is a graph that compares the production rates of two commodities that use the same fixed total factors of production. The commodity compared can either be a good or a service. Anywhere along the curve is a series of trade-offs but all are considered efficient. Outside of the curve is not possible without some new discovery of resources or technology. Inside the curve is inefficient use of resources.
The first problem with a “guns and butter” analogy is that it violates the parameters of the definition. Guns and butter do not use the same fixed total factors of production.
The second problem is that most of the time the book includes the idea that “society” must make the decision, which only works in collectivist imaginations. As I have said before, society doesn’t decide anything.
The third problem is the false choice between military goods and domestic goods, which is the real idea behind the analogy. The manufacture of military goods does not create wealth in the long run. In the short run, perhaps for the manufacturing companies, but not in the long run. This is because military goods are purchased by governments, whether ours or a foreign government. Government spending does not create wealth, it destroys it. Government can only spend what it takes from others – through taxation or by borrowing, which just pushes the taxation into the future. Either way it is confiscation from wealth creators.
I am not saying that military spending is unnecessary. At times it is since national defense is a constitutional duty of our government. I am just saying it is wrong to think that military spending is in and of itself beneficial spending. The myth that FDR got us out of the depression has been replaced with the myth that World War 2 did. There are several books out that address that so I won’t do that here. Suffice it to say it just isn’t true. See The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by
Amity Shlaes and America’s Great Depression by Murray Rothbard.

A PPC can be beneficial in determining the best mix of goods or services for a particular firm using identical or nearly identical factors of production, say bread and pastries.
They are also used in classroom practice problems with such items as fish and coconuts (the Robison Crusoe type problem). Beyond that they have little use except to muddle the minds of the masses.

More on scarcity

I am in Colorado for an economic teaching conference and there are fires in a number of places including nearby. The drought here is nothing new, nor the complaints about water rights and usage.
Water is, of course, a scarce resource. However, we are not running out of water, nor will we ever run out of water. This is because the Earth has a closed hydrologic system. The amount of water is constant throughout the ages. Water evaporates and precipitates, but the amount never changes. Fresh water is a very small portion of the total and is not evenly distributed around the globe, so the dilemma is how to care for this necessary resource.
Though water is dear, it is often sold cheap through government utilities. Some municipalities have privatized their utilities with great success.
Water not directly controlled by government may be nominally private, but a mish mash of tradition and regulations makes a mess of that, too. Rainwater collection has been made illegal in many western States. So water that falls on your land is not yours, it belongs to “society”. Also, farmers are not allowed to sell any excess water contained in their land for any non-agricultural use, even if no other farm needs it. These rules are ridiculous and need reform.
Desalinization has been one solution to fresh  water shortage in many areas and improved technologies will continue to increase water supplies.
Several studies over the years have shown that free markets in water can be used to allocate even this very important resource.
See “The Use of Pricing and Markets for Water Allocation” and “Markets for Water”.