The Coastal Post - January, 1997

The Missing Thirteenth Amendment


"A newspaper is not just for reporting news, it's to get people mad

enough to do something about it." - Mark Twain

On Christmas Day of 1810, the State legislature of Maryland voted to ratify an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one that had been reported out of the Eleventh Congress in the Second Session. It has been called "the Missing Thirteenth" but is more properly known as the T.O.N. or "Titles of Nobility" section. Approved by the House by a vote of 87-3, the proposed Amendment reads:

"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or

retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of

Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument

of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power,

such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall

be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or

either of them."

The experience of the first years of the new Republic had brought these men, including the founding fathers like James Madison and James Monroe, to several important conclusions. First, they were constantly embroiled in commercial disputes where the business interests of Americans were being defeated by backdoor swindles in the British courts. So, too, wealthy merchants and speculators from Europe were roiling domestic markets and interfering in the domestic political controversies of the

new states. Some were seeking to bribe the officers of our new army.

Given that transatlantic commerce was a risky proposition any way, American merchants were fed up with the covert methods of piracy being employed by the British and the French, as fed up with that as they had been with the Barbary pirates of Libya just a few years before. But there was no question of the U.S. going head-to-head with the British navy or the French fleet (for so long as it lasted).

Even more worrisome than the concept of British royalty re-purchasing its lost influence with money fleeced from American merchants, was the unsavory tendency of Napoleon Bonaparte, now the Emperor, to establish his relatives and their cronies in whatever vacant Kingdom or dukedom that the Little Corporal might acquire. The new Territory of Louisiana was forming up well, and would soon become a State. Most of the New England states' delegations feared that the French aristocrats in the bawdy houses of New Orleans would push their way into the union, dragging their money and their Titles of Nobility behind them. That was entirely too scandalous to consider!

So the Eleventh Congress passed this proposed Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. Maryland, having suffered the most from the depredations of commercial credit swindles in Britain and Holland, took the extraordinary step of meeting to approve this section -- which augmented Article I, Section 9 of their new Constitution -- on Christmas Day. In just two years, a total of twelve states had ratified it.

Then began the War of 1812 including all that sorry mess with the 1814 burning of the Capitol and the Library of Congress. Despite the fact that the regular troops took off running, the citizens' militia of

Maryland and the armed citizens of Washington city stopped the British regulars and made them pay for their pillaging -- in blood. But most of the records of the government, up to that time, were lost or


One year later, by an Act of Congress, the printers Bioren and Duane were authorized to lay out a comprehensive edition of "The Laws of the United States of America, from the 4th of March, 1789, to the 4th of March, 1815." They did so, and published their book in five volumes in Philadelphia. On page 74 of that book, the proposed Amendment regarding "Titles of Nobility" is listed as Article XIII and follows Article XII in its proper form! And the wording of the section is identical in all regards to the measure passed by Congress in 1810!

"Arranged and published under the authority of an Act of Congress." That is what it reads, on the frontispiece of this amazing book. It can be found, in the original 1815 edition, in the Beinecke Rare Book

collection at Yale, and in Yale's law school.

But that is not all. James Monroe filed a report on February 4, 1818 in which the seventeen states comprising the union in 1810 were polled to determine if that section had been ratified. Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi had joined the union in the interval but Monroe did not think it necessary or proper to poll them, too. The most controversial point concerned Rhode Island, which did not establish a "republican form of government" satisfactory to the federal Congress until 1842. Was twelve sufficient?

Virginia, Monroe's home state, settled that issue in March of 1819 when it ratified this "Titles of Nobility" amendment, and ordered a special printing of 4000 copies of its organic laws and the U.S. Constitution. The state did not, however, transmit a letter or certificate of ratification to the then-Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams.

Now the mystery deepens. Over the next fifty-six years, fully seventy-two different editions of state or Territorial organic laws, including the U.S. Constitution with the Titles of Nobility section appearing as Article XIII, were published. But the law books published by the mainline legal editors of Philadelphia, including Ingersoll's in 1820 and Dunlop's Digest of 1856, do not show the T.O.N. as being Article XIII!

Nine of the twelve new states admitted by 1846 published one or more editions of their organic laws and showing this section to be a valid part of the U.S. Constitution -- the foundation document of the Republic! Illinois alone published six different editions containing this "missing Thirteenth Amendment." And as late as 1876, the Territory of Wyoming published its organic laws and included this section as the valid Thirteenth Amendment, and the anti-slavery amendments of Reconstruction as Articles Fourteen and Fifteen.

It appears that a concerted effort was made over some stretch of years to suppress the true status of this Amendment. And in the tumult of the Civil War and its aftermath, the original Thirteenth Amendment --

prohibiting Titles of Nobility (and prohibiting American politicians from accepting foreign money for their campaigns) -- was discarded and replaced with Lincoln's anti-slavery section. It did not vanish entirely, though.

Colorado Territory's organic laws and the U.S. Constitution, published in six different editions by 1868, all contain this section as the valid Article XIII. But, as can be verified in the Law Library at Yale, none of the Constitutions published after 1877 by national legal publishers, located mostly in Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco, have the Title of Nobility listed as Article XIII. Many do not even refer to it as

having ever been issued out of Congress at all!

Our Constitution Betrayed

December 28th marks the 150th anniversary of Iowa Statehood. Three times prior to being admitted to the union, the Territory of Iowa published an edition of their organic laws including this section. Iowa entered the union believing, and having ratified as the law of its Territory, a U.S. Constitution which had Thirteen valid Amendments.

To view a Table of the states, including the publications of their organic laws, use: For many years there was a controversy over the actual status of the 1819 Virginia ratification, and whether or not the failure of that legislature to send a letter to the Secretary of State disqualified their positive vote. There is no section in Article V that mandates the

state to send a certain kind of letter, now considered to be a Certificate of Ratification. Congress did pass, on April 20th of 1818, a law which stated that "it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to cause and to publish" any amendment which has been adopted "with his certificate, specifying the states by which the same have been adopted..." This law was revised on May 11, 1820.

In a letter dated May 17, 1994, Christopher Runkel of the National Archives affirms that thirteen states did ratify the "Titles of Nobility" with Virginia adding its vote on March 12, 1819. This contradicts previous claims made (1977) that only twelve states had ever ratified this extraordinary section. Either one of two things is true:

A) the twelve states which ratified by 1812 was sufficient for James Monroe and the Congress which authorized the printing of the Bioren and Duane lawbooks; or,

B) the thirteen states which ratified by 1819 was sufficient for the Territories and States which followed, meaning that to the people in the countryside, our national Constitution had three clear and specific prohibitions against holding any Title of Nobility or Honour, and against taking money or prizes from any foreign King or power.

The questions before you are these: What happened? Where did this Amendment go? Why was it surpressed. Who gained from its disappearance? And if it is, indeed, a valid part of our Constitution

today, now -- what are the implications? What does it say about American society, that a fundamental guide post for how our citizens are supposed to conduct themselves with regard to the world at large, has

been hidden from them for at least one hundred and twenty years?

A Personal Note And Observation

Towards that end, We will make this observation: The disappearance of this valid Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one prohibiting Titles of Honour and foreign-based corruption, coincides exactly with the rise of Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the south. Bear in mind, that every leader of the Ku Klux Klan who ever called himself a Wizard, a Knight, or a Grand Dragon assumed a Title of Honour, as specifically prohibited in this long-missing Amendment. What is germane to this is not just a name or an "empty honor," but the "privileges, immunities and emoluments" those leaders collected. Study the history of Byron de la Beckwith if you doubt the truth of our claims! And the same goes for the minions of the Mob!

Every Don, every Capo di Capo of the Mafia or any other criminal organization, who assumed such a Title of Honour (and the protections and pay-offs which went with it), was eligible to be stripped of his or

her citizenship, and quite possibly deported!!! That all makes the mysterious disappearance of this Amendment, considered part of the organic law of many states and Territories in the last century,

something of concern to the United States of the 1990s.