Excerpted from No Treason, No. 6
As all voting is secret (by secret ballot), and as all secret
governments are necessarily only secret bands of robbers, tyrants, and
murderers, the general fact that our government is practically carried
on by means of such voting, only proves that there is among us a secret
band of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, whose purpose is to rob,
enslave, and, so far as necessary to accomplish their purposes, murder,
the rest of the people.
No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to
the injury of a third person, unless they do it in so open and
authentic a manner as to make themselves personally responsible for his
acts. None of the voters in this country appoint their political agents
in any open, authentic manner, or in any manner to make themselves
responsible for their acts. Therefore these pretended agents cannot
legitimately claim to be really agents. Somebody must be responsible
for the acts of these pretended agents; and if they cannot show any
open and authentic credentials from their principals, they cannot, in
law or reason, be said to have any principals. The maxim applies here,
that what does not appear, does not exist. If they can show no
principals, they have none.
But even these pretended agents do not themselves know who their
pretended principals are. These latter act in secret; for acting by
secret ballot is acting in secret as much as if they were to meet in
secret conclave in the darkness of the night. And they are personally
as much unknown to the agents they select, as they are to others. No
pretended agent therefore can ever know by whose ballots he is
selected, or consequently who his real principles are. Not knowing who
his principles are, he has no right to say that he has any. He can, at
most, say only that he is the agent of a secret band of robbers and
murderers, who are bound by that faith which prevails among
confederates in crime, to stand by him, if his acts, done in their
name, shall be resisted.
Men honestly engaged in attempting to establish justice in the world,
have no occasion thus to act in secret; or to appoint agents to do acts
for which they (the principals) are not willing to be responsible.
The secret ballot makes a secret government; and a secret government is
a secret band of robbers and murderers. Open despotism is better than
this. The single despot stands out in the face of all men, and says: I
am the State: My will is law: I am your master: I take the
responsibility of my acts: The only arbiter I acknowledge is the sword:
If anyone denies my right, let him try conclusions with me.
But a secret government is little less than a government of assassins.
Under it, a man knows not who his tyrants are, until they have struck,
and perhaps not then. He may GUESS, beforehand, as to some of his
immediate neighbors. But he really knows nothing. The man to whom he
would most naturally fly for protection, may prove an enemy, when the
time of trial comes.
This is the kind of government we have; and it is the only one we are
likely to have, until men are ready to say: We will consent to no
Constitution, except such an one as we are neither ashamed nor afraid
to sign; and we will authorize no government to do anything in our name
which we are not willing to be personally responsible for.
What is the motive to the secret ballot? This, and only this: Like
other confederates in crime, those who use it are not friends, but
enemies; and they are afraid to be known, and to have their individual
doings known, even to each other. They can contrive to bring about a
sufficient understanding to enable them to act in concert against other
persons; but beyond this they have no confidence, and no friendship,
among themselves. In fact, they are engaged quite as much in schemes
for plundering each other, as in plundering those who are not of them.
And it is perfectly well understood among them that the strongest party
among them will, in certain contingencies, murder each other by the
hundreds of thousands (as they lately did do) to accomplish their
purposes against each other. Hence they dare not be known, and have
their individual doings known, even to each other. And this is avowedly
the only reason for the ballot: for a secret government; a government
by secret bands of robbers and murderers. And we are insane enough to
call this liberty! To be a member of this secret band of robbers and
murderers is esteemed a privilege and an honor! Without this privilege,
a man is considered a slave; but with it a free man! With it he is
considered a free man, because he has the same power to secretly (by
secret ballot) procure the robbery, enslavement, and murder of another
man, and that other man has to procure his robbery, enslavement, and
murder. And this they call equal rights!
If any number of men, many or few, claim the right to govern the people
of this country, let them make and sign an open compact with each other
to do so. Let them thus make themselves individually known to those
whom they propose to govern. And let them thus openly take the
legitimate responsibility of their acts. How many of those who now
support the Constitution, will ever do this? How many will ever dare
openly proclaim their right to govern? or take the legitimate
responsibility of their acts? Not one!