Selected Works of
R. Carter Pittman
Originally published as 13 Ga Bar J 406 (No. 4, May 1951)
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By R. Carter Pittman
OR the information of those who may wonder why a person in the year 1951 would choose the subject "George Mason and the Rights of Men," I will take the liberty to withdraw a concluding paragraph and convert it into a preface. It is broad, but not too broad: The American people are more indebted to George Mason for the liberties they now enjoy than to any other mortal man living or dead.
George Mason was not a lawyer, nor was he a politician. He was a constitutionalist. He was born in 1725. Within the 51 years of his life preceding the Declaration of Independence, much of which was copied by Jefferson verbatim from his writings, he had seen much, had heard much and had read much. He was recognized by the leading men of the Revolutionary Era as the one man who knew most about the Constitution of the American Colonies. For example, Thomas Jefferson, in his autobiography, while according to George Mason his share in the enactment of laws in Virginia, of which Jefferson was so proud as to have them memorialized in marble, for the world to read, at the tomb where he now rests, said:
In giving this account of the laws of which I was myself the mover and draughtsman, I, by no means, mean to claim to myself the merit of obtaining their passage. I had many occasional and strenuous coadjutors in debate, and one, most steadfast, able and zealous; who was himself a host. This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument, learned in the lore of our former constitution, and earnest for the republican change on democratic principles. His elocution was neither flowing nor smooth; but his language was strong, his manner most impressive, and strengthened by a dash of biting cynicism when provocation made it seasonable.
What did Jefferson mean by the phrase "learned in the lore of our former constitution?" Did the American Colonies have a constitution? If so, what was that constitution? The American Colonies did have a constitution. No one can understand American Colonial history, the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and, most of all, our Federal Constitution, and Bill of Rights without knowing something of the "lore of our former constitution."
Our Colonies were of three sorts, (1) Royal Colonies, (2) Proprietary Colonies, and, (3) Charter Colonies. During the century preceding the Revolution, English Kings converted Proprietary and Charter Colonies into Royal Colonies at every opportunity and, at the time of the Revolution most of the American Colonies were Royal or Provincial establishments. The Constitution of the Royal Colonies consisted in the commissions issued by the Crown to the Governors and the instructions which accompanied those commissions. Those Constitutions were written constitutions emenating from the King and his Council. The Governor's commissions usually occupy three or four pages in our Colonial Records. His instructions, which were supposed to be kept secret from the colonists, now occupy from 80 to 100 pages in our Colonial Records.
Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights and the English Act of Settlement were no part of the constitution of any American Colony, whether provincial, proprietary, or charter. The Petition of Right of 1628, the Puritan Revolution and the English Bill of Rights of 1689 effected revolutionary changes in the parchments of the British Constitution. But, like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right and English Bill of Rights remained mere parchments until there occurred in 1701 the most revolutionary constitutional change in government in the history of the world. That was the year of the English Act of Settlement which, incidentally, gave to England the House of Hanover, but above all gave to England a judiciary emancipated from control by the King by tenure during good behaviour and from control by Parliament by undiminishable pay. Prior to that time Magna Carta had been re-affirmed by Parliament more than 30 times; after that time there was never again any necessity or occasion for Parliament to re-affirm Magna Carta. Prior to that time the writ of Habeas Corpus was not a Writ of Right, but was a writ of grace. In the year 1701 the rights which Englishmen claimed became a reality, and all the parchment which theretofore embodied English aspirations received their seal of validity and for the first time conferred English rights.
Claim them as they might, and as they did, none of the fundamental rights embodied in English constitutional documents were a part or parcel or the constitutions of the American colonies. Their constitutions were the same constitutions that England endured under Henry VIII, Elizabeth, James I, and Charles I. On account of Virginia's loyalty to the House of Stuart during the Puritan Revolution, Charles II extended to Virginia, as a matter of grace, the benefit of the English Habeas Corpus Act. Save for that one instance, every effort of colonial assemblies to re-enact and adopt such hopeful preservatives of human liberty as Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, and the Act of Settlement, were disallowed by the King as conflicting with royal prerogative. The American colonists were sealed off from every fox-hole of liberty by the King's prerogative.
Since justice is the end of all governments and since the judiciary branch of government is that branch which either gives or denies justice to citizens, there can be no justice without a judiciary emancipated from control or influence by the executive and legislative branches of government. You may search the history of the world and all of its governments and you will find that there are only two ways by which tyranny and despotism may be imposed upon a people, to-wit: through the instrumentality of a servile judiciary or through the instrumentality of the military. Tyranny and despotism cannot exist anywhere in the world except where it is possible for rulers to enforce their wills through the instrumentality of a judiciary controlled by them or through military dictatorship. Before Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini, James I, Charles I and other Stuart Kings, could impose arbitrary rule upon their peoples it was necessary that judicial independency be destroyed. In each instance it was done in the name of "social justice."
Between the years 1754 and 1774, George II and George III disallowed every act of American Colonial assemblies which sought to emancipate the American colonial judiciary from servility to the King. It was a part of the constitution of the American Royal Colonies, embodied in the instructions to all royal governors, that they were not to assent to any assembly acts giving to colonial judges tenure during good behaviour. In spite of that constitutional prohibition, some of the governors were forced to grant such commissions before colonial assemblies would pass supply bills for the support of the civil establishment, including the governor and the judiciary. After the death of George II, Governor Hardy of New Jersey renewed some old commissions that had been issued during good behaviour. For that act he was removed from his governorship. About the same time court acts of Pennsylvania, New York and North Carolina were disallowed because they granted tenure to judges during good behaviour. A new provision was inserted in the constitution of the Royal Colonies in the form of an instruction to all governors to the effect that if they should, in the future, under any pretext whatsoever, assent to any law emancipating judges from the control of the King by tenure during good behaviour they would be removed from their government. The date of that instruction was December 1761. It was that alteration in the constitution of the American Royal Colonies, as well as the alterations embodied in the Acts of Trade after 1761, which gave parliamentary sanction to the King's colonial constitutions, and which gradually and finally deprived all of the proprietary and charter colonies of emancipated judges, that did much to bring about the American Revolution.
The English Star Chamber and High Commission found their colonial counterparts in the Courts of Admiralty and judicial tribunals, established by colonial governors under and by virtue of authority granted to them in their commissions.
With the foregoing explanation we may now understand what George Mason meant on June 6, 1766, when writing to the Merchants of London,
We claim nothing but the liberty and privileges of Englishmen; . . . we cannot be deprived of them, without our consent, but by violence and injustice; we have received them from our ancestors . . . (and) will transmit them, unimpaired, to our posterity . . . these are the sentiments of a man who spends most of his time in retirement, and has seldom meddled in public affairs . . . a jealous assertor of the Act of Settlement . . . who adores the wisdom and happiness of the British Constitution; and if he had his election now to make, would prefer it to any that does or ever did exist.
The time spent by George Mason "in retirement," were the years during which he formulated in his mind the great principles which were embodied in the Virginia Bill of Rights and Constitution and, later, after a bitter struggle, in the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution. During his retirement, in his great library at Gunston Hall he became learned in the lore of not only the colonial constitutions but the constitutions of all governments in all ages. What he searched for and what he found in the history of mankind were the enduring principles of human freedom and dignity.
With Peter he watched the Crucifixion. He walked with John Lilburne at the cart's tail. He sat at the trial of Algernon Sidney; saw the drunken Judge Jeffries serve his King by denying to Sidney the minimum protections demanded by decency as well as law; he heard the jury, many of whom were selected from the King's household, bring in a verdict of guilty, and stood nearby when he was executed at the block on Tower Hill, all for the crime of daring to question the prerogative of a King and asserting the rights of men as against power.
He sat in the prisoners' dock with John Peter Zenger as he stood trial in 1733 for the crime of publishing protests against a colonial Governor for rendering the judiciary of New York servile to his will. Like the jury, Mason was enraptured with the sentiments of Andrew Hamilton in defense of all human liberty as he said:
. . . who, that is the least acquainted with History or Law, can be ignorant of the specious Pretences, which have often been made use of by Men in Power, to introduce arbitrary Rule, and destory the Liberties of a free People. . . . Power may justly be compar'd to a great River, while kept within it's due Bounds, is both Beautiful and Useful; but when it overflows, it's Banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemm'd, it bears down all before it, and brings Destruction and Desolation wherever it comes. If then this is the Nature of Power, let us at least do our Duty, and like wise Men (who value Freedom) use our utmost Care to support Liberty, the only Bulwark against lawless Power, which in all Ages has sacrificed to it's wild lust and boundless Ambition, the Blood of the best Men that ever liv'd. . . . you see I labour under the Weight of many Years, and am born down with great Infirmities of Body; yet Old and Weak as I am, I should think it my Duty if required, to go to the utmost Part of the Land, where my Service cou'd be of any Use in assisting to quench the Flame of Prosecutions upon Informations, set on Foot by the Government, to deprive a People of the Right of Remonstrating, (and complaining too) of the arbitrary Attempts of Men in Power. Men who injure and oppress the People under their Administration provoke them to cry out and complain; and then make that very Complaint the Foundation for new Oppressions and Prosecutions. I wish I could say there were no Instances of this Kind. But to conclude; the Question before the Court and you Gentlemen of the Jury, is not of small nor private Concern, it is not the Cause of the poor Printer, nor of New York alone which you are now trying: No! It may in it's Consequence, affect every Freeman that lives under a British Government on the main of America. It is the best Cause. It is the Cause of Liberty; and I make no Doubt but your upright Conduct, this Day, will not only entitle you to the Love and Esteem of your Fellow- Citizens; but every Man who prefers Freedom to a Life of slavery will bless and honour You, as Men who have baffled the Attempt of Tyranny; and by an impartial and uncorrupt Verdict, have laid a noble Foundation for securing to ourselves, our Posterity, and our Neighbours, That, to which Nature and the Laws of our Country have given us a Right, . . . the Liberty . . . both of exposing and opposing arbitrary Power (in these Parts of the World, at least) by speaking and writing Truth.
George Mason stood with Jouvenal and Garth as they plead the cause of the colonists with the Privy Council of England in vain for the one fundamental right of Englishmen, to be tried before judges emancipated from control by any power save standing laws, God and their consciences.
The writings of Algernon Sidney, Montesquieu, Harrington, John Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Aristotle and others, were as ABC's to him. All of man's struggle for freedom lay before him in panorama.
After the colonies had found a way, through Committees of Correspondence and otherwise to exchange sentiments, a joint effort was possible. The colonists were ripe for revolution many times during the century preceding 1776, and they only lacked the strength which union gives, and which was acquired by union immediately prior to 1776.
While Virginia was in a state of nature, before the Declaration of Independence, the first thought of its great men was to prepare a declaration of the rights of men. A committee was named, but it faltered upon the threshold. George Mason's name was added to the committee and within a short time from his pen came the Virginia Bill of Rights which formed the basis of every other Bill of Rights adopted in America, including the Federal Bill of Rights and which formed the basis of the French Declaration of Rights. George Mason's Bill of Rights and Constitution were printed and distributed by the thousands in France and played a great part in the theatre of the French Revolution.
I have a photostatic copy of the Pennsylvania Magazine July 1776. It carries the Declaration of Independence and its predecessor the Virginia Bill of Rights and Constitution in full. The readers of that magazine were struck with the similarity of the language appearing in these two instruments, one purporting to have been written by Jefferson, and the other known to have been previously written by Mason. No question of plagiarism was involved. Two months before he died, Thomas Jefferson writing to Henry Lee from Monticello said,
. . . that George Mason was author of the bill of rights, and of the constitution founded on it, the evidence of the day established fully in my mind.
In the same letter he admitted that the object of the Declaration of Independence was not to state
new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take, Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.
Jefferson was honest -- too honest to deny that he copied a great part of the Declaration from George Mason's writings, and too honest not to admit that George Mason was the author of the writings from which he borrowed so much.*
There was never a time in the history of the English speaking people when the great principles of human freedom needed profound study as much as in the year 1951. Someone has said,
A people indifferent to its past will not long retain the capacity to achieve an honored history.
George Mason said as paragraph 15 of the Virginia Bill of Rights:
That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
Since all of the history of man teaches us that men have never been robbed of their liberties except through the instrumentality of a servile judiciary or the military, and since we are losing our liberties today through the instrumentality of a servile judiciary under myriad forms often referred to as "quasi-judicial tribunals," which are specifically forbidden by our Constitution, it behooves us to recur to fundamental principles in order that we may yet preserve that little which remains of our liberties.
Section 5 of George Mason's Bill of Rights is as follows:
That the legislative and executive powers of the State should be separate and distinct from the judiciary; and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain and regular elections, in which all, or any part of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.
That section of his Bill of Rights embodies two principles of government which, if adhered to by all peoples of the earth, would result in erasing tyranny from its face. As was said by Kurt Schuschnigg, former Chancellor of Austria, in a speech before the American Judicature Society in the fall of 1950:
When the independence of the courts disappears because judges have become accustomed to taking political orders; when Dogmatic politics defines the law as that which is useful to the nation; when judges are purged because of . . . politics; when they are required to decide civil and criminal cases not according to law but what has been called "the healthy sentiment of the perception of the people"; and when this perception is regulated and dictated from above; when the total corruption of the judiciary is completed -- then and only then is modern totalitarianism with its iconoclastic methods and goals able to paralyze the minds of people. . . . as long as an independent judiciary exists intact there cannot be totalitarianism. There are no degrees of totalitarianism, and what is sometimes termed a divided or half-totalitarianism is as much a contradiction of the words as the phrase "communist democracy".
In 1636 Charles I of England had no more that eight quasi judicial bodies enforcing his will upon the people of England. Most prominent of these were the Star Chamber, the High Commission, the Council of the North, the Council of Wales and the Court of Request and Exchequer. Today we have at least 50 federal quasi judicial bodies in America performing identically the same function that was performed by the quasi judicial bodies under Charles I with judges, now called "members," or some other such name, exercising judicial powers and dependent as to tenure upon the will of the President and as to pay upon the will of Congress. A world that could not give to the Master twelve men, without giving him one depraved, will not give to the American People, presidents and legislators, of greater average virtue. The lust for power is never satisfied except when the Goddess of Liberty is being ravished. It will ever be so.
When George Mason gave to Virginia a judiciary separate and distinct and emancipated from legislative and executive powers, he gave to Virginia the one fundamental blessing of liberty that enabled it to "adhere to justice."
A few days ago President Truman was quoted as having said that the terms of office of Congressmen and Senators should be limited to twelve years. Later news items say that he took it back. Perhaps unwittingly, he gave expression to a great principle of government expressed by George Mason in the above quotation. Mason said
"They should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken."
A few weeks ago we limited the President to two terms, thus applying to the executive branch of government a principle of government proposed by George Mason. In the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, George Mason wanted to restrict the President to one term and he was right.
Around the year 1682 William Penn gave to the Colony of Pennsylvania an emancipated judiciary. People fleeing from injustice in England sought out the Pennsylvania colony in order that they might obtain there the justice which was denied to them at home. The proprietors of the Carolinas were in competition with William Penn for settlers. They were forced to establish principles of government there which would appeal to the people or else they would get no settlers. A principle they adopted in order to compete with William Penn was that the people of the Carolinas were "to have a Governor and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the laws of the assembly were put into effect; but the Governor is to rule but three years, and then learn to obey";
The idea of teaching Governors "to obey" appealed to many people of the old world and with that principle of government Carolina was able to hold its own with Pennsylvania for a time, but soon fell behind Pennsylvania because, matters not what your Constitution and Charters may say, matters not what your Assemblies may write into law, still (as Montesquieu puts it and as George Mason applied it), "there can be no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers."
George Mason knew from history's bitter fruits, that you may roll all the great charters of the ages together and sanctify them with the Ten Commandments and all the Holy Writs, and swear men on oath to uphold them, yet there can be no liberty if the tribunals which try the cases and controversies of men and governments are not emancipated from control by all other powers and branches of government.
When a bad president or a bad Congress goes out of office, their depraved policies go with them, but a depraved judiciary lives on in its written decisions and its precedents, and if the depravity of a president or Congress has permeated the judiciary by any measure of control it has exercised over it, then, the fruits of that depravity is a curse upon our children.
Every delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia voted to emancipate those who exercise the judicial powers of the United States, from control by the President by giving them tenure during good behavior, and from control by the Congress, by giving them undimishable pay. They all agreed also that Congress should never have the power to constitute any tribunal exercising any of the judicial powers of the United States except one thus emancipated from the control of the President and Congress.
The great majority of the framers of the Constitution had so much faith in the virtue of men that they believed that an emancipated judiciary, built into the bed-rock of the Constitution, would be all that would be necessary to protect the liberties of men. Only three men refused to sign the Constitution when it was finished. George Mason was one of those. He refused because he wanted the emancipated judiciary to have the weapons inherent in a Bill of Rights to better enable it to repel the assaults of power upon the liberties of men.
The people back on America's farms and frontiers agreed with Mason, and in 1789, our Bill of Rights went in the Constitution as a result of the undying efforts of George Mason and others who joined in the battle to assist the old man, and to preserve the fox-holes of human liberty.
What is our Bill of Rights anyway? It is a brief catalogue of the Rights that have been wrested from power and torn from tyrants by defenseless and powerless men through the centuries. They are the little fox-holes of liberty bought and built with the blood of martyrs and the sufferings of nameless and numberless legions, who were willing to offer their bodies to be maimed and broken, their freedom to be exchanged for dungeons, and their lives to be sacrificed at the block or on the scaffold, in order that their children (you and I), might live in liberty and happiness. Every one of those little fox-holes of liberty was built to protect us from the lash of tyrants wielded either by the hands of a servile judiciary or the military.
The majority of our Constitution makers would have been right, and George Mason wrong, if the mission of the Master of men had been fulfilled, and if a New Judas were not born every minute somewhere in the world. We still have our Bill of Rights but the tyrant's lash is back in the hands of a servile judiciary, in spite of the plain words of the Constitution. We are back in the little fox-holes with upraised arms trying to shield our naked bodies from the lash of arbitrary power wielded by tribunals called "Quasi-judicial tribunals."
The word "Quasi" is merely a new Roman handle for the old lash. The new name sounds better than the names of those abolished during the Puritan Revolution, but the thongs are the same.
At every swing these servile judiciaries called "Boards," look back over their shoulders to the White House. From 1630 to '41, they were looking back to Whitehall. Charles I honeycombed his "Quasi-judicial" tribunals with Bishops (Holy men of God), who used the Bible as a bible. Our president honeycombs our "quasi-judicial" tribunals with so-called "liberals" who use Das Capital as a bible with the "manifesto" as the "Ten Commandments."
Under Charles I the men of the "long robes," on the King's Bench at Westminster, resented it, but were removed from office when they converted their thoughts into words. In 1951 the emancipated men in the "black robes" on Capitol Hill turn their backs, when to end it and preserve liberty would only require the pointing of a finger at the Constitution, with the solemn pronouncement that it means what it says.
The contributions of George Mason to every Bill of Rights and Constitution that has been adopted in this world since 1776, including the Federal Constitution and Bill of Rights and those of our various States are such as to leave his mark and impress indelibly on the world. Not since Christ has any one man done more for the masses of men.
Had he had his way, the masses of men would enjoy immeasurably more liberties than they enjoy today. Had George Mason had his way the Federal Constitution would have emancipated slaves and there would have been no Civil War. Had he had his way Franklin D. Roosevelt would have been surrounded by a Constitutional Council of five or six of the most virtuous, valorous and profound thinkers of America, at Yalta. Alger Hiss and other disciples of Karl Marx would not have been there urging him to agree to sacrifice a large segment of the world's population to Russian despotism, and our boys would not be dying in Korea today.
Had George Mason had his way the Constitutional Convention would not have adjourned in September of 1787 without recording in the Federal Constitution those fundamental rights to which all men are entitled against every government on earth.
Had George Mason had his way there would be no black robed demagogues nor disciples of Karl Marx on the Supreme Court of the United States daily reading out of the Constitution the philogophy of our forefathers and reading into it the philosophy of Karl Marx, and imposing upon us the slavery such philosophy entails. Had he had his way our charter of liberties would be interpreted as the end-product of the struggles and sufferings of our forefathers for centuries rather than as the end-product of sadism.
George Mason knew that eternal vigilance is not the price of liberty. It is only a small part of the price. Vigilance alone will not depose a despot who sits secure beneath the effigy and ensigns of freedom. The eternal struggle of men of virtue and valor, and their will to sacrifice their own lives and fortunes, is a larger part of the price of liberty. The $50,000 that George Mason gave to clothe and feed the men fighting under George Washington drained his fortune, but what of it? The liberty lost in an hour's complacency or a day's rest from the struggle often requires years to re-win. Liberty is never secure against the assaults of power. It is either being lost or re-won at every hour of every age.
In the Federal Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, George Mason was one of the few who fought for the rights of men, and was the only one of that few who tested every proposal with the question: How will this affect the liberties of my children and my grandchildren "who will soon be in the general mass"?
By the end of August, old George Mason saw that his battle for the rights of men was all but lost in the conflict between two factions, warring over legislative vs. executive dominance. He began to draft proposed alterations, handing them to anyone he thought might use them in that raging conflict, ostensibly, so that "the system would be unexceptionable." One proposal was that, "The object of ye natl. Govt. to be expressly defined instead of indefinite powers under an arbitrary construction of genl. clauses." This proposal finally showed up for the first time in Article I in the September I2th draft of the Constitution, embodied in the words, "herein granted," which limited the legislative branch to the specific objects set forth in its delegated and defined powers. It was the best he could do to erect a barrier between power and liberty.
Gouverneur Morris, the leader of the faction warring for executive powers, hit a blow for freedom with that product of Mason's mind. With the legislative branch limited now, for the first time, and an emancipated judiciary established to hold it in check, Mason's proposal for a Bill of Rights was unanimously rejected on the afternoon of September I2th, 1787, as "unnecessary"! Mason's aging mind became aflame. Back to his room at the "Indian Queen," where other proposed alterations flowed from his pen. His efforts to insert the Bill of Rights into the Constitution piece-meal was rejected at every roll call.
The story of George Mason and the Rights of Men has never been told. His life and works await a Boswell. Diogenes was looking for him on the streets of Athens, with a lighted lantern, 400 years B.C. Around 25 A.D. the Son of God was looking for him to make him one of the twelve in Judea. Had he found him, Christianiay would still be a "way of life" instead of a creed. He showed up in Philadelphia in 1787. Patrick Henry and R. H. Lee "smelt a rat" and refused to go. Jefferson was in France. Luther Martin gave up the fight as lost and went home. Old George Mason was there to the bitter end. He went down swinging, for you who read this -- and for me. In 1789 he arose again with his Bill of Rights -- then came death -- and oblivion.
Those who ride to power, and in power, rough-shod, over the rights of men, seem always to stand in marble on our public squares, while those who carry the torch of human freedom are forgotten, perhaps to be re-discovered centuries later.
Charles A. Beard is perhaps the most popular so-called "historian" in America today. His books are used as texts from which our helpless children must try to learn American History. Some of the Supreme Court Judges use his "Economic Interpretation of the Constitution" as a bible. In his work, "The Rise of American Civilization," consisting of more that 1600 pages, the name of George Mason is never mentioned. Karl Marx is honored by having his name mentioned ten times and his philosophy expounded on many pages.
May God have mercy on a people who, to shower adulation on the Russian way, and to show contempt for the American way, paints the philosophy of Karl Marx on the minds of its children and its Judges, and in doing so -- and in order to do so -- turns the face of George Mason to the wall, and strikes from the pages of history his contributions to the liberty and dignity of men!