A Forgotten Founder on the Tyranny of Legislative Authority

Lee Cary
James Wilson (1742-1798) of Pennsylvania was one of six persons who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He's also the only Justice of the Supreme Court to be jailed for indebtedness.  It happened shortly before his death after he failed badly as a land speculator.  His son eventually paid off his debts totaling $197,000. Despite his ignoble ending, Wilson was one of the biggest brains among the Founders. In "Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British parliament, 1774," originally written in 1768, he addressed the British public concerning the proper authority of Great Britain's Parliament over the Colonies. In that context he wrote this: "Long parliaments have always been prejudicial to the prince, who summoned them, or to the people, who elected them. In that called by King Charles I, in the year 1640, the commons proceeded at first, with vigour {sic} and a true patriotic {sic} spirit, to rescue the...(Read Full Post)

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