My February 28, 2013 Testimony against HB 638:
"AN ACT recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution"

additional commentary by NH State Rep. Timothy Horrigan; March 1, 2013 & March 29, 2013

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On February 28, 2013, the Committee on State-Federal and Veterans Committee heard a "Thirteenther" bill. The prime sponsor was Stella Tremblay, my old seatmate from the now-defunct Redress of Grievances Committee. She basically wants to put a chapter in the state law books (right near the front of the first volume, in fact) affirming the socalled "Original Thirteenth Amendment." That amendment would replace the current language of Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution with this rather ominous provision:

This is not about getting rid of what we now think of as the real 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. One of the reasons I bothered to testify was because I wanted to make it clear that the "Thirteenthers" are not racists. On February 28, 2013, Rep. Tremblay was accompanied by former House Petitioners Gus Breton and David Johnson, both of whom have some extremely unusual ideas but neither of whom are bigots. (Even though they have both gotten themselves into some very strange situations over the years, in my opinion, neither one of them is crazy.)

The hearing went peacefully enough, but an organization called Granite State Progress captured some viral video. After a rambling but reasonably coherent defense of her not easily defensible bill, Rep. Tremblay went off on a strange tangent about Frederick Douglass, Adolph Hitler and Woodrow Wilson. She was opposed to Hitler and President Wilson, and she was in support of Douglass. She passed out copies of a book by the ultraconservative (and ultra-inaccurate) historian David Barton. I believe the book in question was "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White." She muddied the waters quite a bit.

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To tell you the truth, I was getting ready to deliver my own testimony, and I didn't really realize that I was witnessing an an incident which was about to go "viral." At the time, I thought it was just Stella being Stella. (She is a generous and kind-hearted woman who occasionally says some exceedingly strange things but who always means well.) In retrospect, I should have know she was in trouble: talking about slavery is risky, talking about Hitler is even riskier, and combining the two is riskier still— especially when your facts are all mixed up (and when those facts were spread out over 125 years of history and two continents.) I certainly didn't foresee the craziness which would happen in April and May 2013.

Be that as it may, here is my own written testimony about HB 638. One thing which I don't explain in much detail in my prepared text is the now-legendary "District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871." This was simply a new charter for the City of Washington. Before 1871, the District of Columbia consisted of the Cities of Washington and Georgetown as well as the County of Washington. After this act was passed, the entire District was all one city, with limited self-government. The only corporation in the bill is a "municipal corporation." On the other hand, this act was more than just a simple city charter. For one thing, it was based on the Organic Acts which created the various Territorial Governments in the West, and some of these Territories erroneously published law books including the now "hidden" Amendment XIII as part of the U.S. Constitution. For another thing, this 1871 Organic Act marked the end of the last vestiges of state control over the District of Columbia. Before this Act was passed, Maryland law still officially applied to Washington County and (to a lesser extent) to the Cities of Georgetown and Washington (even though the federal government was responsible for all executive and judicial functions.) There is currently a theory out there (more of a "Tenther" than a "Thirteenther" theory) to the effect that Federal Government only has authority over the District of Columbia and the few remaining Federal Territories. Finally, David Johnson's bizarre February 28, 2013 testimony about the USA being turned into a bankrupt corporation, etc. did indeed have some tangential connection to what really happened to the District of Columbia after 1871. The District was indeed constituted into a "body corporate for municipal purposes;" that body went bankrupt within a very few years; and the people of the District had their right to self-government taken away for almost a century. (The current city charter dates back only to 1973.)

Testimony against HB 638

"AN ACT recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Rep. Timothy Horrigan (Strafford 6); February 28, 2013

HB 638 does not replace the current 13th amendment to the constitution, which was passed in 1864 and ratified in 1865. I am confident that the sponsors of this bill do not support restoring the institution of slavery. That said, I still oppose this rather unusual bill.

"The Original Thirteenth Amendment" would in fact be the 28th Amendment if it ever were to be ratified. It has not yet been ratfiied. For whatever reason, some law books were published in the 19th century which showed the proposed "Titles of Nobility Amendment" as "Amendment XIII." These books are simply erroneous, and there are many other 19th century law books which show the United States Constitution with only 12 amendments.

The Title of Nobility Amendment was passed by the U.S. House on April 27, 1810 and the Senate on May 1, 1810. The enabling resolution did not specify an end date for the ratification process. Then, as now, Article I Section 9 stated:

  • No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

The amendment would have replaced that provision with a much harsher one:

  • 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.

Legend has it that this amendment was inspired by the fact that Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte's brother had married an American woman named Betsy Patterson. She was often referred to as "The Duchess of Baltimore."

HB 639 states that New Hampshire was the 13th state to ratify the amendment, on December 9, 1812. The date is correct, however, New Hampshire was in fact only the 12th state. At the time Congress passed the amendment, there were 17 states, so 13 states would have been needed to ratify. By the time New Hampshire had voted, Louisiana had been admitted as the 18th state, so 14 states were needed to ratify. No state has ratified this amendment since then.




Total States



Dec 25, 1810





Jan 31, 1811





Jan 31, 1811





Feb 2, 1811





Feb 6, 1811




New Jersey

Feb 13, 1811





Oct 24, 1811





Nov 21, 1811




North Carolina

Dec 23, 1811





Dec 31, 1811





Feb 27, 1812




New Hampshire

Dec 9, 1812




In the past few decades, a theory has developed that this amendment would take away the citizenship of any lawyer who joined any state or federal Bar Association, including the New Hampshire Bar Association. Supposedly, members of the New Hampshire Bar Association hold knighthoods under the Queen (or King, as the case may be) of England, and hence hold an office of nobility. The truth is, even in England barristers are not considered knights, and knighthoods are not considered to be offices of nobility. More to the point, the New Hampshire Bar Association is an entirely American institution which shares only one word of its name with England's Bar Council.

The bill makes reference to the "District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871." This law dealt solely with the administration of the District of Columbia. It merely abolished the former cities of Washington and Georgetown, as well as the County of Washington. This Act of Congress did not remove anything from the Constitution, nor did it (or could it) transform our republic into a corporation.

And, here is the bill itself, as originally introduced:






AN ACT recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

SPONSORS: Rep. Tremblay, Rock 4; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock 5; Rep. Christiansen, Hills 37
COMMITTEE: State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs


This bill recognizes the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen

AN ACT recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Preamble and Statement of Intent. The general court hereby finds that:

  1. In 1810, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibited titles of nobility and which later became known as the original Thirteenth Amendment, was introduced, passed both houses of Congress, and was sent to the states for ratification. On December 9, 1812, shortly after ratification by Virginia, New Hampshire became the thirteenth state to ratify the amendment. The amendment was therefore ratified by the requisite number of states and became Article XIII of the United States Constitution.

  2. During the War Between the States, otherwise known as the Civil War, the country was under martial law, and all executive orders made by President Lincoln were, in effect, law. After the war, laws made during that period were to be abated; yet, vestiges of martial law remained and presidents continued to write executive orders.

  3. The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, otherwise known as the Act of 1871, created a corporation in the District of Columbia called the United States of America. The act revoked prior legislation relative to the district's municipal charter and, most egregiously, led to adoption of a fraudulent constitution in which the original Thirteenth Amendment was omitted.

  4. Today, what appears to the public as the United States Constitution is not the complete document, as it was never lawfully amended to remove the Thirteenth Amendment. Instead, the document presented as the United States Constitution is merely a mission statement for the corporation unlawfully established in the Act of 1871.

  5. The purpose of this act is to recognize that the original Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits titles of nobility, is properly included in the United States Constitution and is the law of the land. The act is also intended to end the infiltration of the Bar Association and the judicial branch into the executive and legislative branches of government and the unlawful usurpation of the people's right, guaranteed by the New Hampshire constitution, to elect county attorneys who are not members of the bar. This unlawful usurpation gives the judicial branch control over all government and the people in the grand juries. As long as the original Thirteenth Amendment is concealed from the people, there shall never be justice or a legitimate constitutional form of government.

2 New Chapter; Thirteenth Amendment. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 1-A the following new chapter:



1-B:1 Original Thirteenth Amendment. The following shall be recognized as the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Article XIII

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honor, 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.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

On March 7, 2013, the State-Federal and Veterans Committee convened in executive session and voted on party lines in favor of killing the bill.  The following pair of reports appeared in the March 15 House calendar:

HB 638, recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


Rep. Timothy J Smith for the Majority of State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs: From a historical perspective the history of the Thirteenth Amendment is quite interesting. However, this bill contains a widely debunked conspiracy theory which has already been found without merit by the U.S. Federal Courts. Vote 10-5.

Rep. Leon H Rideout for the Minority of State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs: The minority felt that this bill should be retained for further study. The committee members were given a large quantity of information, and many people that had come to testify including the secretary of state could not due to the fact that the committee was running very late.

I prepared a brief floor speech, and Rep. Tim Smith prepared a long one, both in favor of killing the bill.  There were representatives lined up to speak for the bill as well.  However, the full House tabled HB 638 by a vote of 275-64, before the bill could be debated.  My prepared remarks were:

Floor Speech against HB 638

"AN ACT recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Rep. Timothy Horrigan (Strafford 6); March 20, 2013

Thank you Madame Speaker!

The member from Manchester has done/will do a great job of going through the details of this bill. I would first like to say that this bill is historical revisionism on a grand scale. Yes, the socalled "original 13th amendment" was approved by Congress and yes 12 states, including our state, voted to ratify it.

That's the only accurate piece of history in this bill. 12 was not enough states to make the "Titles of Nobility Amendment" part of the Constitution. New Hampshire was the last of those 12 states: at the time, that was two short of the necessary three-quarters  supermajority. Today the amendment could still be passed, but it would need 26 more states.

I would also like to say something which I can say without seeming too self-serving since I am not on the committee. The minority blurb criticized the way the hearing was conducted. I sat through all 98 minutes of the hearing. I missed the executive session, but I did watch the video. This bill solves no problem and creates not even a single job, and yet it got a very thorough and fair hearing. The chairman was extraordinarily fair and patient, even when the witnesses (myself included) went way off into the weeds. There is no need to retain this bill: please support the committee recommendation of ITL.

Rep. Tremblay experienced 15 minutes or so of infamy shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, when she posted the following message on Glen Beck's Facebook page:

Just as you said would happen. Top Down, Bottom UP. The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops "terrorist" attack. One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now "terrorist" attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a "wake up" to all of us. First there was a "suspect" then there wasnt. Infowars broke the story and they knew they had been "found out".

My take on this: The April 17, 2013 Infowars video is not too convincing: just some guy named Alex Jones ranting not too credibly about photos which he doesn't actually show us, and passing on some extremely dubious misinformation.  Personally, I think the Tsarnaev brothers were perfectly capable of carrying out this atrocity on their own.
She could have just apologized and shut up for a while, like I myself have done, but she has done nothing of the sort.  She even did a hour-long interview on the nationally-syndicated Pete Santilli radio show where she said a few things which were unobjectionable and some other things which were extraordinarily objectionable.

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The Forgotten Liars