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John Taylor.

Construction construed, and constitutions vindicated online

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^raa delegated to congress by the Memi cOnatitiMonk becaeae Ifc
wasannecMsary to theolyects of the ankm, and that body^ma
whdly nnquaiifted <br ha judicious exercise. LegMatiVe bodiMi
are less qualified for an eiercise of a despotick pensioning pow^
or than even kings, and in foct none possess such a pow^r becaaan
they are not aoToreign. A law granting peOfifions olr siMooMlh
to an individual or class, is simply an exclusive privilege laW^
a^ ia ovMently of a different diaraeter from k genend laW.-mai^
lag provisten for all poor p€«op)e ii^ may fMl wRhai ita pil>^
i«aw,lqrftnlndiocrindniler«lef nor is this latter kiMtflitirlik



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escrrite of a jftfiehd flmi^Ni* twciw * teftCti» Mt tyw fto*
ilita oir seciij but vpcrn cases &d\j. Neither hat a gratnitoaa
peBttoQ any r aM / mMimu iea (MMiaioB piU ki fidUomit «f i^
Mitfact, or to the right ordatjTesenrell to the itateaof pvo-
▼idkig for their fo^» mat bf escteerni inditMwiL eeiwtiaie* bat
1^ aftequal and general law. These casea dMIeriag kt princi-
ple, have been U^ded l^ an ineon«ct ^lioaliMi of tiie wofA
*^pen8ion" to b9th» if our le^tetaMs^ and eoapoN in par*
ticidar, have no pow«r to give away the propertjr of the wh^
imtion bjsinecitres and exeluttve {N-ivil^ea, totaiividaalg and
sects, either civil or rri%i«tt8 ; the qaesttoa^ whether more
%i<ttelt]r mil be pit>d«oed bf reatoriag mt oonslHatiettal prin-
dples, or bv adoring to an enror which is oppres ai ve npuMi in-
Ikistrj, sohietj and merit, remaitts open^

Ail these sprouts of tyranny and ini^iiinents of qipressioii
have spiiing ff6m the doctrine of l^idative sovereignty, whkh
Wfl elongated the powers ai congress from special delegatton,
itAa VffeeUL resermtion, and de wmst ra fe ad tittit k ims iia-
tVMe neeeasaty mctard jp to twmt constitattonal c^slnrolnaa.
What«anheaati«i^riiivtetiofttotheekercise«f adatyao
iiiportant to onrselves and o«r poatn^, thiaA the lajndtotooa
aMtempt to coav^rt the fedtiai mnan into a \egii halaneeaf
pa#er? If 4 tove oonslrued oar constitatioM in eonftm^
irlthlikk^ latMioasttitese spronts oogllt tote enuHtsaied wtth
im r^K»rse $ iMt, tf I ton miiti^Len, it is lihftli to he t e nsidtt w i
HFheibM at to bm tot Ikft aatkto^ ^at its d i str e ss es skoiM be
¥?ifeitf?ed c^ ^^Mttenedk - If HieielNrvie boin<oaieiod bjrtmnfci'*
9^ two Kh^sand ^ItiMs of nuitfOHai t«piM to atoeaiosyna^r
%^^, ft is dlifvto«i tiMt tts reiiieity exists, InH « iwtoviettoii #f
th^maeh ^ itiih May mt ht foqairai for the psaimes <tf a«W
Mid Wbdemte |0<i«rW«t tihtlM oily one Indf of Ms leiqli-
M 'be tAi^ Yestomi toMfe'Ownerattheoiher ha*f ^rill inaris
tM^^ tA^eoMAimily^aa the whole did wheniihe s&retlil
%M9^teiid tNl*e iiA|Mifcd^ if tiane is i^toiitd, it is ^vMevtttoit
itfem^l bf A^ ^ixrdm will be ^d^bM* Has in tact has
ite«h4y hsippefi^^afli k liinoltvffitfttnt cause <of the paUidk
ttlMfeifftes*

'Xjot ^8, tfit^rafta^ ^txntiM^ haw much of ilie ttmsforred capi*
im ftty 1^ f tito i m to »thie peupia wi Hiaa t Gingery to the yterti-
Wfctit



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Vm i wpp i m ii a of terinig wBl wrtw» rf

cqiteU ...... ft4a0/)OO^MO

TIm repiiftl of all piotecliiigdvtiesi oxo^ tiioso

for r^vemie, do. .... SOOfiOOfiOQ

Tho Mpppemoa of grutntooo penoioiM, stiO^

and fodoraU do. ... . ^00^000,^000

Thyo remuiciAtion of judicial fiuietiou» a«d
pocimiarj patronage by k^^latures, hf
aToidi&g bftd judgmeiiti» partialities and
long MMione^ do. ... . 50,000,000

The flaipenriott of legialalhre pnyects, geoe.

rally cateb^pemy, and nnprodaetiTe, do. 515^000,000

The redaction of legiriatiTe wif;ea conlbrniaUy

witii preoent prkea, do. - - 525,090^000



g 1,000,000,000



Bat at Ae two first samgs, thoi^ tkey will increase tiio
ability of the people to pay taxe^ for the use of goTemment;
are not dedactieBS from then, it is ebirioas that they would still
bear heaTier upon the oommuntty, AioagH nominalfy reduced
by the subsequent articles, than the whole did when propeHgf
and products were more valuable. Other items towards lib^
fating national capital must, therefore, bo found, or a connsio-
?Ale portion of the exteting distresses will remain. IfoadkU^
tional retrenchments, saficient to remove these distresses that
I. know of, can be found, except by adverting to the army and
nary. It would be frivolous for our legislatures to waste moio
publick money than thqr would save, by internunable UMe
wrang^ings about Ht^ sums ; and foolish in the pe^le tobo
deluded into an opinion, that this was economy. The puMkk
distresses being great, they can only be removed t^ great reiM-
dtes. The European nations exist for the ben^t of annM
and navies, and armies and navies do not exist for thmr^bencAI.
If tiiis be right, these items, far from aiording room for-«e^
trendiment, rehire additional hypothecations of national catd-*
tal ; but, if it be wrong, we ought rigidly to examine, whedier
tiiese two great sources of eiqw^nse will not. adimt of some-t^
dttction, benefidal to the community for whose good we yi^
suppose th^n to havc^iieen incurred. How is H possible,^ ikttft



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the United Stales, btimig trebled tii^ miliOftaiid Mtaifii,
ebduld yet require an army thrice as large, as in the Ume of
Washin^n? Then they were engaged in a fierce war witfi
several Indian nations ; now they are in profmid peace. ' Then
the Indians were formidaUe; now they are fSseUe. And we are
as distant from Europe as we were then. Ooremments say,
that regular troops are (Reaper tiian a diiKtia ; hat taxes tell ^
very different tide. Ours have spoken veTf dkttnctiy to the
p«nt In fact, the idea is ccdlected from partial calcnla-
tkms in time of war, quite inapplicable to times ai peace. As
to the navy, there may be more diffibulty ; but I do not know
that it is much wiser to of^iress the cemminiity for the purpose
of building ships, which, may probiMy rot before war comes,
than for the keeping of an army which may die without render-
ing any servkse. Perhaps it might be a better resource for naval
defence, to prepare materials for building riiips suddenly in
case of war, than to build, man and wear them out in time of
peace, by voyages of pleasure. But I leave tins subject to
&08e who understand it better.

If the protectingnlnty system should^ be abandoned, and
tariff fabricated with a single eye to revemae, A is objecteii^^
that consumptions will be increased. This effect is admitted
but I ccmtend, that fiir from h^ng an evil, it will be highly
ben^cial to iht oommunity. Ccmsumptions are the food of
UHtttStry; diminish th^n, she.languu^es; remove them, she
starves; feed her with them, she performs douUe woris ; and
this double work enables her both to enjoy more jdeasures, and
to pay more taxes. If half our duties weretaken off,it iswdt
established that the other half would produce more revenue
than the whole now does. Why ? Because indus^y, consump*
tions and. enjoyments have all increased. Let the rival system
fiice its competitor, and common sense decide which will add
niost to the happiness of mankind. It is simply tins. Increase
duties, and you diminish r^enue, industry, consumptions aiKl
enjoyments. If commocUties are a curr^cy, having the effect
of enhancing the prices of our commodities, this enhancement
will also be a fund compensating for the increase of consump-
tions. In fact, the ext^it of consumptions is the true measure
of national prosperity and hafq^ness; both are contracted as
^(^se ^ diminiahed* and b^ are extended as these are in-



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^vilizAtioB ; and thftir diminatiQii ta mere neoe^eami^ m ptm*
ataotly attended by savafwa^ Qe^eei^ the eftrei&ea iuM'
catad by ftawnwiytio»a. Ba«iely» % tkoatipB tbfi m99i exalted ar
tbfriiMiBt dabaaedt lie all tbeFoei» for Urn ipgamity tf ^ flatr
■loayiiariaiii.

Tbe a^cieat ^^ropriatiPA el Mtiii^
tbe Qiedam ime in FriA^e, fto i;be uee irf" ti^ ic)#rgy« can^
aevera i»atimal miac^efi, wUpb iRere porfi)ct^.)n j^th pew*
tries Igr n#iia^[^Mmst The bei^ts of tbe^e revmftm^ }mm
been acknowledged ^y mmi writeFe^ ^ i|( tl^ amp ^ ffmc^»
these beaefits are oeipidered by «e«9e j|a m a^pl^ ^mewt
aatiea for its terribU reFotiatiAoai-y eviU* NatipQi^l 4MiP«$M9b
i|i both cases» arose from hypfiKU^ec^ioas of oaMon^ <f^t4 1»
wpsodiicti^ useit m^ the reoiedy ip bp^ i^fis^ WAi 9^ i^^N^r
cation. But ihesa miaebief-w4irlq^ a^^pnations »( mVmd
eajpital vera less i^ppresBiye to the |ieei4e tban qwh yt)mh
)^ve the capital in the h^ds of its i>wiier#* mA tal^o %)Kr^ j|i^
profit. Although the clerical appropr^tioof fOP^tod §f land
tFaosferredby legal inTeatitare^ and war^ of a tmaiiir^ P^vie-
liiat le9s flagitious tbax;i our gratuitou3 bypotheqMsd^ tNsr
became permcioui tf> natif^^^l prosperity, axid prodiM^ eyili
which cansed national uij^easioeiis. The clergy loQg conteiid^
that the true remedy for tf^ese ^vil^ was to opdi^w mof a mm^
taiies or manufactories of reljigjboi^ and to cpn^ort more land isfe
VQiortmain; and the advi^ being foU(»)ved» 4:aadt^ted the djfir
temper to a paroxyaip. We arp ^Ml^d to e»^w mm^.^^'
tali^ and to transfer mere natlQDal coital to elef^iipapMMSf
^nes of yarious kinds. This advicp lead^ us abo tpwu^iiblf
pajros^ysm- On the other hmif aa the jigbts 4^ vest^ Jff^fift^a
or the ckimp qi hereditary power^ or the Fenerablene^sof j^Hr
gjums sanctity, do not stand in our way ; because, alji oyr hy^
the^ations of national priqperty are legal expierimentf l^t^^
to legal abolition ; we can now calmly retri^e oip: st^p^ .m^
desist from advancing to the gulf of revolution*

There is only one okyection to the restoration q( the palJ^n]^
ci^ital appropriated to banks. What sh^^ we tiq for H^ wfVQit
of a currency P So then, it comes out unequiypqUly, Jtiatinsl
directors are l^]atoi»4)r lords paiamoifnl; ov^ th^ fittTtfiPff
of thi3gre»t;pq(Pfmpi^^ WJ^ iliaU ife ddiwr JKMt jC4Myyii'



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l^n ? my the priett^of established churches. The free mim^
4rj of the people, if suffered bj thegoTemment to operate fairlj
up<m the commercial world, will j-apidlj supply us with a better
currency than the involving, fluctuating, vanishing, counter-
feited currency of corporations* If banks can pay their debts,
we have a sufficient specie currency in hand ; if they cannot, 1
their credit ought to cease. But is it possible, that a chain of
aristocracies can give us a national currency, whilst our chain
i»f republicks are incomp^nt to effect the object? If this be
true, the haste with which we have been changing our princi-
ples, admits of a better defence than I had foreseen. But, for
my part, I do not hesitate to assert, that our republican legis-
latures are able to give us a better paper currency, if one be
necessary, than the aristocratical legislatures they have put in
commission, can possibly do. The republican paper currency
would collect no dividends, and would not hypothecate four
hundred millions of the national capital for the use of an
eleemosynary family of banks. It would not collect specie for
exportation; and its fund for redemption could never run away
(MT be concealed. It is incomprehensible to me, how an opinion
came to take root, that paper money issued by a tiation oughdly
to t)ear interest in favor of those who use it, but that paper Y\
money, issued by a corporation, ought to receive interest from \
the same persons. The nation and its territories cuinot be
dissipated, stolen, or concealed by directors, cashiers or clerks;
nor its responsibility fail by the disappearance of its stock;
whilst the stock of banks is very often a complete illustration
of Berkeley's philosophy. Do we derive this strange prejudice
from the revolutionary paper money? Well, if that was damn-
ed by experience, we also know that the same upright judge
has at least condemned the paper money of banks to purgatory,
a place requiring the purification by fire. Experience then ad-
vises us to reject both these kinds of paper money most unequi-
vocally; but it has something more to say. It has shewn us
three kinds of paper money; that in use throughout the colo-
nies before the revolutionary war, that in use dtiring the war,
and that now in use. The first did great good and no harm;
the second great good and great harm ; and the third great
harm and no good; The first collected no dividends for eleemo-
synariansy its stock was a colony, its quaiitity was related by
38



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358

8, and its qpede for redemption was tav
ras driven by the bayonet into the morasa
unsustained by taxation, and rested upon
uider laws ; but like a patriot, it fought
itry, and disdained to live by infecting it
y policy. The third absorbed four hun-
nal capital, pretended it had specie to pay
payment, depreciated, aggravated publick
i, sometimes became bankrupt, made bank-
duals, and by causing fluctuations in the
lined and reduced to misery thousands of
lerience has decided that the first was thi^
worst. If a paper money, was issued bj
by a constitutional amendment to one
I our taxes, state and federal ; if it was
IS equal to such taxes, making each state
ortion without interest ; if one moiety of
ts to the publick was allowed to be made
it was not made a tender ; and if banking
iew of the circumstances attending the
Kperiments seems to justify an expectatioii
it be produced, infinitely preferable to the
cy of corporations, and at least equal to
for many years before the revolutioiu BuU
by and independent, it is rather to be ex-
4ican legislatures would be able to improvei
British colonies. In times of peace the
ency would be certain ; in times of war«
' and fund, without being subjected to both
Is for the paper borrowed, so as to hypothe*
X hundred pounds of national capital for
} borrowed. But though I believe that the
aper currency was that before the revolu*
itation of it would be our wisest course, if
er currency, which I do not believe ; I do
lubject, because it does not fall within mjr

ever, might be certainly deot^pd by any onte
deral government adhere to.its hjrpotheai-
Lpital to unprodttclive and etsemoayiiaiy



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Sa9

uses. Suf^BOse a single state should make a trial of the policy
of relieving its capital from such destinations as far as possible^
hj repealing banking laws; by prohibiting under sufficient
penalties the circulation of every species of paper currency $
by prohibiting with internal protecting duties, the introductioii
of all manufactures from other states, sent to collect eleemosy*
nary taxes ; by suppressing all gratuitous pensions ; by reduc*
ing legislative wages ; by a legislative forbearance to exercisi^
judicial fiinctidns; by shortening legislative sessions; by sus-
pending improvement and catch-penny projects, until it shall
be ascertained how the suspension will work ; by applying al}
its resources to the payment of its debts ; and by reducing it4
taxes down to the rate, which such a policy would justify. It
would then experimentally appear, whether the policy of con-r
demning national capital to eleemosynary uses, or of leaving it
to the use of its owners, was most favourable to national pros-
perity. The discovery of the longitude would be almost no-
tiling, towards advancing human happiness, compared with the
•access of this experiment; and if congress must rival monarchs
in the bounty system, I discern no object so worthy of its libe-
rality. It ought also to be highly gratifying to every state, to
behold an experiment for testing the doctrines of the eleemosy-
narians ; nor could it meet with any constitutional obstructions,
because it falls within the powers reserved to the states. The
state right of taxing both persons and property coming from
other states remains ; otherwise, neither would be subject to
state taxation. Some states have prohibited the introduction
of slaves from others, and have also taxed itinerant merchants^
And some may think the introduction of home manufactures to
collect an eleemosynary tax for capitalists, as injurious to their
liberty and prosperity, as the introduction of slaves is thought
to be by others. Both may be right, and both possess a power
to keep off internal and local evil by internal and local laws.

Tie eleemosynarians endeavour to conceal their pecuniary
speculations, under the general idea too hastily swallowed,
that taxation naturally increases with population. I have no
quarrel with taxation, except that species which hypothecate*,
natioiid capital for the uses of individuals or combtnationt^
and not f^ the use of governiiient. This only give» one man's
pr^rty, to another. We have been considAring the principle.



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S40

atod the justice of taxation, and not its rate» thoogb its rat6 una*
Toidably came into view, as an illustration of its {N-inciple and
its justice. The principle and justice of taxation are equaU;f
applicable to a great or a small, to a rich or a poor nation; and
if an increase of population furnishes any argument applicdite
to the subject, it is, that the more numerous we become, the
more people will have bread taken out of their mouths bj the
sinecure system, to pamper eleemosynary appetites.

The preceding calculation of the amount of eleemosynary
dislocations of national capital shews, that there is no con-
nexion between the eleemosynary system and population, be-
cause the former has greatly outrun the latter. In Washin^n's
presidency, one hundred and fifty millions of national capital
sufficed to supply the taxes, state and federal, then suggested
by population, without the agency of an eleemosynary system.
Now the single article of pensions, though the smallest item of
that system, absorbs more of the national capital, than tiie whole
expenses of our governments, state and federal, did then. Pro-
tecting duties absorb double as much, and banking still more.
The whole national capital, now hypothecated, is thirteen times
greater than it then was ; and experience has determined, that
thirteen nations of the then population of the United States
may be governed for the money, as well as one was at thattime.
I do not pretend that my calculations are quite correct ; b«t
they are sufficiently so, to prove that the hypothecation of na-
tional capital to eleemosynary uses has far ontstript popvla-
tion ; and that this artificial system, and not our natund ia-
t:rease, is the true cause of national burdens and national dis-
tresses, to a very great extent -^

Sir George Staunton in his history of the English embassy to
China nt 1793, states << that the taxes of China amounted to 5s
^* sterling; of France under the monarchy previously to the re-
<^ solution, to 16s ; and of Britain to 34s ; per head, upon their
*' respective populations ; and that China maintained a stand-
^ ing army of one million of infantry and eight hundred tfaen-
"* sand cavalry." In China, corporate pecuniary privileges
were unknown; in France, they were rare; in Eng^Umd, they
were numerous; In the two first cases, the weight of taxation
upon individuals k diminished by population, as it must be,
excqit for the intervention of an eleemosynary iqrfitem. H^se



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few fwc^ are ere£ble witnemes to the following ocmeliirioBa.
1. That the eleemosjmary system both conreys the use of iia^
lioiial capital to private people* and also greatly increases tax«
ation. 2. That a sovereign power over labour or property ia
less q>pres8ive in the hands of an absolute monarch, than in
those of a representative legislature. 3. That die error of trust*
ing republican governments with this tyrannical power, has
probably caused their premature deaths, because they are most
likely to push it to excess. 4. That great armies and low
taxes are not incompatible; but that excluuve privil^s and
low taxes are so. Thus many of the states, without any armies
to support, have found mean» to increase their taxes, by enter-
ing into partnerships with catch-penny speculations, which hy-
pothecate the capital of the people, and are a losing trade. The
deemosynarians have been for some years our popular patriots!,
siiA their projects have already inflicted on us a tax of four
dollars a head upon our whole population for the use of govern*
ment, exclusively of the taxes to banks and manufactory capi-
taliftts. A less tax caused a civil war in France. Supfiose
some individual should ofStr to reduce the taxes to one dollar,
if we would make him our king; politicianfl and die ffSOfie
. would have this question to decide ; which is best, a king with
one dollar tax, (nr an eleemosynarian aristocracy, with four to
ik^ government and two to bankers and capitalists ?

If a plain law were proposed to make tenants pay double
rents to capitalist land-owners, every body would see its in-
justice. A law to make the same tenants pay a second rent to
oqpitalist manufactory owners amotmts to the same thing, hut
its injustice is not seen, because it is not couched in the same
words. There are no small tenants who do not pay to capital-
ists under the protectii^-duty system, more than their rents
amount to ; and who would not make a good bargain by buying
of them with a second rent, a freedom of will in exchanges.
¥ei: if a plain law was passed, enacting that all tenants who
woidd pay a second rent to the owners of manufactories-should
enjoy tiie r^tof procuring necessaries without being subjected
to the pretecting-duty tax, it would open many eyes. But
tui^pose, it could be ascertained how much each person patd-to
the owners of manufi^tories under the protecttng-duty law,
imd a new law shmild be past^ ab^^shing that indirect way^to



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34« . «

Ae vMMj, Mtmng tiie freedom of txchinges, and enactii^
that the Htme 8am» now paid in the character of conftamers^
akottld.be paid bj each individual to capitalists bj name. The
CKpsies, it is said> possess the art of so disfiguring a horse, that
it is very dificnlt to recognize him. One would think, that they
drew the protecting-daty laws, and so disguised men's private;
pwperij^ that the owners no longer recognize it.

Our conduct is an enigma. A real hatred of Ihe English po-*
Key is united with a real affection for its worst features, agmnst
which the Ei^lish people would rebel, except for the bayonet.
The poor system in En^and, though good in theory, strongly
resembles our pension system in its effects. One breeds pau«
perism; the other pensioners. That is subject to monstrous
sboses from cuMing, vanity, partiality, benevolence or a love
of popularity ; so is this. Vestries or overseers, superintending
mmII districts, are unable to prevent these abuses ; legislatures*
metamorphosed into vestries or overseers, are still more defi-^
cient in qualities to correct, and infinitely more copiously re-
ploiished with such as cultivate these abuses. Both systems^
are demoralizing and op[Hressive; but one is an attempt to dis-*
charge a sociid duty, whilst the other is an usurpation of sove*
ragn power over property. And both have become puUick
nuisances. England is struggling to 'get rid of one, and th^
United States to establish the other. Tithes are taken from
worthy and usefiil ministers of religion, gallant armies are dis-
banded, and meritorious civil oflicers are discharged for the
publick good ; but the pension system claims an exclusive pri^
vilege of oppressing a nation. I have no doubt, but that this
system receives more than all the civil oflScers both of the federal
and state governments together. Can it be worth as much as civil
government? At least it cannot be worth mcnre ; and no pecu-
liar merit in any social occupation can possibly dewrve, thalt
social liberty should be sacrificed for its reward. If we Were
carefully to pick out from the superstitions and enthusiasms <€
mankind, die two by which they have been most frequently <^
pressed and enslaved, we probably ou^t to select th^ notiims,
that governments are sovereigns over property, and that tiie/
may gratuitously transfer it to peculiar merit Hie art of mag-
nifying individual power and cap'rtal at the publick eipense, by
the pretext of peculiar merift, is tiie inchoate feature of ihoMf



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ta^asttres wkich have ttrmiuated iojvrionly to Ike lMi|»ptttis
of nations.

The authors of the Federalist aj^pear to think* that in the
division of powers between the federal and state go¥emnent%
the largest share had fallen to the latter; bat this must hare



Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 33 of 34)