Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jesse Cornish’s Last Will and Testament: Gold Coins and Liberty - by Gary North (This should be mandatory reading for all families.)

Jesse Cornish was a familiar face in the hard money movement from 1975 until his death in 1986. He was the master of ceremonies of the seemingly endless series of hard money conferences. He was the go-to guy when it came to introducing speakers.
Jesse was a Lutheran equivalent of Burt Blumert. Burt was everybody's favorite coin salesman in the hard money movement from the early 1960's until his death in 2009. There is a Wikipedia entry on Burt, as well there should be. He was always in the background, ready to write a check for a libertarian cause. He was a man with endless jokes, which I actually found quite funny on at least three occasions. He was always upbeat. He was well read. He ran an efficient, low-commission coin shop. Everybody loved Burt.
There is almost no trace of Jesse Cornish.
I have no idea how he became the master of ceremonies for hard money conferences. He was not a great speaker, although he was competent. He never got flustered. He was always upbeat. He was not philosophical. He knew everyone. He never spoke badly of anyone. He was not full of himself.
I guess I just explained why he was so popular as a master of ceremonies.
He and Burt were in complete agreement about gold, central banking, and the profligacy of government.
He died in 1986. Several years later, David Schectman, who had trained under Jesse, found his last will and testament. He used to send it out to his clients. He posted it on Miles Franklin's site in 2013. It is a model of clarity. I reprint it here.
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Last Will and Testament Of Jesse Franklin Cornish
I, Jesse Cornish, being of sound mind, do of my own accord, make this last will, bequeathing all of my earthly possessions as follows:
To my son, Jesse, and my daughter, Candy, I leave all my owned real estate and equities and all my liquid assets in the form of checking, savings, and other money accounts to share and share alike.
To my son, Jesse, I leave my guns, fishing gear, boats and all other personal effects a father would normally pass on to his son.
To my daughter, Candy, I leave the things her mother left. I leave her also certain family treasures, and pieces of collected art described on the attached sheets.
To both my son, Jesse, and my daughter, Candy, I leave my total collection of African art goods, my automobiles, items of jewelry, photographs, music albums, and all household valuables to share and share alike.
To my grandchildren, I leave the faith and hope that your parents will pass on to you whatever is left of this bequest on their demise. And to this I pray that they will add their lot. The bequests I have named appear in the will that is it be probated. It is already in the hands of my lawyers who will see it through for you.
In your own safe-deposit boxes, where you found this private copy is a sealed letter addressed to each of you. You may open it now. Inside you will find specific instructions leading you to the location of special forms of assets I have secured and left for you. This wealth may well be the only thing of real value I have to pass on to you.
It is in the form of gold and silver coins and bullion. Nobody knows I bought it, there is no record of them, and nobody knows where they are except you today.
I did not buy it to speculate. I bought it to get out of paper assets and to preserve capital.
The bullion coins are worth five times what I paid for them and some or the numismatic coins have appreciated over 6000 percent in the last ten years. As the next inflationary cycle reaches double digit, their values will also double.
The numismatic, rare coins along with their certification are in the packets here that bear your names. In your names also are these storage receipts from the warehouses in Montreal and Dallas. They represent the numerous pieces of fine ivory and ebony art carvings I brought out of Africa over the years. You may claim them in person at any time. All of these items are in demand and maintain high liquidity.
I depart this life with the prayer that you will have the foresight and self discipline to leave it as it is until this nation regains fiscal sanity. When that finally comes about, there will be complete monetary reform.
Your gold, silver, and ivory will buy this new form of currency and could well be your only hope for financial survival. When I purchased the uncirculated coins to put away for you, I was afraid and didn’t buy enough. Now I see they have provided the highest appreciation of all, and any further additions to this private part of my bequests to you will include more of the same. It grieves me to inform you that I have also passed on to you a “Legacy of Debt.”
My generation found a way to lead the good life by borrowing from yours. We have lived out the last thirty years in a credit “dream world” of luxury and affluence and monetized the massive debt by offering the next two generations as collateral. The material wealth I leave to you will not even begin to pay your share of the bill we ran up during your lifetime and it will haunt you and cause you to ask, “How could my dad do this?”
Please know it was not what I did, but rather, what I failed to do. I just didn’t bother to get personally involved in the affairs of government at any level.
I filled my days to earn large sums of dollars and spent too many nights celebrating when I did. Like millions of others, I stood by as inept elected officials bought votes with your money and changed America from a capitalistic, free enterprise nation to a land ever-approaching mandated socialism.
The conventional investments I planned for your future failed the break-even point years ago. Savings, common stocks, and money funds were tied to the shrinking dollar and eroded away with inflation and taxes, just as they will when this economy turns around to monetize the most massive debt in history.
Over the past 15 years, most of my income was taken away in taxes to finance the enormous bureaucracy that now has a strangle hold on every aspect of our economy.
Even as I write this, I see the vultures circling -- waiting to pick apart the probated portion of this will that was already riddled with taxes as I tried to keep it alive.
My final prayer is that you will use my shortcomings as a warning light to guide your way. And that you will try to find forgiveness in your hearts for the things I failed to do.
Get involved. Help get America back into the hands of the earners and the producers.
From my generation you have learned that you cannot feed and house the whole world. You also learned that the nation’s banks do not deserve blind faith. 60 of them failed this past year and 750 more are in trouble with assets represented by over-extended credit.
Don’t be afraid of what lies out there ahead, and don’t ever feel guilty about what you earned yourself. Don’t let elected officials give it away to the plunderers for the sake of re-election and self enrichment.
When the day comes for you to retire, the Social Security program will be bankrupt and gone. I paid into it for nearly forty years but never withdrew a dime.
There is an automatic $275 burial fee you could withdraw for my funeral expenses. I have already designated funds to cover this so please turn it down and afford me the last dignity of paying my own way out.
In everlasting love,
Your dad,
Jesse Cornish
Jesse F. Cornish
State of Minnesota
County of Hennepin
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For stories on his days as an ivory hunter, click here: