Title: Municipal legislation
Creator: Walt Whitman
Date: Between 1840 and 1860
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00885
Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.
Editorial note: Based on the handwriting, Edward Grier dates this manuscript to the 1840s or 1850s. He also notes that this manuscript did not contribute to the editorial entitled "Municipal Government" that appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Times on December 1, 1858 (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:345).
Related item: On the back of this manuscript is a partial poetry draft. See duk.00027.
Contributors to digital file: Zach Bajaber, Stacy Provan, Andrew Jewell, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney
Municipal legislation, inviting examples from in high place, is always inclined to be too meddlesome, and be perpetually multiplying ordinances, and restrict[ing?] and The best govern
I recommend the entire abolition of the whole entire system of licenses ^or special permits for any business, whatever. no matter what. —Whatever control the City Government Thehas over the operations buying business operations of the citizens must be by general laws, bearing equally upon all, and not by special laws, giving one man or set of men the privilege of engaging in any employment which the rest are prohibited from. —(Every man and woman has the legal right ^free of any special tax or license to engage in any avocation or business whatever, without free of any special license; and responsible afterward to the authorities for any his or her malpractice—the cartman or drvier, for instance, when he obstructs the public street thoroughfares—the physician for [any?] gross injuries to a patient—the tavernkeeper for habitu keeping any habitual nuisance or infringement on the decorum of the neighborhood