"...Threatened with the Destruction of our antient Laws & Liberty, and the Loss of all that is dear to British Subjects & Freemen,--justly alarmed with the Prospect of impending Ruin,--firmly determined, at the hazard of our Lives, to transmit to our Children & Posterity those sacred Rights to which Ourselves were born; & thoroughly convinced that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Gentlemen Freeholders & other Freemen, is the natural Strength, and only safe & stable Security of a free Government..."
"...And such of us as have, or can procure Riphel (Rifle?) Guns, & understand the use of them, will be ready to form a Company of Marksmen or Light-Infantry for the said Regiment, chusing our own Officers as aforesaid, & distinguishing our Dress, when we are upon Duty, from that of the other Companies, by painted Hunting-Shirts, and Indian Boots, or Caps; as shall be found most convenient.--Which Regulation & Establishment is to be preserved & continued, until a regular and proper Militia Law for the Defence of the Country shall be enacted by the Legislature of this Colony--And we do Each of us, for ourselves respectively, promise and engage to keep a good Firelock in proper Order, & to furnish Ourselves as soon as possible with, & always keep by us, one Pound of Gun Powder, four Pounds of Lead, one Dozen Gun-Flints, & a pair of Bullet-Moulds, with a Cartouch-Box, or powder-horn & Bag for Balls--That we will use our best Endeavours to perfect Ourselves in the Military Exercise & Discipline, & therefore will pay due Obedience to our Officers, & regularly attend such private & general Musters as they shall appoint--And that we will always hold Ourselves in Readiness, in Case of Necessity, Hostile-Invasion, or real Danger, to defend & preserve to the utmost of our Power, Our Religion, the Laws of our Country, & and the just Rights & Privileges of our fellow-Subjects, Our Posterity, & Ourselves, upon the Principles of the English Constitution...."
- February 6th. 1775 letter to George Washington.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Augt. 27. 1775. I am much oblig'd by your Favour of the 13th Inst. Mr [William]Goddard, Riding Surveyor to the (',en. Post Office is gone to the Southward, for Settling the new Post-Offices all along to Georgia. Mr [Richard] Bache, the Comptroller, is to set out next Week Northward on the same Business, who will take with him Directions from me to establish all the Officers in your Government that you recommend and the new Offices and Stages that appear likely to support themselves.
I am glad to hear that the Gunsmith's Business goes on so well with you. We make great Progress on it here; but the Price is high. If we would acquire that Manufacture in Perfection, it must be by assuring the Workmen of a large Demand, for a Number of Years, and at a Price certain. Then they will be encourag'd to bring up Apprentices for different Parts of the Work, and also to make Tools and Machines for facilitating & expediting it, such as Fuages for Lock Plates & Cocks Mills for grinding and boring the Barrels, &c. Those bred to Parts of the Work only, will dispatch more and do it better. And then I am confident Arms may be made as good and as cheap in America as in any Part of the World. I intend therefore to propose to our Assembly to give that Encouragement here, by engaging to take 2000 Muskets per Annum for Ten Years, at a good Price, which I doubt not will in that time establish the Manufacture among us; and an Arsenal with 20,000 good Firelocks in it, will be no bad thing for the Colony. As the Numbers of People are continually increasing, we can never be long overstock'd with the Article of Arms. And I wish the Congress may think fit to recommend the same Project to the other Colonies.
I congratulate you on the plentiful Year with you as well as with us. It makes one smile to see in the English Papers, the Ignorance of some of their Political Writers, who fancy we cannot continue the Non Importation Agreement; because if we do it must starve us.
I lament with you the Want of a naval Force. I hope the next Winter will be employ'd in forming one. When we are no longer fascinated with the Idea of a Speedy Reconciliation, we shall exert ourselves to some purpose. 'Till then Things will be done by Halves.
Those you mention who seem frightened at finding themselves where they are, will by degrees recover Spirits when they find by Experience how inefficient merely mercenary the regular Troops are, when oppos'd to Freeholders & Freemen, fighting for their Liberties & Properties. A Country of such People was never yet conquer'd, (unless through their own Divisions) by any absolute Monarch and his Mercenaries. But such States have often conquer'd Monarchies, and led mighty Princes captive in Triumph.
I shall be curious to hear more Particulars of your new mechanical Genius. A Mr Belton who I fancy comes from your Province & is now here has propos'd something of the kind to us; but is not much attended to.With great Esteem, I am Sir, Your most obedient humble Servan
RC (Mrs. Wharton Sinkler, Philadelphia, Pa., 1974) .
Friday, February 23, 2007
“...That there should have been, in the progress of recent events, doubts in many quarters, and in some a heated opposition to every change, cannot surprise us. Doubts are properly attendant on all reform; and it is peculiarly in the nature of such abuses as we are now encountering, to seek to perpetuate their power by means of the influence they have been permitted to acquire. It is their result, if not their object, to gain for the few an ascendency over the many, by securing to them a monopoly of the currency, the medium through which most of the wants of mankind are supplied--to produce throughout society a chain of dependance which leads all classes to look to privileged associations for the means of speculation and extravagance,--to nourish, in preference to the manly virtues that give dignity to human nature, a craving desire for luxurious enjoyment and sudden wealth, which renders those who seek them dependant on those who supply them--to substitute for republican simplicity and economical habits a sickly appetite for effeminate indulgence, and an imitation of that reckless extravagance which impoverished and enslaved the industrious people of foreign lands; and at last, to fix upon us, instead of those equal political rights, the acquisition of which was alike the object and supposed reward of our revolutionary struggle, a system of exclusive privileges conferred by partial legislation. To remove the influences which had thus gradually grown up among us--to deprive them of their deceptive advantages--to test them by the light of wisdom and truth--to oppose the force which they concentrate in their support--all this was necessarily the work of time, even among a people so enlightened and pure as that of the United States. In most other countries, perhaps, it could only be accomplished through that series of revolutionary movements, which are too often found necessary to effect any great and radical reform; but it is the crowning merit of our institution&s, that they create and nourish, in the vast majority of our people, a disposition and a power peaceably to remedy abuses which have elsewhere caused the effusion of rivers of bloody and the sacrifice of thousands of the human race. The result thus far is most honorable to the self denial, the intelligence, and the patriotism of our citizens; it justifies the confident hope that they will carry through the reform which has been so well begun, and that they will go still farther than they have yet gone in illustrating the important truth, that a people as free and enlightened as ours, will, whenever it becomes necessary, show themselves to be indeed capable of self-government, by voluntarily adopting appropriate remedies for every abuse, and submitting to temporary sacrifices, however great, to ensure their permanent welfare....”
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The last few days have been an educational experience, to say the least. My ill-conceived inflammatory blog, as all of you now know, set off a firestorm that, I’m told, has never before been equaled. I’m not proud of that.
Let me say this at the outset. My words here are from the heart, and all mine. No one can censor me, and I answer to no one but myself. And I have no one to blame but myself. Outdoor Life, a magazine that I worked for full-time as Hunting Editor for almost 30 years, fired me yesterday. My TV show was cancelled yesterday. Many of my sponsors have issued statements on their website to sever all relationships. This may cause many of you to do backflips and dance in the streets, but, of course, I’m not laughing, nor am I looking for sympathy. I don’t want a pity party.
They say hindsight is golden. Looking back, I can’t believe I said the words “ban” and “terrorist” in the context that I did. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I can explain this as sheer ignorance and an irresponsible use of words. What I’ve learned over the last few days has enlightened and amazed me. As a guy who hunts 200 days a year, does seminars on hunting, wrote for six hunting magazines, had a hunting TV show, and wrote 20 books on hunting, how could I have been so ignorant and out of touch with reality in the world of hunting and shooting?
But I was. I really can’t explain it, maybe because I just summarily dismissed the firearms in question in my mind when I saw them in magazines and catalogs. I saw one “black” firearm in a hunting camp in all my 50 years of hunting, and I shot one last year off a boat when fishing in Alaska. To tell the truth, it was fun and I enjoyed it immensely, but I never considered one for use in hunting. I have to tell you that I have had a revelation. I’m learning that many of my pals own AR-15’s and similar firearms and indeed use them for hunting. I was totally unaware that they were being used for legitimate hunting purposes. That is the absolute truth.
My biggest regret is not the financial impact of all this. I’m almost 67 and retirement is an option. The dreadful impact here is that I inadvertently struck a spear into the hearts of the people I love most…America’s gun owners. And, even though this huge cadre of dedicated people have succeeded in stripping me of my career, I hold no grudges. I will continue to stand as firm on pro hunting as I’ve ever done. But what’s different now is that I’ll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about “black” rifles and the controversy that surrounds them. My promise to you is that I’ll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I’ll order one. The NUGE has invited me to hunt with him using AR-15’s, and I’m eager to go, and learn. I’ll do all I can to spread the word.
I understand that many of you will not accept this apology, believing that the damage has been done and there’s no way to repair it. You have that right. But let me say this. I mentioned this above, and I’ll repeat it. I’m willing to seize this opportunity to educate hunters and shooters who shared my ignorance. If you’re willing to allow me to do that, we can indeed, in my mind, form a stronger bond within our ranks. Maybe in a roundabout way we can bring something good out of this.
That is precisely what I was thinking Jim. Forgive, LEARN THE FACTS, and SPREAD THEM. Then it can be forgotten....
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
...The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century &amp;amp;amp; half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....
Full article here.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sheriff Mattis said,
"I am reacting in response to the actions of federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of my county of their privacy, their liberty, and their property without regard to constitutional safeguards. I hope that more sheriffs all across America will join us in protecting their citizens from the illegal activities of the IRS, EPA, BATF, FBI, or any other federal agency that is operating outside the confines of constitutional law. Employees of the IRS and the EPA are no longer welcome in Bighorn County unless they intend to operate in conformance to constitutional law."
That sure is one of the best rays of sunshine that I've seen in a while! Hat tip to JR and the Sheriff! The good Sheriff can be reached here.
Friday, February 16, 2007
"Unless the people are considered in these two views, we shall never be able to understand the principle on which this system was constructed. I view the states as made for the people, as well as by them, and not the people as made for the states; the people, therefore, have a right, whilst enjoying the undeniable powers of society, to form either a general government, or state governments, in what manner they please, or to accommodate them to one another, and by this means preserve them all. This, I say, is the inherent and unalienable right of the people; and as an illustration of it, I beg to read a few words from the Declaration of Independence, made by the representatives of the United States, and recognized by the whole Union.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
"This is the broad basis on which our independence was placed: on the same certain and solid foundation this system is erected...."
"...The power and business of the state legislatures relate to the great objects of life, liberty and property; the same are also objects of the general government."
"Certainly, the citizens of America will be as tenacious in the one instance as in the other. They will be interested, and I hope will exert themselves, to secure their rights not only from being injured by the state governments, but also from being injured by the general government...."
"...It is laid before the citizens of the United States, unfettered by restraint; it is laid before them to be judged by the natural, civil, and political rights of men. By their fiat, it will become of value and authority; without it, it will never receive the character of authenticity and power...."
- James Wilson, Dec. 4, 1787. The debates in the Several State Conventions. [Elliot's Debates, Volume 2] (Mr. Wilson signed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and later a Supreme Court Justice).
Monday, February 12, 2007
- August 18. (1787), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot's Debates, Vol. 5]
Then what of our Right Mr. Madison?
Hmmm, that seems to flow flawlessly with the
"The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain moderation on one side, and prudence on the other."
- James Madison, The Federalist No. 43, Jan. 23, 1788.
preamble to the Bill of Rights;
"The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and asextending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;"
"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:"
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Thank you Mr. Madison!
"No, surely, No! they meant to drive us into what they termed rebellion, that they might be furnished with a pretext to disarm and then strip us of the rights and privileges of Englishmen and Citizens."
- George Washington, Valley forge, March 1, 1778.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
“...All ships or other vessels, with their rigging, tackle, apparel and furniture, and with their cargoes, found in the possession of pirates.”
“The goods, wares and merchandizes to be adjudged contraband, are the following, that is to say,”
“Cannons, mortars, fire-arms, pistols, bombs, granadoes, bullets, balls, fuses, flints, matches, powder, salt-petre, sulphur, carcases, pikes, swords, belts, pouches, cartouch-boxes, saddles and bridles, in any quantity beyond what may be necessary for the ship's provision, and may properly appertain to, and be adjudged necessary for, every man of the ship's crew or for each passenger....”
“...Upon the capture of any other vessel, if made by a vessel of war, belonging to the United States, one half of the property condemned shall be decreed to the United States, and the other half to the captors, to be divided as aforesaid; if by a private vessel no; having a commission, the whole shall be decreed to the captors: if by any body or detachment of regular or other troops in the service of the United States, the whole shall be adjudged to the captors, to be divided in proportion to the pay in the line of the army: if by inhabitants of the country, being in arms, the whole shall be adjudged to the captors, to be divided equally among them: provided, that if any such inhabitant shall be wounded in making the capture, he shall be entitled to two shares, and if killed, his legal representatives shall be entitled to four shares; if by the crews of British vessels, the whole shall be adjudged to the captors, to be divided at the discretion of the court....”
- Journals of the Continental Congress, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1781
Friday, February 09, 2007
"Mr. Henry for it. Says that a preparation for Warr is Necessary to obtain peace--That America is not Now in a State of peace--That all the Bulwarks, of Our Safety, of Our Constitn. are thrown down, That We are Now in a State of Nature-- hat We ought to ask Ourselves the Question should the planns of Nonim [portatio] n & Nonexp [oratio] n fail of success--in that Case Arms are Necessary, & if then, it is Necessary Now. Arms are a Resource to which We shall be forced, a Resource afforded Us by God & Nature, & why in the Name of both are We to hesitate providing them Now whilst in Our power."
- Silas Deane's Diary, [Oct. 3, 1774]. [Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1 AUGUST 1774 - AUGUST 1775]
Thursday, February 08, 2007
"The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us. We ought, for so dear a state to sacrifice every attachment and every enmity. Leave the President free to choose his own coadjutors, to pursue his own measures, and support him and them, even if we think we are wiser than they, honester than they are, or possessing more enlarged information of the state of things. If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, every one pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check. I repeat again, that we ought not to schismatize on either men or measures. Principles alone can justify that. If we find our government in all its branches rushing headlong, like our predecessors, into the arms of monarchy, if we find them violating our dearest rights, the trial by jury, the freedom of the press, the freedom of opinion, civil or religious, or opening on our peace of mind or personal safety the sluices of terrorism, if we see them raising standing armies, when the absence of all other danger points to these as the sole objects on which they are to be employed, then indeed let us withdraw and call the nation to its tents."
[The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes. Federal Edition. Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford.]
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
"...No Soldier whenever dismissed, is to carry away any Arms with him, that are good, and fit for service, if the Arms are his own private property, they will be appraised, and he will receive the full Value thereof: Proper persons when necessary, will be appointed to inspect, and value, the Arms, so detained...."
Saturday, February 03, 2007
I wish the words to be struck out, because I conceive them to be unnecessary in this place. I do conceive, Mr. Speaker, that this officer will be the mere creature of the law, and that very little need be said to prove to you that of necessity this ought to be the case. I apprehend, likewise, that it requires but a small share of abilities to point out certain causes for which a person ought to be removed from office, without being guilty of treason, bribery, or malfeasance; and the nature of things demands that it should be so. Suppose, sir, a man becomes insane by the visitation of God, and is likely to ruin our affairs; are the hands of government to be confined from warding off the evil? Suppose a person in office not possessing the talents he was judged to have at the time of the appointment; is the error not to be corrected? Suppose he acquires vicious habits, an incurable indolence, or total neglect of the duties of his office, which forebode mischief to the public welfare; is there no way to arrest the threatened danger? Suppose he becomes odious and unpopular by reason of the measures which he pursues,--and this he may do without committing any positive offence against the law, must he preserve his office in despite of the public will? Suppose him grasping at his own aggrandizement, and the elevation of his connections, by every means short of the treason defined by the Constitution,--hurrying your affairs to the precipice of destruction, endangering your domestic tranquility, plundering you of the means of defence, by alienating the affections of your allies, and promoting the spirit of discord,--is there no way suddenly to seize the worthless wretch, and hurl him from the pinnacle of power? Must the tardy, tedious, desultory road; by way of impeachment, be travelled to overtake the man who, barely confining himself within the letter of the law, is employed in drawing off the vital principle of the government? Sir, the nature of things, the great objects of society, the express objects of this Constitution, require that this thing should be otherwise. Well, sir, this is admitted by gentlemen; but they say the Senate is to be united with the President in the exercise of this power. I hope, sir, this is not the case, because it would involve us in the most serious difficulty. Suppose a discovery of any of those events which I have just enumerated were to take place when the Senate is not in session; how is the remedy to be applied? This is a serious consideration, and the evil could be avoided no other way than by the Senate's sitting always. Surely no gentleman of this house contemplates the necessity of incurring such au expense. I am sure it will be very objectionable to our constituents; and yet this must be done, or the public interest he endangered by keeping an unworthy officer in place until that body shall be assembled from the extremes of the Union.
- House of Representatives, June 16, 1789. "Removal by the President.--On the Bill for establishing an executive Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs." [Elliot's Debates, Volume 4]
Thursday, February 01, 2007
WEDNESDAY, May 5, 1858.
"Resolved, That the right of the citizen of the United States to expatriate himself and transfer his allegiance to other governments, to emigrate, with arms in his hands, for the purpose of settling new countries and founding new States, is an inherent and sacred right; one that ought to be inviolate, and one of which he cannot be constitutionally deprived...."