Friday, May 17, 2013

"In vain the constitution allows the privilege to the citizen to bear arms for his protection..."

"...But great complaint is made of the war preparations of South Carolina. Can any one be serious in saying that there is no cause for this? A State surrounded by military force denied the right to prepare to meet it? Take care, Mr. Speaker this is alarming doctrine to the States! In vain the constitution allows the privilege to the citizen to bear arms for his protection, if, when he rubs up his musket and furnishes it with a fiint, he runs the risk of becoming a traitor! Sir, preparation is no force; as well may you tell me that the gentleman who sits before me with his sword cane, and which, no doubt, he carries for his honest defence, is obliged to run it through the body of the first man he meets, because he has thought proper to be ready for the assaults of either insolence or avarice. I well remember, sir, my own State had once to make warlike preparation against the usurpations of this same Government, and I should like to see the man who would dare to say she meant any thing more than the lawful defence of her undoubted rights. Against this Union she never meditated the slightest movement; but against the unconstitutional acts ot its Government, she did plant herself upon her arms, and hurled defiance in the very teeth of your usurping laws. What Georgia has done in good faith against the designs of arbitrary power, I am willing to accord to other States, without imputing bad motives to the act."--[Judge] Augustin S. Clayton, Feb. 27, 1833. [REGISTER OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS, COMPRISING THE LEADING DEBATES AND INCIDENTS OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE TWENTY-SECOND CONGRESS: TOGETHER WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING IMPORTANT STATE PAPERS AND PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, AND THE LAWS, OF A PUBLIC NATURE, ENACTED DURING THE SESSION: WITH A COPIOUS INDEX TO THE WHOLE. VOLUME IX. WASHINGTON: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY GALES AND SEATON. 1833. Pg. 1834] (Judge Augustin S. Clayton, served in both the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate, and then a representative of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1831–1835). 

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