Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Self-defence is one of the inalienable rights"

"We are mere agents for the exercise of limited and specific grants; and I thank God that it is so. I rejoice that freedom of speech and the right of self-defence cannot be curtailed; that all your enactments in relation to are void; that gentlemen cannot, if they would, have a legislative auto do fe, and burn every man for contempt who will not follow them or applaud their acts...."--Mr. John Francis Hamtramck Clairborne,  U.S. Representative from Mississippi, [Pg. 1693]

"If the witness be sent before the committee, self-defence is the paramount law of our nature. Self-defence is one of the natural rights that all men in this country possess. Self-defence is one of the inalienable rights, dear to this witness, secured to all American citizens by the very nature of our free institutions; and if he goes, he must be permitted to go before the committee armed for his own protection; for he is apprized of the feelings of the honorable chairman of the committee towards him, by the expression of the honorable gentleman made on this floor. Sir, if we force the witness before the committee, and he goes there armed, (and I hold that we cannot think of forcing him there without the power to protect himself,) may not the result be such as we would regret, and would we not be responsible for the consequences? Let me ask, will not Whitney commit a greater contempt by going before the committee armed than he has done in refusing to go before the committee under the circumstances of this case? Then, sir, I believe Whitney, under the circumstances, is justified in refusing to appear before the committee. Then, if we order Whitney into custody, and to be brought to the bar of this House to answer, as a criminal, will we not do so in violation of all his rights as a citizen, and will we not establish a dangerous precedent?"--Mr. Samuel J. Gholson,  U.S. Representative from Mississippi, Feb. 10, 1837. [DEBATES IN CONGRESS PART II. REGISTER OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS, COMPRISING THE LEADING DEBATES AND INCIDENTS OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE TWENTY-FOURTH 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 XIII. WASHINGTON: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY GALES AND SEATON 1837. Pg. 1701]

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