Monday, June 17, 2013

"go habitually armed into the House of Representatives and Senate; concealed pistols and dirks"

   "The longer we remained in Washington, the more we saw and heard of the recklessness and profligacy which characterize the manners both of its resident and fluctuating population. In addition to the fact of all the parties to the late duel going at large, and being unaccountable to any tribunal of law for their conduct in that transaction--of itself a sufficient proof of the laxity of morals and the weakness of magisterial power--it was matter of notoriety, that a resident of the city who kept a boarding-house, and who entertained a strong feeling of resentment towards Mr. Wise, one of the members for Virginia, went constantly armed with loaded pistols and a long bowie-knife, watching his opportunity to assassinate him. He had been foiled in the attempt on two or three occasions by finding this gentleman armed also, and generally accompanied by friends; but though the magistrates of the city were warned of this intended assassination, they were either afraid to apprehend the individual, or from some other motive declined or neglected to do so; and he accordingly walked abroad armed as usual.

   "Mr. Wise himself, as well as many others of the members from the South and West, go habitually armed into the House of Representatives and Senate; concealed pistols and dirks being the usual instruments worn by them beneath their clothes. On his recent examination before a committee of the House, he was asked by the chairman of the committee whether he had arms on his person or not; and answering that he always carried them, he was to give them up while the committee was sitting, which he did; but on their rising he was presented with his arms, and he continued constantly to wear them as before." [Pg. 237]
Hmmmm, the word HYPOCRISY comes to mind....
   "A bill to prevent the carrying of concealed weapons was passed by the Legislature of Virginia during our stay here, by a majority of 85 to 17; and the same object was pressed upon the attention of the Maryland Legislature, as concealed weapons arc worn by some of the people of this as well as of the neighbouring state. The bill for the suppression of duelling in the District of Columbia received also, while we were here, the final assent of both houses of Congress and the president, so that it has become a law; and this, coupled with the gradual disuse of secret arms, will no doubt have the effect of lessening the number of sanguinary conflicts." [Pg. 310]
Yeah right, THAT worked out real well, now didn't it? (How long was D.C. the murder capital of the U.S.?)  

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