Sunday, July 07, 2013

"No act of a Government should more excite the distrust and alarm of a free people than an attempt to infringe "the right to keep and bear arms."

   "No act of a Government should more excite the distrust and alarm of a free people than an attempt to infringe "the right to keep and bear arms." When a Government has become so corrupt that it can only enforce its laws by employing a paid soldiery against an unarmed people, then, if ever, revolution becomes justifiable and necessary. Such was the view taken of the subject by our fore-fathers, and hence they inserted in the Constitution that clause which explicitly and solemnly declares that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Without this and the other clauses designed to secure the rights of conscience and personal liberty, the Constitution would never have been adopted. Hence the attempt of the Administration, through its mercenaries in Kansas, to deprive the Free-State men of their arms is among the greatest of many outrages which it has yet committed. When the bogus Sheriff Jones, backed up by the Border Ruffians and the Administration, entered the houses of peaceable citizens and demanded that they should deliver up their arms, he not only committed an act of robbery, for which he should have been punished as a common burglar, but he violated one of those provisions of the Constitution which a free people should guard with the most jealous care.

   "In considering this subject regard should be had to the character of the inhabitants of Kansas. They are an agricultural people, and hence less disposed to commotion and disorder than the people of large cities. their property is of that kind which is most exposed, and most easily destroyed. Their crops are their principle dependence, and these can neither be removed on the approach of an advancing foe, nor concealed from his observation. No kind of property is destroyed with more ease or defended with more difficulty than a field of grain. When we hear that a people thus situated, with every motive to preserve peace, and every inducement to submit to even a considerable degree of oppression before bringing ruin upon themselves by resistance, have risen against a code of laws which armed bands from another State, aided and paid by the General Government, are attempting to enforce, by robbery, arson and murder, we need not wait to study the details of that code before pronouncing it despotic and cruel. It is not necessary to open the huge volume which bears upon its back the impudent title "The Laws of Kansas" and which seems to be made up of the mingled meanness, corruption and atrocity of all other tyrannical codes, in order to judge of its character. The simple fact that it can only be enforced among a peaceful agricultural people by the military arm of the Government enables us in advance to judge and condemn it. But when to this is added the fact that the gathering of men which styled itself a Legislature, and sought to force this code upon the people, had no more legal authority than the Cincinnati Convention or the Tammany Hall General Committee, it is time the people looked to it, that their right to keep and bear arms be not infringed.

   "It was to provide against just such emergencies as this that our fathers inserted in the Constitution that clause designed to protect this right of every freeman. They foresaw that however carefully they might arrange the checks and balances of the governmental machine, its direction might at some future time, fall into such hands that it would be necessary for the people to have at least the means of defense within their reach.

   "To deprive the people of their arms has ever been a favorite measure with despots. When Napoleon was endeavoring to maintain his brother upon the throne of Naples, he was continually writing to him to disarm the people. "Take away their "arms," he repeats time and again, "and then you "will have no difficulty in keeping them down." When, too, the Emperor of Austria, by the aid of Russian bayonets and the treachery of men who might well claim to be the political brothers of our northern doughfaces, had subdued the people of Hungary, his first care was to deprive them of their

   "For months past the Government of the United States has been trying to introduce into Kansas and put into practice this system of the despots of Europe. And what, we ask, would now be the condition of the people of Lawrence had "Sheriff" Jones succeeded in his attempts to steal all the arms of the Free-State men! Within the past month the ruffian hordes of Missouri have addvanced to within sight of the town, and have only refrained from making it the scene of rapine and carnage because they feared the freemen who were prepared to resist them with something beside remonstrances and naked hands. It is for the voters of the Union to declare, through the ballot-box, on the 4th of November, whether they will sanction this attempt. If they do, there are those living who will see the day when a hireling soldiery will enter the houses of our citizens to search for arms preparatory to enforcing upon a defenceless people laws equally atrocious with those of Kansas."

- New-York Daily Tribune, October 02, 1856. Vol. XVI.......No. 4,822. Pg. 4   

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