Saturday, July 06, 2013

"The Constitution of our country guarantees to every citizen the right to bear arms--the right to protect himself against all personal aggressions"

 Speech of Gov. Chase*

"...There is to language that is too severe, when applied in denunciation to crime like these: and though I promised not to speak harshly, in endeavoring to forbear I have to suppress the deepest feelings of my heart. And now peace, they tell us, reigns in Kansas; we see it stated on the authority of Shannon that peace and good order are restored, and there is prospect of continued quiet. But how is it? The Constitution of our country guarantees to every citizen the right to bear arms--the right to protect himself against all personal aggressions; and the peace in Kansas has been brought about by the sacrifice of this first right of civil government; the citizens of Kansas have been disarmed and left without the means of defense against aggressions in whatever form they may come. Col. Sumner has received orders that he shall enforce the laws of Kansas, and by the laws of Kansas are meant the ordinances of Missouri, as applied by the invaders from that State to the Territory--the laws enacted by a bogus Legislature. And when Co. Sumner rides over Kansas, and finds its citizens arrayed in self-defense, he disarms them, and leaves them to the tender mercies of whomsoever may fall upon them. But when he meets Whitfield and his gangs, he simply tells them to go home. Government, through its agents in Kansas, are not acting without an aim; they have a design in view. Why are Bufford's men enrolled as militia? Why, October is nearly here, and at that time an election ot representatives is to take place; and on that day there is to be a training in Kansas: on that day half the militia is to be called out, and you need not be astonished which half will be called out. It will be this invading gang, and they are going there now for the purpose of imposing another false Legislature on the people ef Kansas--for the purpose of falsely showing that the people of Kansas ratify the old Legislature. This scheme is all ready and prepared to work, and it will work unless you intervene your influence and stop it. A year ago, when I received the nomination for Governor, I made a remark which now proves to have been an important one. It was this: that the freedom of Kansas was to be wrought out at the ballot-boxes in the Free States, I feel those wrongs which our brethren in Kansas suffer; I know they are in the right--I know that by the great title which rises high above all temporizing law, and finds its foundation in the eternal rights of man, they are justified in resisting the tyrants. But I know how vain that resistance is, when the power of the country is in the hands of the oppressor. And have we no part in the matter? We are pouring into the coffers of the Government more than three quarters of a million of dollars a month, and this is used to hire soldiers and pay for the munitions of war, to keep Freedom down in Kansas. But they cannot do it, for the Federal Judge there says the laws of Kansas are the laws of the United States, and to resist those laws is treason; and to-day Governor Robinson lies in prison, guarded by troops of the United States, whom you pay, and his compatriots are there in prison with him. Our fellow-citizens in Kansas may struggle ever so manfully, but their resistance is vain so long as your arms are stretched out to oppress rather than help them; for while you sustain the Federal Government in its present course, you are oppressing the people of Kansas. By your votes you give it the power to crush Freedom in the Territories. It is here in our midst the battle of Freedom is to be fought; we are to determine whether these outrages are to continue--whether murder and rapine are to stalk abroad in the broad light of day, startling even the stoutest hearts by their atrocity. And now, my friends, shall we not fight this battle? Shall we not resolve, as one man, that all this wrong and iniquity shall come to an end? I care nothing about names of party; it is the principles to be asserted and maintained; all that we want to know is, whether men who are presented to us for our sufferages will use their positions in the right way. I don't know that it is worth while to talk about Buchanan or any of the candidates. But don't deceive yourselves, if your hearts are so cold--if God has given you hearts of stone instead of hearts of flesh, don't imagine that this evil is to remain far from you...."

- New-York Daily Tribune, New-York, Saturday, July 5, 1856. Vol. XVI.......No. 4,746 , Pg. 5.

* - Salmon Portland Chase (Jan. 13, 1808 – May 7, 1873) was an American politician and jurist who served as U.S.  Senator from Ohio and the 23rd Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as the sixth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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