Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"the fundamental right of republican citizens to bear arms in self defence"

"...Let every conservative organization throughout the State take this matter into immediate consideration, with a view to the adoption of a plan of armed defence against the armed oppression with which we are threatened. There is no time to be lost. Collect arms and ammunition. Organize and drill. Assert boldly the fundamental right of republican citizens to bear arms in self defence. Prepare to make that defence effective by discipline, and combination of all who are the victims of the Radical despotism which curses the State. Two elections have been carried by Radicals in Missouri by military intervention and armed force. It must never be done again. The majority of the grown men in Missouri have said this, and they will make their word good. They have the number with them. They have a vast majority. Leaving out those who were actively engaged in the rebellion, those between the age of eighteen and forty five who were arrayed against the Radical despotism of the State, number not less than one hundred thousand men. Among them are many brave officers, who led to victory the forces of the Union army, and brave soldiers who carried the Stars and stripes from Missouri to the Gulf and from the Gulf to Washington. They are heartily alive to the demands of the present emergency, and are eager to co-operate with the scores of thousands whose liberties are menaced by the new order of rebels who have overthrown legitimate Republican Government in Missouri, and proclaim their absolute independence of all earthly power outside of Missouri, denouncing the President as a traitor and threatening him and his officers with resistance by muskets and bayonets.

   Not only in our own defence must we arm, but in defence of the General Government against which these Radical rebels concoct rebellion and  call the world to witness their treason. When the war ceased, the people of Missouri trusted that the weapons of war were laid aside forever, never dreaming that within the very limits of the State itself, the common liberties of free citizens would be trampled upon, that the cry "to arms," would resound again through our borders. That faction, that now rules the State has forced the alternative of war upon us. The Chief Executive of the State has, without authority of law, organized already, and armed from sixty to one hundred companies of white men and negroes, how many more we do not know. All those companies are as illegal, and totally outside of the pale of law, as bushwhackers and guerrillas. The use to which they are to be put is proclaimed by a Radical confidential friend of the Governor to control the polls at the coming election. What other uses they are to be put to it is impassible to tell. The Radical revolutionists alone know. But their existence is a threat uttered, which warns the Conservatives of Missouri of every name to burnish up their muskets, rifles and shot-guns for the common defence, and especially to meet at the polls the armed mobs of Gov. Fletcher, which he has criminally organized in defiance of law, to carry out the radical programme in Missouri. Our first duty as American citizens is to organize and prepare thus to overthrow our assailants. Before indulging in any expectation of aid from without, let us call upon our own resources of defence, and put ourselves in order for the fight which the Radicals seem determined to force upon us. Then, when the hour arrives for the proper interposition of the Chief Executive of the nation, he will find ready to co-operate with him and the national forces, a hundred thousand freemen of Missouri.

   We are unworthy of aid from the General Government until we first show the resolution and the courage to prepare to defend ourselves against the armed ruffians of the rebel Governor or the state. We should deserve the name of cowards if we hesitated for one hour to prepare all necessary means instruments for a complete defence against the Radical faction which so haughtily tells us that the sovereign Governor Fletcher will have In organization to control the polls. Can you hear that, Conservatives of Missouri, and not act? If you can, you deserve to be slaves.
[Glasgow Weekly Times, Glasgow, Howard County, MO. September 07, 1866. New Series--Vol. II. Whole Number 63. Number 11. Pg. 2 - "A Speck Of War."]

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