Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"...guarantee to you the right to bear arms in self defense..."

A Word to the Wise is Sufficient.

   We had hoped that the dark night of our adversity was breaking away adversity was breaking away and that peace had dawned upon us again to gladden our hearts with the return of prosperity and happiness. We fear that these were but dreams, too soon to be dispelled. There is now a terrible, raging chasm between the hopes awakened and the enjoyment promised. It is useless to longer disguise the fact from our people, that we again stand upon the vestibule of the temple of the grim genius of war. The distant rumbling portends a storm that may sweep the last vestige of our liberties away in the vortex of revolution. The bravest hearts stand aghast at the contemplation of the horrors that may burst upon us at any time. Nowhere can we look for protection from this merciless tyranny. There is no strong arm upon which we can lean for support. No shield to guard us from the impending danger. We are, indeed, "strangers in the land of our birth." The General Government imposes duties and burdens upon us, and then refuses the reciprocal duty of protection. It leaves us at the mercy of a tyrant, whose insatiable appetite can only be appeased by the blood of our citizens. Shall we, then, quietly submit to be bound hand and foot, and turned ever to the tender mercies of those who delight in torturing a brave and proud people? We say no, never! A brave people, however much they may have been overrun and trampled open, are not altogether powerless.

   It behooves those in authority to ponder well before they take a step that may recoil upon their own heads. A people goaded on to desperation may turn and smite their persecutors. We do not wish to be understood as counseling armed resistance to law. Our voice shall ever be raised for peace. We advise our people to bear and forbear, be calm and patient under all circumstances, but be prepared. The laws of your State guarantee to you the right to bear arms in self defense. No power upon earth can gainsay this right. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.

   While we believe the act organizing a State Guard is in violation of the plainest provisions of the Constitution, we do not propose to offer any resistance to its execution. But we will say that he who believes that our people will stand quietly by and see here in our midst a repetition of the outrages which have been committed in Arkansas, must be a fool or insane.

   "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God," is a maxim just as true to-day as it was when our fathers resisted British oppression. We still have that power of resistance left as, and in defense of our live and property it will crush the faction of unscrupulous men who rule our State between the upper and nether mill-stone of its power. Then let that power which rests its broad base on two millions of people be our shield and sword.

[Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Friday Evening, January 29, 1869. Vol. VII. No. 127. Pg. 2]

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