Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Never was this efficient weapon more needed in just self-defence, than now...."

   ...I expose simply the Tyranny which upholds the existing Usurpation, and asks for additional appropriations. Let it be judged by an example, from which in this country there can be no appeal. Here is the speech of George III, made from the Throne to Parliament, in response to the complaints of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which, though smarting under laws passed by usurped power, had yet avoid all armed opposition, while Lexington and Bunker Hill still slumbered in rural solitude, unconscious of the historic kindred which they were soon to claim. Instead of Massachusetts Bay, in the Royal speech, substitute Kansas, and the message of the President will be found fresh on the lips of the British King. Listen now to the words, which, in opening Parliament, 30th November, 1774, his Majesty, according to the official report, was pleased to speak:

"My Lords and Gentlemen:

   "It gives me much concern that I am obliged, at the opening of this Parliament, to inform you that a most daring spirit of resistance and disobedience to the law still unhappily prevails in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. and has in divers parts of it broke forth in fresh violence of a very criminal nature. These proceedings have been countinanced in other of my Colonies, and unwarrantable attempts have been made to obstruct the Commerce of this Kingdom, by unlawful combinations. I have taken such measures and given such orders as I have judged most proper and effectual FOR CARRYING INTO EXECUTION THE LAWS WHICH WERE PASSED IN THE LAST SESSION OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT, for the protection & security of the Commerce of my subjects, and for the restoring and preserving peace, order and good government, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay."--American Archives, 4th series, vol. 1, page 1465. 

   The King complained of a "daring spirit of resistance and disobedience to the law;" so also does the President. The King adds, that it has "broke forth in the fresh violences of a criminal nature;" so also does the President. The King declares that these proceedings have been "countenanced and encouraged in other of my Colonies;" even so the President declares that Kansas has found sympathy in "remote States." The King inveighs against "unwarrantable measures" and "unlawful combinations;" even so inveighs the President. The King proclaims that he has taken the necessary steps "for carrying into execution the laws," passed in defiance of the constitutional rights of the Colonies; even so the President proclaims that he shall "exert the whole power of the Federal Executive to support the Usurpation in Kansas. The parallel is complete. The Message, if not copied from the Speech of the King, has been fashioned on the same original block, and must be dismissed to the same limbo. I dismiss its tyrannical assumption in favor of the Usurpation. I dismiss also its petition for additional approbations in the affected desire to maintain order in Kansas. It is not money or troops that you need there, butt simply the goodwill of the President. That is all, absolutely. Let his complicity With the Crime cease, and peace will be restored. For myself, I will not consent to Wad the National artillery with fresh appropriation bills, when its murderous hail is to be directed against the constitutional rights of my fellow-citizens.

   Next comes the Remedy of Folly, which, indeed, is also a Remedy of Tyranny; but its Folly is so surpassing as to eclipse even its Tyranny. It does not proceed from the President. With this proposition he is not in any way chargeable. It comes from the Senator from South Carolina, who, at the close of a long speech, offered it as his single contribution to the adjustment of this question, and who thus far stands alone in its support. It might therefore, fitly bear his name; but that which I now give to it is a more suggestive synonym.

   This proposition, nakedly expressed, is that the people of Kansas should be deprived of their arms. That I may not do the least injustice to the Senator, I quote his precise words:

   "The President of the United States is under the highest and most solemn obligations to interpose; and if I were to indicate the manner in which he should interpose in Kansas. I would point out the old common law process. I would serve a warrant on Sharpe's rifles and if Sharpe's rifles did not answer the summons, and come into court on a day certain or if they resisted the sheriff I would summon the POSSE COMITATUS, and would have Colonel Sumner's regiment to be a part of that POSSE COMITATUS."

   Really, sir, has it come to this? The rifle has ever been the companion of the pioneer, and, under God, his tutelary protector against the red man and the beast of the forest. Never was this efficient weapon more needed in just self-defence, than now in Kansas, and at least one article in our National Constitution must be blotted out, before the complete rights to it can in any way be impeached. And yet such is the madness of the hour, that, in defiance of the of the solemn guaranty, embodied in the Amendments to the Constitution, that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," the people of Kansas have been arraigned for keeping and bearing them, and the Senator from South Carolina has had the face to say openly, on this floor, that they should be disarmed--of course, that the fanatics of Slavery, his allies and constituents, may meet no impediment. Sir, the Senator is venerable with years; he is reputed also to have worn at home,in the State which he represents, judicial honors; and he is placed here at the head of an important Committee occupied particularly with questions of law; but neither his years, nor his position, past or present, can give respectability to the demand he has made, or save him from indignant condemnation, when, to compass the wretched purposes of a wretched cause, he thus proposes to trample on one of the plainest provisions of constitutional liberty....[Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Speech in the Senate of the United States, May 19th and 20th, 1856.]

[Belmont Chronicle, St. Clairsville, Ohio, Thursday, July 3, 1856. New Series, Vol. VIII, No 39. Whole No. 934, Pg. 1 - Excerpted from the article; "The Crime Against Kansas. The Apologies for the Crime. The True Remedy...."]

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