Tuesday, March 04, 2014

"of the right of the people to keep and to bear arms for their defense...."

"...And sir, that other pretense, of necessity, I repeat, cannot be allowed. The Constitution cannot be preserved by violating it. It is an offense to the intelligence of this House and of the country, to pretend that all this, and the other gross and multiplied infractions of the Constitution and usurpations of power were done by the President and his advisors out of pure love and devotion to the Constitution. But if so, sir, then they have but one step further to take, and declare, in the language of Sir Boyle Roche in the Irish House of Commons, that such is the depth of their attachment to it, that they are prepared to give up, not merely a part, but the whole of the Constitution, if indeed this pretext of necessity be well founded, then let me say, that a cause which demands the sacrifice of the Constitution and of the dearest securities of property, liberty, and life, cannot be just; at least it is not worth the sacrifice.

   "Sir, I ran obliged to pass by, for want of time, other grave, and dangerous infractions and usurpations of the President since the fourth of March. I only allude casually to the quartering of soldiers in private houses without the consent of the owners, and without in any manner having been prescribed by law; to the subversion in a part at least of Maryland of her own State government and of the authorities under it: to the censorship over the Telegraph, and the infringement repeatedly, in one or more of the States, of the right of the people to keep and to bear arms for their defense. But if all these things I ask, have been done in the first two months after the commencement of this war, and by men not military chieftains and unused to arbitrary power, what may we not expect to see in three years, and by the successful heroes of the fight? Sir the power and rights of the States and the people and of their Representatives, have been usurped; the sanctity of the private house and of private property has been invaded and the liberty of the person wantonly and wickedly stricken down; free speech, too, has been repeatedly denied; and all this under the plea of necessity. Sir, the right of petition will follow next--nay, it has already been shaken; the freedom of the press will soon fall after it; and let me whisper in your ear, that there will be few to mourn over its loss, until, indeed, its ancient high and honorable character shall be rescued and redeemed from its present reckless mendacity and degradation.--Freedom of religion will yield too, at last, amid the exultant shouts of millions, who have seen its holy temples defiled and its white robes of a former innocency trampled now under the polluting hoofs of an ambitious and faithless or fanatical clergy. Meantime national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation, anarchy first and a strong government afterwards, no more State lines, no more State governments, and a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism, must all follow in the history of the future as in the history of the past they have, centuries ago, been written...."

[Columbia Democrat and Bloomsburg General Advertiser, Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pa., Saturday, August 10, 1861. Vol. 15.--No. 23. Excerpted from the article; "Speech Of Hon. C.L. Vallandigham, Of Ohio, On Executive Usurpation. In the [U.S.] House of Representatives, July 10, 1861. Pg. 2 (Cont'd. from Pg. 1)]

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