Thursday, March 06, 2014

"The difference between the right to keep and bear arms as private citizens and that of parading as an armed force...."

Letter of Mr. Hill.

   On our outside appears the letter of Hon. B.H. Hill in relation to the affair at Camilla, which should be read by all Northern men especially. It was addressed to the New York Tribune, and should have been treated by it with candor, instead of being perverted and misconstrued for party purpose, which is precisely what is done by that paper. How utterly soulless must be the man who is so without sympathy for the oppressed that he can make their case worse by malicious vituperation, when they present calmly and truthfully the facts in their case which go fairly to their defense. The freedmen have a right to bear arms "like other Georgians," says the Tribune, and insists it is all right, though their passions are stimulated by bad and designing men, and they are acting as an organized band. The difference between the right to keep and bear arms as private citizens and that of parading as an armed force in time of peace, and with threats and a violent manner terrifying the people is wholly ignored, as if of no consequence. Speaking of this subject and of the Tribune, the Baltimore Sun says :

   It sneers at the idea of a race which remained quiet when slaves in a civil war, breaking into insurrection when free, ignoring the fact that during the war their natural docile dispositions were not inflamed by adventurers like those who have since sought their own aggrandizement by arraying them against their former masters. It quotes from Brick Pomeroy's extravagant advice for Democratic clubs to arm, as Radical clubs have done, pronouncing his paper the real organ of the Democracy of New York. But the Tribune utterly fails to get over the irresistible reasons adduced by Mr. Hill, showing, as every man's instinct and common sense would teach him, why the whites of the South should not be the aggressors. The man who, when these things are calmly and dispassionately placed before him, as Mr. Hill has placed them before the Tribune, can jeer and rail at them, simply shows himself willing to join in a devil's dance over the woes and miseries of his fellow men. We know nothing of the merits of this particular case at Camilla, but can conceive that when an affray of this kind is forced upon a people, outrages may be oommitted by those brutal persons who are to be found in every community, and who avail themselves of every outbreak to give vent to their appetites for riot and violence. It is an additional misery to the orderly members of society that such provocations to lawlessness and outbreak are offered and persisted in, thereby compelling a community to submit to the hazard of all that they hold dear, or if they endeavor to save themselves, to be held responsible for all the excesses that the unruly and turbulent may avail themselves of the optunity to commit.

[Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Thursday Evening, October 1, 1868. Vol. VII. No. 27 Pg. 2]

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