Friday, March 07, 2014

"unless the citizens prepare to maintain the rights which they do not hold by the sufferance of men, but by the gift of God."

   We make the following extract from a long and powerful article In the Memphis Appeal, of the 12th, a paper which is usually conciliatory and moderate in its tone:

   "All over the State, and especially in the cities, the men who have something at stake in the commonwealth, ought to unite and organize at once. The work of enrollment should begin,--at once,--here--everywhere. As soon as sixty or eighty men are enrolled, let them at once be organized as a company, with all the necessary officers. Let battalions, regiments and brigades be formed. Let us have organization, officers, a military chief. Let every man arm to protect his property, his life, and the lives of those that are dear to him. Let powder and arms and ball be procured, if finery has to be dispensed with. Let this force be a civic Guard, at the disposition of the officers of the law, where these are fit to be trusted--to keep the peace in spite of them, where they are nut. Let them overawe the turbulent element that threaten civil convulsions. Such an organization may prevent excesses. Nothing else will. Let them see that every man white or black, who is entitled to vote by law, has opportunity to vote, AND NO OTHERS, registered or unregistered. If pillagers and assassins undertake to do here what they have done elsewhere, let them be disarmed, and expelled from the city, or die the death. If the authorities of the State, Executive or Judicial, connive at the murder of citizens, let the citizens protect themselves. They can do so, and protect the public peace, and prevent riots or punish rioters; and they must do this, for neither laws, Courts, nor police protect them. Are a few ragamuffins and a mob of miscreants to overawe and ride over a whole State?

   Let there be no mystery no secrecy. It is not needed. Let the ranks of the Civic Guard be open to all respectable white citizens. Let the officers elected be known.--Require prompt obedience to the signals agreed on. Let the city assist the country, and the country the city. Obey the laws as they are, until they are repealed, but resist all unlawful oppression, Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for the common defense, and all have a right to organize to maintain order. This will hardly be denied while 'Loyal Leagues' and 'Grand Armies of the Republic' exist. Without organization, thorough and efficient, every good citizen is at the mercy of those who are banded together for the worst purposes, and prompted by the worst men. Arm and organize or hold out your throats to the assassin's knife. The streets may not be safe for butterflies between this and the August elections, unless the citizens prepare to maintain the rights which they do not hold by the sufferance of men, but by the gift of God.

[Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, Clarksville, Tenn., Friday, June 21, 1867. Volume 2. Number 49. Pg. 1]

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