Sunday, May 18, 2008

" would be a citizen without a pistol..."

"...These cases are really very hard. If we need an army at all we must provide it with the requisites of an army. The first of military necessities, or, if anybody chooses to insist upon the prior claim of ardent spirits, the second, is the game of poker. A well regulated militia being, according to the Constitution of the United States, "essential to the security of a free State," that instrument goes on to provide that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Granted the necessity of a regular army, and the right of its officers to play poker follows with the same inexorable logic that secures the right of a freeman to a hip-pocket. An officer who does not play poker is in the same pitiable position in a frontier post as would be a citizen without a pistol during an excited political canvass in Texas. The penalty of not shooting in Texas, when it is not that of being shot, is the same as that of not betting money at cards or any game of hazard in the army of our country. It is the terrible penalty of "social ostracism." ..."

- Excerpted from a New York Times article titled "Irregularities" And Poker, published: May 24, 1883.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Pretense For The Rebellion. [N.Y. Times, Sept. 15. 1874]

The Pretense For The Rebellion.
New-Orleans, La., Sept. 14.--The following is the call, signed by fifty business men and firms, under which the Canal street meeting of to-day assembled:
Citizens of New-Orleans: For nearly two years you have been the silent but indignant sufferers of outrage after outrage, heaped upon you by an usurping Government. One by one your dearest [r]ights have been trameled upon, until at last, in the supreme height of its insolence, this mockery of a republican government has dared even to deny you that right, so solemnly guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which, in article two of amendments, declares that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. In the same instrument, to whose inviolate perpetuity our fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, it was also declared that even Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petititon the Government for redress of grievances. It now remains for us to ascertain whether this right any longer remains to us. We therefore call upon you, on Monday, the 14th day of September, 1874, to close your place of business, without a single exception, and at 11 o'clock A.M., to assemble at the Clay Statue, on Canal street, and in tones loud enough to be heard throughout the length and bredth of the land, declare that you of right ought to be and mean to be free.
The Canal street meeting to-day adopted the following resolutions:
Whereas, At a general election held in Louisiana on the 4th day of November, 1872, Jno. McEnery was elected Governorby a majority of nearly 10,000 votes over his opponent, Wiliam P. Kellogg, and D.B. Penn, Lieutenant Governor, by a majority of 15,000 over his opponent, C.C. Antoine; and, whereas, by fraud and violence, those defeated seized the executive chair, and from time to time, by other irregular, fraudulent and violent acts, in the face of the report of the Committee of the Senate of the United States appointed to investigate the affairs of Louisiana, that the existing Government of the State is an usurpation, the result of a violent abuse of judicial functions and sustained by force. W.P. Kellogg has continued himself in power, to the gross wrong and outrage of the people of the State of Louisiana, and to the imminent danger of Republican institutions throughout the entire country; and, whereas, with a view to controlling and determining the results of the approaching election to be held in Louisiana in November next, he has, under an act known as the Registration act, and passed for the purpose of defeating the popular will, secured to himself and his party the power of denying registration to bona fide citizens, whose applications before the courts for a mandamus to compel the Assistant Supervisors to enroll and register them has been refused, the registration law, indeed, punishing courts if they dare to take cognizance of such appeals; and, whereas, by false and infamous misrepresentations of the feelings and motives of our people, he has received promise of aid from the Federal army placed at the order of the Attorney General of the United States, and subject to the calls of the United States Marshals, for the purpose of overawing our State and controlling the election; and whereas, in the language of the call for the meeting, "one by one our dearest rights have been trampled upon, and at last, in the supreme height of its insolence, this mockery of a Republican Government has dared even to deny that the right so solemnly guaranteed by the very Constitution of the United States, which in article eleven [II] of the amendments, declares that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon; be it
Resolved, That we reaffirm solemnly the resolutions adopted by the white people of Louisiana, in convention assembled, at Baton Rouge, on the 24th of August, 1874; that the white people of Louisiana have no desire to deprive the colored people of any rights to which they are entitled, that A.P. Kellogg is a mere usurper, and we pronounce him as such, that his government is arbitrary, unjust, and oppressive, and can only maintain itself through Federal interference; that the election and registration laws under which this election is being conducted were intended to perpetuate usurpation by depriving the people, and especially our naturalized citizens, of an opportunity to register and vote, and therefore in the name ofthe citizens of New Orleans, now in mass-meeting, and of the people of the State of Louisiana, whose franchise has been wrested from them by fraud and violence, and all of whose rights and liberties have been outraged and trampled upon; we demand of W.P. Kellogg his immediate abdication.
Resolved, That a committee of five be immmediately appointed by the chairman, who shall be a member of the saidcommittee, to wait on Mr. W.P. Kellogg, to present to him these resolutions, to demand of him an immediate answer,and report the result of such interview to this meeting.
The New York Times
Copyright The New York Times

Also See:


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rousseau And Grinnell. [N.Y. Times, July 22, 1866]

Rousseau And Grinnell.

Mr. Raymond's Remarks in the House of Representatives, July 17, 1866, on the Assault of Hon. L.H. Rousseauupon Hon. J.B Grinnell.

From the Congressional Globe.
"...Now Pennybaker was informed by Rosseau of the probable assault, but there is nothing whatsoever to show that hewas invited there for the purpose of taking any part in the affair or in any other capacity than as a witness of the assault. Col. Pennbaker has been in the army and was in the habit of carrying arms, and he testifies that on hearing of this contemplated assault he went to his room and took a pistol and came with it to the House. With the exception of that single incident, there is not a shadow of suspicion that anybody was informed by Gen. Rousseau of his intended assault upon the member from Iowa.

Col. Grigsby, who was the second party present who is named here, testifies in answer to Gen. Roussuau's questions as follows:

Q.--I ask you if anything had ever occured between you and myself which led you to believe that the thing was to take place?

A.--Nothing whatsoever, I only arrived in the city a day or two before. I had not seen Gen. Rousseau until I saw him at the Capitol since 1862, when we were in the army together, and I only was with him three minutes before we went outat the door.

Q.--Did I even know you were present on the portico until you came up to me?

A.--I had no reason to suppose you did at all. I was following Col. Pennybaker. I supposed you were running to get into a car. I never dreamed of anything of the sort occuring.

I read further from his testimony: By Mr. Banks:

Q.--Do you ever carry arms upon your person?

A.--Yes, Sir.

Q.--Were you armed on this occasion?

A.--I had a small Deringer pistol in my pocket.

Q.--How long had you had that?

A.--I had carried it ever since I left the army. I do not suppose it has been out of my pocket in twelve months.

By Mr. Rossuea:

Q.--You did not have it with you for this particular occasion?

A.--No, Sir; for I did not know any such occasion. The condition of society has been such in our town that it would not be safe to be unarmed. It is rather the exception than the rule for gentlemen not to carry arms, especially one who has been in the Federal Army.

Q.--I understand you to say distinctly that you had no knowledge or intimation that anything of this sort was to occur?

A.--Not the slightest. I was very much surprised when I saw you raise your hand, and I had no idea who you were striking.

But it is said that Col. Pennybaker told Col. Grigsby of this affair, and that in consequence the latter was there. That, Sir, is negatived distinctly by the declaration of Col. Grigsby himself, in reply to a question by Mr. Wilson.

Q.--You stated that Col. Pennybaker came up with you?

A.--Yes, Col. Pennybaker went over to my room to take a drink with me. He was talking about matters, and said he must go to the House. I told him I would go with him if he had no objections.

And in a subsequent part of the testimony he states that what he came for was to see Mr. Harding, of Illinois, a member of the House, and that he simply went out with Pennybaker because he supposed he was going.

Q.--Did any one else ever intimate to you after that time that probably he would assault Mr. Grinnell?

A.--No, Sir; I never heard anything of the case until the day it occured.

Q.--When you followed Mr. Rousseau from the rotunda that day was it with the expectation of any such occurence?

A.--He seemed to pass me without answering, and I followed him out more to know what was the matter.

Q.--Then when you followed Mr. Rouseau out you had no thought of a collision?

A.--No, Sir; none at all.

By the Chairman: Q.--Did you have an interview with Col. Pennybaker that evening or that day with reference to this transaction?

A.--Not until afterward.

Q.--Did it strike you at the moment there might be some personal difficulty, and was that the reason for your following?

A.--No; it was not for that reason at all that I followed him. I followed him for the express purpose of knowing whetherhe was going to New-York.

That is all there is about those three men. Col. Pennybaker was told that there might be a collision, and came up. As to the other two parties, the testimony of every witness--uncontradicted, undoubted, not a shadow of suspicion thrown upon it--tends to show that they were there accidentally. Why, then, it may be asked, were they armed? Simply, as they have already have explained, because it was their custom to be armed. But why, it may be asked, was nobody else armed? If any one will tell me what reason he has for supposing that nobody else was armed, then I may think it worth while to answer that question. It must be recollected that out of the fifteen or twenty persons who, according to the testimony, were present, these three and no others were singled out aand examined on that point. But I think gentlemen understand pretty well that it has become quite fashionable--quite too fashionable--a fashion much "more honored in the breach than in observance," to carry arms on the person. These three men did it and were detected. How many more did it and were not detected it is not for me to say. But I submit that, whatever may be the disposition by the House of these gentlemen themselves, whatever view the House may take of their conduct, there is nothing whatever in this evidence to show that they were there by procurement of Gen. Rousseau--nothing whatever to show that they knew aught of his purposes; that he had lifted a finger or done a thing to have them there at that particular time; and the coincidence which the gentlemen from Iowa referred to yesterday is simply acoincidence, and nothing more....
Note: The whole article is well worth reading as it provides detailed summaries of various assaults and acts of violence committed by our [supposed] 'representatives' throughout the years....


Monday, May 12, 2008

THE REBEL CONSCRIPTION. [N.Y. Times, July 7, 1862]

Correspondence Between Jeff. Davis and Gov. Brown, of Georgia.

Executive Department, Richmond, May 29, 1862.

Dear Sir: I received your letter, of the 8th inst., in due course, but the importance of the subject embraced is it required careful consideration; and this, together with other pressing duties, has caused delay in my reply.

The constitutional question discussed by you in relation to the Conscription Law has been fully weighed before I recommended to Congress the passage of such law; it was fully debated in both Houses, and your letter has not only been submitted to my Cabinet, but a written opinion has been required of the Attorney General. The constitutionality of the law was sustained by very large majorities in both Houses. This decision of Congress meets not only the concurrence of my own judgment, but of every member of the Cabinet; and a copy of the opinion of the Attorney General, herewith inclosed, develops the reason on which his conclusions are based.

I propose, however, from my high respect for yourself, and for other eminent citizens who entertain opinions similar to yours, to set forth somewhat at length my own views on the power of the Confederate Government over its own armies and the militia, and will endeavor not to leave without answer any of the views maintained in your letter.

The main, if not the only purpose for which independent States form Unions or Confederations, is to complete the power of the several members in such a manner as to form one united force in all relations with foreign Powers, whether in peace or war. Each State, amply competent to administer and control its own domestic Government, yet too feeble to successfully meet powerful nations, seeks safety by uniting with other States in like condition, and by delegating to some common agentthe combined strength of all, in order to secure advantageous commercial relations in peace, and to carry on hostilities with effect in war.

Now, the powers delegated by the several States to the Confederate Government, which is their common agent, are enumerated in the 8th article of the Constitution, each power being distinct, specific, and enumerated in paragraphs respectively numbered. The only exception is in the 18th paragraph, which, by its own terms, is made depedent on those previously enumerated, as follows:

No. 10. "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers," etc.

Now, the war powers granted to the Congress are conferred in the following paragraphs:

No. 1 gives authority to raise "revenue necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government," etc.

No.11. "To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water."

No. 12. "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years."

No. 13. "To provide and maintain a navy."

No.14. "To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces."

It is impossible to imagine a more broad, ample, and unqualified delegation of the whole power of each State, than is here contained, with the solitary limitation of the appropriations to two years. The States not only gave power to raise money for the common defense, to declare war, to raise and support armies, (in the plural,) to provide and maintain a navy,to govern and regulate both land and naval forces, but they went further, and covenanted by the third paragraph of the 10th section, not to engage in war unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

I know of but two modes of raising armies in the Confederate States, viz.: voluntary enlistment or draft and conscription. I perceive in the delegation of power to raise armies no restrictions as to the mode of procuring troops. I see nothing which confines Congress to one class of men, nor any greater power to receive volunteers than conscripts into its service. I see no limitations by which enlistments are to be received of individuals only, but not of companies, or battalions, or squadrons, or regiments. I find no limitation of time of service, but only of duration of appropriation. I discover nothing to confine Congress to waging war within the limits of the Confederacy, nor prohibit offensive war. In a word, when Congress desires to raise an army and passes a law for that purpose, the solitary question is under the eighteenth paragraph, viz.: "Is the law one that is necessary and proper to execute the power to raise armies?"

On this point you say: "But did the necessity exist in this case?" The conscription act cannot aid the Government in increasing the supply of arms or provisions, but can only enable it to call a large number of men into the field. The difficulty has never been to get men. The States have already furnished the Government more men than it can arm, &c.

I would have very little difficulty in establishing to your entire satisfaction, that the passage of the law was not only necessary, but that it was absolutely indispensible; that numerous regiments of twelve months men were on the eve of being disbanded, whose places could not be supplied by raw levies in the face of superior numbers of the foe, without entailing the most disasterous results; that the position of our armies was so critical as to fill the bosom of every patriot with the liveliest apprehension; and that the provisions of the law were effective in warding off a pressing danger; but I perfer to answer your objections on other and broader grounds.

I hold that when a specific power is granted by the Constitution, like that now in question, "to raise armies," Congress is the judge whether the law is "necessary and proper." It is not enough to say that armies might be raised in other ways, andthat therefore this particular way is not "necessary." The same argument might be used against every mode of raising armies. To each successive mode suggested, the objection would be that other modes were practicable, and that therefore the particular mode used was not "necessary." The true and only test is to enquire whether the law is intended and calculated to carry out the object; whether it devises and creates an instrumentality for executing the specific power granted; and if the answer be in the affirmative, the law is constitutional. None can doubt that the Conscription law is calculated and intended to "raise armies." It is therefore, "necessary and proper" for the execution of that power, and is constitutional, unless it comes into conflict with some other provision of our Confederate compact.

You express the opinion that this conflict exists, and support your argument by the citation of those clauses which referto the militia. There are certain provisions not cited by you, which are not without influence on my judgment, and to which I call your attention. They will aid in defining what is meant by "militia," and in determining the respective powers of the State and the Confederacy over them.

The several States agree "not to keep troops or ships-of-war in times of peace." [Art. 1, sec. 10, par. 3.]

They further stipulate that "a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." [Sec. 9, par. 13.]

That "no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictmentof a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of waror public danger," &c. [Sec.9, par. 16.]

What, then, are militia? They can only be created by law. The arms-bearing inhabitants of a State are liable to become its militia, if the law so order; but, in the absence of a law to that effect, the men of a State capable of bearing arms are no more militia than they are seamen.

The Constitution also tells us that militia are not troops, nor are they any part of the land or naval forces, for militia exists in time of peace, and the Constitution forbids the States to keep troops in time of peace; and they are expressly distinguished and placed in a seperate category from land or naval forces, in the 16th paragraph above quoted; and the words land or naval forces are shown, by paragraphs 12, 13, and 14, to mean the army and navy of the Confederate States.

Now if militia are not citizens taken singly, but a body created by law; if they are not troops, and they are no part ofthe army and navy of the Confederacy, we are led directly to the definition quoted by the Attorney-General that militia are a "body of soldiers in a State enrolled for discipline." In other words, the term "militia" is a collective term, meaning a body of men organized, and cannot be applied to the separate individuals who compose the organization.

The Constitution divides the whole military strength of the States into only two classes of organized bodies--one, the armies of the Confederacy; the other, the militia of the States...."

"...Of what is the army to be composed? If this Government cannot call on its arms-bearing population more than as militia, and if the militia can only be called forth to repel invasion, we should be utterly helpless to vindicate our honor or protectour rights. War has been well styled "the terrible litigation of nations." Have we so formed our Government that in litigation we may never be plaintiff? Surely this cannot have been the intention of the framers of our compact...."

The New York Times [Archives]

Published: July 7, 1862
Copyright The New York Times

Mr. Jefferson Davis was representative of Mississippi in the Congress of the United States. "Mr. Davis took his seat in Congress December 8, 1845, at a period when certain great questions were in issue, and with only a brief and commendable delay, took a foremost place in the discussions. The Oregon question, the tariff, the Texas question, were all exciting issues. It is especially noticeable in view of his after life that in these debates he evinced a devotion to the union and glory of his country in eloquent speeches, and in a consistent line of votes favorable to his country's growth in greatness. One of his earliest efforts in Congress was to convert certain forts into schools of instruction for the military of the States. His support of the "war policy," as the Texas annexation measure was sometimes designated, was ardent and unwavering, in the midst of which he was elected colonel of the First Mississippi regiment of riflemen. His decision to re-enter military life was quickly carried into effect by resignation of his place in Congress June, 1846, and the joining of his regiment at New Orleans, which he conducted to the army of General Taylor on the Rio Grande. He had succeeded in arming his regiment with percussion rifles, prepared a manual and tactics for the new arm, drilled his officers and men diligently in its use, and thus added to Taylor's force perhaps the most effective regiment in his little army. He led his well disciplined command in a gallant and successful charge at Monterey, September 21, 1846, winning a brilliant victory in the assault on Fort Teneria. For several days afterwards his regiment, united with Tennesseeans, drove the Mexicans from their redoubts with such gallantry that their leader won the admiration and confidence of the entire army. At Buena Vista the riflemen and Indiana volunteers under Davis evidently turned the course of battle into victory for the Americans by a bold charge under heavy fire against a larger body of Mexicans. It was immediately on this brilliant success that a fresh brigade of Mexican lancers advanced against the Mississippi regiment in full gallop and were repulsed by the formation of the line in the shape of the V, the flanks resting on ravines, thus exposing the lancers to a converging fire. Once more on that day the same regiment, now reduced in numbers by death and wounds, attacked and broke the Mexican right. During this last charge Colonel Davis was severely wounded, but remained on the field until the victory was won. General Taylor's dispatch of March 6, 1847, makes special complimentary mention of the courage, coolness and successful service of Colonel Davis and his command. The Mississippi regiment served out its term of enlistment, and was ordered home in July, 1847. President Polk appointed Colonel Davis brigadier-general, but he declined the commission on the ground that that appointment was unconstitutional.
"In August, 1847, the governor of Mississippi appointed Mr. Jefferson Davis to the vacancy in the United States Senate caused by the death of Senator Speight, and he took his seat December 5, 1847. The legislature elected him in January for the remainder of the term, and subsequently he was re-elected for a full term. His senatorial career, beginning in December, 1847, extended over the eventful period of 1849 and 1850, in which the country was violently agitated by the questions arising on the disposition of the common territory, and into which the subject of slavery was forcibly injected...."
"...He did not believe the Northern States would respect any of its provisions which conflicted with their views and interests. His attitude, however, toward the measures of Mr. Clay was not positively hostile, though it was emphatically distrustful. But during the perilous discussions of those times Mr. Davis did not align himself with any disunionists North or South. He says for himself, "My devotion to the Union of our fathers had been so often and so publicly declared; I had on the floor of the Senate so defiantly challenged any question of my fidelity to it; my services, civil and military, had now extended through so long a period and were so generally known, that I felt quite assured that no whisperings of envy or ill-will could lead the people of Mississippi to believe that I had dishonored their trust by using the power they had conferred on me to destroy the government to which I was accredited. Then, as afterward, I regarded the separation of the States as a great, though not the greater evil." The votes and speeches of Mr. Davis accorded with the instruction of the Mississippi legislature, and his public record is entirely consistent with this avowal of his devotion to the whole country and his patriotic desire to preserve it from the evils of fanaticism. Reference to this Union sentiment is not made in this sketch or elsewhere in this general work as apologetic in its bearings. But it is in rebuke of those careless or vicious statements often made against Mr. Davis and other Confederate leaders that they were for many years engaged in a conspiracy to break up the Union.
"Senator Davis entered upon his new and full term as senator from Mississippi March 4, 1851, from which date there were before him six years of honor in the position he preferred to all others. There was a strong probability also that if living he would be continued in the Senate, since the Southern States were accustomed to the retaining of their eminent men in office. No man had less reason than himself for conspiracy against the government. With this advantage and under the influence of strongly conservative feeling he canvassed the State of Mississippi in 1851, bravely advocating the policy of determined resistance to sectional aggressions, and insisting that the country should be defended from the perils of Congressional usurpation. His argument was that reverence for the constitutional reservations of power would alone save the Union, and upon this view he taught that statesmen who revered the Constitution most, loved the Union best. The overwhelming sentiment of Mississippi that year was to accept the compromise measures of 1850 as a finality, and consequently the State rights party which had been organized upon a vague platform proposing to devise some undefined method of securing guarantees against sectional usurpations, was defeated. Mississippi accordingly joined the other Southern States in acquiescence with the settlement of 1850 "as a finality."
"The election for governor of the State was to occur later in the same year. Governor Quitman had been nominated for re-election, but his political antecedents so decidedly committed him to disunion as to imperil his success. Therefore he withdrew from the nomination, and Senator Davis was called on by the executive committee to take his place, because his conservative record accorded more nearly than Governor Quitman's with the recent ballot of the people. It was only six weeks to the day of the election, the State rights party had been lately beaten by a majority of over 7,000 votes, Davis was at that time too sick to leave home, and acceptance of the nomination required his resignation of the high office he then held secure for nearly six years. Nevertheless he accepted the trust, resigned the senatorial office and was defeated by less than one thousand votes. Mr. Davis retired for a short time to private life, from which he was called by President Pierce, who had been elected to the presidency in 1852. At first the tender of a place in the cabinet of the new President was declined, but on further consideration he accepted the office of secretary of war. Mr. Davis had ably supported Pierce in the race of the previous year upon the platform which emphasized beyond all else the finality of the compromise measures, and the cessation of sectional hostilities. He was therefore in this as in other respects in complete agreement with the President from the beginning to the closing of his administration The duties of the war office were discharged with characteristic energy and ability, and at its close his portrait was added to others of eminent men who had enjoyed the same distinction, and it remains suspended in its proper position to this day. A few years later the friendly and confiding letter of the President to Mr. Davis expressed his painful apprehension concerning the Southern movement for secession, accompanied with the kindest expressions of regard for his former able associate in the executive department of government.
"Mr. Davis went now from the cabinet of President Pierce, March 4, 1857, to re-enter the United States Senate by the election of the legislature of Mississippi. He was there assigned to the chairmanship of the committee on military affairs, opposed the French spoliation measures, advocated the Southern Pacific railroad bill, and antagonized Senator Douglas on the question of popular or "squatter" sovereignty in the territories, while on the other hand he disputed the claim set up by the Free-soilers of power in Congress to legislate against those territorial domestic institutions which were not in conflict with the Constitution. During the Kansas troubles he aligned himself with those who endeavored to prevent the dangerous hostilities which the opening of that section to occupation had produced, and when the settlement of 1858 was made by the passage of the conference Kansas-Nebraska bill, he wrote hopefully to the people of Mississippi that it was "the triumph of all for which he had contended." At that moment he believed that the danger of sectional discord was over, that peace would reign, and the Union be saved through the policy pursued by the Buchanan administration. From this date, 1859, he was nationally acknowledged as a statesman in counsel, a leader of the people, ranking among the most eminent living Americans...."
- Excerpted from "Jefferson Davis (1808 - 1889) President of the Confederate States of America". [Home of the American Civil War.]


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Predominance Of Slavery, N.Y. Times, Oct. 3, 1856

Speech of Wm. H. Seward at Detroit, Michigan, Oct. 2, 1856

[SEWARD, William Henry, a Senator from New York; born in Florida, Orange County, N.Y., on May 16, 1801; after preparatory studies, graduated from Union College in 1820; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Auburn, N.Y., 1823; member, State senate 1830-1834; unsuccessful Whig candidate for governor in 1834; Governor of New York 1838-1842; elected as a Whig to the United States Senate in 1849; reelected as a Republican in 1855 and served from March 4, 1849, to March 3, 1861; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 1860; Secretary of State in the Cabinets of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson 1861-1869; while Secretary of State concluded the convention with Great Britain for the settlement of the Alabama claims and the treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska; died in Auburn, Cayuga County, N.Y., October 10, 1872; interment in Fort Hill Cemetery. - Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.]

"...It is my purpose to show you on this occasion that the slaveholding class of the American people is systematically and successfully perverting the administration of the Government, especially in regard to the Territories, so as to change the Constitution, and endanger the stability, welfare and liberty of the Union.
First, insomuch as this proposition must seem to you bold, if not new, I shall show from general principles that it may possibly be true, and secondly, I shall establish its truth by undeniable demonstration.
First--The proposition may be true. Property* is an essential element of civil society. So is liberty, which properly understood is only the equal security of all citizens against oppression. How to adjust the balance between property and liberty in States is the great problem of government. Property is always jealous of enlarged liberty, and especially so when it is based on relations subversive of natural justice, which is nothing more than equality among men. Property, therefore, has always a bias towards oppression, and it derives power to oppress from its own nature, the watchfulness of its possessors, and the ease with which they can combine. Liberty is exposed to the danger of such oppression by means of the inconsiderateness and the jealousies which habitually prevail among subjects or citizens. In every State all the property classes sympathize with each other through the force of common instincts of fear, cupidity and ambition, and are easily marshalled under the lead of one which becomes dominant, and represents the whole.
Wherever the rights and duties of the property classes are defined and regulated, with sufficient constraints to prevent oppression, and liberty is at the same time so bounded as to secure property against social or individual aggression, there the people are free and the State is Republican. When this balance is not accurately adjusted liberty is abridged and a property class administers the government, in the form of an aristocracy, or a monarchy, or a despotism. The mere mention of the names of Switzerland, Venice, France, (her various alternations being remembered,) Great Britain and Russia furnishes all needful illustrations of these positions. Human nature and the physical elements of society are everywhere the same. It is, therefore, possible that social and political errors and evils which have frequently existed elsewhere may find entrance here.
Secondly.--The allegation of perversion of the Government by the slave property class which I have made is true. First, let us see whether such a direction of Government as it describes was designed or expected by its founders. On the contrary, they laid the foundation of the States, not in property--much less in slave property--but in the natural rights or political equality of men. They establish few safeguards of property, knowing how apt it is to take care of itself, while they built strong bulwarks around liberty, knowing how easily Liberty is overthrown. The Declaration of Independence, which no weak or wicked citizen then dared to pronounce a series of abstractions, recited as the fundamental truth of the great political society which it ushered into the presence of nations, that "All men are created equal"--"endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights" of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and that "Governments are instituted among men to secure those rights," and derive their powers only "from the consent of the governed."
The Convention which framed the Constitution submitted it to the American people by a letter bearing the signature of George Washington, in which its character was defined with a steady hand in a clear light. "Individuals," said the Convention, "entering into society must give up a share of Liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstances as on the object to be attained. In all our deliberations on this subject, the object which the Convention has kept steadily in view was the consolidation of the Union, in which is involved our posperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude than might have been otherwise expected." An analysis of the Constitution, especially including its amendments, justifies this declaration, that the points on which liberality of concession to property was exercised were only those of inferior magnitude, and that neither prosperity, felicity, safety nor national existence was intended to be put at hazard for the preservation of a mere remnant of shadow of liberty. The people, speaking in the Constitution, declared their high objects in that great transaction in words simple, majestic and comprehensive,"To form a perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity." They boldly and directly laid the axe to the roots of privileges and of classes, they broke the very mainsprings of aristocracy, or at least they attempted to do so by ordaining that "no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States or by any State," and that "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Although the people well know that nearly every fourth person in the new Republic was actually a slave, and that perhaps one of every twenty persons was a slaveholder, and so they well understood the existence among themselves of a caste and class, yet they pertinaciously refused to recognize either, and on the contrary treated of all the subjects of the Government under the common and promiscuous description of "persons," thus confounding classes, and recognizing only men. While they aimed at an ultimate extinction of that caste and the class built upon it by authorizing Congress to prohibit the importation of "persons" who were slaves after 1808, and to tax it severely in the meantime, and while they necessarily left to the individual States the management of the domestic relations of all classes and castes existing therein, they especially declared what should be the rights and relations of all "persons," so far as they were to be affected by the action of the Federal Government which they were establishing. "The privilege of the writ of habeus corpus shall not be suspended unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public security shall require it." "No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed." "No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid unless in proportionto the census." "The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government." "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." They ordained "trial by jury," prohibited "excessive bail and excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments," and "reserved to the States and to the people the powers of government not expressly delegated to the United States." ..."
Published: October 3, 1856
Copyright The New York Times
* - Speaking of "Property" -

"...All property, indeed, except the savage's temporary cabin, his bow, his match coat, and other little acquisitions absolutely necessary for his subsistence, seems to me the creature of public convention. Hence the public has the right of regulating descents and all other conveyances of property, and even of limiting the quantity and uses of it. All the property that is necessary to a man for the conservation of the individual and the propagation of the species is his natural right, which none can justly deprive him of; but all property superfluous to such purposes is the property of the public, who by their laws have created it, and who may, therefore, by other laws, dispose of it whenever the welfare of the public shall demand such disposition. He that does not like civil society on these terms, let him retire and live among savages. He can have no right to the benefits of society who will not pay his club towards the support of it...."

- Benjamin Franklin, Dec. 25, 1783 letter to Robert(?) Morris. [The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume 6.]

The Debates in the Federal Convention, "...the love of power, and the love of money...", June 02, 1787

The Debates in the Federal Convention, "Life & liberty were generally said to be of more value, than property.", July 05, 1787

The Debates, "Personal Rights Vs. Property Rights", August 7, 1787

The Debates in the Federal Convention, "...they will become the tools of opulence and ambition...", Aug. 7, 1787

"...Suppose one of our Indian Nations should now agree to form a civil Society; each Individual would bring into the Stock of the Society little more Property than his Gun and his Blanket, for at present he has no other. . . . Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing . . . but the important ends of Civil Society, and the personal Securities of Life and Liberty, these remain the same in every Member of the society; and the poorest continues to have an equal Claim to them with the most opulent, whatever Difference Time, Chance, or Industry may occasion in their Circumstances..."

- Benjamin Franklin, Queries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1789 Writings 10:55--60.

James Madison, “Property,” - "He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person", March 29, 1792

"...It was aimed at restraining and checking the powers of wealth and privilege. It was to be a charter of liberty for human rights against property rights. The transformation has been rapid and complete. It operates today to protect the rights of property to the detriment of the rights of man. It has become the Magna Charta of accumulated and organized capital.' ..."

- Adamson v. People Of State Of California, U.S. Supreme Court, (Justice Black, Douglas and Swayne in Dissent), June 23, 1947.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

"...and that in self-defense any man has a right to bear arms...", NY Times, 9/22/1852

They have been making an unco' noise in Boston about the carrying on concealed weapons, to which certain parties, in consequence of the Liquor Law, have felt obliged to resort in self-defense. A man named Richardson, whose zeal on behalf of temperance had outstripped his discretion, and concentred much angry feeling upon him, bore arms in preparation for the worst; and having been arrested upon the charge, was taken before Mr. Justice Timperly for examination. The Justice, after a fair hearing, dismissed the charge, on the ground that the man had serious reason for apprehension; and that in self-defense any man has a right to bear arms.
While this learned dictum conflicts oddly with the supposition that the law is fully equal to the protection of the citizen, we receive it as a singularly useful precedent. Street difficulties in New York are not so much the result of the exclusion as of the abuse of ardent spirits. But they are at least as frequent as in Boston; and probably the need of triple steel is as pressing here as there. Under the Aldermanic regime, our bullies have fallen into bad habits, which it will take some time for the present improved order of things to correct. In the meantime, we have Mr. Justice Timperly for it, that we may bear revolvers; that their use is justifiable in self-defense; and, in short, that the social organization is so far dissolved, that justice itself stands ready to utter the warning, sauve que peut [a frantic rush to escape]. Alas, for the times and the manners!
Copyright The New York Times