previous next


Next comes 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 [292] which he should interpose in Kansas, I would point out the old Common Law process. I would serve a warrant on Sharp's rifles; and if Sharp'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 comitatits, and I would have Colonel Sumner's regiment to be 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 right to it can be in any way impeached. And yet such is the madness of the hour, that, in defiance of the solemn guaranty 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 are arraigned for keeping and bearing arms, and the Senator from South Carolina has 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 venererable with years; he is reputed also to have worn at home, in the State 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 makes, 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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (8)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (4)
United States (United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sharp (4)
Charles Sumner (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: