To Keep and Bear Arms

It has come to my attention that your present Administration is again attempting to remove the sovereign Right of the Citizens to keep and bear arms through an international body.  This is exactly what Parliament wanted to do with the Colonies, especially Massachusetts.  One of the reasons to attack Lexington and Concord was to capture our arm that have always been the last resort for the maintenance of our Liberty.  With this international attack being foisted upon you, I am leaving you with the notes and background to a talk I had with other Patriots that NO One has the authority to take, register or keep you from properly arming yourself and training in a military manner if need be!

       On the Right to Arms and the Defense of Liberty

This is the background notes to the talk given on April 30, 2011 at the 2nd Amendment Day Rally in Olympia, Wa.  The Talk was modified on the fly based on the details of history and other notable information spoken by the other speakers.

One of my biographers, Samuel Fallows said, “THERE is, properly speaking, no ancient history, no medieval history, no modern history. History is one.  The ages are all united. Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, Rome, Holland, France, Spain, Germany and England, all have to do with the practical life of Americans to-day. Lessons of importance can be learned from each of them to help us act intelligently in performance of the duties devolved upon us.”[i]

In 1740 I wrote the pamphlet “Englishmen’s Rights” and my My  “Master Thesis:  Whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot be otherwise Preserved?[ii]

In 1772 I wrote “The Rights of the Colonist”… Speaking of our right to free religious practice, individual liberty, Life and Property.

Upon this, the meeting adopted a “Declarartion,” in which it was resolved that the inhabitants of Boston, at the utmost peril of their lives and fortunes, maintain and defend their rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities.  Otis addressed the meeting, and pointing to the arms, ” These are the arms,” said he; “when an attempt is made upon your liberties, they will be delivered.[iii]

For it is certainly beyond human art (reason) and sophistry (fallacious arguments with the intention of deceiving) to prove that British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights, and, who live in a province where the law requires them to be equip’d with arms, &c. are guilty of an illegal act, in calling upon one another to be provided with them, as the law directs. But if some are bold and base enough, where the interest of a whole country is at stake, to penetrate into the secrets of the human breast, to search for crimes, and to impute the worst of motives to actions strictly legal, whatever may be thought of their expediency, it is easy to re-criminate in the same way; …and one man has as good reason to affirm, that a few, in calling for a military force under pretence of supporting civil authority, secretly intended to introduce a general massacre, as another has to assert, that a number of loyal subjects, by calling upon one another to be provided with arms, according to law, intended to bring on an insurrection.[iv]

It is a regulation of the town, by long and approved custom, for the friends of persons in danger, formed into separate fire-societies, to take care of their moveable estate; so that we are happily free from any necessity of an armed force for that purpose, and the exactest military discipline can be of no service in supplying or working an engine.….. If his excellency should ever think himself at liberty to call another general court, and suffer them to meet in this metropolis, and the members of either house should happen to be disposed to FACTION, as has been said of them in times past, it is lucky enough, that the main guard, being already fix’d near the court-house, the soldiers may afford as & quot; ready assistance,& quot; with their arms and bayonets, to awe the assembly, as the picquet guard did at the late fire.[v]

At the British revolution, the British constitution was again restor‘d to its original principles, declared in the bill of rights; which was afterwards pass’d into a law, and stands as a bulwark to the natural rights of subjects. “To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Blackstone, when actually violated or attack’d, the subjects of England are entitled first to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law – next to the right of petitioning the King and parliament for redress of grievances and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” These he calls “auxiliary subordinate rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty and private property“:  And that of having arms for their defence he tells us is “a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”[vi]

That spirit which your Excellency tells us attacks reputations and pulls down houses, will yet be curbed by the law. The estates of the people will remain guarded from theft or open violence. There will be no danger of force of arms becoming the only governing power. Nor shall we realize what your Excellency is pleased to call a state of general out lawry.[vii]

Every one knows that the exercise of the military power is forever dangerous to civil rights; and we have had recent instances of violences that have been offer d to private subjects, and the last week, even to a magistrate in the execution of his office![viii]

Such violences are no more than might have been expected from military troops: A power, which is apt enough at all times to take a wanton lead, even when in the midst of civil society; but more especially so, when they are led to believe that they are become necessary, to awe a spirit of rebellion, and preserve peace and good order.[ix]

But there are some persons, who would, if possibly they could, perswade the people never to make use of their constitutional rights or terrify them from doing it. No wonder that a resolution of this town to keep arms for its own defence, should be represented as having at bottom a secret intention to oppose the landing of the King s troops: when those very persons, who gave it this colouring, had before represented the peoples petitioning their Sovereign, as proceeding from a factious and rebellious spirit; and would now insinuate that there is an impropriety in their addressing even a plantation Governor upon public business – Such are the times we are fallen into![x]

And if a Standing Army may not be posted upon the Subjects in one Part of the Empire, in a Time of Peace, without their Consent, there can be no Reason why it should in any other; for all British Subjects are or ought to be alike free.[xi]

The Governor in a former Letter to Lord Hillsborough mention d the Selectmens ordering the Arms belonging to the Town to be brought out and clean’d; and to make something of the Story, he told him that “they were expos d some Hours at the Town House“:  In this Letter he says “these Arms were deposited in Chests, and laid upon the Floor of the Town Hall to remind the People of the Use of them”. Could any one besides Governor Bernard, descend to so pitiful an Artifice as to insinuate that these Arms were clean’d, expos d to the People, and finally laid on the Floor of the Hall at this Juncture, to induce his Lordship to believe, that these were the Forces with which] the Faction appear d surrounded“, and that the Selectmen who are the principal City Magistrates, and the leading Part of the Town itself, were actually in the Plan which he had just before mentioned, as concerted in one of the private Meetings,“ to raise the Country & oppose the Troops“: And [28] that these Arms deposited in Chests were laid on the Floor of the Hall, to “remind the People of the Use of them,” and inspirit them for the Purpose of opposing the Troops. Whereas the simple Truth of the Matter is, these Arms had for many Years been deposited in Chests and laid on the Floor of the Town Hall ; but the Hall itself being burnt a few Years ago, the Arms were sav’d from the Ruins and carried to the Town House : After the Hall was Re-built the Town ordered their Removal there; and tho it happen’d to be done at a Juncture when the Governor and his Confederates talked much of the Town s revolting, there was no other Thought in the Minds of any, except the Governor and a few more, and it is a Question whether even he, or they, really thought otherwise, but to lodge them in their proper and usual Place.[xii]

Duty to his Majesty, and a Regard to our own Safety constrain us to Address your Honor, praying that you would be pleased (as soon as may be) to fill up the Vacancies in the several Regiments (wherever such Vacancies are) with such Persons as to your Honor shall seem meet: And that your Honor would be pleased to use your Endeavours that the several Officers carefully Discharge the Trust reposed in them. And should any Amendments in, or Addition to the Laws for regulating the Militia of this Province be thought needful[xiii]

The people of Massachusetts were meanwhile preparing for the approaching crisis. Military companies were organized, and everywhere men were learning the use of firearms under officers of their own choosing[xiv]

TO THOMAS YOUNG – I have written to our Friends to provide themselves without Delay with Arms & Ammunition, get well instructed in the military Art, embody themselves & prepare a complete Set of Rules that they may be ready in Case they are called to defend themselves against the violent Attacks of Despotism.  Surely the Laws of Self Preservation will warrant it in this Time of Danger & doubtful Expectation.[xv]

The seizure of the Colony’s powder; the dispersal of the Assembly; the erection of fortifications on Boston Common and the Neck; the violent appropriation of arms belonging to private persons; the pointing of cannon against the town;[xvi]

TO JONATHAN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON. – When they are pushed by clear necessity for the defence of their liberties to the trial of arms, I trust in God, they will convince their friends and their enemies, of their military skill and valor.  Their constant prayer to God is, to prevent such necessity; but they are daily preparing for it. I rejoice with you, Sir, in most earnestly wishing for the speedy and full restoration of the rights of America, which are violated with so high and arbitrary a hand, and am, in behalf of the Committee, with great respect,[xvii]

…And it is recommended to the towns and districts in this Colony, that they encourage such persona as are skilled in the manufacturing of fire-arms and bayonets, diligently to apply themselves thereto, for supplying such of the inhabitants as may still be deficient.[xviii]

” And for the encouragement of American manufacturers of fire-arms and bayonets, it is further Resolved, That this Congress will give the preference to, and purchase from them so many effective arms and bayonets as can be delivered in a reasonable time, upon notice given to this Congress at its next session.

TO JAMES WARREN – It is certainly of the last Consequence to a free Country that the Militia, which is its natural Strength, should be kept upon the most advantageous Footing.  A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens.  They have their Arms always in their hands. Their Rules and their Discipline is severe… The Militia is composd of free Citizens.   There is therefore no Danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them.[xix]

TO JOHN PITTS – I am much concernd to hear that the Tories in Boston & Massachusetts Bay have lately grown insolent & that no Measures are taken to suppress their Insolence. They are the most virulent, & I am of Opinion, the most dangerous Enemies of America.  They do not indeed openly appear in Arms, but they do more Mischief secretly. I am very apprehensive that they greatly operate to the preventing Inlistments and doing other essential Injury to our Cause.[xx]

 [NOVEMBER 1, 1777.]

[MS., Papers of the Continental Congress. Reports of Committees. No. 24, p. 431.]

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men, to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God:—To acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to Him for Benefits receivd, and to implore such further Blessings as they stand in Need of:—And, it having pleased Him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of His common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties. Particularly in that He hath been pleased, in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal Success.[xxi]

BOSTON, Nov. 21st, 1782  TO ARTHUR LEE – Our citizens are in more danger of being seduced by (human reason)art, than subjugated by arms. I give you this notice that you may have an opportunity of conversing on the subject in your patriotic circles (if you think it worth while) in season.[xxii]

 (Adams exerted himself to procure a formal remonstrance against it in the Massachusetts Legislature, and, in his capacity of Secretary of State, addressed the following letter to the Governor of Rhode Island.)  [xxiii]

It is, in the opinion of this Assembly, highly criminal for a citizen to be an indifferent spectator of the miseries of his country, much more to desert her while struggling for liberty, and still more to seek refuge in the very time of her conflict in the arms of her cruel and inveterate enemies. It cannot, then, be thought strange that those who love and revere their country feel an indignation against the men who have held her safety, her liberty, and her honor at so cheap a rate.[xxiv]

“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are citizens from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless when necessary for the defence of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the Federal Legislature for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers, or possessions.”[xxv]

“If Heaven punishes communities for their vices, how sore must be the punishment of that community who think the rights of human nature not worth struggling for, and patiently submit to tyranny. I will rely upon it that New England will never incur the curse of Heaven for neglecting to defend her liberties. I pray God to increase their virtue, and make them happy in the full and quiet possession of those liberties they have so highly prized.”[xxvi]

1788 Mass convention reference – The wisdom of all these amendments, some of which had been canvassed in other States, was apparent when most of them were accepted by the nation; the first, third, sixth, seventh, and eighth clauses of the ” Conciliatory Propositions” being adopted as articles in the amendments to the United States Constitution; while the whole of Mr. Adams’s resolutions, above quoted, now form the first, second, third, and fourth articles.


[i]   Great Americans of History, SAMUEL ADAMS, A CHARACTER SKETCH, BY SAMUEL FALLOWS, D.D., LL.D., H. G. CAMPBELL PUBLISHING CO., MILWAUKEE. 1903

[ii]   Life & Public Service, Vol. I

[iii]  Life & Public Service, Vol. I pg. 213  (1768)

[iv]  ibid, Vol. I pg. 299 (1769)

[v]   ibid, Vol. I pg. 305

[vi]  ibid, Vol. I pg. 317-318

[vii] ibid, Vol. I pg. 16 (1765)

[viii] ibid

[ix]  ibid

[x]   ibid

[xi]  ibid, Vol. I   pg. 433 – 434 (1769)

[xii] ibid, Vol. II

[xiii] ibid, Vol. II pg. 36  (1770)

[xiv] ibid, Vol. II pr. 155 (1774)

[xv] ibid, Vol. III pg. 97  (1774)

[xvi] ibid, Vol. II pr. 155 (1774)

[xvii] ibid, Vol. III pg. 120  (1775)

[xviii] ibid, Vol. II pr. 273 (1775)

[xix] ibid, Vol. III pg. 137  (1776)

[xx] ibid, Vol. III pg. 172  (1777)

[xxi] ibid, Vol. III.

[xxii] ibid, Vol. IV pg. 156

[xxiii] ibid, Vol. III pg. 99  (1780)

[xxiv] ibid, Vol. III pg. 99  (1780)

[xxv] ibid, Vol. III pg. 267  (1788)

[xxvi] ibid, Life & Public Service Vol. II, pg. 456 (Dec 1776)

Published in: on July 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://samueladamsreturns.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/to-keep-and-bear-arms/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: