sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Problem with Guns

When you think about it, guns have been a problem for despots ever since people switched from swords, spears and archery to gunpowder. They provide the common man with the means of self defense and a hedge against tyranny. This day in history marks the infamous "Gunpowder Incident". The incident and the conflict was created by guns, ammunition . . . and a British attempt to confiscate them. 

You see, while the ownership of firearms by the local colonists didn't cause any specific problem for the British, the effort to seize them inevitably did. Will progs draw any conclusions from this? They don't read history, they think that the climate is changing in a meaningful way - polar bears are now extinct, and if you dispute it, they'll run, hide in a locked closet, put on pajamas, stroke a stuffed toy animal and drink cocoa until you leave. Yes, I know. It's what they do.

Now, on to our story:

A reenactment of Governor Dunmore reading
the English King's proclamation. 
King George III had been limiting the inflow of guns and ammunition into the American colonies for months. His Governors were to “take the most Effectual Measures for Arresting, detaining and securing any Gunpowder or any sort of Arms or Ammunition,” unless a royal license could be produced. 

You already know that the shots at Lexington and Concord were sparked by British General Thomas Gage’s attempt to seize ammunition stores. But you may not know what was happening in Williamsburg that same week. Colonists there were patrolling their own town. They’d heard a rumor that the Royal Governor, John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, was preparing to seize their gunpowder. 

It wasn't a rumor. Patrick Henry had just delivered his “Liberty or Death” speech, and Dunmore was worried. “[T]heir having come to a resolution,” he would write, “of raising a body of armed men . . . made me think it prudent to remove some gunpowder which was in a magazine . . . .” 

Dunmore secretly brought in 20 marines and sailors under the command of Lt. Henry Collins. When the citizens of Williamsburg began to relax their patrols, Collins would take advantage of the opportunity. 

He didn’t have to wait long. On the night of April 20-21, the guards who were watching the magazine left early. At about 3 a.m., Collins and his men quietly seized about 15 half-barrels of gunpowder, while Williamsburg was fast asleep. An alarm was raised, but it was too late. 

John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia
Yes, he looks like a jerk in the painting too.
The magazine had been “erected at the public expence . . . for the protection and security of the country . . . in cases of invasions and insurrections.” Lord Dunmore had no right to seize the public’s gunpowder. But that's not how Dunmore saw it. 

Indeed, a mob might have assaulted Dunmore but for the intervention of Peyton Randolph, the speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Randolph convinced the townspeople to seek a peaceful resolution.

Dunmore was wily, though. He tried to use the people’s fears against them, making the (untruthful) argument that he’d seized the ammunition because he was worried about a slave uprising! He argued the gunpowder was more “secure” with him, but he promised to return it, if needed. 

Randolph was inclined to believe this falsehood. Patrick Henry was not. 

By May 3, Henry was outside Williamsburg and in command of a detachment of men from his home county of Hanover. He demanded the stolen gunpowder—or restitution for it. 

The people Williamsburg had learned of the “shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington Green two weeks before. 

The next day, the colony’s receiver general gave Henry 330 pounds. Henry called off his men, but he was only temporarily appeased. He would soon leave to attend the Second Continental Congress.

Dunmore hated being outdone by Henry. On May 6, he issued a proclamation denouncing “a certain Patrick Henry” and his “deluded Followers,” for unlawfully taking up arms and exciting rebellion. 

And then, Lord Dunmore escaped Virginia on the HMS Fowey, never to return and darken American shores. He went back home, drank gin at the club and blaggarded the colonists for being roughens and louts (despicable people - we've heard that more recently too)


10 comments:

  1. Very interesting post. Thanks. Problems with guns? I have none. If one arises that I can't repair myself, it goes off to a smith. My biggest problem is not enough of them. I did pick up a lightly used EAA Witness Compact .45 the other day. When I field stripped it, it appeared to be unfired, or perhaps the previous owner was REALLY good at cleaning. As you suspect, it is definitely no longer in unfired condition and boy does it shoot good! If it proves reliable it may just wind up getting carried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a general rule, trying to relieve Americans of their firearms causes more trouble than leaving them alone. The British clearly tried - and lost a continent.

      The US Army had more luck at Wounded Knee in winter, when they rounded up peaceful Indians who didn't want to be disarmed - and they massacred them.

      Both are lessons worth recalling from time to time.

      Delete
  2. Tyranny hates an armed citizenry, then and now. And imagine where we'd be with Hillary on that score.

    We definitely dodged a bullet and so, perhaps, did Dunmore.

    Gun Rights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no armed slaves.

      Free people are ALL armed. Or at least they have the choice.

      Delete
  3. Fear is a good thing for we citizens when the tyrants, and would be tyrants, are scared. Along those lines, for two to three years after the OKC bombing, noticed government employees at all levels became anxious to give good service to the citizens they served. My observation only, nothing to prove my opinion.

    Do tyrants ever see themselves as tyrants? Perhaps they see themselves as protectors against roughens and louts. We deplorables need to protected against ourselves and they kindly take on the burden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Progressives feel that they are your betters and as such, they are comfortable playing with fire and matches because THEY can do what they want to irrespective of the result.

      People like Hillary and the East Coast elites live behind fences and stand behind armed guards. And they'd rather be the only ones with firearms. Sic semper tyranus.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. The British have experience with that. Hillary would have, but President Trump THUMPED her in the election. Good for us.

      Delete
  5. Yep, act 2 is about to begin... sigh... Sic semper tyranus is right!

    ReplyDelete

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