Monday, May 29, 2023

That Time When the Crown Wanted to Confiscate Americans' Guns

One of my favorite quotes is this:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

That quote has been attributed to the 18th century Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke, but there is no actual proof that it originated with him. Nevertheless, it has been handed down ever since, and I think it's quite true. Many of the wars America has engaged in have been the result of good men trying to do something, although we cannot say that has always been the case. Unfortunately, governmental corruption has also led us into war. 

Nevertheless, the American Revolution was surely kicked off by men whose conviction was to keep America free from oppression and the heavy burdens placed upon its citizens by a governing body which did not have the best interests of our countrymen at heart.

Now, you might say that I'm writing this with a lot of supposition and bias, and you'd be right. I do believe that the King of England had only his own welfare and the interests of England in mind in whatever he imposed upon the population over here in the colonies. And he intended to keep his subjects in lineby force if necessary.

In 1768, on the tail of the French and Indian wars in which American colonists led the way to British victory, British ships sailed into Boston harbor under the ministry command that, among other "grievous" things such as establishing martial law, the American inhabitants should be completely disarmed. Pro-British leadership agreed, and by 1774, the British were performing routine searches and seizures without warrant, even on those people who had no proclivity toward violence or insurrection. This act was but one of the large promptings for the unwelcome the British soldiers received at Lexington and Concord when they attempted to seize the militia's arms and ammunition there. Not to be dissuaded, General Gage went on to encourage Bostonians to turn in their weapons for temporary safekeeping, with the promise they could retrieve them later. Many complied, and of course, Gage's promise was a lie. Their munitions were never returned. Soon there were more confiscations, and those with a mind to stand up for themselves were sent to English prisons.

Flintlock Pistols

In 1777, General Knox, undersecretary of state to the colonies presented an even more sweeping proposal. He circulated a document stating that, not only should every ordnance (weapon) be removed from the colonists, but that there should be no foundry or manufacture of arms, gunpowder, or any other warlike stores allowed in America without license. He declared that the King's troops and ships were enough to protect the colonists from danger. Hm...

In an article by Samuel Adams, Adams called upon the Crown to remember the English Bill of Rights, which ensured the right of private citizens "of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” He made it clear that citizens had the right to protect themselves from military oppression and that there were those officials who would terrify to the population into preventing them from exercising their rights.

It was England's own bill of rights, and the understanding of what government by force can do that inspired our founders to pen the second amendment to the American Constitution. Unfortunately, in our own day, there are those who seem to mistakenly think that the 2nd Amendment was written to preserve our rights to own hunting weapons only. They are sadly mislead and ripe for oppression. 

Image by Carol Colman from Pixabay 

Author Stephen Halbrook, in his more comprehensive 1989 article of Britain's many attempts to disarm the Americans "The Arms of All the People Should Be Taken Away" states: "The British resorted to every possible tactic to disarm the Americans—entrapment, false promises of “safekeeping,” banning imports, direct seizure and finally shooting persons bearing arms. As the Bicentennial of the Second Amendment approaches, the American people must make a renewed commitment to understand the historical origins for the Bill of Rights, in order to preserve their liberties." [emphasis added]

Nowadays, the 2nd Amendment is under attack. It has been interpreted as meaning everything from the right to only carry a hunting rifle (or flintlock) to only being allowed by government-established militia, and as being rooted in racism. The Founders words have been twisted in every direction by everyone with a complaint (or ulterior motive). Yet their intent seems very plain to me, especially when placed in the context of history. If we give up even an inch of our personal rights to keep and bear arms, freedom will flee. Good men will have no ability to withstand and prevent evil from triumphing, should it come by personal assault or governmental oppression.

For liberty,
Naomi Musch


Another first line! This is from the opening of Not for Love, my novella in the Lumberjacks & Ladies collection. Also available on Kindle Unlimited and audio.

Not for Love
Widowed, Maggie seeks a husband—in name only—from the logging camps, but the man who answers her letter is a surprise. Can she open her heart to love again?

Naomi Musch is the author of numerous novels and award-winning short stories, she is at home in the Wisconsin Northwoods, where a perfect day is spent writing, roaming her family’s farm, snacking from the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. 


  1. Thank you for your post today. This is such an important point right now, as the government seems to think that the way to curb violence in the country is to make more rules about firearms. It comes up daily in our state in the news.

    1. You're so right, Connie! Thank you for commenting. I'm sorry I missed it earlier.