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Platt Potter to C. P. Williams, H. H. Van Dyck, B. R. Wood, Deodalus Wright

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Schenectedy 12th March 1856

Gentlemen
I am honored by the receipt of your letter of invitation to a meeting tomorrow evening at the Capitol, for the purpose of concerting measures for the protection of the citizens of Kansas from the ruffian incursions of Missouri Borderers, and to give my view of the appropriate measures to be adopted in their behalf-

It is a humiliating view of our political condition as a nation, that the necessity of such a meeting as you propose should exist. And it is as disgraceful as it is humiliating, that the National Administration should permit the existence of such a necessity

Judging from the history and experience of the last few months, the most appropriate measures of relief, in my humble opinion, will be the Employment of Moral Agents, as the most entirely effective to attain that end.- I agree with the Rev. Henry Ward. Beecher in opinion that for such a purpose, Sharp’s Rifles profess a moral power not exceeded by any other instrumentality - I would on no occasion encourage illegal violence, - The law of self defence is the first law of nature, It is a law of acknowledged authority. It exists in every system of every country = and has prevailed in every age of the world. The law of nature is defined to be “the mind of God signified to man as a rational agent.” The law of

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self defence, which is a part of this great law of nature, is given to man to be made available for his own preservation. It is a law of which no citizen can be deprived, and it is a law which should be diffused in the world just in proportion to its important usefulness & dignity.

The occasion has arrived, it appears to me, to the peaceful citizens of Kansas, which presents to them the Extreme Emergency, for calling into exercise this high law of necessity. The occasion is nothing less than the case of the government wilfully withholding from the Citizen in time of peril, that protection, which is it’s bounden, solemn duty to give = It is more = it is the case of a government wickedly refusing to perform its first, its highest, its most sacred obligation to the Citizen in this respect –

Such a crisis as this, as I understand it, is the occasion of your meeting – It is a crisis which will mark this age with momentous, if not with fearful consequences, It exhibits an administration bound in degrading & imbecile servility to the Slave power, in unfortunate contact with the high position of those illustrious statesman, the founders of the Republic, who, while they held the same high places, were found devoting their patriotic energies to the cause of freedom.

Should your meeting agree with me as to the kind of relief to be furnished to aid the citizens of Kansas,

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I am willing to subscribe for the purchase of the aforesaid, moral agents, to execute this law of necessity.

I had hoped until this afternoon to have been with you at the meeting – but other engagements prevent

I am most truly

Your Ob Servt

Platt Potter

To Missers
C. P. Williams
H. H. Van Dych
B. R. Wood
Deodalus Wright, & others, Committee

 

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