Who was Turner anyway?

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Reported Seizure of the Arsenal.


January/February 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, January 24, 1861.

Reported Seizure of the Arsenal—Danger of Armed Political Societies.

An evening or two ago, a rumor that Gov. Jackson had given orders for the seizure of the Arsenal ran like wildfire through the city.  We have reason to think that Major Bell, the officer in command of the Arsenal, did not utterly disbelieve it.  In fact, he took measures to resist the anticipated onset.  The story, like so many others of the same kind which the public have heard of late, was doubtless untrue, but can we wonder that it should have obtained extensive circulation and no inconsiderable credence, when it is notorious that a treasonable society is daily and nightly enlisting members, and drilling and arming?  This treasonable society, known as the “Minute Men,” ostentatiously displays its proceedings.  Its publicly avowed purpose is to make war on the United States whenever invited to do so by the Governor of the State.  The organ of the Minute Men, the Bulletin, has the effrontery to state, that enlisting and drilling is constantly practiced at the head quarters of the society, corner of Fifth and Pine.  It is notorious that a large number of muskets have been conveyed thither recently.  Now, the question is, are the Minute Men acting legally or illegally?  If they are acting illegally we again call on Judges, juries, and law officers to assert and enforce the laws.  If the Minute Men are acting legally, then it is competent for other citizens to organize themselves into military societies, and arm and drill also.  It will be remembered that the Wide Awakes disbanded in deference to the general feeling for not merely the preservation of public tranquility, but for the removal of every cause of excitement and apprehension.  Yet we find a branch of the organization which had written its history in treasonable overt acts of war throughout the Cotton States, carrying on its warlike operations in the midst of this community, defying public opinion, as is always the way with men who take to the cartridge box rather than the ballot box.  Are these musket-armed, drilled Minute-men to present themselves on the 18th of February, and overawe the loyalists who shall throng to the polls?  Must the city be kept in a perpetual state of agitation by their treasonable movements?  Not one word of rebuke is addressed to them by the Democratic organs that raised such an outcry about the Wide Awakes.  On the contrary, they are encouraged by the leaders of the Democratic and Bell-Everett factions; and it is by such agencies these leaders intend to prosecute the April campaign.  Because the Democrat has invoked legal remedies against dangerous proceedings, the Bulletin tells us we are frightened.  That journal is undoubtedly indifferent whether the issue be peace or war; whether the noise of industry or the sound of cannon and musketry be heard in our streets; whether the local termination of the controversy be a battle or an election.  We profess no such indifference.  We are not ashamed to confess that we are deeply solicitous for the preservation of peace.  It is under the influence of this sentiment that we arraign the Minute Men as a treasonable organization, and call upon the laws and public opinion to put it down.  We are not afraid that they will revolutionize the city, but we are not sure—who is?—that they will not try, and thereby occasion the shedding of blood.  They are a standing menace to the peace of the community—an organized nuisance, and every well disposed citizen desires to immediate suppression of the society.