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Return of Militia

The inventory of militia resources called "Return of Militia" was authorized by the Militia Act of 1792. Presidents Washington and Adams had ingnored the "Return of Militia" but President Jefferson for ideological reasons wanted to emphasize the militia over the regular army and ordered the militia inventory be reported to him. The first "Return of Militia" was ASPMA (American State Papers Military Affairs) No. 51 reported to Congress March 1, 1803. ASPMA No. 52, reported to Congress March 22, 1804 for the years 1802 and 1803 was more complete. It is presented here. The ASPMA are now available on Library of Congress website.
The "turn to image" box roughly corresponds to the page numbers in the papers. Enter numbers in the image box or change the last number in URL to get to certain pages.

The American State Papers were the officials records of the Federal Government through 1838.

ASPMA No. 51.

ASPMA No. 52.

Other militia returns running through the 1820s can be found in the INDEX of ASPMA and located through the page numbers.

Also,
Secretary of War Henry Knox's 1790 militia proposal to Congress is No. 2 in the ASPMA. Or,
http://www.potowmack.org/washknox.html.

ASPMA No. 57 and 98 are the only ones we can find anything remotedly related to constitutional militia rights of the people. Interested parties are invited to search for other mentions.

ASPMA No. 57.

ASPMA No. 98.


From the Militia Act of 1792:


p. 168

MILITARY AFFAIRS

[1804


8th Congress]

[1st Session

MILITIA

Communicated to Congress, March 22, 1804

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

I lay before Congress the last returns of the Militia of the United States. Their incompleteness is much to be regretted, and its remedy may at some future time be a subject worthy [of] the attention of Congress.

[In "their incompleteness" we are still waiting for "the attention of Congress". From what we see here the militia clauses in the Constitution, the Second Amendment, the Militia Act of 1792, and the Return of Militia were about military organization not the civil rights of private individuals. Militia duty was conscript duty. There are no civil rights of the sort claimed today in conscript duty.]

TH: JEFFERSON.

March 22, 1804

For original page on the Library of Congress' American State Papers Military Affairs file.
Insert 168 in the empty box and click on "Turn to image" box.
How to print from the LOC file you will have to figure out on your own. It is possible.


Page 169

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A clearer copy of this can be found on the Library of Congress'
American State Papers Military Affairs file.
Insert 169 into empty box and click on "Turn to Image" box..
How to print from the LOC file you will have to figure out on your own. It is possible.

Categories: "General and Field Staff", "Field Officers and Regimental Staff", "Artillery".

The categories are obviously of a military nature.


Page 170

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A clearer copy of this can be found on the Library of Congress'
American State Papers Military Affairs file.
Insert 170 into empty box and click on "Turn to Image" box..
How to print from the LOC file you will have to figure out on your own. It is possible.

Categories: "Cavalry", "Grenadiers", "Light Infantry".

Again, the categories are obviously of a military nature.

Print in "landscape" orientation on legal (8.5x14) paper.


Page 171

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A clearer copy of this can be found on the Library of Congress'
American State Papers Military Affairs file.
Insert 171 into empty box and click on "Turn to Image" box.
How to print from the LOC file you will have to figure out on your own. It is possible.

Categories: "Riflemen", "Infantry", "Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements."

What begins on this page as "Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements" is the artillery of the day, Three to Twelve Pounders. Some of these were, in fact privately owned, but, nevertheless, subject to militia call up and inventory detailing without mention of a constitutional right of protection against the knowledge and reach of the tyrannically encroaching powers of the federal government. Not even the National Rifle Association these days claims constitutional protection for the artillery of the day. The National Firearms Act of 1934 requires federal registry of privately owned weapons of greater bore than 50 caliber (1/2 inch). The next page is the small arms.


Page 172

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A clearer copy of this can be found on the Library of Congress'
American State Papers Military Affairs file.
Insert 172 into empty box and click on "Turn to Image" box.
How to print from the LOC file you will have to figure out on your own. It is possible.

Under the category "Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements" is included "Artillery Side Arms", "Sabres", "Pairs of Pistols", "Muskets", "Rifles", "Fuses", "Bayonets", "Cartridge Boxes", "Knapsacks", "Ram Rods", "Espontoons", "Pounds of Powder", "Cartridges with Balls", "Tumbrils and Wagons", "Drums and Fifes", "Loose Balls", "Wires and Brushes", "Flints", "Scabbards and Belts", and "Stands of Colors".

These categories included privately owned small arms and accountrements to be reported to the federal government. These were, in most cases, individually owned private property. There is still no mention of constitutional protection for privately owned weaponry and accoutrements outside of militia duty. In those day the public had a claim for public purposes. There are long lists of adulturated quotes from that period that circulate around today about "private arms." All the persons who were sources for those quotes were around in 1792. There was no outrage or even concern expressed then that an inventory of privately owned weaponry and accoutrements reported to the federal government would somehow "infringe" on the right of the people, asserted today as the "armed populace at large" fantasy (which the NRA has argued to the Supreme Court (p. 1)), to maintain a balance of power between a privately armed populace and any and all government. This balance of power is what is contained today in the gun lobby/libertarian right of privately armed individuals to be armed outside of the knowledge and reach of law and government, state or federal. According to this inventory, home reloaders could be required to report their "Pounds of Powder", "Cartridges", not yet loaded bullets ("Loose Balls") and primers ("Flints") if the malignancy of government should decide that a count of these were necessary for public duty. Hey, let's maintain an inventory of "Wires and Brushes" kept for gun barrel cleaning purposes. How about "Knapsacks"? Why not knives ("Bayonets" and "Sabres")"? Why not flags, "Stands of Colors"? Why not vehicles, "wagons" and "tumbrils", but then vehicles, except farm equipment like "tumbrils" (a two wheel farm wagon), are already registered and their operators are already licensed. If we are going to maintain inventories of farmers' guns for militia duty let's also enrolled their tumbrils for militia duty.


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