It's long, and couched in archaic language and, even though it is "The Exercise for the Militia of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay ---"Not noting the Plimoth Bay Colony--" and therefore deemable as archaic, the spirit of the times even to the Governor's level at the time is worth noting.
'by Order of his Excellency the Captain General-1758":
(I admit I am going to have to look up who the Captain General (governor) was at this time. But, as they said in the Movie: "Nobody Writes like this anymore:)
"As it is the effential property of a free government to depend on not other Soldierly but it's own citizens for it's defence; fo in all such free Government, every freeholder and ever freedman fhould be a foldier.
A freedman that is no soldier does as much in him lyes, that he fhould be no long free; for if the fame same Spirit was to become general, there would be no soldiery with the goverment; and it muft either ceafe to to be defended and fecure in in it's Freedom, or feek it's Defence in foreign Alliance and fo be not longer independent.
Every man therefore who wifshes to fecure his own freedom, and thinks it his Duty to defend that of his Country, should, as he prides himself in being a free Citizen, think it it trueft honour to be a soldier citizen-------"
"Tis base and slavish not to be allowed to bear Arms in his own country's defence------"
" everyman here knows and is particularly expert in the use of the Firelock: 'Tis almost as constantly as constantly in his hand as any of his implements of Husbandry or of his trade----"
I hope to quote more from this enlightening little manual of arms.
While the second Amendments Definition of a "well regulated militia" may have been interepreted in courts as meaning the right of the state government to maintain a militia, it is clear that even acceding to this point, the Colonial Governors of the time may have well expected the general citezenry to be quite familiar with the use of "hif Firelock".
How exactly, one might ask, would this be accomplished in a society that did not allow the ownership and use of 'firelocks' is, of course, to accept that the thoughts above set forth are completely at odds with with the thoughts and expectations of the governor writing foregoing manual and missive to the people of Massachusetts.
Patton, when asked if he could take a particular objective responded, if memory serves: "give me a bush division, and I will do it in days"
A bush division meaning one raised from a portion of America where the practice of "musketry' ,if you will was a familiar to the freedman and the Governor in the above missive apparently took for granted for all freedmen to be familiar with the 'use of firleock (and ons assumes, other weapons of the times.
i understand that times hae changes, but how far, I ask, can we vary from the thinking set forth and still remain a free people.
It was, after all, not a very long time after the dissolution of the Roman Republic (in part a misnomer as Augustus considerd himself only a legalized "First man in Rome") before the legions, albeit not as often as might be thought, could consider themselves as 'kingmakers'.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"