Doc. 189.-newspapers presented in Court.
To the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York:The Grand Inquest of the United States of America for the Southern District of New York, beg leave to present the following facts to the Court, and ask its advice thereon: There are certain newspapers within this district which are in the frequent practice of encouraging the rebels now in arms against the Federal Government by expressing sympathy and agreement with them, the duty of acceding to their demands, and dissatisfaction with the employment of force to overcome them. These papers are the New York daily and weekly Journal of Commerce, the daily and weekly News, the daily and weekly Day Book, the Freeman's Journal, all published in the city of New York, and the daily and weekly Eagle, published in the city of Brooklyn. The first-named of these has just published a list of newspapers in the Free States opposed to what it calls “the present unholy war” --a war in defence of our country and its institutions, and our most sacred rights, and carried on solely for the restoration of the authority of the Government. The Grand Jury are aware that free governments allow liberty of speech and of the press to their utmost limit, but there is, nevertheless, a limit. If a person in a fortress or an army were to preach to the soldiers submission to the enemy, he would be treated as an offender. Would he be more culpable than the citizen who, in the midst of the most formidable conspiracy and rebellion, tells the conspirators and rebels that they are right, encourages them to persevere in resistance, and condemns the effort of loyal citizens to overcome and punish them as an “unholy war” ? If the utterance of such language in the streets or through the press is not a crime, then there is a great defect in our laws, or they were not made for such an emergency.  The conduct of these disloyal presses is, of course, condemned and abhorred by all loyal men; but the Grand Jury will be glad to learn from the Court that it is also subject to indictment and condign punishment. All which is respectfully presented.