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[195] lack imitators. Every petty postmaster south of Mason and Dixon's line became ex officio a censor of the press. The Postmaster-General, writing to his subordinate at Charleston, after stating that the post-office department had ‘no legal right to exclude newspapers from the mail, or prohibit their carriage or delivery, on account of their character or tendency, real or supposed,’ declared that he would, nevertheless, give no aid, directly or indirectly, in circulating publications of an incendiary or inflammatory character; and assured the perjured functionary, who had violated his oath of office, that, while he could not sanction, he would not condemn his conduct. Against this virtual encouragement of a flagrant infringement of a constitutional right, this licensing of thousands of petty government officials to sit in their mail offices—to use the figure of Milton—cross-legged, like so many envious Junos, in judgment upon the daily offspring of the press, taking counsel of passion, prejudice, and popular excitement as to what was ‘incendiary’ or ‘inflammatory,’ the Evening Post spoke in tones of manly protest.

While almost all the editors of his party throughout the country either openly approved of the conduct of the Postmaster-General or silently acquiesced in it, William Leggett, who, in the absence of his colleague, was at that time sole editor of the Post, and who had everything to lose, in a worldly point of view, by assailing a leading functionary of the government, who was a favorite of the President and a sharer of his popularity, did not hesitate as to the course which consistency and duty

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