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Freedom of the press.But it would seem that these men were determined to drive the people of the North into rebellion. Their fears lend a thousand rumors to their imaginations. They imagine ‘ "traitors"’ among us, and one paper even speculates on ‘"a rising"’ in this city! Well, God knows how soon the Republicans may drive the people mad, but one thing we are sure of, there never will be any trouble in this city, unless the Republicans provoke it. It is a fixed rule in all Governments, that as you bind down the people you provoke insurrections and disorders, and as you give latitude and freedom, you have peace and safety. Austria has an insurrection every six weeks; Italy, before Garibaldi gave the people freedom, was a volcano constantly belching forth fire and smoke; and so it is the world over. It is human nature. All that the opponents of the Administration ask is the simple right to differ with it as to policy. If their arguments against Mr. Lincoln's plan of restoring the Union are to be met by mobs and martial law, the people will not be slow to conclude that it must be a very bad cause that cannot vindicate itself in the arena of discussion. If editors — having nearly all the leading papers, with a great proportion of the talent of the press on their side — cannot successfully vindicate the policy of the Government, then, indeed, must it be sadly deficient in statesmanship. If these papers break the laws, or if their editors commit overt acts of treason, why deal with them accordingly; but if their offence be for opinion's sake, don't add hypocrisy to persecution. The freedom of the press is something over which Congress nor the President has any control. No power, upon this subject, was delegated in the Constitution of the United States to any department of the Federal Government. Mr. Jefferson, in the Kentucky resolutions which we quote, shows this. The Constitution is also just as explicit as language can make it. Mr. Lincoln might, with just as much right, dictate to ministers of the Gospel what sentiments they should preach, as to us what we shall write. If certain opinions are treasonable they are treasonable anywhere, and the clergyman who preaches the glorious Gospel of peace, may, ere long, find his calling gone. It is evident, however, these attacks upon the press proceed from the basest and most fiendish motives. The present affords evil disposed people an opportunity to gratify some long-cherished revenge — to wreak their cowardly spite which, under other circumstances, they would be compelled to smother. These men hang like fiends around all social convulsions of this kind, and take a delicious pleasure in producing all the disorder they can. The more the merrier for them. Nothing is too ‘"satanic"’ for their delight — nothing too hellish for their pleasure. Let the freedom of the press be interfered with, however, and no one can answer for the consequences. New York is a slumbering earthquake. Already the mutterings of an angry storm have been heard. The great social problem that has met mankind at every turn — the eternal hostility between capital and labor — is yet unsolved. It is never wise to turn a simple opponent into a deadly enemy. But attack the freedom of the press, and thousands will cry for revenge, sooner or later, who would never have thought of it before. It is an easy matter to start a revolution, but a difficult one to stop it.
Suppression of the New York Daily News.Our telegraphic despatches announce that, upon the arrival of the railroad train at Philadelphia from New York yesterday morning, the United States Marshal for that district, assisted by its officers, seized three thousand copies of the New York Daily News intended for that city, and that its sale in Philadelphia and throughout the Southwest has been, by order of the Administration, suppressed. As to the special reasons which have induced this arbitrary act of the Executive Government of the United States, we have as yet no definite intelligence. Our readers will cheerfully bear us witness that the Daily News, at least since its publication under present auspices, has contained no word in violation of the Constitution or the laws. It has committed no crime, and has not abetted or sympathized with crime. It has abused no privilege as a free press. It has violated no courtesy to the Government or to any of its officers by the publication of military facts. It has disarmed even malicious criticism, by furnishing to the public only such information relating to the present crisis as has appeared in journals enjoying the patronage and confidence of the Cabinet at Washington. Its columns have contained no word, for which even those most hostile to our opinions could justly reprove or reproach us. If it has erred, the error has been upon the part of humanity and free government. It has met the demands of the crisis firmly and fearlessly, yet always courteously and temperately. It has spoken of the President and his Cabinet and of their friends upon all occasions only in terms rigorously and studiedly respectful. While mobs have been instigated against us by a vitiated rival Press, and the mother tongue exhausted upon us in coarse abuse and in misrepresentations of our sympathies and our motives, we have replied only by silence, or in a spirit of candor and moderation which the consciousness of our solemn responsibility in an hour of danger to civil liberty could alone inspire. Our sole offence — if offence it be — is, that we have fearlessly asserted and exercised the right which the Constitution has guaranteed to us, in war, as well as in peace, to oppose, not the Government, but the policy of the national Administration. If we may not do this, then are we indeed slaves, in bonds more hard to bear than were ever rivetted upon the limbs of any man within whose veins flows Anglo-Saxon blood. To many thousands of our usual daily readers, the Daily News is, from this day a sealed book. The heavy hand of Executive power falls, not upon us, but upon millions of people born to freedom. Those will think still, though they cannot read. It is difficult to bind the mind in chains. Thought, at least, cannot be suppressed. No Austrian dungeons can restrain the human will. Those to whom the Daily News is forbidden will think, reason resolve and act still. While we feel that the most sacred of the private and public rights which an American citizen may enjoy have been violated in pure wantonness, we record the fact and our protest against it more in sorrow than surprise. It is but one more milestone in the nation's downward road. It is but one new signal light to wake and warn a slumbering people to a realization of their duty and their threatened fate. We shall endeavor manfully to bear our part of the fortunes of the storm — prudently, we trust, but unflinchingly; and until the pen is wrenched from our hand one press, at least, in New York shall dare to be free, and to speak without a permit from the hand of arbitrary power.
Contemptible tyranny of the Federal Administration.The ‘"enforcement of the laws"’ is getting on famously. The seed sown by Mr. Everett has fallen in fertile places, and has sprung up to its natural fruit. The overthrow of the law, by the constituted authorities of the Government, has been followed, naturally enough, by similar patriotic demonstrations on the part of the Northern people. In Pennsylvania they are having a delightful time of it. Newspaper offices are ‘"gutted"’--as the term is — with great success, by ‘"loyal"’ multitudes. Congressmen are burnt in effigy, in the most creditable and satisfactory way. In Maine and New Hampshire they are not behindhand. In Massachusetts, where they always do such things best, and where the influence of Mr. Everett's eloquent precepts is likely to be greatest, because of his proximity, they add tarring and feathering. and riding on a rail, to the list of their efforts in behalf of the Union and the Constitution.--Nothing can surpass the noble and generous patriotism with which the citizens of Haverhill possessed themselves of the person of ‘ "the editor of a secession sheet,"’ (meaning an unhappy man, who dared to oppose abolitionism and war)--covered him with ‘"a coat of tar and feathers"’ --rode him on a rail through the town, and then compelled him to make recantation of his opinions, on his knees, in the midst of brutal and horrible imprecations and indignities. ‘ "I am sorry,"’ the wretched victim was made to say, ‘"that I have published what I have, and I promise that I will never again write or publish articles against the North, or in favor of secession."’ What a triumph of reason and free institutions! What a glorious record for history! What a seductive appeal to our benighted Southern brethren, to re- unite themselves with the freedom and civilization, from which bad men have persuaded them, in an evil-hour, to tear themselves away! How it reminds one of the joyous days of Massachusetts Colony, described with so much unction by the reverend Minister of Ipswich, when they ‘ "did burn and slay"’ the Pequot and Narragansett in their wigwams, ‘"by the goodness of God!"’ How it smacks of the blessed times when old women were forced to sign a confession that they were witches, and then were drowned or hanged for their pains; when Quakers were whipped and branded, and had their ears cut off, as a merciful preparation for the scaffold! How naturally ‘"pernicious"’ editors assume the place of ‘ "Devil-ridden"’ hags and ‘"notorious heretics!"’ How the blood of the Matthers and the Winthrons vindicating the purity of its descent! When the of such outrages. Upon their heads must fall the retribution also. Who, that tells a people ‘ "the laws are silent amid arms,"’ has any right to complain of their taking him at his word?--If the laws are silent, why shall the mob at Haverhill, Concord, Bangor or Easton, hear them any more than the Cabinet at Washington? If the laws sleep at all, they are awake to no man. If they are silent at all, they are silent altogether. If the President may suppress a public journal, without color of law, because it does not suit him, why shall the people, who are sovereign, not do the same thing? The question between bayonets and bludgeons is one of detail, and not of principle — so is it between tar and feathers and Fort Lafayette. Nay, the mob have rather the advantage, if there be any, in the reasoning. If it be patriotic to suspend the laws, they are apt to be less selfish in their patriotism than their rulers. A President or a Secretary may readily mistake a wound to his self-love, for a wound inflicted on the country. A mob, if more fanatical and mad, is not likely to be so personal or so self-seeking. Only two days ago the Federal telegrams informed us, under official inspiration at Washington, that ‘"the severe strictures of the Northern newspapers upon members of the Cabinet are regarded there as attacks on the country."’ ‘" L'etat, c'est moi!"’ said the Grand Monarch, ‘"The State! it is myself."’ Attacks upon us — say the members of the Cabinet — are attacks upon the country! We are the country! A mob might be wicked enough to do anything — it could not be so absurd or so regal as to say this. Its effervescencies are madness — the tyranny of Presidents and Cabinets is system. The sins of the multitude are ignorance and passion — those of rulers are ambition and lust of power. The leader of a mob which destroys a printing office and lynches an editor in its rage, is not half so unprincipled or dangerous, as the President or the General who silences free speech with a squad of soldiers, in armed and deliberate defiance of the Constitution. Tenfold worse than either is the rhetorical, phrase-polishing demagogue, who, safe in his study, without personal risk or official responsibility, prostitutes his talents to the overthrow of public freedom and the corruption of a people who look up to him as a patriot and a counsellor.
The freedom of the press — opposition journals to be Dealt with.The Administration decided to-day to take another step, which will be quite as startling at first as the former, but which is equally founded on sound policy. The Constitution provides for the freedom of speech and of the press. But it also provides for the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus. It has been found that the safety of the Republic required the suspension of that writ. The Administration is now satisfied that the safety of the Republic requires that those papers in the North which do not yield a hearty support to the Government and to all the measures of the Administration, and which, by their sympathy with the South, nourish at the North a hostile feeling against the Government, shall be warned to desist, and if they persist, shall be suppressed. Attorney General Bates has been consulted on the subject, and says that the Government would be perfectly justified in doing so.
The New era--Eradication of State lines — a National army to be organized.A new era has dawned. The recent order of the War Department, ordering to Washington all the regiments now organized in the Northern States, and all parts of regiments, even if unarmed and without uniforms, is but one step in the new order of things that has been inaugurated here since the adjournment of Congress. That step will result in the formation of a National Army. The men, as they arrive here, will be formed into companies and regiments irrespective of States from which they come. They will be armed and uniformed alike — the uniform being the army regulation dress of blue cloth. A new nomenclature will be adopted, discarding the names of States, and referring only to the position which the respective regiments will occupy in the Grand Army of the United States.
New England Proscription.‘"Publishing Secession"’--anti-war--‘"papers in the New England States is becoming rather a dangerous and unprofitable business."’--Palladium. Aye — and it was once ‘"dangerous"’ for Baptists to be found in the same part of the world where these things are happening. It was once ‘"dangerous"’ for peaceful and inoffensive Quakers to live in this same boasted New England. ‘"Freedom of conscience"’ was then no more respected there than ‘"Freedom of speech" ’ and ‘"Freedom of the press"’ are now. It was once ‘"dangerous" ’ in this same New England for a citizen to sustain the Government in a war with a formidable foreign power. As it was this same New England which, in that war, opposed the Government, sided with the enemy, burnt blue lights upon the coast to communicate with the enemy's ships and pilot them in their depredations, and plotted and practiced treason against the Government as long as the war lasted. In this same New England, too, a few years since, Catholic Convents were destroyed by mob violence, and Irishmen were not allowed to bear arms and keep up a military organization as uniformed militia of the State; but now, when they are wanted to do the fighting in this abolition war, originated by New England, they are urged to form Irish regiments, and all sorts of compliments are heaped upon them. And it is this same wonderfully patriotic New England which declared the Union dissolved when Texas was annexed, and has been ever since openly and defiantly resisting the enforcement of material provisions of the Constitution, and industriously sinking the mine which has at length blown up the Union. A great place for freedom and toleration — to all who think, speak, eat, drink, act and dress according to the orthodox standard, the prevailing can't, and the puritanical notions of its pharisee pulpits — and always was.
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