Exempting printers from militia duty.
We are not aware of a single country on the face of the earth in which printers are not exempted from militia duty, except in Virginia
and some of the Southern States
It is so in Europe
, where, notwithstanding the existence of Monarchial Governments, the importance of the press to both the Government
and the people is so well understood, that printers are exempted from a general levy of the population.
Much more should it be so in a free country, where the press is regarded as the palladium of liberty.
We are not surprised to hear that it is decidedly the sentiment of delegates of the Southern States
now here in Congress, that laws for the exemption of printers from militia service should be enacted.
To refuse this, is to deprive the Southern
people of the press, to shut them out completely from all intelligence of affairs in which they are deeply interested, and to take away from them incentives to patriotism and energy which the press daily pours forth.
Who can estimate the value to the Southern
cause of the daily appeals of a patriotic press?
Without it, they would sink into apathy and insertion, grope about like Samson
deprived of his eyes, waste away like strong men bereft of food and water.
It is certainly to be hoped that the Legislature will at once take measures to avert the fearful blow upon the public spirit and energies of the Southern
people which must follow the suppression of a free and patriotic press.