It seems that Gen. McClellan
has called a convention of editors, and endeavored to impress upon them the importance of not publishing any news in relation to military movements, a preliminary step, probably, to a censorship of the Northern
journals, and, possibly, a suppression of those which speak out too plainly.
As a general rule, the press of a country ought to abstain from publishing any intelligence which can give information to the enemy.
In the beginning of hostilities, it is obvious that journalists, unaccustomed to a state of war, may err in this respect.
Our own Southern press, at the outset, announced the arrival and departure of regiments from particular points, and other matters of general notoriety, which, no doubt, the enemy was fully apprised of by his numerous allies and spies within our own borders; but the practice has been judiciously given up, much to the secret disgruntlement of many, whose curiosity desired the information, and yet who, with charming consistency, rated the newspapers roundly for publishing military movements.--Even when people have something to do, fault-finding is a luxury which they manage to make time for; and, when they have nothing to do, it is their sole occupation.
However, the Southern
press in general has learned to hold its tongue, and Gen. McClellan
is trying to teach the same lesson to the Northern
We doubt whether he will succeed, and, if he does, whether it will be of much service.
In the first place, it is a very difficult thing to get a Northern newspaper in the South
; in the next, they are so full of falsehoods that no one believes a word they say. We conceive that their publications in the beginning of the war were of real service to the Northern
No one supposed that it was possible for man to invent so many and such adroit falsehoods.
We do not remember that they have told a single truth in regard to any important military movement, from the beginning of the war to the present moment.
The only one we now recollect is a telegraphic dispatch published soon after Gen. McClellan
had reached a point in Western Virginia
, where he could have marched upon Staunton
without any difficulty, and thus taken Manassas
in the rear, and gone pretty much where he pleased, that he had gone to Cincinnati
to see his wife.
An announcement which of course everybody supposed was a blind to conceal an impetuous dash at Staunton
, but which turned out to be true after all. But that truth was the fault of General McClellan
, and not of the press.
In fact, it is a poor return to the Northern
press, this military suggestion to hold their tongues.
If there are any men in the North
under special obligations to the press of their section, it is the Northern
Every victory they have gained has been gained in their newspapers, and nowhere else.
Who can count the achievements which these knights of the pen have attributed to the knights of the sword?
How adroitly these newspapers, which published so much, covered up the ghastly number of their dead and wounded at Rich Mountain
, at Bethel
, at Vienna
, at Bull Run
, and even at Manassas
Who can tell to this day the number that has been slaughtered upon the decks of their vessels in their various attacks upon our land batteries?
Who more indebted than Gen. McClellan
to the Northern
press, which has so trumpeted his successes, gained in Western Virginia
by the most tremendous odds, that they have made a great man of him, and puffed him to the head of the army?
No one ought to understand better the value of an ingenious lie than the military leader who informs the world under his own hand that he lost only twenty men in Western Virginia
The inventive genius that was capable of such an achievement, has no reason to be jealous of the most fertile invention in the daily press.
A grateful man ought not to kick ever the ladder that has failed him in the world.
We do not understand that Gen. McClellan
prohibits the Northern
press from chronicling battles after they have occurred.
Perhaps they will yet have their revenge?