President Lincoln Lifts Publication Ban on New York World and Journal of Commerce

May 21, 1864

President Lincoln acts to lift the punishing actions he had taken earlier in the week as a result of the publication of a fraudulent proclamation in New York newspapers. Historian Robert S. Harper wrote in Lincoln and the Press: “President Lincoln’s reconsideration of that portion of the order which called for arrest of the editors probably was taken upon the advice of [General John] Dix, who had the case in hand from the start. The early arrest he promised may have been accomplished a few hours after the forgery appeared, although it was not until two days later that the New York Tribune heard a suspect was in Fort Lafayette. On Saturday morning, May 21, the Tribune said it ‘understood’ that Joseph Howard ‘one of the editors’ of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, had been arrested.

“The Tribune ‘understood’ correctly. Howard, city editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, was in a cell at Fort Lafayette, the confessed forger of the proclamation. Also in Fort Lafayette was a reporter for the Eagle, Francis A. Mallison, who admitted he participated in the hoax. Mallison was arrested by two detectives on Saturday morning, May 21, while on his way to a precinct house to report for the army draft.”

President Lincoln writes Clara and Julia Brown: “The Afgan you sent is received, and gratefully accepted. I especially like my little friends; and although you have never seen me, I am glad you remember me for the country’s sake, and even more, that you remember, and try to help, the poor Soldiers.”

President Lincoln sends a response to the New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association which had awarded him honorary membership: “You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion, means more, and tends to more, than the perpetuation of African Slavery–that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people. Partly to show that this view has not escaped my attention, and partly that I cannot better express myself, I read a passage from the Message to Congress in December 1861:

“It continues to develop that the insurrection * * * * * * * * * * till all of liberty shall be lost.”

The views then expressed remain unchanged, nor have I much to add. None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudice, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in you city last summer, was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor–property is desirable–is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprize. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

President Lincoln writes Christiana A. Sack: “I can not postpone the execution of a convicted spy, on a mere telegraphic despatch signed with a name I never heared before. Gen. Wallace may give you a pass to see him, if he chooses.” She had written the President: “`My brother Henry Sack is sentenced to be hung on Monday next at Eastiville in Genl Butlers Dept on charge of being a spy. I think I can prove that he is not a spy Please postpone the execution of the sentence & give me permission to see him.” The death sentence for the spy was eventually commuted.”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of State William H. Seward: “The Bill for Montana has passed, and I will thank you to have the applications for offices there, which are in your Department, briefed at once.”

Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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