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Defying The Law In The 19th Century: Journalistic Culture And The Source Protection Privilege
Unformatted Document Text:  16 What followed the confinement of Wikoff was a cover-up involving perjured testimony. 122 In his message to Congress, in what Carl Sandberg called its most original feature, 123 Lincoln suggested a policy of gradual and compensated emancipation and resettlement abroad of freed slaves. 124 The radical Republicans would have none of it. Horace Greeley, who had given moderate support to the president, thundered that slaves should "as a matter of inexorable public policy---nay, as a means of saving the National life at a cost less than ruinous---be proclaimed free, and invited to make their way to Union lines, and there be recognized and treated as freemen." 125 Lincoln kept to his conservative course. Frustrated by their inability to move the president, his enemies sought to harm Lincoln politically by attacking Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife. Wrote Lincoln friend Ward Hill Lamon: There will be open hostility between the President and the abolitionists shortly it is feared---they are now preparing to attack Mrs. Lincoln and it is with great difficulty friends of the Administration have kept them still up to this time. 126 The New York Herald condemned the "insinuations made against Mrs. Lincoln in certain republican dailies and weeklies, as well as base falsehoods in certain pretended religious weeklies . . .(which) have been the direct fruits of these (abolitionist) conspirators." 127 Moving to Washington from Illinois overwhelmed Mrs. Lincoln, a socially insecure woman. William Howard Russell, the correspondent of the Times of London, observed that "few women not to the manor born there are whose heads would not be disordered, and circulation disturbed by a rapid transition, almost instantaneous, from a condition of obscurity in a country town to mistress of the White House.’’ 128 Moreover, as Russell noted, Mrs. Lincoln was "accessible to the influence of flattery, and has permitted her society to be infested by men who would not be received in any respectable private 122 There are no lengthy studies of the Herald story on the Lincoln message and its aftermath. Short accounts are found in Kaminski; Marbut; James E. Pollard, THE PRESIDENTS AND THE PRESS (1947); Andrew J. Cutler, THE NORTH REPORTS THE CIVIL WAR (1985); Bernard A.Weisberger, REPORTERS FOR THE UNION (1953). Modern accounts generally are based on that of Ben: Perley Poore, PERLEY POORE’S REMINISCENCES OF SIXTY YEARS IN THE NATIONAL METROPOLIS (1886). 123 Carl Sandberg, 1 ABRAHAM LINCOLN: THE WAR YEARS 382 (1939). 124 James D. Richardson, (ed.), 7 MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS 1789-1897 44-58. 125 New York Tribune, Dec. 4, 1861. 126 Ruth Painter Randall, MARY LINCOLN BIOGRAPHY OF A MARRIAGE 306 (1953). 127 New York Herald, Feb. 19, 1862. 128 Eugene H. Berwanger, WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL, MY DIARY NORTH AND SOUTH 55. (1988).

Authors: Spellman, Robert.
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background image
16
What followed the confinement of Wikoff was a cover-up involving perjured
testimony.
122
In his message to Congress, in what Carl Sandberg called its most original
feature,
123
Lincoln suggested a policy of gradual and compensated emancipation and
resettlement abroad of freed slaves.
124
The radical Republicans would have none of it.
Horace Greeley, who had given moderate support to the president, thundered that slaves
should "as a matter of inexorable public policy---nay, as a means of saving the National
life at a cost less than ruinous---be proclaimed free, and invited to make their way to
Union lines, and there be recognized and treated as freemen."
125
Lincoln kept to his
conservative course. Frustrated by their inability to move the president, his enemies
sought to harm Lincoln politically by attacking Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife.
Wrote Lincoln friend Ward Hill Lamon:
There will be open hostility between the President and the abolitionists shortly it
is feared---they are now preparing to attack Mrs. Lincoln and it is with great
difficulty friends of the Administration have kept them still up to this time.
126
The New York Herald condemned the "insinuations made against Mrs. Lincoln in certain
republican dailies and weeklies, as well as base falsehoods in certain pretended religious
weeklies . . .(which) have been the direct fruits of these (abolitionist) conspirators."
127
Moving to Washington from Illinois overwhelmed Mrs. Lincoln, a socially
insecure woman. William Howard Russell, the correspondent of the Times of London,
observed that "few women not to the manor born there are whose heads would not be
disordered, and circulation disturbed by a rapid transition, almost instantaneous, from a
condition of obscurity in a country town to mistress of the White House.’’
128
Moreover, as
Russell noted, Mrs. Lincoln was "accessible to the influence of flattery, and has permitted
her society to be infested by men who would not be received in any respectable private
122
There are no lengthy studies of the Herald story on the Lincoln message and its aftermath. Short accounts are found
in Kaminski; Marbut; James E. Pollard, THE PRESIDENTS AND THE PRESS (1947); Andrew J. Cutler, THE
NORTH REPORTS THE CIVIL WAR (1985); Bernard A.Weisberger, REPORTERS FOR THE UNION (1953).
Modern accounts generally are based on that of Ben: Perley Poore, PERLEY POORE’S REMINISCENCES OF
SIXTY YEARS IN THE NATIONAL METROPOLIS (1886).
123
Carl Sandberg, 1 ABRAHAM LINCOLN: THE WAR YEARS 382 (1939).
124
James D. Richardson, (ed.), 7 MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS 1789-1897 44-58.
125
New York Tribune, Dec. 4, 1861.
126
Ruth Painter Randall, MARY LINCOLN BIOGRAPHY OF A MARRIAGE 306 (1953).
127
New York Herald, Feb. 19, 1862.
128
Eugene H. Berwanger, WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL, MY DIARY NORTH AND SOUTH 55. (1988).


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