Mail Restrictions and Destroying the Press

As early as 1862, Brigadier-General Wright (who was commanding the Department of the Pacific after Sumner was called back to the active scenes of the war in October, 1861) requested the postal agent on the coast to forbid the transmission through the mails and express offices of certain newspapers, as the Los Angeles Star, Stockton Argus, Stockton Democrat, Visalia Post, etc.—traitorous and disloyal sheets constantly denouncing the Government and all its acts, and tending to discourage enlistments and give aid and comfort to rebels. The result of this step was beneficial,—so much so that the restrictions were removed in 1863.

(Captain McLaughlin (of the Second Cavalry, California Volunteers) arrested the editors, L. P. Hall and L. J. Garrison of the Equal Rights Expositor on the charge of publishing pbjectlonable articles; and when one of the editors refused to take the oath of loyalty, he was held In close confinement for some time. On March 5th of the same year, Major O’Neill (of the Second Cavalry, California Volunteers), exasperated by the continued support given by the Expositor to the rebellion, went to Visalia and completely destroyed the office of the Expositor, breaking the doors and windows of the building, breaking the press and throwing the type, paper and ink into the street. A strong force then patrolled the town to prevent disorder, and one citizen was arrested for incHing a riot by ch11ering for “Jeff” Davis.)

In San Francisco at the time of Lincoln’s assassination, five news-papers, virulent copperhead sheets, which had outraged the loyal element in the community for some time by abusing the President and the administration, were destroyed by a mob. It is significant that public opinion did not condemn the proceeding. In fact, to prevent bloodshed, it was necessary to call out troops