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Executive Order—Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editors

May 18, 1864

Major-General John A. Dix,

Commanding at New York:

Whereas there has been wickedly and traitorously printed and published this morning in the New York World and New York Journal of Commerce, newspapers printed and published in the city of New York, a false and spurious proclamation purporting to be signed by the President and to be countersigned by the Secretary of State, which publication is of a treasonable nature, designed to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and to the rebels now at war against the Government and their aiders and abettors, you are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison in any fort or military prison in your command the editors, proprietors, and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers, and all such persons as, after public notice has been given of the falsehood of said publication, print and publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; and you will hold the persons so arrested in close custody until they can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offense. You will also take possession by military force of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce, and hold the same until further orders, and prohibit any further publication therefrom.


Note: On the morning of May 18, 1864, a forged proclamation was published in the World, and Journal of Commerce, of New York. The proclamation named a day for fasting and prayer, called for 400,000 fresh troops, and purposed to raise by an "immediate and peremptory draft," whatever quotas were not furnished on the day specified.

Abraham Lincoln, Executive Order—Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editors Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202541

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