the North and the South, till war not only resulted, but was bound to result. You see yet the press of each section, instead of healing the gap, is vigorously widening it. Now, this country must be united by the silken bonds of a generous and kindly union if possible, or by the harsh steel bands of a despot otherwise. Of course, we all prefer the former. In that event the press will have freedom regulated by statute law; in the other their freedom will be one-sided, as in France-a freedom to praise and sustain the Government, but death to oppose.
If all men were good, we would need no law or restraint, but unfortunately some will steal and murder and commit all sorts of crime, and therefore punishment and pain must be resorted to. So if editors were filled with a desire to do right, they would allay rather than arouse the passions of men; they would publish the truth alone, and would slander nobody; but unfortunately some editors have an object to serve, to pull down one man or interest, to elevate another, and so on.
Now, you know, and every editor is conscious when he does right, but he may have some motive to serve that biases his judgment; therefore, even in peaceful times, I would make every publisher liable in money for the truth of everything he prints. I would not allow him to publish anonymous pieces and throw off [responsibility] by saying the author was so and so. I would make the editor responsible, first, that all he published is true; second, that the publication was necessary to the public good. Even if true, I would make him liable as in slander and libel; and in times of war and insurrection, I would restrict them altogether, for the reasons that in war and insurrection, which suspend the functions of the courts and civil offices, the executive of a nation by his army and navy must control all the physique and morals of the nation, to restore such peace and quiet as will enable the courts to resume their sway.
In my department I contend that, subordinate to the powers above, I have a right to use every man, every influence, every moral, intellectual, and physical power within my limits to restore quiet, order peace, and finally produce the restoration of the civil power, when eo instance this civil government, having regained its vitality, resumes its wonted control. These ideas are very general and not very specific, but they give you the key to my conduct.
If a man disturbs the peace, I will kill or remove him; if he does anything wrong and there is no civil power in existence, the military power does exist and must act, for we must have some law. Nature abhors anarchy. As of a man, so of a combination, or the press, or anything; all must act in concert to stop war, strife, and anarchy. When these are done, peace restored, civil courts and law respected, then you and all are free again.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Fayetteville, Tennessee, November 9, 1863.
Colonel J. D. BINGHAM,
Chief Q. M., Dept.of the Tennessee, Eastport:
DEAR COLONEL: On traversing the country from Eastport to this place, en route for Stevenson and Chattanooga, I find the route im-