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Feb. 12, 1864: The Exemption Bill, a 'bill of abominations'

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:00 am

“The Exemption Bill. The bill which has just passed the (Confederate) House of Representatives, may, so far as it relates to the Press, be justly styled a ‘bill of abominations.’ … Almost anybody could have told (the legislators) that not one in ten of the Editors of the daily papers in the country are practical printers, and not one printer in one hundred is competent to edit a newspaper … ‘One editor, who is a practical printer’ is allowed each newspaper … it would have been far more credible to the candor of the House had it said in terms, as it has done in effect, that the Press is a useless thing that may … be torn up root and branch. Better that chaos should come again, and moral darkness overspread the land, than that a few editors and printers should be permitted to labor in a sphere in which they are of more consequence than Congress itself. We say it unhesitatingly, because we believe it, that the Press of the Confederate States has done infinitely more for our cause than a hundred such Congresses … We invoke the Senate to thwart (the bill) …”

Editorial, The Daily Virginian, Lynchburg, Va.

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