Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If The People Want to be Deceived, Let Them

This entry comes from My Diary North and South by William Howard Russell.
Russell was an Irish reporter with The Times and is considered to have been one of the first modern war correspondents.  He is commenting on a report in the newspapers, including the New York Times on September 5, 1861 that Jefferson Davis was dead.
Sept. 7th. —Yes; "Jeff. Davis must be dead." There are some touching lamentations in the obituary notices over his fate in the other world. Meanwhile, however, his spirit seems quite alive; for there is an absolute certainty that the Confederates are coming to attack the Capitol. Lieut. A. Wise and Lord A. Vane Tempest argued the question whether the assault would be made by a flank movement above or direct in front; and Wise maintained the latter thesis with vigour not disproportioned to the energy with which his opponent demonstrated that the Confederates could not be such madmen as to march up to the Federal batteries. There is actually "a battle" raging (in the front of the Philadelphia newspaper offices) this instant— Populus vult decipi — dedpiatur. [If the people want to be deceived let them]
Jefferson Davis by Currier and Ives, from Library of Congress Collection

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