Skip to comments.Today In Second Amendment History: The Guns Of The "New York Times" (July 14, 1863)
Posted on 07/14/2013 7:05:15 AM PDT by Nextrush
"Last night the mob was less demonstrative than it was the night previous, but it hooted, yelled and bellowed like a wild beast.....The fact that two rifled batteries frowned upon them from the office of our cotemporary, and the further fact that "The Times" and "Tribune" offices were thoroughly armed, and in a state of perfect military organization, and under the command of experienced military commanders may have had an influence upon their movements...."-New York Tribune July 15, 1863
Near the end of the graphic (not for children) Martin Scorsese film "Gangs of New York" the famous Draft Riots of 1863 are depicted.
Those riots raged 150 years ago today stoked by Irish resentment at a draft law that allowed wealthier people to avoid military service in the Civil War.
The rioters targeted Republicans and African-Americans in particular with the final casualty numbers being over 100 dead and more than 2-thousand injured.
The pro-Lincoln Republican newspapers of New York were targeted by the mobs of rioters.
The mob in the street aimed their anger at the publisher of the "New York Tribune" shouting "We'll hang old Horace Greeley to a sour-apple tree...." Author Meyer Berger in "The Story Of 'The New York Times' 1851-1951" picks up the story of the rioters
"with brwawlers from the Bowery and Cow Bay at their head, smashed the Tribune's windows. Raymond sent sixteen Times men with Minie rifles across the Square by way of back streets, to help the Tribune's printers and reporters stand the mob off. The mob fought its way into the Tribune's publication offices, smashed windows and put the torch to the walls and to piles of paper."
Police eventually arrived to drive off the mob with billy clubs.
"New York Times" publisher Henry Raymond editorialized on the incident...."when such an issue is forced upon us journalists, they must make it their common cause. They had the aid of some of our employees in protection of their property and shall have it again whenever the invidious favor of the mob shall again release us from the necessity of defending our own."
Raymond's editorial 150 years ago today was entitled "Crush the Mob". "The mob must be crushed at once. Every day's, every hour's delay is big and evil; let every citizen come promptly forward and give his personal aid to so good and indispensible work."
And there's another story to this story according to Mr. Berger.
"Leonard Walter Jerome, grandfather of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain in World War II, held a substantial amount of the newspaper's stock, then listed as shares of The New York Times Newspaper Establishment. Jerome had maintained a financial interest in the newspaper since 1858 and his holding during the Civil War period ran around 15 to 20 of the 100 shares, each of $1,000 par value.
He was a rather gay blade, especially fond of horse-racing and horse-breeding, and the last man to look the other way when a shindig was on. He took fire from Raymond's impassioned pieces, and decided that as a major stockholder, his place was at The Times. He drove down one night during the riots and offered his services.
The Army has given Raymond two mitralleuses, the then new-fangled breech-loading machine gun with a number of barrels. These had been set up in The Times' north windows to sweep the approaches most likely to be used by the Bowery bully-raggers. Jerome joyfully manned one and Raymond the other.
The editor and the financier eagerly scanned the lengths of Centre and Chatham streets hoping the rioters would charge their plant. Nothing happened. The hoodlums somehow got word of the new guns and instead of attacking The Times decided to go for The Tribune."
Guns being used to protect private property by private citizens during riots.
It was the story of "the media" in New York City 150 years ago today.
It would be like "Pinch" Sulzberger with a rocket launcher or even an Uzi in a similar situation.
There's been some water thrown on the "Gatling Gun" story in recent years but the "Times" put it in its official history back in 1951.
The Pen Must Be Defended by the Sword