Posted by: Democratic Thinker | February 4, 2010

Cincinnati Committee—The 27th

The Fall of the True American

In 1845, Cassius M. Clay establishes a press in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky—the first press in a slave state set up expressly for the purposes of an open debate on the issue of slavery. It meets resistance.

Correspondence between the Committee appointed by a meeting of the citizens of Cincinnati, held on the 27th of August, and Cassius M. Clay:


CINCINNATI, August 27, 1845.

CASSIUS M. CLAY, Esq., Lexington, Ky.

SIR:—We hand you inclosed a report of the proceedings of a large and respectable portion of the citizens of this city, in public meeting assembled, and a series of resolutions by them adopted, expressive of their views and feelings relative to the late violation of your rights, the illegal seizure of your printing press of the True American, and its deportation to this city.

You will observe that we are charged as a Committee “to correspond with you concerning the custody and disposition of the Press, and to take such measures in relation to it as with your concurrence may be deemed advisable.”

Understanding that the press duly arrived at this city, and is in charge of the respectable commission-house to which it was consigned, and that it has been insured against loss or damage by fire for a short time, we presume that at present you do not need any services from us concerning it. But when you shall have recovered your health and strength, and when you shall resume the noble work of aiding your fellow-citizens in their deliverance from an enormous social evil existing among them, by the adoption of measures and means to that end which are deemed safe, practical, peaceable, and salutary to all concerned; and when, in furtherance of that object, you may again wish to arm yourself with that great instrument of life and liberty—the Printing Press—we shall be happy to co-operate with you, and render any services in our power.

Your exasperated opponents, when the day of passion shall have passed, will doubtless discover that the war they have waged against the voice that uttered, and the instrument that conveyed abroad those unwelcome principles and truths, has neither destroyed nor in the least changed those principles and truths; and that the only mode by which they can render them harmless and beneficent to themselves is by bringing themselves and their civil and social institutions into harmony with them.

Permit us to remind you of the fact that the eyes of the advocates of freedom, the enlightenment and the elevation of all men throughout the world, are upon you; and that their sympathies are with you in the high and holy work in which you have so fearlessly engaged. May you be sustained in the conflict with error and evil
by a light and power from on high, and may you ultimately reap that highest of all
rewards, the approbation of God, of all good men, and of your own conscience.
Such is the earnest wish and hope of your fellow-citizens,