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A Pen of Fire

John Moncure Daniel was ever quick to attack what he saw as wrong. He minced no words during the seven years he spent as a top American diplomat, including a moment which may have deeply affected the history of Italy. Subsequently, Daniel spoke bluntly as the Confederacy's leading editor. When he died in Richmond just before the Confederacy's final defeat in 1865, Daniel's newspaper was the most influential publication in the South. He had long been one of Jefferson Davis's harshest critics; there were those in the South who wished him hanged; he had recently fought, and lost, a duel with the treasurer of the Confederacy. If loss of morale was a reason, or even, as has been argued, the chief reason that the South lost the war, it might be argued that the piercing attacks of that Southern arch-patriot John Daniel actually helped move the South toward that final defeat. Yet historian-editor Virginius Dabney has argued that notwithstanding Daniel's sharp attacks on Davis—a president who certainly had grave faults—Daniel helped to maintain Southern morale when days turned dark.

 

Newspaper Days

Louis Rubin should have been with us. One year short of Street's magic dozen, 1946—57, he abandoned journalism to earn distinction at Hollins College and then the University of North Carolina as a teacher, critic, author, publisher, and foremost authority on Southern literature. He had qualified for academia between press stints by earning a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and engaging in literary assignments at the University of Pennsylvania.