Imágenes de páginas

conduct of others and the revulsions of 1837,) which he can now just see to the end of.. Thenceforth he may be able to make a better show, if deemed essential by his friends; for himself he has not much time or thought to bestow upon

the matter. That he ever affected eccentricity is most untrue; and certainly no costume he ever appeared in would create such a sensation in Broadway as that James Watson Webb would have worn but for the clemency of Governor Seward. Heaven grant our assailant may never hang with such weight on another whig executive! We drop him.”

To explain the last few sentences, it need only be remembered that Colonel Webb had been sentenced to prison for two years, for fighting a duel, but he was pardoned by Governor Seward, without a day's imprisonment.

Being accused by the Evening Post of knuckling to the slave interest, Greeley commenced his reply in these words: “You lie, villain : wilfully, wickedly, basely lie ! ”

In the Taylor and Fillmore campaign Mr. Greeley at first opposed, then wavered, and never heartily supported the nomination. He thought that General Taylor was not a man qualified to be president of the United States, but he was prevailed upon to support the nominations with a view to the triumph of free soil doctrines. The whigs were successful, and thereby Horace Greeley was elected to a seat in congress for three months, to supply the vacancy occasioned

[ocr errors]

by the death of a New York representative. While there, he was too industrious to be esteemed by lazy aristocrats ; too economical in “Uncle Sam's " interests to be popular among his nephews; and too much a hater of vice to be loved by her devotees. The measures which he labored upon mostly were the reform in mileage; the land reform bill, and the bill for the reduction of naval expenses. He also made some "plain and forcible” hits upon the tariff question, and the slave-trade in the District, and took part in the famous (or infamous) “battle of the books.” During the intervals of session he wrote many articles for the Tribune, among which, the most prominent, and the one which procured him immense odium among the members was the “mileage expose.” But we cannot stop to trace his course while here. He was completely disgusted with the management and duplicity of the “honorables,” and especially with that crowning master-piece of shame, “the last night of the session.” He wrote a long letter to his constituents, upon his return, of which we give the closing paragraph :

[ocr errors]

“My work as your servant is done whether well or ill it remains for you to judge. Very likely I gave the wrong vote on some of the difficult and complicated questions to which I was called to respond AYE or no, with hardly a moment's warning. If so, you can detect and condemn the error; for my name stands recorded in the divisions by Yeas and Nays, on every public and all but one private bill, (which was laid on the table the moment the sitting opened, and on which my name had just been passed as I entered the hall.) I wish it were the usage among us to publish less of speeches and more of propositions and votes thereupon; it would give the mass of the people a much clearer insight into the management of their public affairs. My successor being already chosen and commissioned, I shall hardly be suspected of seeking your further kindness, and I shall be heartily rejoiced if he shall be able to combine equal zeal in your service with greater efficiencyequal fearlessness with greater popularity. *

I thank you heartily for the glimpse of public life which your favor has afforded me, and hope to render it useful henceforth, not to myself only, but to the public. In ceasing to be your agent, and returning with renewed zest to my private cares and du ties, I have a single additional favor to ask, not of you espepecially, but of all; and I am sure my friends at least will grant it without hesitation. It is that you and they will henceforth oblige me by remembering that my name is simply


The year

1849 exhibits an amount of talent in the Tribune office which defies competition in America. Besides Mr. Greeley, principal editor, there was C. A. Dana, of brilliant talents, assistant; George Ripley, a profound scholar and classical critic; W. H. Fry, from the scorchings of whose brain-pan many an unlucky culprit has wished himself in the fire ; Bayard Taylor, with imagination and memory stored with wealth from the plains of California and Europe, and G. G. Foster, a rapid workman in the city news department. Need it be wondered that the Tribune grew and thrived in spite of its independent fearlessness?

Mr. Greeley's cares were much lightened by such an able corps of men, and he found considerable time to travel. He took a tour to the west, lectured upon agriculture, and kept wide open his eye for observation. It has been affirmed by many, and believed by some, possibly, that he was an advocate of the doctrine of “spiritual manifestations.” He was not. He examined the subject with care, as every honest man should, and did not find evidence of its truthfulness.

In regard to the woman's rights theory, he wrote as follows: “It is easy to be smart, to be droll, to be facetious, in opposition to the demands of these female reformers; and, in decrying assumptions so novel and opposed to established habits and usages, a little wit will go a great way. But when a sincere republican is asked to say in sober earnest what adequate reason he can give for refusing the demand of women to an equal participation with men in political rights, he must answer, none at all. However unwise or mistaken the demand, it must be conceded.”

The Tribrine had now become a lucrative concern.


[ocr errors]

It was the first enterprise in which Horace Greeley had so succeeded as to make it “pay.” Instead of heaping up a princely fortune upon the receipts, as he might honorably have done after so much hard labor to establish it, he and Mr. McElrath determined to make an experiment of the doctrine of " associated labor," and to it they devoted the Tribune. The concern was divided into one hundred shares, of a thousand dollars each, and (excepting a reserved portion for the original partners) they were sold out to such of the men in the establishment as could pay for them. Each share entitled its owner to a vote in proceedings of the company, and it so continues to this day.

In 1851 Horace Greeley attended the General Exhibition for Industry, at London, and while there was appointed one of the jury on hardware. As the steamer glided down the harbor, the Napoleon of the New York press stood girt in the immortal “white overcoat,” while crowds of friends upon the dock sent up enthusiastic cheers. His passage to England was a tempestuous one, and being sea-sick most of the way over, he enjoyed it but little. He visited the principal cities of England, commented upon everything he thought worthy of note, and in the columns of his paper criticised what he disliked, as freely as at home. He was invited by a parliamentary committee of the first men in England to give them the

« AnteriorContinuar »