Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
"On the Boiling Sea of Politics"

THE EVENT did more than rescue the New Yorker from a "yawning abyss of ruin"; it gave Greeley his opportunity.

One afternoon about two weeks before Christmas two men entered the combined editorial and composing room of the New Yorker in a back building at 18 Ann Street -- up two flights of narrow, footworn stairs. Shirt-sleeved and aproned, Greeley was there alone -- setting type for his magazine. One of the visitors asked to see the editor.

"I am the editor," said Greeley, turning to face the strangers, poising his left elbow in true printer fashion on the frame of his case, with the composing stick, full of types, held firmly in his left hand. Like every busy printer he was ready instantly to turn to his case and resume work if the visitors had no good reason for taking his time.

The callers were as much astonished by his reply as the typesetter-editor was when he heard the taller of the two men say, "I am Thurlow Weed. My friend with me is Lewis Benedict, chairman of the Whig State Committee. We would like to discuss securing your services as editor of a campaign paper to be published in Albany."

As we go through the years most of us have our surprises, but it is doubtful whether many persons have ever been more surprised than was Greeley. "The tall, slender young man with light hair and blonde complexion laid aside his 'stick' of type and greeted

-45-

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