Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

XV
SNIPING FROM THE REAR

HORACE GREELEY was an eccentric, such only as our America of the nineteenth century's middle decades could produce. His early experiments with the Northern Spectator, the New Yorker, the Log Cabin, and finally the Tribune, his interests extending from the Fourierite associations to the Phalanx Colony of Red Bank, New Jersey, Brook Farm, the Spiritualism of the Fox Sisters, the Protective Tariff, opposition to Woman Suffrage, Prohibition, the Crystal Palace Exhibition, experimental agriculture and the Universalist Church, present a range perhaps never equalled except by the journeyman printer of Philadelphia.1 Whittier once called him "our later Franklin."2

Greeley's peace efforts of July, 1864, form one of the most fantastic chapters in the history of diplomacy. His ludicrous and grotesque failure was such as Cervantes might have written into Don Quixote. So impressively abortive a foray into diplomacy might for some time have silenced a less blatant egotist,--but not Greeley. Four days after his Tribune had published the Wade- Davis Manifesto, we find him writing Lincoln: "Nine-tenths of the whole American people are anxious for Peace--peace on almost any terms."3

Greeley's chagrin over the poor figure he had made, his constitutional incapacity to appreciate Lincoln, and his opposition to the latter's renomination which he had expressed as early as four months before the convention,4 led him now fully to cast his lot with Wade, Davis and other enemies and traducers of the President.

Twelve days after his publication of the Manifesto, Greeley wrote: "Mr. Lincoln is already beaten. . . . He cannot be elected.

-143-

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