permanent government, the banking and insurance crowd, among others, who feared the rising insurgency in the depression-stricken populace. The upper crusters were tired of the crude freebooting tactics of New York's Tammany administration, a regime which they tolerated and even cultivated during "normal" times. But this was the hour of reform and Seabury was a heaven-sent instrument through whom to visit the wrath of the gods on Tammany Hall.
Seabury was more than willing. Apart from an ancient grudge against Tammany Hall which had balked his political ambitions, Seabury still entertained some wistful presidential hopes, despite the fact that New York's Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt was the obvious front runner for the 1932 nomination.
As a disciple of Henry George, the single taxer, Seabury had attacked monopoly in his youth, demanded the municipal ownership of street railways and spoken before meetings of trade unionists. In 1899 he had run unsuccessfully for the city court on the Independent Labor party line. In 1914 he was elected to the highest court of the state, the Court of Appeals, as a candidate of both the Progressive and Democratic parties. ( The Progressive Party was then an off-shoot from the Republican Party. Its leading figure was former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was its unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1912.)
If his past was believed to be "radical" in some quarters, Seabury was considered safe by his corporate clients. Bar associations, old-line civic organizations and the press hailed his appointment in 1930 as a Referee to investigate the Magistrates' Courts in Manhattan and the Bronx and his later appointment as counsel to a state legislative committee investigating the affairs of the city.
The major newspapers jumped into the fray in high glee, sensing civic explosions and circulation gains. Roy Howard, publisher of the New York World-Telegram, was a particularly active ally. He turned loose his crack investigative reporters and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Rollin Kirby. Between the Seabury staff, the news hounds, discontented city workers and tips from disaffected Tammanyites, they located the buried bodies. New York was soon rocked with a series of revelations and the nation's political vocabulary enriched by some colorful phrases, not the least of which was "the wonderful tin box."
Seabury may have had an ultradignified judicial mien and the manner of a descendant of a long line of high church bishops. But behind that Olympian exterior was the wily mind of a man who knew his New York.