The Life of Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune

By J. Parton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV.
STARTS THE TRIBUNE.

The Capital--The Daily Press of New York in 1841--The Tribune appears--The Omens unpropitious--The first week--Conspiracy to put down the Tribune--The Tribune triumphs--Thomas McElrath--The Tribune alive-Industry of the Editors--Their independence--Horace Greeley and John Tyler--The Tribune a Fixed Fact.

Who furnished the capital? Horace Greeley. But he was scarcely solvent on the day of the Tribune's appearance. True; and yet it is no less fact that nearly all the large capital required for the enterprise was supplied by him.

A large capital is indispensable for the establishment of a good daily paper; but it need not be a capital of money. It may be a capital of reputation, credit, experience, talent, opportunity. Horace Greeley was trusted and admired by his party, and by many of the party to which he was opposed. In his own circle, he was known to be a man of incorruptible integrity--one who would pay his debts at any and at every sacrifice--one who was quite incapable of contracting an obligation which he was not confident of being able to discharge. In other words, his credit was good. He had talent and experience. Add to these a thousand dollars lent him by a friend, ( James Coggeshall,) and the evident need there was of just such a paper as the Tribune proved to be, and we have the capital upon which the Tribune started. All told, it was equivalent to a round fifty thousand dollars.

In the present year, 1855, there are two hundred and three periodicals published in the city of New York, of which twelve are daily papers. In the year 1841, the number of periodicals was one hundred, and the number of daily papers twelve. The Courier and Enquirer, New York American, Express, and Commercial Advertiser were Whig papers, at ten dollars a year. The Evening Post and Journal of Commerce, at the same price, leaned to the 'Democratic' side of politics, the former avowedly, the latter not. The

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