Greeley Practices His Creed
ONCE AGAIN, as after Clay's defeat, Greeley despaired of politics. The Tribune was now established beyond all uncertainties, and Greeley was the nation's best-known citizen. Though idling was not his forte, the time had come for him to relax from the old activities. He busied himself in giving reality to some of the "isms" for which he had fought his early battles -- particularly the sharing of profits and ownership with those who had helped to make company success, and protection to wage earners by organization into a union. He applied his creed to the Tribune and endeavored to persuade partner McElrath that they were not entitled to hold all the stock of the company; they should sell, equally, as many shares as their associates cared to buy at the original incorporation figure of $1,000 per share. This was one-fifth of the price he had recently refused from outsiders. McElrath had paid only $2,000 in July, 1841, for fifty shares of the company's one hundred shares, but he was not willing to part with any of it except for cash and at present value.
Greeley decided to live up to his own convictions. At a meeting of the firm in December 1849 he offered as many of his fifty shares as employees desired to purchase. The official minutes of this meeting (still in existence in the library of Thomas W. Dewart of the Sun) read that "each subscriber will receive his stock at once, whether he has the means to pay for it in full or in part, and time will be allowed to accumulate from the dividends money sufficient to pay for it."