Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
Chappaqua -- "Greeley's Bog"

AS HOPEFULLY as when after Clay's defeat in 1844 Greeley sought a home at Turtle Bay, so, early in 1853, he made a second effort to get out of city life -- this time, however, he did not call it a home but "my farm." There can be no doubt of his sincerity when he wrote, "I should have been a farmer. All my riper tastes incline to that blessed calling whereby the human family and its humbler auxiliaries are fed. Its quiet, its segregation from strife and brawls and heated rivalries, attract and delight me. I hate to earn my bread in any calling which complicates my prosperity in some sort with others' adversity -- my success with others' defeat."

Greeley settled in Chappaqua, Westchester County, a village founded by Quakers in 1730, about thirty miles north of New York City, there to seek the rest he had never known -- indeed that he was never to know.

The place was "substantially," to use Greeley's word, Mrs. Greeley's selection. She had stated her requirements: she wanted "(1) a peerless spring of pure soft water; (2) a cascade or brawling brook; (3) woods largely composed of evergreens." The Indian name Chappaqua suited Greeley, too: "There is comfort in the fact that the village was not called ' Clinton or Washington, Middletown or Springfield', nor any of the trite appellations which have so often been re-applied that half the letters intended for one of them are likely to bring up front or back of some other." He deplored the naming of our cities after foreign places; he

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