History of the New York Times, 1851-1921

By Elmer Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1869

RAYMOND, as has been said, seems to have been somewhat ashamed of his ability, even rarer in that day than at present, to see both sides of a question, and felt that it sometimes gave him an appearance of irresolution. Probably the fault was more evident to him than to others. Certainly in the great crisis that led up to the Civil War, and throughout the war itself, there was nothing irresolute or Laodicean about either Raymond or his paper; and the disfavor into which both fell for a time in the early days of reconstruction was due to the fact that Raymond happened to be right when the majority was wrong.

The oldest living member of the present Times staff dates his connection with the paper from some years after the close of the Civil War. Probably every member of the staff of 1860 is dead; certainly all the men who contributed to the formation of an editorial policy which in all its essentials was directed by Raymond himself. Present workers on The Times may be pardoned, then, for expressing a somewhat impersonal admiration for the manner in which the paper met the crisis. It was firm in a time when there was a great deal of irresolution; but what was a rarer virtue, it saw the issues clearly in a period when loose thinking was even more

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