A Strong-Minded Adjutant
THE VIOLENT PARTISANSHIP OF THE TRIBUNE'S editor, his stand on the tariff and slavery, the tone of moral righteousness that he gave to Whiggery, all fitted in very well with Weed's program for the Whig party in New York State. The Man in the White Coat was furnishing powerful support to the Whig cause. Within a decade, the adjutant of 1838 had developed into a powerfully ally. This was a remarkable metamorphosis. But it was not one that Weed viewed with unalloyed satisfaction.
For one thing, the Albany Dictator was disturbed by his lieutenant's penchant for rushing into all manner of reforming schemes. Himself a conservative whose reforming interest was largely for political advantage, Weed felt that Greeley went altogether too far in his search for a better world. It was all right to sponsor constitutional revision and Negro suffrage; it was expedient to oppose the extension of slavery; Greeley's opposition to capital punishment could do no harm and might win votes among the preachers. But Fourierism was, in Weed's estimation, a cockeyed dream that reflected discredit on those who were deluded by it, temperance was altogether too dangerous to be taken up as a political issue, and the Albany leader never could get up any real enthusiasm over land reform. Reformers, in Weed's opinion, were definitely a queer lot, and he looked upon Greeley's reforming activities with mounting anxiety and concern, all the more so because private remonstrances made Greeley declare morosely that Weed was taking him to task like a schoolboy. 1
Greeley's penchant for reform might not have been so distressing to the senior partner had it not been coupled with an itch for public preferment, an affliction that broke out as the Tribune increased in circulation and influence. It was a disease for which the Whig boss appeared unable to find a remedy. Certainly Greeley's nomination for state printer in 1843 was no palliative, his election