Crisis and Schism
GREELEY STAYED IN WASHINGTON FOR TAYLOR'S inauguration and what he described as "the hideously vulgar ball," then hurried back to New York and the Tribune. As was apt to be the case when away, he had become fretful and peevish over the inadequacies of his subordinates. "I could crucify you all," he had written to one of his henchmen when the Tribune had failed to publish the news of Seward's nomination for the United States Senate at earliest possible moment. 1 There were going to be no more such mistakes, if the senior editor could help it.
The Tribune was now an institution with some two hundred people in its employ, over half of these on full time. Before the middle of the 1850's it boasted eighteen foreign and twenty domestic correspondents, and a dozen editors. A galaxy of talent climbed the stairs (reputedly the dirtiest in the world) of the sparsely furnished Tribune Building at Spruce and Nassau streets, or posted communications to the paper from overseas. The able Dana, not quite so idealistic since his contact with Europe in revolution, was second in command. Careful, scholarly George Ripley, rescued from the shipwrecked Harbinger in 1849, started at five dollars a week to blaze a literary critic's trail from romanticism to realism. Bayard Taylor, globe trotter and poet, was on the staff, while the indefatigable and opinionated James S. Pike was taken on as Washington correspondent in 1850. William Henry Fry, later to be the paper's distinguished music critic, was reporting news from Paris and London.
Increasing numbers meant expansion of the Tribune's field of coverage as well as improvement in the quality of its offerings. More departments were added. Solon Robinson became agricultural editor in 1853, a stroke of great good fortune for the Weekly Tribune. Shortly thereafter, the able George M. Snow became financial editor, and Charles T. Congdon came to stand at Greeley's