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Greeley

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GREELEY, Horace, American journalist: h. Amherst, N. H. 3 Feb. 1811; d. Pleasantville, N. Y., 29 Nov. 18'2. More than 40 years after his death, Horace Greeley's name remains at the head of the roll of American journalists. Successors in the primacy of current discussion may surpass him, as doubtless some of them already have, in consistency and learning, but hardly in the chief essentials of a journalistic style; others may exert a more salutary influ ence, if not so personally diffused; but in the respect of high ideals, courage, intellectual force and personal magnetism, the qualities which impel a man of letters to be also a man of action, Horace Greeley was of !heroic mold. He was no pop-gun journalist firing from a sky-sanctum, but a face-to-face champion in the arena of public affairs, laying about him with pen and speech like an ancient Bayard with his sword. The battles he fought for humanity, and the blows he gave and received, have made him for all time the epic figure of the American press.

Born in rural New Hampshire, of English and Scotch-Irish descent, he epitomized his heritage and his attainment in the dedication of his autobiography °To our American boys, who, born in poverty, cradled in obscurity and early called from school to rugged labor, are seeking to convert obstacle into opportunity, and wrest achievement from difficulty." Though physi cally a weak child, his intellect was strong, and when near his tenth year his father removed to Vermont, the boy took with him the reputation of a mental prodigy; so, with little schooling and much reading, he was thought when 14 to be a fit apprentice to a printer, setting forth four years later as a journeyman. His parents had moved to western Pennsylvania, and he fol lowed; but after a desultory practice of his art he came to the metropolis on 17 Aug. 1831, with $10 in his pocket, and so rustic in dress and manners as to fall under suspicion of being a runaway apprentice. Later in life, at least, his face and his figure would have lent distinction to the utmost elegance of style; but his dress was so careless even after the long period of comparative poverty was passed, that the peculiarity became one of his distinguishing features as a public character; and to the last there were friends of little discernment who thought this eccentricity was studied affectation: but manifestly his dress, like his unkempt hand writing was the unconscious expression of a spirit so concentrated on the intellectual in terests of its life as to be oblivious to mere appearances.

After 18 months of dubious success in New York as a journeyman, in his 21st year, he joined a friend in setting up a modest printing office, which on 22 March 1834, issued the New Yorker, a literary weekly in the general style of Willis' Mirror, under the firm name of H. Greeley & Company. For four years the young printer showed his editorial aptitude to such good effect that in 1838 he was asked to con duct the Jeffersonian, a Whig campaign paper. This was so effective that in 1840 he was en couraged to edit and publish the a Weekly which gained a circulation of 80,000, brought him a reputation as a political writer, and active participation in politics with the Whig leaders, Governor Seward and Thurlow Weed. It contributed much to the election of General Harrison, but very little to the purse of the ambitious editor. On 10 April of the following year, 1841, he issued the first num ber of the New York Tribune, as a Whig daily of independent spirit. He was still editing the New Yorker and the both of which were soon discontinued, the Weekly Tri bune in a way taking their place. Though the New Yorker had brought him literary reputa tion, it had not been profitable, because of un collectible bills which at the end amounted to $10,000. Still, at the outset of the Tribune he was able to count $2,000 to his credit in cash and material. He was then 30 years of age, and for 30 years thereafter the paper grew steadily in circulation, influence and profit, until, a few weeks after his death, a sale of the ma jority interest indicated that the "good-wills of the Tribune, aside from its material and real estate, was held to be worth about a million dollars. The Greeley interest was then small, since he had parted with most of it to sustain his generous methods of giving and lending.

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