previous next
[142] New Yorker first saw a penny paper, he gazed at it (I saw him) with a feeling similar to that with which an ill-natured man may be supposed to regard General Tom Thumb, a feeling of mingled curiosity and contempt; he put the ridiculous little thing into his waistcoat pocket to carry home for the amusement of his family; and he wondered what nonsense would be perpetrated next.

Dr. Sheppard—he had now taken his degree—was not disheartened by the merry reception of his idea at the office of the Spirit of the Times. He went to other offices—to nearly every other office! For eighteen months it was his custom, whenever opportunity offered, to expound his project to printers and editors, and, in fact, to any one who would listen to him long enough. He could not convince one man of the feasibility of his scheme,—not one! A few people thought it a good idea for the instruction of the million, and recommended him to get some society to take hold of it. But not a human being could be brought to believe that it would pay as a business, and only a few of the more polite and complaisant printers could be induced to consider the subject in a serious light at all.

Reader, possessed with an Idea, reader, “in a minority of one,” take courage from the fact.

Despairing of getting the assistance he required, Dr. Sheppard resolved, at length, to make a desperate effort to start the paper himself. His means were fifty dollars in cash and a promise of credit for two hundred dollars' worth of paper. Among his printer friends was Mr. Francis Story, the foreman of the Spirit of the Times office, who, about that time, was watching for an opportunity to get into business on his own account. To him Dr. Sheppard announced his intention, and proposed that he should establish an office and print the forthcoming paper, offering to pay the bill for composition every Saturday. Mr. Story hesitated; but, on obtaining from Mr. Sylvester a promise of the printing of his Bank Note Reporter, he embraced Dr. Sheppard's proposal, and offered Horace Greeley, for whom he had long entertained a warm friendship and a great admiration, an equal share in the enterprise. Horace was not favorably impressed with Dr. Sheppard's scheme. In the first place, he had no great faith in the practical ability of that gentleman; and, secondly, he was of opinion that the smallest price for which a daily paper could be profitably sold was two cents.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Horatio David Sheppard (5)
Francis Story (2)
Tom Thumb (1)
Sylvester (1)
Horace Greeley (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: