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[251] assumed an attitude of hostility to the South, and its pet Blunder. To a southerner who wrote about this time, inquiring what right the North had to intermeddle with slavery, the Tribune replied, that ‘when we find the Union on the brink of a most unjust, and rapacious war, instigated wholly (as is officially proclaimed) by a determination to uphold and fortify Slavery, then we do not see how it can longer be rationally disputed that the North has much, very much, to do with Slavery. If we may be drawn in to fight for it, it would be hard indeed that we should not be allowed to talk of it.’ Thenceforth, the Tribune fought the aggressions of the slave power, inch by inch.

The Tribune continued on its way, triumphant in spite of the loss of the election, till the morning of Feb. 5th, 1845, when it had the common New York experience of being burnt out. It shall tell its own story of the catastrophe:

At 4 o'clock, yesterday morning, a boy in our employment entered our publication office, as usual, and kindled a fire in the stove for the day, after which he returned to the mailing-room below, and resumed folding newspapers. Half an hour afterward a clerk, who slept on the counter of the publication office, was awoke by a sensation of heat, and found the room in flames. He escaped with a slight scorching. A hasty effort was made by two or three persons to extinguish the fire by casting water upon it, but the fierce wind then blowing rushed in as the doors were opened, and drove the flames through the building with inconceivable rapidity. Mr. Graham and our clerk, Robert M. Streby, were sleeping in the second story, until awakened by the roar of the flames, their room being full of smoke and fire. The door and stairway being on fire, they escaped with only their night-clothes, by jumping from a rear window, each losing a gold watch, and Mr. Graham nearly $500 in cash, which was in his pocket-book under his pillow. Robert was somewhat cut in the face, on striking the ground, but not seriously. In our printing-office, fifth story, two compositors were at work making up the Weekly Tribune for the press, and had barely time to escape before the stairway was in flames. In the basement our pressmen were at work on the Daily Tribune of the morning, and had printed about three-fourths of the edition. The balance of course went with everything else, including a supply of paper, and the Weekly Tribune, printed on one side. A few books were hastily caught up and saved, but nothing else—not even the daily form, on which the pressmen were working. So complete a destruction of a daily newspaper office was never known. From the editorial rooms, not a paper was saved; and, besides all the editor's own

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Sylvester Graham (2)
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