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Chapter 21: editorial repartees.

  • At war with all the world
  • -- the spirit of the Tribune—retorts vituperative—the Tribune and Dr. Potts—some prize tracts suggested—an atheists oath—a word for domestics -- Irish Democracy—the modern drama—hit at Dr. Hawks—dissolution of the Union -- Dr. Franklin's story—a picture for Polk -- Charles Dickens and Copyright—charge of malignant falsehood—preaching and practice -- Col. Webb severely hit—hostility to the Mexican war—violence incited -- a few sparks—the course of the Tribune—wager with the Herald.

The years 1845, 1846, and 1847, were emphatically the fighting years of the New York Tribune. If it was not at war with all the world, all the world seemed to be at war with it, and it was kept constantly on the defensive. With the “democratic” press, of course, it could not be at peace. The whig press of the city denounced it, really because it was immovably prosperous, ostensibly [264] on the ground of its Fourierite and progressive tendencies. Its opposition to capital punishment, the freedom of its reviews, and the “hospitality it gave to every new thought,” gave offence to the religious press. Its tremendous hostility to the Mexican war excited the animosity of all office-holders and other patriots, including the president, who made a palpable allusion to the course of the Tribune in one of his messages. There was talk even of mobbing the office, at one of the war meetings in the Park. Its zeal in behalf of Irish repeal alienated the English residents, who naturally liked the “pluck” and independence of the Tribune. Its hostility to the slave power provoked the south, and all but destroyed its southern circulation. It offended bigots by giving Thomas Paine his due; it offended unbelievers by refusing to give him more.. Its opposition to the drama, as it is, called forth many a sneer from the papers who have the honor of the drama in their special keeping. The extreme American party abhorred its enmity to Nativeism. The extreme Irish party distrusted it, because in sentiment and feeling it was thoroughly Protestant. The extreme liberal party disliked its opposition to their views of marriage and divorce. In a word, if the course of the Tribune had been suggested by a desire to give the greatest offense to the greatest number, it could hardly have made more enemies than it did.

In the prospectus to the fifth volume, the editor seemed to anticipate a period of inky war.

‘Our conservatism,’ he said,

is not of that Chinese tenacity which insists that the bad must be cherished simply because it is old. We insist only that the old must be proved bad and never condemned merely because it is old; and that, even if defective, it should not be overthrown till something better has been provided to replace it. The extremes of blind, stubborn resistance to change, and rash, sweeping, convulsive innovation, are naturally allied, each paving the way for the other. The supple courtier, the wholesale flatterer of the Despot, and the humble servitor and bepraiser of the dear People, are not two distinct characters, but essentially the same. Thus believing, we, while we do not regard the judgment of any present majority as infallible, cannot attribute infallibility to any acts or institutes of a past generation, but look undoubtingly for successive improvements as Knowledge Virtue, Philanthropy, shall be more and more diffused among men.


Full of error and suffering as the world yet is, we cannot afford to reject [265] unexamined any idea which proposes to improve the Moral, Intellectual, or Social condition of mankind. Better incur the trouble of testing and exploding a thousand fallacies than by rejecting stifle a single beneficent truth. Especially on the vast theme of an improved Organization of Industry, so as to secure constant opportunity and a just recompense to every human being able and willing to labor, we are not and cannot be indifferent.


No subject can be more important than this; no improvement more certain of attainment. The plans hitherto suggested may all grove abortive; the experiments hitherto set on foot may all come to nought, (as many of them doubtless will;) yet these mistakes shall serve to indicate the true means of improvement, and these experiments shall bring nearer and nearer the grand consummation which they contemplate. The securing of thorough Education, Opportunity and just Reward to all, cannot be beyond the reach of the nineteenth century. To accelerate it, the Tribune has labored and will labor resolutely and hopefully. Those whose dislike to or distrust of the investigations in this field of human effort impel them to reject our paper, have ample range for a selection of journals more acceptable.

In the spirit of these words the Tribune was conducted. And every man, in any age, who conducts his life, his newspaper, or his business in that spirit, will be misunderstood, distrusted and hated, in exact proportion to his fidelity to it. Perfect fidelity, the world will so entirely detest that it will destroy the man who attains to it. The world will not submit to be so completely put out of countenance.

My task, in this chapter, is to show how the editor of the Tribune comported himself when he occupied the position of target-general to the Press, Pulpit, and Stump of the United States. He was not in the slightest degree distressed or alarmed. On the contrary, I think he enjoyed the position; and, though he handled his enemies without gloves, and called a spade a spade, and had to dispatch a dozen foemen at once, and could not pause to select his weapons, yet I can find in those years of warfare no trace of bitterness on his part. There is no malice in his satire, no spite in his anger. He seems never so happy as when he is at bay, and is never so funny as when he is repelling a personal assault. I have before me several hundreds of his editorial hits and repartees, some serious, more comic, some refuting argument, others exposing slander, some merely vituperative, others very witty, all extremely readable, [266] though the occasions that called them forth have long passed by. My plan is to select and condense a few of each kind, presenting only the point of each.

Many of our editor's replies are remarkable chiefly for their “free and easy” manner, their ignoring of “editorial dignity.” A specimen or two:

In reply to a personal attack by Major Noah, of the Union, he begins, ‘We ought not to notice this old villain again.’ On another occasion, ‘What a silly old joker this last hard bargain of Tylerism is!’ On another, ‘Major Noah! Why won't you tell the truth once in a century, for the variety of the thing.’ On another, ‘And it is by such poor drivel as this that the superannuated renegade from all parties and all principles attempts to earn his forced contributions and “Official” advertisements! Surely his latest purchasers must despise their worn-out tool, and most heartily repent of their hard bargain.’

Such mild openings as the following are not uncommon:

The Journal of Commerce is the most self-complacent and dogmatic of all possible newspapers.

The villain who makes this charge against me well knows that it is the basest falsehood.

We defy the Father of lies himself to crowd more stupendous falsehoods into a paragraph than this contains.

Mr. Benton! each of the above observations is a deliberate falsehood, and you are an unqualified villain!

The Express is surely the basest and paltriest of all possible journals.

Having been absent from the city for a few days, I perceive with a pleasurable surprise on my return that the Express has only perpetrated two new calumnies upon me of any consequence since Friday evening.

“Ephraim,” said a grave divine, taking his text from one of the prophets, “is a cake not turned. (Hosea, VII. 8.) Let us proceed, therefore, brethren, to turn Ephraim—first, inside out; next, back-side before; and, thirdly, 'tother end up.”

We are under the imperative necessity of performing on Samuel of this day a searching operation like unto that of the parson on Ephraim of old.

That will suffice for the vituperative. We proceed to those of another description: [267]


A Sermon by Dr. Potts, denouncing the Tribune as agrarian, &c., reported in the Courier and Enquirer.


It is quite probable that we have some readers among the pew-holders of a church so wealthy and fashionable as the Dr.'s, though few, we presume, among divines as well salaried as he is. We will only ask those of our patrons who may obey his command to read for their next Scripture lesson the xxvth Chapter of Leviticus, and reflect upon it for an hour or so. We are very sure they will find the exercise a profitable one, in a sense higher than they will have anticipated. Having then stopped the Tribune, they will meditate at leisure on the abhorrence and execration with which one of the Hebrew Prophets must have regarded any kind of an Agrarian or Anti-Renter; that is, one opposed to perpetuating and extending the relation of Landlord and Tenant over the whole arable surface of the earth. Perhaps the cotemplation of a few more passages of Sacred Writ may not be unprofitable in a moral Sense—for example:

Woe unto them that join [add] house to house, that lay field to field that there be no place, that they be placed alone in the midst of the earth.

Isaiah, v. 8.

One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the the cross, and follow me:

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

Mark, x. 21-23.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, as every man had need.

Acts, II. 44, 45.

We might cite columns of this sort from the Sacred Volume, showing a deplorable lack of Doctors of Divinity in ancient times, to be employed at $3,500 a year in denouncing, in sumptuous, pew-guarded edifices costing $75,000 each, all who should be guilty of “ loosening the faith of many in the established order of things.” Alas for their spiritual blindness! the ancient Prophets—God's Prophets—appear to have slight faith in or reverence for that “established order” themselves! Their ‘schemes’ appear to have been regarded as exceedingly “disorganizing” and hostile to “good order” by the spiritual rulers of the people in those days.

That Dr. Potts, pursuing (we trust) the career most congenial to his feelings, surrounded by every comfort and luxury, enjoying the best society, and enabled to support and educate his children to the hight of his desires, should be inclined to reprobate all ‘nostrums’ for the cure of Social evils, and sneer [268] at ‘labor-saving plans’ of cooking, washing, schooling, &c., is rather deplorable than surprising. Were he some poor day-laborer, subsisting his family and paying rent on the dollar a day he could get when the weather permitted and some employer's necessity or caprice gave him a chance to earn it, we believe he would view the subject differently. As to the spirit which can denounce by wholesale all who labor, in behalf of a Social Reform, in defiance of general obloquy, rooted prejudice, and necessarily serious personal sacrifices, as enemies of Christianity and Good Morals, and call upon the public to starve them into silence, does it not merit the rebuke and loathing of every generous mind? Heaven aid us to imitate, though afar off, that Divinest charity which could say for its persecutors and murderers, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”


We are profoundly conscious that the moral tone and bearing of the Press fall very far beneath their true standard, and that it too often panders to popular appetites and prejudices when it should rather withstand and labor to correct them. We, for example, remember having wasted many precious columns of this paper, whereby great good might have been done, in the publication of a controversy on the question, “Can there be a church without a Bishop?” —a controversy unprofitable in its subject, verbose and pointless in its logic, and disgraceful to our common Christianity in its exhibitions of uncharitable temper and gladiatorial tactics. The Rev. Dr. Potts may also remember that controversy. We ask the Pulpit to strengthen our own fallible resolution never to be tempted by any hope of pecuniary profit, (pretty sure to be delusive, as it ought,) into meddling with such another discreditable performance.

We do not find, in the Courier's report of this sermon, any censures upon that very large and popularly respectable class of journals which regularly hire out their columns, Editorial and Advertising, for the enticement of their readers to visit grogeries, theatres, horse-races, as we sometimes have thoughtlessly done, but hope never, unless through deplored inadvertence, to do again. The difficulty of entirely resisting all temptations to these lucrative vices is so great, and the temptations themselves so incessant, while the moral mischief thence accruing is so vast and palpable, that we can hardly think the Rev. Dr. slurred over the point, while we can very well imagine that his respected disciple and reporter did so. At this moment, when the great battle of Temperance against Liquid Poison and its horrible sorceries is convulsing our State, and its issue trembles in the balance, it seems truly incredible that a Doctor of Divinity, lecturing on the iniquities of the Press, can have altogether overlooked this topic. Cannot the Courier from its reporter's notes supply the omission.?


An advertisement offering a prize of fifty dollars for the best. [269] tract on the Impropriety of Dancing by members of churches, the tract to be published by the American Tract Society.


The notice copied above suggests to us some other subjects on which we think Tracts are needed—subjects which are beginning to attract the thoughts of not a few, and which are, like dancing, of practical moment. We would suggest premiums to be offered, as follows:

$20 for the best Tract on The rightfulness and consistency of a Christian's spending $5,000 to $10,000 a year on the appetites and enjoyments of himself and family, when there are a thousand families within a mile of him who are compelled to live on less than $200 a year.

$10 for the best Tract on the rightfulness and Christianity of a Christian's building a house for the exclusive residence of himself and family, at a cost of $50,000 to $100,000, within sight of a hundred families living in hovels worth less than $100.

$5 for the best Tract on the Christianity of building Churches which cost $100,000 each, in which poor sinners can only worship on sufferance, and in the most out-of-the-way covers.

We would not intimate that these topics are by any means so important as that of Dancing—far from it. The sums we suggest will shield us from that imputation. Yet we think these subjects may also be discussed with profit, and, that there may be no pecuniary hinderance, we will pay the premiums if the American Tract Society will publish the Tracts.


An assertion in the Express, that the Tribune bestows ‘peculiar commendation upon that part of the new Constitution which takes away the necessity of believing in a Supreme Being, on the part of him who may be called to swear our lives or property away.’


“The necessity of believing in a Supreme Being,” in order to be a legal witness, never existed; but only the necessity of professing to believe it. Now, a thorough villain who was at the same time an Atheist would be pretty apt to keep to himself a belief, the avowal of which would subject him to legal penalties and popular obloquy, but a sincere, honest man, whose mind had become confused or clouded with regard to the evidence of a Universal Father, would be very likely to confess his lack of faith, and thereby be disabled from testifying. Such disability deranges the administration of justice and facilitates the escape of the guilty.



An assertion that it is false pride, that makes domestic service so abhorrent to American girls.


You, Madam, who talk so flippantly of the folly or false pride of our girls have you ever attempted to put yourself in their place and consider the matter? Have you ever weighed in the balance a crust and a garret at home, with better food and lodging in the house of a stranger? Have you ever thought of the difference between doing the most arduous and repulsive work for those you love, and who love you, and doing the same in a strange place for those to whom your only bond of attachment is six dollars a month Have you ever considered that the words of reproof and reproach, so easy to utter, are very hard to bear, especially from one whose right so to treat you is a thing of cash and of yesterday? Is the difference between freedom and service nothing to you? How many would you like to have ordering you?


A vain-glorious claim to pure democracy on the part of a proslavery Irish paper.


We like Irish modesty—it is our own sort—but Irish ideas of Liberty are not always so thorough and consistent as we could wish them. To hate and resist the particular form of Oppression to which we have been exposed, by which we have suffered, is so natural and easy that we see little merit in it; to loathe and defy all Tyranny evermore, is what few severe sufferers by Oppression ever attain to. Ages of Slavery write their impress on the souls of the victims—we must not blame them, therefore, but cannot stifle our consciousness nor suppress our sorrow. It is sad to see how readily the great mass of our Irish-born citizens, themselves just escaped from a galling, degrading bondage, lend themselves to the iniquity of depressing and flouting the down-trodden African Race among us—it was specially sad to see them come up to the polls in squads, when our present State Constitution was adopted, and vote in solid mass against Equal Suffrage to all Citizens, shouting, “Down with the Nagurs! Let them go back to Africa, where they belong!” —for such was the language of Adopted Citizens of one or two years stand ing with regard to men born here, with their ancestors before them for several generations. We learn to hate Despotism and Enslavement more intensely when we are thus confronted by their ineffaceable impress on the souls of too many of their victims.



An article in the Sunday Mercury condemning the Tribune for excluding theatrical criticism.


The last time but one that we visited a theater—it was from seven to ten years ago—we were insulted by a ribald, buffoon song, in derision of total abstinence from intoxicating liquors. During the last season we understand that Mr. Brougham—whom we are specially blamed by the Mercury for not helping to a crowded benefit—has made a very nice thing of ridiculing Socialism. We doubt whether any great, pervading reform has been effected since there was a stage, which that stage has not ridiculed, misrepresented, and held up to popular odium. It is in its nature the creature of the mob—that is, of the least enlightened and least earnest portion of the community—and flatters the prejudices, courts the favor, and varnishes the vices of that portion. It bellows lustily for Liberty—meaning license to do as you please—but has small appetite for self-sacrifice, patient industry, and an unselfish devotion to duty. We fear that we shall not be able to like it, even with its groggeries and assignation-rooms shut up—but without this we cannot even begin.


A sermon by Dr. Hawks denouncing Socialism in the usual style of well-fed thoughtlessness.


If “the Socialists,” as a body, were called upon to pronounce upon the propriety of taking the property of certain doctors of divinity and dividing it among the mechanics and laborers, to whom they have run recklessly and heavily in debt, we have no doubt they would vote very generally and heartily in the affirmative.


A letter bewailing the threatened dissolution of the Union.


The dissolution of the Union would not be the dreadful affair he represents it. It would be a very absurd act on the part of the seceding party, and would work great inconvenience and embarrassment, especially to the people of the great Mississippi Valley. In time, however, matters would accommodate themselves to the new political arrangements, and we should grow as many bushels of corn to the acre, and get as many yards of cloth from a hundred [272] pounds of wool, as we now do. The Union is an excellent thing—quite too advantageous to be broken up in an ago so utilitarian as this; but it is possible to exaggerate even its blessings.


An article in a Southern paper recommending the secession of the Slave States from the Union.


Dr. Franklin used to tell an anecdote illustrative of his idea of the folly of duelling, substantially thus: A man said to another in some public place, “Sir, I wish you would move a little away from me, for a disagreeable odor proceeds from you.” “Sir,” was the stern response, “that is an insult, and you must fight me!” “Certainly,” was the quiet reply, “I will fight you if you wish it; but I don't see how that can mend the matter. If you kill me, I also shall smell badly; and if I kill you, you will smell worse than you do now.”

We have not yet been able to understand what our Disunionists, North or South, really expect to gain by dissolving the Union. * * * Three valuable slaves escaped, do you say? Will slaves be any less likely to run away when they know that, once across Mason and Dixon's line, they are safe from pursuit, and can never be reclaimed? “Every slaveholder is in continual ap-apprehension,” say you? In the name of wonder, how is Disunion to soothe their nervous excitement? They “won't stand it,” eh? Have they never heard of getting “out of the frying-pan into the fire” ? Do let us hear how Slavery is to be fortified and perpetuated by Disunion!


The excessive confidence of Whigs in the election of Henry Clay.


There is an old legend that once on a time all the folks in the world entered into an agreement that at a specified moment they would give one unanimous shout, just to see what a noise they could make, and what tremendous effects it would produce. The moment came—everybody was expecting to see trees, if not houses, thrown down by the mighty concussion; when lo! the only sound was made by a dumb old woman, whose tongue was loosed by the excitement of the occasion. The rest had all stood with mouths and ears wide open to hear the great noise, and so forgot to make any!

The moral we trust our Whig friends everywhere will take to heart.



The passage in the President's Message which condemned those who opposed the Mexican war as unpatriotic.


Picture for the President's bed-room: ‘is this war?’

Monterey, Oct. 7, 1846.
While I was stationed with our left wing in one of the forts, on the evening of the 21st, I saw a Mexican woman busily engaged in carrying bread and water to the wounded men of both armies. I saw this ministering angel raise the head of a wounded man, give him water and food, and then carefully bind up his wound with a handkerchief she took from her own head. After having exhausted her supplies, she went back to her own house to get more bread and water for others. As she was returning on her mission of mercy, to comfort other wounded persons, I heard the report of a gun, and saw the poor innocent creature fall dead! I think it was an accidental shot that struck her. I would not be willing to believe otherwise. It made me sick at heart, and, turning from the scene, I involuntarily raised my eyes towards heaven, and thought, great God! and is this War? Passing the spot next day, I saw her body still lying there with the bread by her side, and the broken gourd, with a few drops of water still in it—emblems of her errand. We buried her, and while we were digging her grave, cannon balls flew around us like hail.—

Cor. Louisville Cour.


Complaints of Charles Dickens' Advocacy of International Copyright at public dinners.


We trust he will not be deterred from speaking the frank, round truth by any mistaken courtesy, diffidence, or misapprehension of public sentiment. He ought to speak out on this matter, for who shall protest against robbery [274] if those who are robbed may not? Here is a man who writes for a living, and writes nobly; and we of this country greedily devour his writings, are entertained and instructed by them, yet refuse so to protect his rights as an author that he can realize a single dollar from all their vast American sale and popularity. Is this right? Do we look well offering him toasts, compliments, and other syllabub, while we refuse him naked justice? while we say that every man may take from him the fruits of his labors without recompense or redress? It does very well in a dinner speech to say that fame and popularity, and all that, are more than sordid gold; but he has a wife and four children, whom his death may very possibly leave destitute, perhaps dependent for their bread, while publishers, who have grown rich on his writings, roll by in their carriages, and millions who have been instructed by them contribute not one farthing to their comfort. But suppose him rich, if you please, the justice of the case is unaltered. He is the just owner of his own productions as much as though he had made axes or horse-shoes; and the people who refuse to protect his right, ought not to insult him with the mockery of thriftless praise. Let us be just, and then generous. Good reader! if you think our guest ought to be enabled to live by and enjoy the fruits of his talents and toil, just put your names to a petition for an International Copyright Law, and then you can take his hand heartily if it comes in your way, and say, if need be, “I have done what is in my power to protect you from robbery!” The passage of this act of long-deferred justice will be a greater tribute to his worth and achievements than acres of inflated compliments soaked in hogsheads of champagne.


A paragraph recommending a provision for life for the soldiers disabled in the Mexican war.


Uncle Sam! you bedazzled old hedge-hog! don't you see “glory” is cheap as dirt, only you never get done paying for it! Forty years hence, your boys will be still paying taxes to support the debt you are now piling up, and the cripples and other pensioners you are now manufacturing. How much more of this will satisfy you?


An accusation of “malignant falsehood.”


There lives not a man who knows the editor of this paper who can be made to believe that we have been guilty of “malignant falsehood.”

... [275]

We seek no controversy with the Sun; but, since it chooses to be personal, we defy its utmost industry and malice to point out a single act of our life inconsistent with integrity and honor. We dare it, in this respect, to do its worst!


This sentence in the Express: If the editor of the Tribune believed a word of what he says, he would convert his profitable printing establishment into a Fourier common-stock concern.


If our adviser will just point us to any passage, rule, maxim or precept of Fourier (of whom he appears to know so much) which prescribes a pro rata division of proceeds Among all engaged in producing them, regardless of ability, efficiency, skill, experience, etc., we will assent to almost any absurdity he shall dictate.


As to “carrying out his theories of Fourierism,” etc., he (the editor of the Tribune) has expended for this specific purpose some thousands of dollars, and intends to make the same disposition of more as soon as he has it to expend. Whether he ought to be guided by his own judgment or that of the Express man respecting the time and manner of thus testifying his faith, he will consider in due season. He has never had a dollar which was not the fair product of his own downright labor, and for whatever of worldly wealth may accrue to him beyond the needs of those dependent on his efforts he holds himself but the steward of a kind Providence, and bound to use it all as shall seem most conducive to the good of the Human Race. It is quite probable, however, that he will never satisfy the Express that he is either honest, sincere, or well-meaning, but that is not material. He has chosen, once for all, to answer a sort of attack which has become fashionable with a certain class of his enemies, and can hardly be driven to notice the like again.


An allusion in the Courier and Enquirer to Mr. Greeley's diet, attire, socialism, philosophy, etc.


It is true that the editor of the Tribune chooses mainly (not entirely) vegetable food; but he never troubles his readers on the subject; it does not worry them; why should it concern the Colonel? * * * It is hard for Philosophy that so humble a man shall be made to stand as its exemplar; [276] while Christianity is personified by the here of the Sunday duel with Hon. Tom. Marshall; but such luck will happen.

As to our personal appearance, it does seem time that we should say something, to stay the flood of nonsense with which the town must by this time be nauseated. Some donkey a while ago, apparently anxious to assail or annoy the editor of this paper, and not well knowing with what, originated the story of his carelessness of personal appearances; and since then every blockhead of the same disposition and distressed by a similar lack of ideas, has repeated and exaggerated the foolery; until from its origin in the Albany Microscope it has sunk down at last to the columns of the Courier and Enquirer, growing more absurd at every landing. Yet all this time the object of this silly raillery has doubtless worn better clothes than two-thirds of those who thus as sailed him—better than any of them could honestly wear, if they paid their debts otherwise than by bankruptcy; while, if they are indeed more cleanly than he, they must bathe very thoroughly not less than twice a day. The editor of the Tribune is the son of a poor and humble farmer; came to New York a minor, without a friend within 200 miles, less than ten dollars in his pocket, and precious little besides; he has never had a dollar from a relative, and has for years labored under a load of debt, (thrown on him by others' misconduct and the revulsion of 1837,) which he can now just see to the end of. Thenceforth he may be able to make a better show, if deemed essential by his friends; for himself, he has not much time or thought to bestow on the matter. That he ever affected eccentricity is most untrue; and certainly no costume he ever appeared in would create such a sensation in Broadway as that James Watson Webb would have worn but for the clemency of Governor Seward. Heaven grant our assailant may never hang with such weight on another Whig Executive! We drop him. 1


A charge of “infidelity,” in the Express.


The editor of the Tribune has never been anything else than a believer in the Christian Religion, and has for many years been a member of a Christian Church. He never wrote or uttered a syllable in favor of Infidelity. But truth is lost on the Express, which can never forgive us the “Infidelity” of circulating a good many more copies, Daily and Weekly, than are taken of that paper.



Letters complaining of the Tribune's hostility to the Mexican war.


Our faith is strong and clear that we serve our country best by obeying our Maker in all things, and that He requires us to bear open, unequivocal testimony against every iniquity, however specious, and to expose every lying pretense whereby men are instigated to imbrue their hands in each other's blood. We do not believe it possible that our country can be prospered in such a war as this. It may be victorious; it may acquire immense accessions of territory; but these victories, these acquisitions, will prove fearful calamities, by sapping the morals of our people, inflating them with pride and corrupting them with the lust of conquest and of gold, and leading them to look to the Commerce of the Indies and the Dominion of the Seas for those substantial blessings which follow only in the wake of peaceful, contented Labor. So sure as the Universe has a Ruler will every acre of territory we acquire by this war prove to our Nation a curse and the source of infinite calamities.


An attempt on the part of Col. Webb to excite violence against the Tribune and its editor.


This is no new trick on the part of the Courier. It is not the first nor the second time that it has attempted to excite a mob to violence and outrage against those whom it hates. In July, 1834, when, owing to its ferocious denunciations of the Abolitionists, a furious and law—defying mob held virtual possession of our city, assaulting dwellings, churches and persons obnoxious to its hate, and when the Mayor called out the citizens by Proclamation to assist in restoring tranquillity, the Courier (11th July) proclaimed:

It is time, for the reputation of the city, and perhaps for the welfare of themselves, that these Abolitionists and Amalgamationists should know the ground on which they stand. They are, we learn, always clamorous with the Police for protection, and demand it as a right inherent to their characters as American citizens. Not we tell them that, when they openly and publicly outrage public feeling, they have no right to demand protection from the People they thus insult. When they endeavor to disseminate opinions which, if generally imbibed, must infallibly destroy our National Union, and produce scenes of blood and carnage horrid to think of; when they thus preach up treason and murder, the oegis of the Law indignantly withdrawal its shelter from them. [278]

When they vilify our religion by classing the Redeemer of the world in the lowest grade of the human species; when they debase the noble race from which we spring—that race which called civilization into existence, and from which have proceeded all the great, the brave, and the good that have ever lived—and place it in the same scale as the most stupid, ferocious and cowardly of the divisions into which the Creator has divided mankind, then they place themselves beyond the pale of all law, for they violate every law, divine and human. Ought not, we ask, our City authorities to make them understand this; to tell them that they prosecute their treasonable and beastly plans at their own pe<*>ZZZ?

Such is the man, such the means, by which he seeks to bully Freemen out of the rights of Free Speech and Free Thought. There are those who cower before his threats and his ruffian appeals to mob violence—here is one who never will! All the powers of Land-jobbing and Slave-jobbing cannot drive us one inch from the ground we have assumed of determined and open hostility to this atrocious war, its contrivers and abettors. Let those who threaten us with assassination understand, once for all, that we pity while we despise their baseness.


The following, from the Express: For woman we think the fittest place is home, “sweet home” —by her own fireside and among her own children; but the Tribune would put her in trowsers, or on stilts as a public woman, or tumble her pell-mell into some Fourier establishment.


The following, from the Express of the same date:
At the Park this even ing the graceful Augusta, (whose benefit, last night, notwithstanding the weather, was fashionably and numerously attended,) takes her leave of us for the present. We can add nothing to what we have already said in praise of this charming artist's performances, farther than to express the hope that it may not be long ere we are again permitted to see her upon our boards. As in beauty, grace, delicacy, and refinement, she stands alone in her profession, so in private life she enjoys, and most justly, too, the highest reputation in all her relations.


To what a low degree of debasement must the Coons have indeed fallen, when even so notorious a reprobate as Nick Biddle is disgusted with them.—Plebeian.


All the “notorious reprobates ” in the country were “disgusted” with the Whigs long ago. They have found their proper resting-place in the embraces of Loco-Focoism.



Our whole national debt is less than sixty days interest on that of Great Britain, yet, with all our resources the English call us bankrupt!-=– Boston Post.


But England pays her interest—large as it is; and if our States will not pay even their debts, small as they are, why should they not be called bankrupt?


A charge that the Tribune sacrified the Right to the Expedient.


Old stories very often have a forcible application to present times. The following anecdote we met with lately in an exchange paper:

How is it, John, that you bring the wagon home—in such a condition?

I broke it driving over a stump.


Back in the woods, half a mile or so.

But why did you run against the stump? Could n't you see how to drive straight?

I did drive straight, sir, and that is the very reason that I drove over it The stump was directly in the middle of the road.

Why, then, did you not go round it?

Because, sir, the stump had no right in the middle of the road, and I had a right in it.

True, John, the stump ought not to have been in the road, but I wonder that you were so foolish as not to consider that it was there, and that it was stronger than your wagon.

Why, father, do you think that I am always going to yield up my rights? Not I. I am determined to stick up to them, come what will.

But what is the use, John, of standing up to rights, when you only get a greater wrong by so doing.

I shall stand up for them at all hazards.

Well, John, all I have to say is this—hereafter you must furnish your own wagon.


The application of the word “Bah” to one of the Tribune's arguments.


We are quite willing that every animal should express its emotions in the language natural to it.



Conservatism in general.


The stubborn conservative is like a horse on board a ferry-boat. The horse may back, but the boat moves on, and the animal with it.


A correspondent, to illustrate his position, that slave-owners have a right to move with their slaves into new territories, compared those territories to a village common, upon which every villager has an equal right to let his animals graze.


No, sir. A man may choose to pasture his geese upon the common, which would spoil the pasture for cows and horses. The other villagers would be right in keeping out the geese, even by violence.

And thus the Tribune warred, and warring, prospered. Repeated supplements, ever-increasing circulation, the frequent omission of advertisements, all testified that a man may be independent in the expression of the most unpopular opinions, and yet not be starved into silence.

One more glance at the three volumes from which most of the above passages are taken, and we accompany our hero to new scenes. In the Fifty-four-forty-or-Fight controversy, the Tribune of course took the side of peace and moderation. Its obituary of General Jackson in 1845, being not wholly eulogistic, called forth angry comment from the democratic press. In the same year, it gave to the advocates respectively of phonography, the phonetic system, and the magnetic telegraph, an ample hearing, and occasional encouragement. In 1846, its Reporters were excluded from the gallery of the House of Representatives, because a correspondent stated, jocularly, that Mr. Sawyer, of Ohio, lunched in the House on sausages. The weak member has since been styled Sausage Sawyer—a name which he will put off only with his mortal coil. Throughout the Mexican war, the Tribune gave all due honor to the gallantry of the soldiers who fought its battles, on one occasion defending Gen. Pierce from the charge of cowardice and boasting. In 1847, the editor made the tour of the great lake country, [281] going to the uttermost parts of Lake Superior, and writing a series of letters which revealed the charms and the capabilities of that region. In the same year it gave a complete exposition of the so-called ‘Revelations’ of Mr. Andrew Jackson Davis, but without expressing any opinion as to their supernatural origin. War followed, of course. To Mr. Whitney's Pacific Railroad scheme it assigned sufficient space. Agassiza lectures were admirably reported, with from ten to twenty woodcuts in the report of each lecture. Gen. Taylor's nomination to the presidency it descried in the distance, and opposed vehemently.

The last event of the seventh volume was the dispute with the Herald on the subject of the comparative circulation of the two papers. The Tribune challenged the Herald to an investigation by an impartial committee, whose report each paper should publish, and the losing party to give a hundred dollars to each of the two orphan asylums of the city. The Herald accepted. The report of the committee was as follows:

The undersigned having been designated by the publishers of the New York Herald and New York Tribune, respectively, to examine jointly and report for publication the actual circulation of these two journals, have made the scrutiny required, and now report, that the average circulation of the two papers during the four weeks preceding the agreement which originated this investigation, was as follows:

New York Herald.

Average Daily circulation16,711
Average Weekly circulation11,455
Average Presidential circulation780

New York Tribune.

Average Daily circulation11,455
Average Weekly circulation15,780
Average Semi-Weekly960
Total28, 195

The quantity of paper used by each establishment, during the four weeks above specified, was as follows: By the New York Herald, 975 reams in the Daily; 951 reams for the Weekly, and 5 reams for the Presidential. By the New York Tribune, 573 reams for the Daily; 1311 reams for the Weekly, and 16 reams for the Semi-Weekly.

We therefore decide that the Herald has the larger average circulation.

The Tribune paid the money, but protested that the “Presidential Herald,” and, above all, the Sunday Herald, ought to have ben excluded from the comparison.

1 Colonel Webb had been sentenced to two years imprisonment for fighting a duel. Governor Seward pardoned him before he had served one day of his term.

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