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'Tis faded now, that wondrous grace
A soul responsive to my own.
Stern time has cast in hurrying by;
Yet mourn not I-a stern, high duty
Now nerves my arm and fires my brain;
So that this strife be not in vain ;
To war on Fraud entrenched with Power
On smooth Pretense and specious Wrong-
The subjects upon which the editor of the New Yorker used to descant, as editor, contrast curiously with those upon which, as poet, he aspired to sing. Turning over the well-printed pages of that journal, we find calm and rather elaborate essays upon 'The Interests of Labor,' 'Our Relations with France,' 'Speculation,' 'The Science of Agriculture,' ' Usury Laws,' 'The Currency,' 'Overtrading,' ,''Divorce of Bank and State,''National Conventions,' 'International Copyright,' Relief of the Poor,' 'The Public Lands,' 'Capital Punishment,' 'The Slavery Question,' and scores of others equally unromantic. There are, also, election returns given with great minuteness, and numberless paragraphs recording nominations. The New Yorker gradually became the authority in the department of political statistics. There were many people who did not consider an election 'safe,' or 'lost,' until they saw the figures in the New Yorker. And the New Yorker deserved this distinction; for there never lived an editor more scrupulous upon the point of literal and absolute correctness than Horace Greeley. To quote the language of a proof-reader-"If there is a thing that will make Horace furious, it is to have a name spelt wrong, cr a mistake
in election returns." In fact, he was morbid on the subject, till time toughened him; time, and proof-readers.
The opinions which he expressed in the columns of the New Yorker are, in general, those to which he still adheres, though on a few subjects he used language which he would not now use. His opinions on those subjects have rather advanced than changed. For example: he is now opposed to the punishment of death in all cases, except when, owing to peculiar circumstances, the immediate safety of the community demands it. In June, 1836, he wrote:— "And now, having fully expressed our conviction that the punishment of death is one which should sometimes be inflicted, we may add, that we would have it resorted to as unfrequently as possible. Nothing, in our view, but cold-blooded, premeditated, unpalliated murder, can fully justify it. Let this continue to be visited with the sternest penalty."
Another example. The following is part of an article on the Slavery Question, which appeared in July, 1834. It differs from his present writings on the same subject, not at all in doctrine, though very much in tone. Then, he thought the North the aggressor. Since then, we have had Mexican Wars, Nebraska bills, etc., and he now writes as one assailed.
"To a philosophical observer, the existence of domestic servitude in one portion of the Union while it is forbidden and condemned in another, would indeed seem to afford no plausible pretext for variance or alienation. The Union was formed with a perfect knowledge, on the one hand, that slavery existed at the south, and, on the other, that it was utterly disapproved and discountenanced at the north. But the framers of the constitution saw no reason for distrust and dissension in this circumstance. Wisely avoiding all discussion of a subject so delicate and exciting, they proceeded to the formation of
a more perfect union,' which, leaving each section in the possession of its undoubted right of regulating its own internal government and enjoying its own speculative opinions, provided only for the common benefit and mutual well-being of the whole. And why should not this arrangement be satisfac. tory and perfect? Why should not even the existing evils of one section be left to the correction of its own wisdom and virtue, when pointed out by the unerring finger of experience?
We entertain no doubt that the system of slavery is at the bottom of most of the evils which afflict the communities of the south--that it bas occasioned
the decline of Virginia, of Maryland, of Carolina. We see it even retarding the growth of the new State of Missouri, and causing her to fall far behind her sister Indiana in improvement and population. And we venture to assert, that if the objections to slavery, drawn from a correct and enlightened politi cal economy, were once fairly placed before the southern public, they would need no other inducements to impel them to enter upon an immediate and effective course of legislation, with a view to the ultimate extinction of the evil. But, right or wrong, no people have a greater disinclination to the lectures or even the advice of their neighbors; and we venture to predict, that whoever shall bring about a change of opinion in that quarter, must, in this case, reverse the proverb which declares, that 'a prophet hath honor except in his own country.' 999
After extolling the Colonization Society, and condemning the formation of anti-slavery societies at the North, as irritating and useless, the editor proceeds :-" We hazard the assertion, that there never existed two distinct races-so diverse as to be incapable of amalgamation-inhabiting the same district of country, and in open and friendly contact with each other, that maintained a perfect equality of political and social condition. * *It remains to be proved, that the history of the nineteenth century will afford a direct contradiction to all former experience. * * * We cannot close without reiterating the expression of our firm conviction, that if the African race are ever to be raised to a degree of comparative happiness, intelligence, and freedom, it must be in some other region than that which has been the theater of their servitude and degradation. They must come up out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage;' even though they should be forced to cross the sea in their pilgrimage and wander forty years in the wilderness."
Again. In 1835, he had not arrived at the Maine Law, but was feeling his way towards it. He wrote thus:
"Were we called upon to indicate simply the course which should be pursued for the eradication of this crying evil, our compliance would be a far easier We should say, unhesitatingly, that the vending of alcohol, or of liquors of which alcohol forms a leading component, should be regulated by the laws which govern the sale of other insidious, yet deadly, poisons. It should be kept for sale only by druggists, and dealt out in small portions, and with like regard to the character and ostensible purpose of the applicant
as in the case of its counterpart. * * * * But we must not forget, that we are to determine simply what may be done by the friends of temperance for the advancement of the noble cause in which they are engaged, rather than what the more ardent of them (with whom we are proud to rank ourselves) would desire to see accomplished. We are to look at things as they are; and, in that view, all attempts to interdict the sale of intoxicating liquors in our hotels, our country stores, and our steam-boats, in the present state of public opinion, must be hopelessly, ridiculously futile. only available provision bearing on this branch of the traffic, which could be urged with the least prospect of success, is the imposition of a real licensetax-say from $100 to $1000 per annum-which would have the effect of diminishing the evil by rendering less frequent and less universal the temptations which lead to it. But even that, we apprehend, would meet with strenuous opposition from so large and influential a portion of the community, as to render its adoption and efficiency extremely doubtful."
* ** *
The most bold and stirring of his articles in the New Yorker, was one on the "Tyranny of Opinion," which was suggested by the extraordinary enthusiasm with which the Fourth of July was celebrated in 1837. A part of this article is the only specimen of the young editor's performance, which, as a specimen, can find place in this chapter. The sentiments which it avows, the country has not yet caught up with; nor will it, for many a year after the hand that wrote them is dust. After an allusion to the celebration, the article proceeds:
"The great pervading evil of our social condition is the worship and the bigotry of Opinion. While the theory of our political institutions asserts or implies the absolute freedom of the human mind-the right not only of free thought and discussion, but of the most unrestrained action thereon within the wide boundaries prescribed by the laws of the land, yet the practical commentary upon this noble text is as discordant as imagination can conceive. Beneath the thin veil of a democracy more free than that of Athens in her glory, we cloak a despotism more pernicious and revolting than that of Turkey or China. It is the despotism of Opinion. Whoever ventures to ropound opinions strikingly at variance with those of the majority, must be content to brave obloquy, contempt and persecution. If political, they exelude him from public employment and trust; if religious, from social intercourse and general regard, if not from absolute rights. However moderately heretical in his political views, he cannot be a justice of the peace, an officer of the customs, or a lamp-lighter; while, if he be positively and frankly skeptical in his theology, grave judges pronounce him incompetent to give
testimony in courts of justice, though his character for veracity be indubitable That is but a narrow view of the subject which ascribes all this injustice to the errors of parties or individuals; it flows naturally from the vice of the age and country-the tyranny of Opinion. It can never be wholly rectified until the whole community shall be brought to feel and acknowledge, that the only security for public liberty is to be found in the absolute and unqualified freedom of thought and expression, confining penal consequences to acts only which are detrimental to the welfare of society.
"The philosophical observer from abroad may well be astounded by the gross inconsistencies which are presented by the professions and the conduct of our people. Thousands will flock together to drink in the musical periods of some popular disclaimer on the inalienable rights of man, the inviolability of the immunities granted us by the Constitution and Laws, and the invariable reverence of free men for the majesty of law. They go away delighted with our institutions, the orator and themselves. The next day they may be engaged in 'lynching some unlucky individual who has fallen under their sovereign displeasure, breaking up a public meeting of an obnoxious cast, or tarring and feathering some unfortunate lecturer or propagandist, whose views do not square with their own, but who has precisely the same right to enjoy and propagate his opinions, however erroneous, as though he inculcated nothing but what every one knows and acknowledges already. The shamelessness of this incongruity is sickening; but it is not confined to this glaring exhibition. The sheriff, town-clerk, or constable, who finds the political majority in his district changed, either by immigration or the course of events, must be content to change too, or be hurled from his station. Yet what necessary connection is there between his politics and his office? Why might it not as properly be insisted that a town-officer should be six feet high, or have red hair, if the majority were so distinguished, as that he should think with them respecting the men in high places and the measures projected or opposed by them? And how does the proscription of a man in any way for obnoxious opinions differ from the most glaring tyranny ?"
In the New Yorker of July 16th, 1836, may be seen, at the head of a long list of recent marriages, the following interesting announcement:
"In Immanuel church, Warrenton, North Carolina, on Tuesday morning, 5th inst., by Rev. William Norwood, Mr. Horace Greeley, editor of the New Yorker, to Miss Mary Y. Cheney, of Warrenton, formerly of this city."
The lady was by profession a teacher, and to use the emphatic language of one of her friends, 'crazy for knowledge. The ac quaintance had been formed at the Graham House, and was con