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yond dispute as a dictionary settles a dispute respecting the spelling of a word. A minute after, the boy left the dining room, and I never saw him again, till I met him, years after, in the streets of New York, when I claimed acquaintance with him as a brother Vermonter, and told him this story, to his great amusement."
One of his fellow-apprentices favors me with some teresting reminiscences. He says, "I was a fellow-apprentice with Horace Greeley at Poultney for nearly two years. We boarded together during that period at four different places, and we were constantly together." The following passage from a letter from this early friend of our hero will be welcome to the reader, notwithstanding its repetitions of a few facts already known to him:
Little did the inhabitants of East Poultney, where Horace Greeley went to reside in April, 1826, as an apprentice to the printing business, dream of the potent influence he was a few years later destined to exert, not only upon the politics of a neighboring State, but upon the noblest and grandest philanthropic enterprises of the age. He was then a remarkably plain-looking unsophisticated lad of fifteen, with a slouching, careless gait, leaning away forward as he walked, as if both his head and his heels were too heavy for his body. He wore a wool hat of the old stamp, with so small a brim, that it looked more like a two-quart measure inverted than a hat; and he had a singular, whining voice that provoked the merriment of the older apprentices, who had hardly themselves outgrown, in their brief village residence, similar peculiarities of country breeding. But the rogues could not help pluming themselves upon their superior manners and position; and it must be confessed that the young 'stranger' was mercilessly taken in' by his elders in the office, whenever an opportunity for a practical joke presented itself.
But these things soon passed away, and as Horace was seen to be an unusually intelligent and honest lad, he came to be better appreciated. The office in which he was employed was that of the Northern Spectator, a weekly paper then published by Messrs. Bliss & Dewey, and edited by E. G. Stone, brother to the late Col. Stone of the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser. The new comer boarded in Mr. Stone's family, by whom he was well esteemed for his boyish integrity; and Mr. S. on examination found him better skilled in English grammar, even at that early age, than were the majority of school teachers in those times. His superior intelligence also strongly commended him to the notice of Amos Bliss, Esq., one of the firm already mentioned, then and now a highly-respectable merchant of East Poultney, who has marked with pride and pleasure every successive step of the 'Westhaven boy,' from that day to this.
In consequence of the change of proprietors, editors and other things per. taining to the management of the Spectator office, Horace had, during the term of his apprenticeship, about as many opportunities of 'boarding round,' as ordinarily fall to the lot of a country schoolmaster. In 1827, he boarded at the Eagle tavern,' which was then kept by Mr. Harlow Hosford, and was the head-quarters of social and fashionable life in that pleasant old village. There the balls and village parties were had, there the oysters suppers came off, and there the lawyers, politicians and village oracles nightly congregated. Horace was no hand for ordinary boyish sports; the rough and tumble games of wrestling, running, etc., he had no relish for; but he was a diligent student in his leisure hours, and eagerly read everything in the way of books and papers that he could lay his hands on. And it was curious to see what a power of mental application he had-a power which enabled him, seated in the barroom, (where, perhaps, a dozen people were in earnest conversation,) to pursue undisturbed the reading of his favorite book, whatever it might be, with evidently as close attention and as much satisfaction as if he had been seated alone in his chamber.
If there ever was a self-made man, this same Horace Greeley is one, for he had neither wealthy or influential friends, collegiate or academic education, nor anything to start him in the world, save his own native good sense. an unconquerable love of study, and a determination to win his way by his own efforts. He had, however, a natural aptitude for arithmetical calculations, and could easily surpass, in his boyhood, most persons of his age in the facility and accuracy of his demonstrations; and his knowledge of graminar has been already noted. He early learned to observe and remember political statistics, and the leading men and measures of the political parties, the various and multitudinous candidates for governor and Congress, not only in a single State, but in many, and finally in all the States, together with the location and vote of this, that, and the other congressional district, (whig, democratic and what not,) at all manner of elections. These things he rapidly and easily mastered, and treasured in his capacious memory, till we venture to say he has few if any equals at this time, in this particular departirent, in this or any other country. I never knew but one man who approached him in this particular, and that was Edwin Williams, compiler of the N. Y. State Reg
Another letter from the same friend contains information still more valuable. "Judging," he writes, "from what I do certainly know of him, I can say that few young men of my acquaintance grew up with so much freedom from everything of a vicious and corrupting nature-so strong a resolution to study everything ip the way of useful knowledge-and such a quick and clear percep
tion of the queer and humorous, whether in print or in actual life. His love of the poets-Byron, Shakspeare, etc., discovered itself in boyhood—and often have Greeley and I strolled off into the woods, of a warın day, with a volume of Byron or Campbell in our pockets, and reclining in some shady place, read it off to each other by the hour. In this way, I got such a hold of 'Childe Harold,' the 'Pleasures of Hope,' and other favorite poems, that considerable portions have remained ever since in my memory. Byron's apostrophe to the Ocean, and some things in the [4th] canto relative to the men and monuments of ancient Italy, were, if I mistake not, his special favorites also the famous description of the great conflict at Waterloo. 'Mazeppa' was also a marked favorite. And for many of Mrs. Hemans' poems he liad a deep admiration."
The letter concludes with an honest burst of indignation; "Knowing Horace Greeley as I do and have done for thirty years, knowing his integrity, purity, and generosity, I can tell you one thing, and that is, that the contempt with which I regard the slanders of certain papers with respect to his conduct, and character, is quite inexpressible. There is doubtless a proper excuse for the conduct of lunatics, mad dogs, and rattlesnakes; but I know of no decent, just, or reasonable apology for such meanness (it is a hard word but a very expressive one) as the presses alluded to have exhibited."
Horace came to Poultney, an ardent politician; and the events which occurred during his apprenticeship were not calculated to moderate his zeal, or weaken his attachment to the party he had chosen. John Quincy Adams was president, Calhoun was vicepresident, Henry Clay was secretary of State. It was one of the best and ablest administrations that had ever ruled in Washington; and the most unpopular one. It is among the inconveniences of universal suffrage, that the party which comes before the country with the most taking popular CRY is the party which is likeliest to win. During the existence of this administration, the Opposition had a variety of popular Cries which were easy to vociferate, and well adapted to impose on the unthinking, i. e. the majority. 'Adams had not been elected by the people.' 'Adams had gained the presidency by a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay.' 'Adams was lavish of the public money.' But of all the Cries of the time, Hurrah for Jackson' was the most effective. Jackson was a man
of the people. Jackson was the hero of New Orleans and the cou. queror of Florida. Jackson was pledged to retrenchment and reform. Against vociferation of this kind, what availed the fact, evident, incontrovertible, that the affairs of the government were conducted with dignity, judgment and moderation?-that the country enjoyed prosperity at home, and the respect of the world?— that the claims of American citizens against foreign governments were prosecuted with diligence and success?-that treaties highly advantageous to American interests were negotiated with leading nations in Europe and South America?-that the public revenue was greater than it had ever been before?-that the resources of the country were made accessible by a liberal system of internal improvement ?-that, nevertheless, there were surplus millions in the treasury?—that the administration nobly disdained to employ the executive patronage as a means of securing its continuance in power? All this availed nothing. Hurrah for Jackson' carried the day. The Last of the Gentlemen of the Revolutionary school retired. The era of wire-pulling began. That deadly element was introduced into our political system which rendered it so exquisitely vicious, that thenceforth it worked to corruption by an irresistible necessity! It is called Rotation in Office. It is embodied in the maxim, 'To the victors belong the spoils.' It has made the word office-holder synonymous with the word sneak. It has thronged the capital with greedy sycophants. It has made politics a game of cunning, with enough of chance in it to render it interesting to the low crew that play. It has made the president a pawn with which to make the first move-a puppet to keep the people amused while their pockets are picked. It has excluded from the service of the State nearly every man of ability and worth, and enabled bloated and beastly demagogues, without a ray of talent, without a sentiment of magnanimity, illiterate, vulgar, insensible to shame, to exert a power in this republic, which its greatest statesmen in their greatest days never wielded.
In the loud contentions of the period, the reader can easily bʊ lieve that our argumentative apprentice took an intense interest. The village of East Poultney cast little more-if any more-than half a dozen votes for Jackson, but how much this result was owing to the efforts of Horace Greeley cannot now be ascertained. All
agree that he contributed his full share to the general babble which the election of a President provokes. During the whole administration of Adams, the revision of the tariff with a view to the better protection of American manufactures was among the most prominent topics of public and private discussion.
It was about the year 1827 that the Masonic excitement arose Military men tell us that the bravest regiments are subject to panic. Regiments that bear upon their banners the most honorable distinctions, whose colors are tattered with the bullets of a hundred fights, will on a sudden falter in the charge, and fly, like a pack of cowards, from a danger which a pack of cowards might face without ceasing to be thought cowards. Similar to these causeless and irresistible panics of war are those frenzies of fear and fury mingled which sometimes come over the mind of a nation, and make it for a time incapable of reason and regardless of justice. Such seems to have been the nature of the anti-Masonic mania which raged in the Northern States from the year 1827.
A man named Morgan, a printer, had published, for gain, a book in which the harmless secrets of the Order of Free Masons, of which he was a member, were divulged. Public curiosity caused the book to have an immense sale. Soon after its publication, Morgan announced another volume which was to reveal unimagined horrors; but, before the book appeared, Morgan disappeared, and neither ever came to light. Now arose the question, What became of Morgan? and it rent the nation, for a time, into two imbittered and angry factions. "Morgan !" said the Free Masons, "that perjured traitor, died and was buried in the natural and ordinary fashion." "Morgan!" said the anti-Masons, "that martyred patriot, was dragged from his home by Masonic ruffians, taken in the dead of night to the shores of the Niagara river, murdered, and thrown into the rapids." It is impossible for any one to conceive the utter delirium into which the people in some parts of the country were thrown by the agitation of this subject. Books were written. Papers were established. Exhibitions were got up, in which the Masonic ceremonies were caricatured or imitated. Families were divided. Fathers disinherited their sons, and sons forsook their fathers. Elections were influenced, not town and county elections merely, but State and national elections. There were Masonic candidates and