Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Charles A. Dana to James S. Pike, May 29, 1850

New York, May 29, 1850.

Greatest And Best Of Pikes: I have long desired and designed to write you a letter, and no doubt you have long expected it; but with me the idea is easy, the execution difficult. In fact, I intend to petition the extra session of our legislature, now about to be held, for an elongation of the days and a second pair of hands in order to come a little nearer what I want to do.

First and foremost, a thousand thanks for your articles, especially that which I headed “Wanted a Candidate,” and that on “Prospects of Disunion.” They were great and good, and stirred up the animals, which you as well as I recognize as one of the great ends of life. The fact is that between you and me we have bothered the Silver Greys most infernally, and probably shall do so again.

I suppose you are swearing at the non-appearance of your response on the banking business; but I have had it in type ever since it got here, with some most sound, conservative, and elegant remarks from the able pen of one of the first writers in the country attached, and that every night on leaving the office I have regularly ordered that that article shall go in on the editorial page, but that hitherto it has been constantly and persistently and pertinaciously crowded out by other things. However, I live in hope of printing it to-morrow. The article on Webster was postponed in consequence of the Buffalo speech, but it will hit 'em hard in a day or two. That on the Halifax Railroad I shortened in order to get it in right off, and besides, it is rather late in the day for such a radical sheet as the Trib. to say by way of programme that it is going to keep in the golden mean betwixt red and white. The thing is good to do perhaps, but I don't exactly like to say it along with the Rochester knocking, and the No-Petticoat Movement. And so you'll forgive the liberty I took with your Mss. . . . There's no other man I know of whom I should like so well to come in as an associate in the toils, glories, and profits of this newspaper, which I reckon to be at the beginning of its career. I hope we can fetch it about. You will understand that I don't say this by way of compliment. What I am after is the interest of the paper.

Yours ever truly,
C. A. Dana.

SOURCE: James Shepherd Pike, First Blows of the Civil War: The Ten Years of Preliminary Conflict in the United States from 1850 to 1860, p. 83

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