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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 206 [newspaper clipping], April 1859

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Identifier: DX03360514

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 206 [newspaper clipping], April 1859

Description: Newspaper article written by Robert Bonner for the New York Ledger, which criticizes Thomas McElrath.



An exalted reputation, above a person’s deserts, is a dangerous possession. When a man is reputed wiser, richer, or smarter than he really is, his situation is an unenviable one; for a fall, sooner or later, into his true position, inevitably awaits him; and falls are not pleasant. When a person bruises his shins he is quite liable to lose his temper also. Let us mention a case in point:

A few years ago the prosperity and success of the New York Tribune were generally attributed, in the main, to the sagacious management of Mr. [Thomas] McElrath, in the business department of the paper. Even the Rev. Mr. [James] Parton, in his Life of [Horace] Greeley, which had a great sale, took this view, and made it very prominent in his book. But all this the ultimate result proved to be fallacious. It was discovered that Mr. McElrath, so far from being a Rothschild, had given a direction to his business not only disastrous in its consequences, but which struck many persons as ludicrously unwise. He failed. He was promptly superseded, by a more competent man, in the Presidency of the Nassau Bank, which he had previously held, and was very properly deposed from his situation as publisher of the Tribune.

After a while Mr. McElrath tried his hand at another paper, as appropriate to the times as the weekly issue [unclear word] old-fashioned spelling book would have been. Having got knocked off the locomotive, he—perhaps prudently enough for him—essayed to drive an ox-team. We were solicited to advertise in this sheet. Advertise in it—post bills in an unfrequented back yard, instead of the thoroughfares of the great metropolis! Of course we declined. Hence the wrath of Mr. McElrath.

How does he manifest it? An author [Thomas Butler Gunn], a notice of whose book [The Physiology of New-York Boarding Houses] we refused to insert in the LEDGER, and who felt provoked at our refusal, flares off a little pop-gun, in some magazine [Scalpel], at the LEDGER; but even this writer has too much respect for public opinion not to cloak his malice. He interlards his strictures with many complimentary remarks. What does Mr. McElrath do? Copies the article, omitting everything that is favorable. Thunder sours milk; refusing to advertise sours the milk of human kindness in the breast of Mr. McElrath. Oh, the wrath of Mr. McElrath! Poor Mr. McElrath! Shins bruised and anger-raised. Property and temper both gone! When backed up by the talent of Horace Greeley and Charles A. Dana, he couldn’t get along; what shall he do alone? Pity the sorrows and forgive the wrath of poor Mr. McElrath. We cannot advertise with him—shall we pass round the hat for Mr. McElrath?

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1859-04

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Bonner, Robert, 1824-1899

Subjects: Diaries
Publishers and publishing


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