Boston, Massachusetts: January 4, 1855. Envelope or Cover. Four-page letter dated January 4, 1855. Signed “Horace Greeley” at the bottom of the fourth page. The accompanying postally used envelope is addressed to “Thomas L Kane Esq. / Clerk U.S. Dist Court / Philadelphia, / Penna.” It is annotated in the lower left corner, “Private, H.G.” and franked with a dull red three-cent Type I Washington stamp (Scott #11) tied to the cover with a circular black “PAID” handstamp with killer bars. The cover also bears a circular “Boston.” postmark dated “JAN / 4”. Opened along the top edge. The letter has a small (1/4” x 2”) missing piece; otherwise in nice shape. The envelope has some minor foxing; neatly opened along the top with light wrinkling to backflap.
In this letter Greeley inquires about Kane’s health, which had been poor and provides an update of Greeley family news and the financial state of his New York Tribune, “which may perhaps interest you”:
"Mrs. Greeley left for England on the 14th of Oct. She had calculated on having my company but the times were so bad that . . . I staid, promising to run over . . . in the spring take them a boat trip to the Alps and bring them home. They had a good passage. . .. Ida was often sick, but soon revived; while [Raphael] Uhland, often defied the powers of instability and was (says the stewardess) the life and soul of the voyage. When the waves rolled liveliest, he would lie in his berth and sing . . . in an amused comical way by the hour. Mother said the worst trial she had was getting them down the ladder into a little sooty dirty steamboat. . .. Mrs G. has . . . been quite ill but is more generally better. Uhland also after having much observed her is now improving in health. . ..
As for me I do as I have done in the main. I was out in Ohio lecturing, and was beginning the same in this vicinity tonight. Times, have been very hard with me, but are now improving. The Tribune never before lost money as it did from May to December last but it is now making up nobly."
Very good. Item #009495
Greeley did join his family in London in April of 1855 and take them on a trip to Switzerland as promised and later that year in mid-December, just before this letter, Greeley gave a lecture at the Euterpean Hall in Sandusky, Ohio, about the life of his political hero, Henry Clay. Unfortunately, Greeley’s son, Raphael Uhland never fully recovered from illness in England and died of the croup early in February of 1857, devasting his father. (See any of many biographies or journal articles about Horace Greeley.)
Thomas Kane was an ardent abolitionist who maintained an active correspondence with Greeley. Although not a member of the Latter-day Saints, he was a staunch defender of their rights and, as a seasoned politician, he helped coordinate their westward emigration and the Army’s assistance in training the Mormon Battalion. He regularly defended Brigham Young and delivered an impassioned speech urging that the Mormons be allowed to establish a territorial government in Utah that was printed and distributed to important government officials, civic leaders, and journalists, earning the support of Horace Greeley and his New York Tribune. A statue of Kane, “Friend of the Mormons” stands in Utah’s Capitol Building. (See Grow’s article “Thomas L. Kane and Nineteenth-Century American Culture” in BYU Studies, vol 48.”.