Aug 10

Volume I Number I, The Tribune’s first issue

1869-08-07-first-tribune-p2.jpgAugust 7, 1869
As promised Friday here are some excerpts from the four page, first edition of The Tribune. The front page and biography of founder Walter Murray were outlined in a  previous post. Careful viewers will spot his advertisement on the front. Alexander Murray, Walter’s younger brother, advertises his store on an inside page.

Coverage of politics, the courts, schools and county business seem to be a priority and from the beginning the paper had regional aspirations not just a San Luis Obispo city paper. The law background of the owner can be seen in the liberal sprinkling of Latin phrases in the copy. It also had a column and a half of items in Spanish under the heading La Tribuna. Though born in London, Murray was said to be fluent in Spanish and French in addition to his education in Latin.

The paper sounded a note that it would be independent and not all partisan politics.

The Tribune will not deny to neither party credit where credit is due. It will not be virulent in its advocacy of party measures. It will not deny the truth; nor feign to have reason on its side when it knows itself to be in the wrong. It will be independent of all mere party behests, and will bow down only to its own convictions in regard to party discipline and party principle. It will not assail private character, nor will it touch public character unjustly or unnecessarily. It will seek to conciliate rather than to combat, to lead rather than drive;and when it cannot convince an honest foe it will at least give him credit for good intentions.

The paper’s philosophy sounds a little like the comment guidelines for Photos from the Vault.

CORRESPONDENTS–We solicit correspondence from all parts of the county on topics of general interest. We will publish any original communication sent to us that is courteous and of ordinary merit. In this we shall make no distinction of politics.

1869-08-07-first-tribune-p3.jpgSome things never change:

ACCIDENT–The only occurrence of interest that has happened this week to break the monotony of our every-day life, took place on Wednesday evening last, when two young gentlemen of our town, returning in a buggy from a trip to Santa Barbara county, probably festive, missed stays in crossing the bridge on the stage crossing of the San Luis Obispo creek, which resulted in overset. No bones were broken; one party escaped intact, the other with a few bruises. Buggy was the principal sufferer; fragments thereof being scattered about promiscuously for some distance. The moral may be summed up in the word, “Take care, boys.”

The paper takes several shots at the one year old rival newspaper the Pioneer. The rival supported Democratic politics. Remember Republicans were the ones who fought to abolish slavery. Lee had surrendered to Grant less than five years earlier. The Democratic party at the time favored white candidates over qualified Latino candidates. The Tribune offered its slate of endorsements from Judge to County Surveyor.

Jose M. Munoz, has also been tried before, having held this office from about December 1863 to March 1866. Although of the Spanish race, he presents rare qualifications for the office in question. He is well known by those who understand his race and language, as a man of very superior judgement, more than ordinary intelligence, great firmness, and extraordinary energy.
When Sheriff, he was head of the concern, and no mere appendage; although he had quite an able man as deputy under him. From 1858 to 1860 he was the County Judge of this county, and while occupying that position, a position which has nearly always been well filled in this county, he certainly fell behind none of his predecessors nor successors in the impartiality, clearness of perception of a law point, and the firmness of decision, which should characterize every judge. We have always considered that this gentleman lowered himself when he first consented to occupy the position of candidate for this office, and we have always deemed the attempt to drag him down in public estimation to the level of his present and past opponent an outrage upon common sense.

1869-08-07-first-tribune-p4.jpgThe paper took a pugnacious tone when referring to the Pioneer, calling it “very silly”, questioning its “hardihood” and called it out on a Biblical error.

Our present Assessor, elected in 1867 on the Democratic ticket, thought it fit to cast his vote at the late Republican primary election in this town. The Pioneer regarding this as indicative of a change of politics on his part, stigmatizes him as completely laying in the shad, in so doing, Esau of old, who sold his birthright for a mess of potage, (not porridge as the Pioneer has it.)

The Tribune did suffer from a racial bias against the Chinese community. It was a common and ugly reality of the time.

Advertisers included, lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, and merchants in the grocery, hardware and pharmacy trades.

Sadly the only pictures are for the advertisements, lots of type for a reader to enjoy but there was not job for a photographer yet.

Related posts:

  1. Walter Murray founds The Tribune