Mr. Bennett rarely writes for the paper now. He assembles his editors in his council at noon every day, hears their suggestions, decides what topics shall be treated in the next day’s issue, and assigns to each man the subject upon which he is to write. In his absence his place at the council-board is filled by his son, or by the managing editor. Mr. Bennett in this way exercises a close supervision over all the articles that appear in “The Herald,” and imparts to them a considerable share of his personality.
Mr. Bennett is married, and has two children, a son, James Gordon Bennett, jr., who will succeed his father in the ownership of “The Herald,” and a daughter. He lives on Fifth Avenue at present, his favorite residence, at Washington Heights, having been recently destroyed by fire. He is said to be a courtly and agreeable host, and one who rarely fails to send away his visitors with a pleasant impression of himself.
In person he is tall and firmly built, and walks with a dignified carriage. His head is large, and his features are prominent and irregular. He has a thoroughly Scotch face, and is cross-eyed. His forehead is broad and high, betokening great capacity and force of character. His expression is firm and somewhat cold—that of a man who has had a hard fight with fortune, and has conquered it. He is reserved in his manner to strangers, but always courteous and approachable. To his friends he is genial and unreserved. He is finely educated, and is said to be a man of excellent taste. His favorite studies are history and biography, and he still pursues them with a keen relish. His home is one of the most elegant in the city. He is proud of his success, as he may well be, and very proud of the fact that he owes it to himself alone. While he was building the new “Herald” office, he was waited on by the president of one of the national banks of the city, who said to him:
“Mr. Bennett, we know that you are at great expense in erecting this building, besides carrying on your immense business. If you want any accommodation, you can have it at our bank.”
“Mr. ——,” replied Mr. Bennett, “before I purchased the land, or began to build, I had on deposit two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the Chemical Bank. There is not a dollar due on ‘The Herald’ building that I can not pay. I would pay off the mortgage to-morrow, if the owner would allow me to do so. When the building is opened, I shall not owe one dollar to any man, if I am allowed to pay. I owe nothing that I can not discharge in an hour. I have not touched one dollar of the money on deposit in the bank, and while that remains I need no accommodation.”
Robert Bonner was born in the north of Ireland, near the town of Londonderry, about the year 1824. He came to this country when a mere child, and was brought up in the State of Connecticut, where he received a good common-school education.