"We part with the adventurous philosophical Ishmael, truly thankful that the whale did not get his head, for which we are indebted for this wildly imaginative and truly thrilling story. We think it the best production which has yet come from that seething brain, and in spite of its lawless flights, which put all regular criticism at defiance, it gives us a higher opinion of the author's originality and power than even the favorite and fragrant first-fruits of his genius, the never-to-be-forgotten Typee."
Review of Moby-Dick Sat, Nov 22, 1851 – Page 6 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com
The unsigned Tribune review of Moby-Dick has been credited to editor Horace Greeley (by Watson G. Branch, in Herman Melville: The Critical Heritage) and, more recently (in the Northwestern-Newberry edition of Moby-Dick), to George Ripley, who served as literary editor of the Tribune from 1849 to 1880. Also attributed to Ripley in Melville scholarship: the notice of Moby-Dick in Harper's New Monthly Magazine. The Tribune review is transcribed at pages 383-4 in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker - Cambridge University Press, 1995; and 2009 (paperback).
The November 22, 1851 issue of The New York Tribune is also available online at Chronicling of America - Historic American Newspapers.