WHATEVER Mr. Gallatin may have thought or said of his physical or intellectual powers, he was from 1830 to 1840 in the prime of life. Never had his mind been more clear, his judgment more keen, or his experience and knowledge so valuable as when the United States government dispensed with his further services at the close of the year 1829. Intellectually, the next fifteen years were the most fruitful of his whole long and laborious career. His case was a singular illustration of the intellectual movement of his time. Had he now been entering instead of quitting the world, he would have found himself drawn, both by temperament, by cast of mind, and by education, into science or business or literature; for the United States of 1830 was no longer the same country as the United States of 1790; it had found a solution of its most serious political problems, and its more active intellectual life was turning to the study of social and economical principles, to purely scientific methods and objects, to practical commerce and the means of obtaining wealth. Old though Mr. Gallatin might think himself, it was to this new society that he and his mental processes belonged, and he found it a pleasure rather than a pain to turn away from that public life which no longer represented a single great political conception, and to grapple with the ideas and methods of the coming generation. In fact, the politics of the United States from 1830 to 1849 offered as melancholy a spectacle as satirists ever held up to derision. Of all the parties that have existed in the United States, the famous Whig party was the most feeble in ideas and the most blundering in management; the Jacksonian Democracy was corrupt in its methods; and both, as well as society itself,
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Publication information: Book title: The Life of Albert Gallatin. Contributors: Henry Adams - Author. Publisher: Peter Smith. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1943. Page number: 635.
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