History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 1

By James Ford Rhodes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
PIERCE'S ADMINISTRATION

MARCY might have pleaded the engrossing affairs of his department as a reason for not giving his attention to the domestic question which was agitating the country. In truth, he was actively employed during the year 1854; and few American Secretaries of State, in a time of peace, have had more real business to transact than fell to his lot.

Soon after assuming charge of the department, he showed that he wished to impress his plain democratic ideas upon those who represented this country abroad. Almost the first question which he took up was that of diplomatic costume. From the time of our mission to Ghent until President Jackson's day, the dress informally or officially recommended was: "A blue coat, lined with white silk; straight standing cape embroidered with gold; buttons plain, or, if they can be had, with the artillerist's eagle stamped upon them; cuffs embroidered in the manner of the cape. White cassimere breeches, gold knee-buckles; white silk stockings, and gold or gilt shoe-buckles. A three-cornered chapeaubras; a black cockade to which an eagle has been attached. Sword, etc., corresponding." On gala-days, the uniforms

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