The Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851 - Vol. 2

By Phillip Hone; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

1843
The Somers Case; Bunker Hill Monument; Macready

New Year's in 1843 fell on Sunday, and Hone's excellent pastor Dr. Wainwright marked the day by "an exceedingly interesting sermon." The festivities were all reserved for Monday, and were not seriously interrupted by flurries of snow, which made the sleighing better than ever.The diarist sallied out in his sleigh at twelve o'clock, and made forty-odd visits before five. "The ladies smiled and looked beautiful, the fires sparkled and looked warm, the furniture shone and looked comfortable, the whiskey-toddy smoked and looked strong, and everything was gay as it used to be in good times.The heads of the people were up to-day, however certain it may be that many of them will be bowed down by misfortune, and some laid low, before another year calls them to similar festivities."

Looking back upon 1842, Hone had little that was good to say of it. "The old year was marked by public calamity and individual misfortune, the former relieved only by the successful termination of the negotiations with England, and the latter by abundant harvests and the consequent low prices of provisions; but business is unprofitable, confidence impaired, stocks and other personal property of little value, taxes nearly doubled, rents reduced, tenants running away, debts wiped out by the bankrupt law, and Loco-focoism triumphant.So ends the year 1842, and so begins the year 1843." Hone declared that if times did not grow worse instead of better, then he was a false prophet.Among other "calamities" was the retirement of Gov. Seward to give place to Gov. Bouck. The inaugural message of the latter convinced the diarist that he was a man devoid of talents.

Wall Street was agog over the defalcation of Edward Nicol, secretary of the Life and Trust Company, who had made away with between two and three hundred thousand dollars.

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