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

By Phillip Hone; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

1844
The Princeton Disaster; Annexation of Texas;
Polk Defeats Clay

The New Year was the happiest Hone had witnessed in a long time.His insurance company was fairly launched and had begun writing policies. Its list of directors read like a directory of the eminent business men of the city, and Hone, who was especially grateful to his friends Moses Grinnell and Samuel Howland, declared that the most gratifying feature of the enterprise was the evidence of general cordiality and affection toward him which it had disclosed.His new salary was not large, but it would remove all anxiety from his mind.

New Year's Day was bright, clear, and bracing, and everyone turned out in good spirits. "New York seemed to enjoy a general carnival," writes Hone. "Broadway, from one end to the other, was alive with private carriages, omnibuses, cabs, and curricles, and lines of pedestrians fringed the carriageways.There must have been more visiting than on any former New Year's Day.I was out more than five hours, and my girls tell me they received one hundred and sixty-nine visits." The diarist was pleased that the old New York custom was so well kept up.Foreigners were delighted with it. "There is so much of life and spirit and heartiness in it, that it is to be hoped no freak of fashion will ever interpose to prevent its observance."

In his comments on the business outlook the diarist was still a bit pessimistic. His own new income had come in the nick of time, for in recent months, what with rising taxes and falling rents, "my revenue has been insufficient to pay the interest of my loans." Many were in the same boat with himself.However, people had perforce learned the lesson of economy, and were at last practicing it. His own family expenses had been reduced one half from what they were seven years earlier. The skies seemed to be briehtenine markedly and permanently. "Trade is

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