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

By Phillip Hone; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

1847
Buena Vista; A Trip to the Far West;
James Kent Dies

The new year was ushered in with continued progress by the American armies in Mexico; intelligence of famine and great distress in Ireland; and an encouraging amount of commercial prosperity in the United States. Hone wrote that "I am still dreadfully in debt, but my affairs have improved during the year." His creditors held excellent security and received their interest regularly.It was only in viewing political affairs that he felt discouraged. If only Clay had been elected! was the burden of his lament.Then we should have been "prosperous beyond all former example, with no annexation of strangers' land to promote party views, no war to drain the best blood of the country for an issue which can never redound to our honor, nor pay in any proportion for the loss of blood, treasure, and reputation which it will have cost."

The diarist took pleasure in recording at the beginning of the year a flattering expression of the esteem of his fellow citizens. He had written James G. King asking for a list of the gentlemen who had ordered his bust for the Mercantile Library. King replied, sending the names of twenty-four of the principal citizens of New York; such names as William B. Astor, Gardiner G. Howland, John C. Stevens, and Moses H. Grinnell.He added that the purchase of the bust was no mere exhibition of personal affection, great though that was. These men had a higher motive. "They knew that your long career of uprightness as a member of the mercantile community had been crowned in the decline of life by your having voluntarily, and from the highest considerations of honor and good faith, assumed obligations in behalf of some relatives, and by your having been obliged to sacrifice a large portion of vour

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