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

By Phillip Hone; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

1851
Ik Marvel; Webster in Boston; The End

Hone paid no calls on New Year's Day of 1851; the shades of his house were partly drawn and the door kept closed.It was still a house of mourning, and he took no share in the festivities of the season. Yet he wrote cheerfully of the opening year. "We have still a happy family, united in the bonds of domestic affection, with much reason to thank the Lord for the blessings they enjoy," he reflected. "I have reason, in an especial degree, to express my thankfulness ; though it has been a year of bodily infirmity, and the extreme illness which I suffered in the spring has left me weak in my limbs and wasted in flesh, it would be sinful ingratitude to fail in grateful acknowledgment of the goodness of God in preserving my faculties, and enabling me to rejoice in their exercise.My health has improved. I am weak in body, but I eat well, sleep well, and drink well, for all which blessings the Lord be praised." He spent the day in his library, amid his books and papers.

The diarist wrote of a dinner party which he attended at Blatchford's, with George Bancroft and William B. Astor among the other guests, as an unusual indulgence.Yet his strength sufficed to carry him to Washington a few days later. Here he called upon President Fillmore, saw Webster, and paid an evening visit to Winfield Scott and William H. Seward.On Jan. 25 he was home again, much fatigued by the trip.

Wednesday, Jan. 29.— Death of Audubon. The celebrated ornithologist John James Audubon died on Monday, aged seventy-six years.He was a most ardent and enthusiastic follower of his science, in the pursuit of which he did not hesitate to explore the hyperborean regions in search of a nondescript bird, or to plunge into the dismal swamps

-911-

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