Arose this morning very much refreshed and scarcely feeling any effects from the rapidity of my journey. The roads had been so good all through and I had been spared the beautiful piece of road between Baltimore and Philadelphia, which last year had bruised my bones to such a degree. But I determined to keep quiet for a day or two so as to become entirely renovated for the winter. Johnson appears to be perfectly, head and ears, sunk in the great political question now pending, consequently he determined to make me talk. As this is the vortex of politics, there was not much hesitation on my part and the different attitudes of the Eastern States were argued with all the vehemence imaginable. Mr. Calhoun1
appeared to be the great bugbear to him at present. John takes it coolly, says but little and that generally to the purpose. My father appears to be in very high spirits indeed and the Family all talk much about the great ball to be given by him to General Jackson on the eighth of next month, invitations to which are out already.2
Madame does not seem quite so well as formerly although at present considerably excited by this idea.
After Dinner, Mr. Petry came in much as usual, as I understand. He has been French Consul General and resided in this country a great many years to which he is considerably attached.3
But he has [been]
ordered to Spain by the King to which although very much against his will, he is forced to give way, a circumstance which powerfully brought to my mind the advantages of our republican institutions. One example like this is worth fifty thousand theories to support them. He stayed till twelve o’clock rather to John’s annoyance although it appeared to amuse Monsieur.
1. John Caldwell Calhoun, Secretary of War.
2. See entry for 8 Jan. 1824
, below, for JQA’s party in honor of Andrew Jackson.
3. A Jean Baptiste Petry came to America as early as 1784 to serve as French vice-consul at Wilmington, N.C., later at Charleston, S.C., and in the 1790’s at Philadelphia. Either he or another Petry was consul at New Orleans in 1815 and was named consul general, to reside at Washington, in 1819. (Information from Howard C. Rice Jr., Princeton University Library, who has compiled extensive data on the service of French consuls in the United States to 1850.)