Sunday, December 14, 2008

Aimless Reading: The A's, Part 4

Adams, Henry
History of the United States of America During the Administrations of James Madison

Another lovely unread book, purchased because found at a great discount at the discount book warehouse at the outlet mall in Niagara Falls. They sell these forty dollar books for nine dollars, so I often can't resist buying them, even though the likelihood I'll ever read them is slim. I have snagged a few goodies over the years, however, like the complete Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, etc. Buying these have allowed me to trim the physical bulk of my library by dumping many of the cheap, tattered, even battered and falling apart, softcover books I've bought over the years. Here's Henry's opening salvo:

The "National Intelligencer," which called public attention only to such points of interest as the Government wished to accent, noticed that President Madison was "dressed in a full suit of cloth of American manufacture" when he appeared at noon, March 4, 1809, under escort of the "troops of cavalry of the city of Georgetown," amid a crowd of ten thousand people, to take the oath of office at the Capitol. The suit of American clothes told more of Madison's tendencies than was to be learned from the language of the Inaugural Address, which he delivered in a tone of voice so low as not to be heard by the large audience gathered in the new and imposing Representatives Hall. Indeed, the Address suggested a doubt whether the new President wished to be understood. The conventionality of his thought nowhere betrayed itself more plainly than in this speech on the greatest occasion of Madison's life, when he was required to explain the means by which he should retrieve the failures of Jefferson.

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