Re: Mr. Polk looks at a foreign feminine visitor
- Thank you posting these most interesting journal entries Evelyn.
Presently, I'm in Quebec City on business, and today I spent the day
touring the Plains of Abraham, the field on which, in 1759, France and
England battled in what was called "The Battle for Canada." The
English, led by General James Wolfe, won the day, though Wolfe died on
the battlefield. As I was touring this historic site, I wondered if
the French had been victorious, what would my citizenship be today?
My home is in western Canada, just a few miles of the 49th parallel,
the line on which Polk and the British settled as our border. If those
who cried 54' 40" or fight had won, I would be American. If the French
had won the battle in 1759, I suspect that I would also be American
today because I suspect that France would likely have sold all of
Canada to the US at the same time as the Louisiana Purchase. Either
that, or the French, being more willing to divest territory in North
America than the British were, would have likely sold more territory
It's strange what twists history takes and how it affects us today.
Speculating on alternate historical timelines is a fun past-time.
--- In James_K_Polk_Appreciation@yahoogroups.com, "Evelyn Radecke"
> Excerpt from Mr. Polk's diary. All blank lines are inserted by me for
> easier reading
> THURSDAY, 2nd July, 1846
> Mr. Buchanan informed me to-day that he had been called on by Mrs.
> Maury, an English lady residing at Liverpool, who informed him that
> she had held a conversation with Mr. Calhoun and that she was very
> anxious that Mr. C. should succeed Mr. McLane as Minister at London,
> that she had held a conversation with Mr. C. and thought he would
> accept the mission if I would tender it to him.
> FRIDAY, 3rd July, 1846.
> Had the usual round of Company until 12 O'Clock this morning. ...
> (and a conversation with Mr. Buchanan) ...
> ... Mr. Buchanan informed me that Mrs. Maury, an English lady
> residing at Liverpool, had again called on him, and urged the
> appointment of Mr. Calhoun as Mr. McLane's successor as minister to
> England. He said he had informed her that he knew nothing on the
> subject, but at her request informed her that she must call on me. He
> said she would call to-day, if I would see her.
> This Mrs. Maury is an English woman of talent and education, and one
> who has seen much of the world. She is the daughter of the former U.
> S. consul at Liverpool of her name. I told Mr. Buchanan that I
> thought she was inter-meddling in matters which did not concern her,
> but that I could not refuse to see her if she called. About 1O'Clock
> P. M. she called. I received her civilly and as a lady of her
> character and intelligence en-titled her to be received.
> She had not been in my office many minutes until she introduced the
> subject of Mr. Calhoun's appointment as Minister to England; she
> expressed her desire that I would appoint him. I heard her patiently,
> and reflected in my own mind whilst she was speaking, what could
> induce her to take an interest in such a matter. She said she had
> seen and conversed with Mr. Calhoun, and had urged him to accept the
> English mission. She said Mr. Calhoun told her that if any great
> public interest pending between the two countries required it, his
> sense of public duty would induce him to accept the mission, if I
> called on him to do so.
> She went on to speak of the high character Mr. Calhoun sustained
> abroad & of the great consideration he would receive in England. She
> said that Mr. Calhoun, in her Interviews with him, had finally agreed
> that she might upon her own responsibility communicate to me that he
> would accept the English mission, if I thought the public interest
> required his services and should invite him to do so. It struck me as
> being very strange that Mr. Calhoun's willingness to accept the
> Mission should be communicated to me through such a channel.
> I was very guarded in my reply to Mrs. Maury. I said to her that when
> the English mission became vacant and it became my duty to select a
> successor to Mr. McLane I would bear in mind what she had said to me.
> I told her Mr. McLane was yet in England, and that if the state of
> our relations with that country should be such as to require it he
> would remain as long as it was important for him to do so. I told her
> that Mr. McLane desired to return during the next autumn, and that if
> he did so I must of course select a successor. I told her that my
> personal relations with Mr. Calhoun had at all times since I knew him
> been of a friendly character, and that I admired his talents, but I
> was very careful to deal in general terms in speaking of him and to
> say nothing from which Mrs. Maury could infer whether I would appoint
> him to the mission to England or not.
> At length she asked me what she should say to Mr. Calhoun. This
> interrogatory I evaded by a general observation that of course until
> Mr. McLane returned I could not be casting about me for his
> successor. She then said she would repeat to Mr. Calhoun what I had
> said, that I would bear in mind her request when the mission became
> vacant. It was rather an embarrassing interview.
> Here was an English woman of undoubted talents and great intelligence
> intermeddling in a matter with which she had no concern, and yet I
> felt con-strained to give some answer to what she said, and that
> answer I had every reason to believe would be communicated to Mr.
> Calhoun. My only course therefore was to answer her in general terms,
> and to say nothing which if published could in any way em-barrass me.
> I was careful, too, to say nothing which could either encourage or
> discourage Mr. Calhoun, if he had a desire to go to England, or that
> could give him any ground to take exceptions to what I said. I was
> glad when Mrs. Maury retired. I knew she would report to Mr. Calhoun
> all that transpired.