Dec 2d Tuesday. It has been cold to day but not near as
cold at yesterday or as windy Mary has put
her clothes out. Jane has ironed some shirts
for Mr Ames & I have ironed some collars
cuff & handkerchiefs &c for self Mother & self
have passed the afternoon at Mr Whitwells
Mr & Mrs John R Howard were there. Had
a pleasant visit
While the servant Mary – whose last name we never learn – put out most of yesterday’s wet laundry to dry, Jane McHanna rose from bed to iron some of Oakes Ames’s shirts.She had spent part of yesterday placing them in a tub of starch. Evelina took to ironing as well, looking after her own collars, cuffs and handkerchiefs. Ironing, which required a small fleet of flatirons being kept warm on a hot stove, was a welcome chore on a cold day. We don’t often read of Evelina doing the ironing herself.
In Washington, D. C., President Millard Fillmore’s State of the Union address was delivered in writing to Congress. His speech was quite literal, full of specific details about foreign policy, exports, mining, gold in California, the acquisition of Texas and the surveying and improvements necessary for the territories and frontier. He lauded the importance of agriculture, noting that “four fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of the soil,” and argued for a Bureau of Agriculture.
Fillmore also could not help but write of the growing differences between North and South and the 1850 legislation that was designed to address various aspects of the problem of slavery. He began his address optimistically, writing “the agitation which for a time threatened to disturb the fraternal relations which make us one people is fast subsiding…” but later admitted “that it is not to be disguised that a spirit exists, and has been actively at work, to rend asunder this Union which is our cherished inheritance from our Revolutionary fathers.”
In closing, Fillmore urged patience and reconciliation. He counseled his countrymen to honor the Compromise of 1850. “Wide differences and jarring opinions can only be reconciled by yielding something on both sides,” he cautioned.