[Footnote 32: Opponents of the then existing administration, who looked to Gen. Cocke, of Tennessee, as a leader.]
Another friend at Washington writes (15th Dec.): “The message of the President you will have seen ere this reaches you. It is thought very well of here. He recommends the appointment of a Superintendent of the Western Lead Mines, skilled in mineralogy. If Congress should make provision for one, it is not to be doubted who will receive the situation. In fact, in a conversation a few days since with Mr. C., he told me he had you particularly in view when he recommended it to the President.”
28th. Wrote an application to the Postmaster General for the appointment of S.B. Griswold as postmaster at this place.
[Footnote 33: Mr. G. was appointed.]
Close of the winter solstice, and introduction of a northern spring—News from the world—The Indian languages—Narrative Journal—Semi-civilization of the ancient Aztec tribes—Their arts and languages—Hill’s ironical review of the “Transactions of the Royal Society”—A test of modern civilization—Sugar making—Trip to one of the camps—Geology of Manhattan Island—Ontwa, an Indian poem—Northern ornithology—Dreams—The Indian apowa—Printed queries of General Cass—Prospect of the mineral agency—Exploration of the St. Peter’s—Information on that head.
1823. March 1st. My reading hours, for the last few days, have been, in great part, devoted to the newspapers. So long an exclusion from the ordinary sources of information has the effect to increase the appetite for this kind of intellectual food, and the circumstance probably leads us to give up more time to it than we should were we not subject to these periodical exclusions. The great point of interest is the succession in the Presidential chair. Parties hinge upon this point. Economy and retrenchment are talismanic words, used to affect the populace, but used in reality only as means of affecting the balance of party power. Messrs. Calhoun, Crawford, and Adams are the prominent names which fill the papers.
There is danger that newspapers in America will too much supersede and usurp the place of books, and lead to a superficial knowledge of things. Gleaning the papers in search of that which is really useful, candid, and fair seems too much like hunting for grains of wheat in a chaos of chaff.
3d. Our third express went off this morning, freighted with our letters, and, of course, with our reasons, our sentiments, our thanks, our disappointments, our hopes, and our fears.
6th. I resumed the subject of the Indian language.
Osanimun is the word for vermilion. This word is compounded from unimun, or plant yielding a red dye, and asawa, yellow. The peculiar color of yellow-red is thus indicated. Beizha is the neuter verb “to come.” This verb appears to remain rigid in its conjugation, the tenses being indicated exclusively by inflections of the pronoun. Thus nim beizha, I come; ningee peizha, I came; ninguh peizha, I will come. The pronoun alone is declined for past and future tense, namely gee and guh.