Astringent Prose

In 1858, William Pitt Fessenden wrote a letter to his cousin Elizabeth Caroline Fessenden Warriner. The former was a congressman from Maine and would eventually become Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury. In his letter to Cousin Lizzie, he reports on the funeral of a senator, Josiah Evans, which was attended by then-President James Buchanan. Fessenden had some salty observations:

One of our Senators died on Thursday, and we spent all the day yesterday in burying him. I have given positive directions that if I drop off, no such ridiculous fuss shall be made in my case. We had in an Episcopal baboon to officiate on this occasion, who talked about his "respected and honored hearers" this "august presence" && — I wanted to kick him. Right in front of me sat the President & his Cabinet, and an uglier & more stupid looking set of scoundrels I never saw—Old Buch being the most intelligent but ugliest of the lot. I felt sincerely mortified for the nation.

All right, then.