From the Diary of James K. Polk
August 27, 1846 "Twelve months ago this day, a very important
conversation took place in cabinet between myself and Mr. Buchanan.
It was this circumstance which first suggested to me the idea, if
not the necessity, of keeping a journal or diary of events and transactions
which might occur during my presidency. I resolved to do so &
accordingly procured a blank book for that purpose on the next day,
in which I have everyday since noted whatever occurred that I deemed
August 19, 1846 "This morning at 9 O'Clock I went on board
the steamer Osceola with Mrs. Polk, her niece, Miss Rucker, and
two servants to take an excursion to Fortress Monroe. It is my first
absence from Washington since I have been President, except a single
day in the Spring of 1845 when I visited Mount Vernon, going and
returning on the same day. My long confinement to my office has
considerably enfeebled me & rendered some recreation necessary."
September 1, 1846 "Mr. Buchanan is a man of talents &
is fully competent to discharge the high duties of Secretary of
State, but it is one of his weaknesses (and perhaps all great men
have such) that he takes on & magnifies small matters into great
& undeserved importance."
September 8, 1845 "Mr. Noland, the Commissioner of Public
Buildings, called, as he said, at the request of the Regents of
the Smithsonian Institute, to know at what hour on tomorrow it would
suit my convenience to accompany them to the public grounds, with
a view to select the site for that institution."
July 4, 1848 "This being the day appointed for laying the
corner Stone of the Washington monument in Washington, and having
been invited by the committee of arrangements to attend the ceremonies
of the occasion, and having determined, though in feeble health,
to do so, I had invited my Cabinet to meet & accompany me at
10 O'Clock this morning. Accompanied by the Cabinet and escorted
by Col. May of the U.S. Army, we were conducted in carriages to
the City Hall where the procession was formed and moved to the site
of the Washington monument on the Banks of the Potomac and South
of the President's mansion. I witnessed the ceremony of laying the
corner stone, and heard an address delivered by Mr. Speaker Winthrop
of the Ho. Repts."