Letitia Hall, "Threshold of a Century: the Diary of Louisa Adams Park, 1800-1801"


Since the end of the Revolutionary War, he had become a hero to New England's developing middle class. André had been handsome, talented, young, brave, and very well-mannered. His reputation had grown after his death, fueled by the publication of his poetry and letters. He was considered an officer and a gentleman and many believed that he should not have been executed. In England, André had had a future in the military and in the arts. He was one of those who was born to lead. His captors were sons of tenant farmers; "peasants," according to Alexander Hamilton.25  Louisa accepted André as a hero rather than his unlettered captors at the same time that the Federalists were warning of the "general ascendency of the worthless."26

In addition to the newspaper, which was very important to her (at one point she became angry when a neighbor took the paper away before she had read it)27 Louisa read novels, books of poetry, essays, sermons, and broadsides.28  Louisa loved to read. When she was in her home in Salisbury Village, she rented books from the local library in Amesbury.29  She described a day spent reading and playing with her son as "a day after my heart–my books are my greatest and sweetest amusement."30

25. Cray, "Major André and the Three Captors", 374-375.
26. Columbian Centinel, January 21, 1801.
27. Park, Diary, November 30, 1800.
28. Specific titles in her diary include Pleasures of the Imagination, by Mark Akenside; Seasons, by James Thompson; Nature and Art, by Elizabeth Inchbald; Caroline of Lichtfield: a novel, by Isabelle de Montolieu; A comparative view of the state and faculties of man with those of the animal world, by John Gregory; Sermons on the Christian Doctrine as Received by the different denominations of Christians, by Richard Price.
29. Park, Diary, May 15, 1801.
30. Park, Diary, January 14, 1801.
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