DescriptionJohn McLean Journal. Twenty-one pages, 5" x 8". The journal begins with an entry dated November 13, 1814, and continues with daily entries until February 16, 1815. The future presidential candidate and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court kept this journal to gauge his spiritual journey. Serving as a U.S. Congressman from Ohio at the time, McLean begins, "Having resolved this day to commit the various exercises of my mind daily to paper for a month and longer if found profitable. Making that goal will keep the effort that I am about to make to live more conformably to his will. This day I have been beset with temptation, have in some degree got the victory." McLean then divulges that the source of his strength was from reading certain of Paul's epistles. He ends his first entry with a prayer, "Lord show me the depths of my own heart, and help me to avoid evil." Similar prayers occur later in the journal. The daily entries that follow reveal a young twenty-nine-year-old politician trying to control his desires and weaknesses by finding strength in his religion. At this point in the young congressman's religious zealousness, not even politics was a source of joy for him. On December 22, he writes "Entangled with politics and the affairs of the world, I find they produce barronness."
John McLean (1785-1861) was later appointed by President James Monroe to be the sixth U.S. postmaster general, serving from 1823-1829. In 1830, he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving a long and notable career until his death in 1861. Two years after this journal was written, McLean resigned his seat in Congress to accept a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. Influenced by the Second Great Awakening, McLean was a devout Christian all his life. Later in life (1846), he was selected as the president of the American Bible Society; he declined the office because of his duties on the Supreme Court.
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