March 15th.–I pray that in one year more I may find some way of escaping from this unblest Custom House; for it is a very grievous thraldom. I do detest all offices,–all, at least, that are held on a political tenure. And I want nothing to do with politicians. Their hearts wither away and die out of their bodies. Their consciences are turned to india-rubber, or to some substance as black as that, and which will stretch as much. One thing, if no more, I have gained by my custom house experience,–to know a politician. It is a knowledge which no previous thought or power of sympathy could have taught me, because the animal, or the machine rather, is not in nature.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s journal entry for March 15th, 1840. He left the Custom House the same year.