Civil War Monthly Featured Document return to document overview

Sequence Viewing Options NOTE

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • Jump:
    [The letters copied onto the top and middle of this page have not been transcribed. Please refer to the page image.]

    [Name of recipient:] William Everett

    Boston 18 Feb 1861.

    Dearest Willy:

    Since my letter to you of the 2d, which Lord
    Lyons was good enough to forward from Washington, where it was written,
    I have not heard from you.

    I remained in Washington a week after I wrote to you. I confess
    my greatest attraction was at home with Charlie and her children,
    who are all nice little creatures; the infant one of the most lovely
    and comfortable babies I ever saw. In the whole fortnight which
    I passed in the house, I did not hear her cry except once when she

    had fallen.

    On Monday the 4th, the "Peace Conference", as it has been
    called met. Gov. Andrew had not the grace to appoint me a mem-
    ber; though as I was on the spot, and the conference was held on
    the invitation of Virginia which voted for the Union ticket, and
    the only hope of adjustment is in the influence of our friends in
    that, and the other border states, it would not have been a stretch
    of liberality to give the Union party one voice in the Massachusetts del-
    egation. But Gov. Andrew is an ultraist.

    The Convention sat with closed doors while I was there and does so
    still. It is not impossible that they may recommend some settlement,
    the main feature of which will be the restoration of the Missouri
    Compromise and a Constitutional guarantee that slavery shall not be
    interfered with south of 36°30'. If that or any other agreement is adopt-
    ed, with the assent of the delegates from Virginia, Kentucky,and
    Tenessee, the border states will all remain in the Union; if not, they
    will- I think, join the Southern Confederacy. It is, however, possible
    that even without any compromise, an extremely concilatory tone in
    the Inaugural Address of the new President, may induce the border
    states to remain in the Union for the present. If, however, the South-
    ern ports should, as is threatened, be blockaded, or any other resort
    to force be had, they will all join the seceders. Or even without
    this provocation, if the agitation of the slavery question be kept up
    at the North, as it is too likely to be, the Border states will be
    more inclined to join a southern slaveholding Confederacy, than to
    remain a small minority- 8 states out of 27 - in a non-slaveholding

    Union. The best hope that I can now form is that civil war
    and bloodshed may be avoided, and that the seceding and the
    non-seceding states, having found the experiment of disunion bur-
    densome, expensive and unprosperous, will join in reuniting the broken
    bonds. All apprehension of a violent inroad into the district of Co-
    lumbia or an attempt to seize the public buildings has passed away.
    Genl. Scott has brought together from a thousand to twelve hundred
    troops, which are amply sufficient to protect the City from any lawless
    or tumultuary inroad; and no organized attempt to seize it will be
    made, unless Virginia and Maryland leave the Union.

    Upon the whole it seems to be certain that this experiment of dis-
    union must be tried. In the theory of the Constitution, if it is push-
    ed to overt acts, subversive of the general government, it is rebellion
    and treason; altho.' viewed even in that light, its atrocity is mitigated
    by the fact, that the seceding states unquestionably consider themselves
    as exercising a reserved constitutional right. If an attempt is made
    to coerce them civil & servile war will certainly ensue, and all hope
    of reunion is blasted. If they are allowed to go in peace, which I
    have publicly advised; they may in a few years, feel it their interest
    to return, as the adhering states may find it theirs to woo them back,
    by abandoning anti-slavery agitation, as the basis of political action.

    Mess Barings have sent in your account to your Uncle for 1860.
    Including a balance against you from 1859 of about £90, the sum
    total for this year is about £494. This is rather more that your
    income for the year. Your account at the Barings, now that you are
    of age, will henceforth stand in your own name; but I shall write

    to them that I will be responsible for their advances to you. As
    your Uncles guardianship ceases, he is desirous that I should at-
    tend to your money affairs here, leaving however your Grandfather's
    legacy in his hands, unless you should want it, which I trust you
    will not. He would like therefore to have you write a letter, ad-
    dressed to Mess Edward Brooks, Sidney Brooks and P.C. Brooks, ex-
    ecutors and Trustees under the Will of the late Hon. P.C. Brooks re-
    questing them as Trustees to pay over to your father, Mr Edward Everett,
    from time to time your share of the income of your late beloved
    Mother's property, and as Executors the income of your Grandfather's
    legacy; the same to be remitted by me to the Barings or otherwise
    accounted for to you. Such a letter you can write by the next Steamer.
    Should you come home in the Summer, as I hope you will, you can
    execute a Power of Attorney to the same effect.

    The family is all well as usual, except that Helen slipped upon
    the ice and injured her spine. I see a posthumous volume of Lord
    Macaulay's history edited by Lord Trevelyan spoken of. can that be

    Kind remembrance to the Master and Lady Affleck
    Your Ever affectionate Papa
    [The additional letter copied onto this page has not been transcribed. Please refer to the page image.]