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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Wednesday 2d.

2 January 1861

Friday 4th

4 January 1861
3 January 1861
Thursday 3d

Foggy and damp weather, very promotive of cold, and sore throats. I went to the Capitol early to attend a preliminary of the republican section of the Committee. He went41 into the question of our policy, and agreed that it would not do to leave it in the present shape. The other side must either determine to adopt our ultimatum, or if they do not, we must say at once that we will vote down every thing, we have done and report to the House at we cannot agree. It was also agreed to ascertain th feeling our own friends, and if we were likely to find an essential division among them, to consider whether under those circumstances it would not be more injurious to risk that there it would do good by persevering. We then joined the General Committee. The first business was the disposition to be made of the Crittenden resolutions. They were actually voted down in course, but as it was thought inexpedient by many to have it go out on the record we agreed to a vote to put it genteelly out of the way without a flat negative. We then came upon some good natured resolutions of Mr Bristow of Kentucky, which were unanimously passed without debate. This brought us to Mr Winter Davis's fugitive slave bill. Mr Millson however interposed with another proposition to recommend the repeal of the personal Liberty laws where they shew only a hostile intent to the execution of that law. But we adjuirned till Saturday to think of it. I then returned home. Governor Seward dined with us. But before dinner he came in and asked me to copy and sign a draught of a letter to J A Andrew our Governor, notifying him of the existence of a conspiracy here and in Maryland to seize the Capitol, and of the necessity of raising a provisional force to be ready to be called in on one moment’s warning. A separate paper requested him to direct the firing of salutes on the 8th of January, in honor of General Jackson, of the Union, and of the defence of Major Anderson. I did so, and mailed the letter afterwards myself. After dinner he recurred to the old matter of the Cabinet, and said that the nomination of Mr Cameroon had been received so unfavorably that he had made one sure effort to correct it. A Mr Senet of Illinois had been with him and had seen the importance of the change so strongly as to sit down and write a long letter to Mr Lincoln pretty forcibly embodying his own sentiments. So Mr Cameron himself had talked with him, had proposed no risk for the Treasury, and42 addressed a letter to Mr Lincoln recommending me, and offering to take the War Department in lieu of the Treasury. Thus the matter stood, not yet settled. In the running Mr Alley had spoken to me on the subject, had alluded to the instructions that had come from the state central committee, and to a desire of the delegation that some attempt should be made to secure a cabinet officer for Massachusetts. He said that the delegation would urge me, I replied that I thought it too late, that I had really no desire for the post, and that I should be satisfied with Mr Chase or Mr Seward in the Cabinet as representative man enough to reconcile me to all his other selections. He said there was to be a meeting of the delegation at their house to consult about it in the evening, and he hoped I would come. I said I would, and accordingly when Mr Seward left I went. Messs Train, Eliot, Gooch and Dawes, and afterwards General Wilson with Mr Mitchell were present. They talked it ovr and announced that the delegation was unanimous in my favor, and Mr Alley was authorised to go in person to Springfield to make the necessary representation. I reiterated my opinion that it was all too late. Mr Lincoln had made his New England selection and I was satisfied with the Cabinet. All this revive my anxieties which had been heretofore laid. I still believe I shall be sand this danger. What Mr Cameron’s motive for acting is for acting as he has done, I am at a loss to say, but of his sincerity I am not prepared to give any guaranty. I will not lift a finger in the business. I am satisfied with my place. I did desire that, though even then I would do nothing to obtain it. But I do not desire this one. Governor Seward tonight seemed more anxious than at any time. he told me that the struggle in Mr Buchanan’s cabinet had ben and was yet fearful. But that Mess Hobb, Black and Stanton had got a partial control and were doing in conjunction with himself every thing to screw up the President to energy. Thus far they had not got to the point of sending supplies or aid to Major Anderson. And there was no knowing but at any moment he would fall back into the gnash of the other set of men. Was there any thing more deplorable?43

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA61d003