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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday 4th

4 January 1861

Sunday 6th

6 January 1861
5 January 1861
Saturday 5th

Mild and cloudy. I continued my labor at letter writing today. But the number I receive is so great that I cannot pretend to keep up. At noon I went to the capitol to attend the Committee. Not a quorum present. Yet we went on and discussed Mr Millson’s proposition. I succeeded in riddling it, as Mr Nelson immediately moved to strike out all the part I objected to, which left the thing without point. It was then passed. We next went to Mr Davis's report on the Fugitive slave law. I moved an amendment to erase it application to a territory. Negatived. Mr Washburn then moved to alter it so as to give a jury trial in the place where the alleged slave was seised, lost by nine to seven. This was so close that it was obvious the accession of enough votes to make a quorum might change the result. Hence it was not safe to proceed, so an adjurnment was moved and carried. From here I stepped into the caucus which was near its end. Mr Howard was speaking evidently upon the puzzling problem of the territorial question, and in defence of the Committee’s action. The meeting then adjurned without a vote. I afterwards learned that there had been a good deal of feeling manifested against both propositions, and that the pressing of either would have a45 certain effect to divide us. The excitement in the country immediately reacts on the members here, and from a state of apathy and panic in the beginning of the session, they are now rushing to the opposite extreme of vehemence and rigidity. They are equally unworthy of the dignity of the occasion. Let me endeavor so far as I may to keep between them so as to be conciliatory even though firm. Returned home. My daughter Louisa and Mr Kuhn arrived here from Philadelphia this evening. She is to remain with us, for a month. Mr Preston King called in the evening to see me and to talk about my action in Committee on the hill to admit New Mexico. He seemed to be afraid that I was going to be tenacious, according to my character. But I told him that I was relieved this only as a question of policy, and hence if our friends divided on it to any extent, I should regard it as impolite to press it. The whole matter was yet under control, and we will to consult upon our course after information, and if that was decisive we should probably overturn all we had done, and report a want of agreement. He seemed much relieved and went off, agreeing to drive with us Sunday week.

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=DCA61d005