A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Sunday 27th

27 January 1861

Tuesday 29th

29 January 1861
28 January 1861
Monday 28th

I have received from Mr Charles Hale, an application for a copy of my speech in advance, so that he may print it at the same time with the delivery. My son has therefore agreed to make a copy, and I looked it over and put into shape for him. At the House Mr Pryor made a speech in his vein, but in a much more subdued manner than he used during the last winter. His declamation about the wrongs and outrages of the Free States was rather felicitous in language than vigorous in reasoning or powerful in thought. Soon after Mr Hale of New Hampshire came to my desk and suggested the propriety of writing to the Governor of Massachusetts, to ask him to send some delegates to this place to meet those coming from Virginia and other states to arrange propositions of compromise on the slave question. I thought it well enough to shew interest in order to master the nature of the scheme, so I wrote the heading of a letter, and went round and got the delegation to sign it which they did, so far as I could find them. Mr Thayer was the only person in the Hall. Thence I went to the Senate and found Wilson who signed it, but when I came to Sumner I found he not only had declined but had written to the Governor strongly dissuading any meeting with a treacherous and violent assemblage, which in his opinion was to be the nucleus of the assault upon the city. This did not seem to me to be very reasonable for if this assemblage was to be treasonable, it was so much the more proper for delegates to be present who might expose its nature and character to the country. So I sent the letter soon afterwards, I got back to my seat and was writing a private letter explaining this matter to Governor Andrew, when Sumner came over to Mr Alley’s seat and began remonstrating with him about signing the letter. The latter who sits next to me asked me if the letter was gone. I said Yes, and soon joined in the conversation. It grew rather warm between us as I intimated that his policy was insulating Massachusetts, and I could not consent to lend myself to it. We talked until after the adjournment, and the sweepers drove us from the Hall. I then walked home. Happily we dined alone, and I spent the evening quietly reusing and correcting my speech.60

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=DCA61d028