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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Wednesday 20th

20 February 1861

Friday 22d

22 February 1861
21 February 1861
Thursday 21st

Visits from Messrs Hildreth and Churchill, who kept me in conversation until quite late so that I had to ride to the Capitol. In the Boston Transcript I find a carefully prepared leader urging me for a place in the Cabinet, at the head of the Treasury. Where this originates I cannot imagine—but I find myself named here from time to time, so that it is not laid asleep. This is purely annoying. Mr Lincoln’s indecision is the cause. If he had only adhered to the first plan, all his friends here would by this time have settled down in acquiescence. And in my mind he will finally be obliged to come back to it. I confess I am gloomy about him. His beginning is inauspicious. It indicates the absence of the heroic qualities which he most needs. A doubt is generally entertained as to the nature of the policy he will pursue. If coercive, it is obvious Mr Seward cannot go with him, and we may have war in thirty days. I doubt whether he will take that course, but he may attempt a middle one which will be worse than either. Vacillation now is fatal. At the House there was a resumption of the discussion on the bill of Mr Stanton, and Mr Bocock finished his speech, on the whole the best I have heard from him. Mr Howard of Michigan then made a brief but pointed reply, and the bill subsided, to give place to a measure to pay the debt occasioned by the Indian War in Oregon and76 Washington. Much fraud and wickedness must be presumed in all the relations of the White man with the Indian, but yet it scarcely be denied that to the settler in the wilderness the Indian is seldom a trustworthy neighbor. A sharp discussion arose which was terminated by the adoption of the measure in an amended form. Adjourned until Saturday. Mrs Adams and I with John and Miss Crowninshield dined with Lord Lyons and a large company composed of Miss Lane, Messr Toucey and King of the Cabinet, Mrs Toucey, Mr and Mrs Crittenden, Messr King and Wadsworth of the peace commissioners, Mr and Mrs Streckl and Miss Robbins, a Mr Corlin, Mr Seaton, Mr Duncan and a flock of attachés. After dinner Mr Crittenden talked with me about his measures; professed his willingness to accept those of the committee, even though it should be making a Free State of New Mexico, but there were those with whom he was accustomed to act who controlled him. That is precisely what I supposed. I intimated to him my view of the mischief attending the course. The dinner was shorter than usual and we got home early.

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=DCA61d052