A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Monday 25th

25 February 1861

Wednesday 27th

27 February 1861
26 February 1861
Tuesday 26th

The House having fixed eleven o’clock as the hour of meeting I had not long to attend to my affairs at home. The day at the House was altogether the most disturbed and excited one we have had. First, we had up Mr Stanton’s bill to authorize volunteers, on which we had several speeches of rather a vehement kind. Some of the gentlemen came over from the South80 American side to urge a postponement of the bill and finally Mr Corwin made a motion and it was carried. I could not vote for it, because I thought it was leaving the government here altogether unprotected from violence, in case Virginia and Maryland should persevere in the policy of secession. We then came upon the report of the Committee of thirty three. And immediately a very vehement contest became visible. Motions to postpone so as to defeat all action followed each other in quick succession. Monday, Saturday and tomorrow each in turn was voted upon and defeated. Then came political strategy. Dilatory motions and ill tempered, fiery remarks from our side of the House which showed a combination to defeat and destroy all conciliatory action. This was stiffly resisted by the majority but it consumed time, and patience. The madness of such men as Messr Hickman and Ashley and Washburn seemed most extraordinary. Sharp antagonism in a popular body like this seems to produce the most extraordinary effects on the reasoning powers. It raises the most minute trifle to the size of the largest object. We wasted several hours in this way and ended off at last just where we should have begun. So that tomorrow the voting is to commence. I go home after about eight hours of session hungry and fatigued.

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=DCA61d057