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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Wednesday 27th

27 February 1861

Friday March 1st

1 March 1861
28 February 1861
Thursday 28th

I went up to the Capitol this morning in good time as I supposed that the question would be early taken on reconsideration of the vote of yesterday. And so it was. Very soon after the reading of the Journal, the special order was called for, and Mr Kilgore advocated his motion of reconsideration. Mr Stanton of Ohio then made one of his short and very effective speeches which was received with great favor by the other side. He followed it by moving the previous question which created a not unreasonable rage in the minority. But there was no resource and the vote followed. It was pursued with great interest on both sides. And when the announcement came that it was carried by a vote of 133 to 65 it was received by the most disorderly applause both on the floor and in the galleries. It is difficult to understand why it should have been so violently disputed by our friends. The explanation is to be found rather in the personal82 conflicts for superiority between rival interests outside of the House than any internal discord. Mr Chase is pushed by the outside New York people as a counterpoise to Mr Seward who is advocated by the ruling power there. And the hopes and fears of many balance between them. This over, the House seemed to incline to res from the excitement, and Mr Sherman moved to lay aside the order and take up the Appropriation bills. We continued discussing amendment until after five o’clock, when an adjurnment was carried. I hastened home to dress for dinner and then went back to the National Hotel. Mr Spaulding had invited me and with all my effort I was half an hour late, and the company were already seated at the table. It consisted of the President elect and the Vice President, General Scott, Messr Seward and King, Messr Pennington, Sherman, and myself, Messr Chase Crittenden, Caleb B Smith, Judge Bates, Winter Davis, Thurlow Weed and I know not how many more. It was quite formal and a little dull. All the candidates talked of for the Cabinet seemed to have been gathered together. I sat next to Mr Pennington, who amused me with his sharp and shrewd whispers tracking the appearance of the men. I have had no occasion this year to find fault with him as I did last season. He has dropped all reference whatsoever to my family and treat me as I had not any claims beyond my own. Just as we were breaking up I shook hands with Governor Seward and asked him whether thing were right at head quarters. He answered immediately No, they were not wrong, but scarcely quite right. Mr Crittenden then came up and engaged me in conversation about the New Mexico proposition, which he said he could not support as it would be only introducing a Free State. He preferred that the matter should be put off to which I told him that our friends would make no object. Just then Mr Seward came back and hurried me off to be introduced to Judge Davis, the same gentleman in company with whom I dined on Monday. “Here, said he, is the only man who has comprehended the83 policy for the present emergency.” His purpose seemed to be to get the gentlemen invited to my house this evening, which was immediately done. With Mr Lincoln himself, although I sat next but once to him I only passed a formal salutation. The time had arrived for me to get home where Mrs Adams was about to receive her friends, in return for the many civilities shown to us during these two seasons by the citizens. It was quite a brilliant party, including most of the Corps Diplomatique. Mr and Mrs Lincoln had been invited, but they did not come and sent no apology. They are obviously new in the conventionalisms of refined society. I was glad when it was over, and I went to bed about two o’clock. The most burdensome tax upon me in my present position is the social tax. It is wholly contrary to my taste. I have chearfully endured it for two seasons on account of the peculiar condition of my political friends who have needed some support of this kind; but from this time they are in the ascendant, and the official organization will sustain them without any volunteers assistance.

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=DCA61d059