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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

CFA's date as writtn here.

7 March 1861

Saturday 9th

9 March 1861
8 March 1861
Friday 8th

My employment of time now varies little from day to day. My visiters throng here and I am sometimes much tried in my patience by their urgency. The most impetuous was Mr Couiny who is earnestly anxious for his own appointment and is angry with the delegation for their delay of action. He intimated that it would cost me the mission to England, which might have been had for Mr Sumner or myself if there had been a power here strong enough to demand it. I told him that so far as I was concerned I had no action to take for myself—that I would cheerfully do all in my power to promote Mr Sumner, but I was much checked here by the unavoidable inference that I was making a vacancy in the hope of getting myself into the Senate. He offered to do any thing in my behalf, but I declined. In the evening I went with Mrs Adams and Miss Elizabeth to the first evening reception at the President’s. We found a crowd blocking the doorway, and with great difficulty made our way in the vast current that set from that point all the way through the hall to the sitting room and there90 through that to the oval room where the President received. The ladies did not dare to venture into that stream which kept flowing in an undiminished current for two hours. I should think five or six thousand people must have been here, almost all of them well dressed and well behaved. At last we made a push, and after following the President through all the suits including the East room, we found him sitting on a sofa in the place from which we had started, and made our bow. He did not seem to recollect me until I named Miss Adams, when he rose and shook my hand then fell back again. He seemed entirely worn out. To my eye the expression of his countenance was formal and embarrassed. A still more marked case happened as Mrs Adams came forward, and Mr Nicolai, the Secretary seemed to be urging him to do something in a whisper, which was immediately followed by his disappearance from the room. Were Mr Lincoln a gentleman, this would have been intentional insult. As he has no training, I construe it simply an ignorance of social courtesy. Mrs Lincoln conducted herself very well and received us civilly but formally. But neither of them is at home in this sphere of civilization. We returned home safely soon afterward.

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=DCA61d067