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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Thursday 28th

28 March 1861

Saturday 30th

30 March 1861
29 March 1861
Friday 29th

A fine day. After breakfast I ordered my things sent to No 326 N. Street and then went to the State Department to renew my reading. I finished today the rest of Mr Dallas’s letters, and those of the secretary of state. Nothing can be more dull than the former, excepting one letter describing his embarrassment when Lord Brugham in public last year had called his attention to the fact of the presence of a negro, as a member of a scientific world’s convention held in London. This is one of many cases likely to happen in Europe, where slavery in America finds its friends and supporters liable to humiliation before civilization. But if Mr Dallas is awkward and ill at ease, the Secretary on his part is impudent and surly. The slaveowner’s brand is plainly on his brow, and the consequence is imprecations on all those who refuse to submit to the same degradation. It was a relief from this style to fall back upon the letters of Governor Marry, when Secretary, which do him much credit. having accomplished all my objects I called on the Secretary to ask if he had ny thing more to say to me. He read to me a paper on our relations with Peru which he was drawing up for the President. It is singular as the case involves the very question touching parts of a country in a state of insurrection as related to the action of friendly foreign nations, which is now opened by the position of our seceded states. It seems107 that the late administration was disposed to push the question to the point of war on account of the capture of vessels which had undertaken to trade with a revolted section. The Governor quietly retreats from this, and quotes the authority of the French government which declined to claim indemnity in a similar instance. This is useful in the present emergency. I also had the opportunity to read the instructions given to Mr Lanford which referred to the same subject. Indeed this is the only topic of interest now with foreign countries. He finished by asking me to dine with him tomorrow at 7 o’clock. Thence I went to my new quarters where I was relieved from the crowd and had no interruptions. In the evening I called again to se Mr Sumner, who full of the Palfrey matter. After a long conference with Mr Blair, he had persuaded him to carry his written nomination directly to the President, who had confirmed it; so the thing was done. I am glad of it, for, in these days integrity is not always to be presumed in public office. So far as I know it, I have been instrumental in advancing no man who is not clear in this regard. I think this independent action is very honorable to Mr Sumner also. He doubtless weakens his partisan interest, but it will be more than made up by the applause of the valuable classes of the Community. Returning home I found Mr Campbell there. I asked him about his correspondence with the British Commissioner in regard to the island for San Juan. He promised to send me his letter book tomorrow.

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=DCA61d088