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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Monday 29th

29 April 1861

Monday 1st

1 May 1861
30 April 1861
Tuesday 30th

A soft, springlike day. Soon after ten o’clock Governor Andrew was announced but instead of coming as I supposed with only his immediate Aids and Secretary, there filed in all the heads of bureaus of the Commonwealth. The whole of Council, the Secretary and Treasurer, the Adjutant and Quarter Master General, the Superintendent of the Agricultural Board and some others. The Governor rose and made me an address, alluding to the peculiar position which I occupied, to the departure of John Adams eighty four years ago, to the responsibility of my present mission, and closing with the expression of the entire confidence of the State in whose name he spoke as well as his own in my capacity and fidelity in the performance of my duty. For such a speech I was entirely unprepared and yet I saw that a reply was demanded. I therefore the employed the few minutes that I stood listening as well as I could to concoct an answer. I expressed my thanks for this most distinguished honor, my regard for him as the head of the Commonwealth not less than as a man, alluded to the painful circumstance in which I should leave the country, but took consolation from the fact that as my father and grandfather had both of them left in moments of the greatest national distress, so I might like them return to the hour of restoration of its prosperity. I then referred to the fact that the present emergency at least sent me ways with one circumstance of which I might be proud. Whoever else might have failed, I had seen Massachusetts under the guidance of the present Chief Magistrate and his coadjutors in the government display a degree of judgment and energy in meeting the crisis which had never been exceeded even in the trying days of the revolution. There had been no degeneracy shown in any of her129 population either in offering men or money to maintain the cause of law and liberty in America. Wherever I might myself be thrown I should remember this with pride and cite it with satisfaction. Now it became me to bid him and all the other gentlemen who accompanied him an affectionate farewell. He then took his leave and they retired with him. This is an honor, I think, never before paid to any foreign minister in America. I am at a loss to know to what I owe it, unless it be the open and general character of the man and perhaps to the desire to befriend me as against the underhand illtempered detraction of the ultra men of the Pierce stamp sustained by the peculiarly insidious jealousy of Mr Sumner. I am led to suspect this last is an element in it rather from some incidental remarks to Mrs Adams by Messr Lee and Ritchie, two of his aids, than by any thing coming from the Governor himself. At all events to me the compliment was purely voluntary. I had never expected or declared any such thing. The rest of my day was passed in despatching the first collection of luggage to the Steamer, in paying various accounts and in cutting off the various threads that tie a man to an old home. Towards evening I went out and paid two visits to Old men who I may never see again. Mr Quincy who had himself called in the morning whilst I was out to shake hands with me once more, and Mr James H Foster, who reminded me that his was the house I first stopped at with my father, on his return to Boston forty four years ago next August, and expressed his gratification at the idea that it was now to be the last I should visit before my departure. In the evening we had visits from Mr and Mrs J Quincy Jr, Dr Frothingham and his daughter Ellen, Mr F E Parker, Mr Horace Gray and Mr Arthur Dexter. The kindness and good will manifested to me not by them only but by every body that I meet in the Streets are really extraordinary. What have I done to merit it? Nothing, I fear, but a disposition to do what I believe to be my duty much too fully appreciated will account for it. These persons left so late that it was considerably after midnight when I had finished work so as to go to bed.130

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=DCA61d120