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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday, 1st.

1 November 1861

Sunday 3d.

3 November 1861
2 November 1861
Saturday 2d.

On rising this morning, the first thing I saw out of the window were very large flakes of snow which had been falling long enough to coat the roofs, and which continued dropping until about nine o’clock. All traces of it disappeared immediately, and the day was clear and cool. I devoted my morning to reading a paper I have received from my son Charles upon the leading characteristics of my father’s life. It is very well done. He has studied the subject a good deal since I talked with him last, and he seizes the main ideas very well, but he needs to make his view broader and deeper. He has the capacity. I then took up Mr Hadfield’s interminable notes about the relations with Canada. There is nonetheless a great deal of value in his speculations. This is one of the questions that will rise in importance just in proportion as268 the southern problem becomes settled. Hardly had I completed it before he came in person, and he talked a good while. Then Mr Sanford came, called here by the result of my conference with Mr Morse. But he went off soon, promising to come back in the evening. I then went out to walk and on my way called to return the visit of M la Fuente at Morley’s Hotel. He had nothing new. But he said his despatches from home were all encouraging in their tenor. The constitutionalists were establishing their authority, and the rising of Marquez would fall to nothing. As to the movements on this side he knew no more than before. In the evening Mr Sanford came, and we talked very freely about his system of espionage. I explained the position in which it was placing me and apprised him of my having written to the Department to get rid of it. I said that whilst he was quietly sitting on the other side of the channel without any responsibility for the acts of the worthless people whom he was employing, the odium of their dirty conduct was inevitably fastened upon me. If I disavowed any participation in it, I should run a risk of indirectly censuring those who had, including of course the government itself. If I did not, that I was assuming conduct of which I was ashamed. Mr Sanford seemed a little startled by my earnestness, and finally came to the conclusion that the coarser part of the system must cease. I urged him to stop the whole of it, as coasting much more than it was worth. In truth the results thus far arrived at have been nothing on one side of the Atlantic and discredit on the other. One of Mr Seward’s errors since he has been in the government has been the extent to which he has placed confidence in this shallow and imprudent man. Mr Sanford bore my remonstrance with a good deal of equanimity, and left apparently very cordial. But I imagine he will never forgive me.

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=DCA61d306