A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Tuesday 19th

19 January 1864

Thursday 21st

21 January 1864
20 January 1864
Wednesday 20th

Busy in making up my Quarterly Account to government, which always gives me a prodigious deal of trouble. In the midst of it came interruptions in plenty. Mr David A Burr brought me a letter of introduction from my son John. He is from Washington and comes out on business. Mr E Haskett Derby and his son, just arrived in the Asia, which met with a very rough passage. He comes for his health, and is accompanied by his son, to take care of him. He does look changed indeed from what he was when occupying the room opposite to mine in Hollis building, at Cambridge. Perhaps I looked quite as much so to him. A man by the name of More with a friend of his came and asked a confidential interview. The object proved to be to disclose a project for the United States to buy a large quantity of the bonds of the rebel Cotton loan, and buy three steamers for the purpose of running the blockade and getting out cotton to sell at a great price. This was to be done through the medium of some London house. I could hardly control my countenance whilst551 listening to this, as it was gravely announced as the most effective way to destroy the South. How remarkably does a great event like this in America develope all the latent eccentricity of the human brain. The number of persons who have come to me or written to suggest summary modes of finishing the war has been marvellous. But this one seems to me to stand above them all. Walked out and on my way called to take leave of Coll and Mrs Ritchie who propose to return home on Saturday. I shall be sorry to have them go. On the whole the number of pleasant countrymen whom I find here passing to and fro is not very large. In the evening read an article in the Edinburgh review on the slave question in America, very much at war with any that have preceded it in that publication. I think the town is a little changed here. Mr Morse came in to talk of the reports of his spies of the movements of the rebels in France. He fears an attempt to capture the Kearsarge, by the Florida and other vessels fitting out there. He wished to know what I advised. I said that the commander of the Kearsarge ought to be apprised of these schemes and put on his guard. He would be able to judge whether Keararge would be to send a person to the Consul at Havre. One of the men would go from here. Of course I advised it, although I doubt the utility of such trouble and expense for what might be done better in the ordinary way. But it will not do to take the responsibility of what might have been presented, if a measure proposed for that end had been adopted. There is much in a war that must be trusted to the guidance of a power that works out its ends by means we poor mortals can neither control nor even comprehend.

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=DCA64d020