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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1865

Sunday 29th

29 January 1865

Tuesday 31st

31 January 1865
30 January 1865
Monday 30th



The first thing I saw on my dressing table this morning was two telegrams by the Steamer from America, announcing that two weeks ago Fort Fisher at the mouth of Caper Fear River had been taken by Storm, with all the garrison and guns and the navy was placed in the river itself. This will close the last remaining port through which supplies outside have been obtained by the rebels. Coming as it does so immediately upon the failure of General Butler, it strikes us with the greater surprise. The moral effect will be great on the fortunes of the rebellion. I never feel very sanguine that there will not be another campaign. The same telegram brought the news that Mr Everett had died of apoplexy on Sunday the 15th. I little though six or eight years ago that I should look upon this event with such deep regret. With very brilliant abilities his early career had not impressed me with any belief in the sincerity of his purposes in life. A wide ambition had been held in check only by his moral timidity, both elements combining to present to the outside world an almost purely artificial surface. Thus he went through many years of what in America is regarded as a very distinguished career. What I most blamed in him was his consent to subject himself to the influence of Mr Webster, a man whom in all the moral aspects of his life, he could not but feel to have been unworthy of his association. It was not until the breaking out of the present troubles that he really began to emancipate himself from the subjection of secondary personal views. He at once met that crisis like a man, and from that day steadily used what influence he could being to bear upon the struggle with all its force upon the result. The great value of this was most perceptible in the Presidential election, when merely personal ambition might naturally have led him wrong. His speech in that canvass is in my belief the masterpiece of his life as a Statesman. He had not unjustly claimed to have done much to affect the issue. Had he lived longer, I do not doubt that he would have been offered a leading place in the councils of the country. It is only on Wednesday last that in this Diary I recorded my hope that he might be sent to take my place here—one which I knew he had always fancied, and which he filled with great satisfaction to all others as well as himself more than twenty years ago. The country in losing him now has met with a calamity. In our private circle,189 this is the first instance of the elimination of both the hands of a family belonging to Mr Brooks’s connection. My wife, who in her youth was much under his care, whilst with her sister, feels the shock very sensibly. The newspaper files due last week reached me this morning, and were read with great interest. General Butler’s removal seems to have made some sensation among the ultra almost suspect him of a wish to defeat the expedition, because the command was not given to him. At any rate, the event defeats all his calculations, and leaves him helpless. Usual day and walk in the evening. The weather more disagreeable than ever— Snow and rain and fog from damp as well as smoke. In the evening, began Mill’s Political Economy and finished Dr Palfrey’s third volume.

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=DCA65d030