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Diary from March 4, 1861, to November 12, 1862
by Adam Gurowski
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Transcriber's note:

Obvious printer's errors have been corrected. Hyphenation and accentuation have been standardised. All other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been retained.



DIARY, FROM MARCH 4, 1861, TO NOVEMBER 12, 1862.

by

ADAM GUROWSKI.



Boston: Lee and Shepard, Successors to Phillips, Sampson & Co. 1862.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by Lee and Shepard, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.



Dedicated

TO

THE WIDOWED WIVES, THE BEREAVED MOTHERS, SISTERS,

SWEETHEARTS, AND ORPHANS

IN

THE LOYAL STATES.



On doit a son pays sa fortune, sa vie, mais avant tout la Verite.

In this Diary I recorded what I heard and saw myself, and what I heard from others, on whose veracity I can implicitly rely.

I recorded impressions as immediately as I felt them. A life almost wholly spent in the tempests and among the breakers of our times has taught me that the first impressions are the purest and the best.

If they ever peruse these pages, my friends and acquaintances will find therein what, during these horrible national trials, was a subject of our confidential conversations and discussions, what in letters and by mouth was a subject of repeated forebodings and warnings. Perhaps these pages may in some way explain a phenomenon almost unexampled in history,—that twenty millions of people, brave, highly intelligent, and mastering all the wealth of modern civilization, were, if not virtually overpowered, at least so long kept at bay by about five millions of rebels.

GUROWSKI.

WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER, 1862.



CONTENTS.

MARCH, 1861. 13

Inauguration day — The message — Scott watching at the door of the Union — The Cabinet born — The Seward and Chase struggle — The New York radicals triumph — The treason spreads — The Cabinet pays old party debts — The diplomats confounded — Poor Senators! — Sumner is like a hare tracked by hounds — Chase in favor of recognizing the revolted States — Blunted axes — Blair demands action, brave fellow! — The slave-drivers — The month of March closes — No foresight! no foresight!

APRIL, 1861. 22

Seward parleying with the rebel commissioners — Corcoran's dinner — The crime in full blast! — 75,000 men called for — Massachusetts takes the lead — Baltimore — Defence of Washington — Blockade discussed — France our friend, not England — Warning to the President — Virginia secedes — Lincoln warned again — Seward says it will all blow over in sixty to ninety days — Charles F. Adams — The administration undecided; the people alone inspired — Slavery must perish! — The Fabian policy — The Blairs — Strange conduct of Scott — Lord Lyons — Secret agent to Canada.

MAY, 1861. 37

The administration tossed by expedients — Seward to Dayton — Spread-eagleism — One phasis of the American Union finished — The fuss about Russell — Pressure on the administration increases — Seward, Wickoff, and the Herald — Lord Lyons menaced with passports — The splendid Northern army — The administration not up to the occasion — The new men — Andrew, Wadsworth, Boutwell, Noyes, Wade, Trumbull, Walcott, King, Chandler, Wilson — Lyon jumps over formulas — Governor Banks needed — Butler takes Baltimore with two regiments — News from England — The "belligerent" question — Butler and Scott — Seward and the diplomats — "What a Merlin!" — "France not bigger than New York!" — Virginia invaded — Murder of Ellsworth — Harpies at the White House.

JUNE, 1861. 50

Butler emancipates slaves — The army not organized — Promenades — The blockade — Louis Napoleon — Scott all in all — Strategy! — Gun contracts — The diplomats — Masked batteries — Seward writes for "bunkum" — Big Bethel — The Dayton letter — Instructions to Mr. Adams.

JULY, 1861. 60

The Evening Post — The message — The administration caught napping — McDowell — Congress slowly feels its way — Seward's great facility of labor — Not a Know-Nothing — Prophesies a speedy end — Carried away by his imagination — Says "secession is over" — Hopeful views — Politeness of the State department — Scott carries on the campaign from his sleeping room — Bull Run — Rout — Panic — "Malediction! Malediction!" — Not a manly word in Congress! — Abuse of the soldiers — McClellan sent for — Young-blood — Gen. Wadsworth — Poor McDowell! — Scott responsible — Plan of reorganization — Let McClellan beware of routine.

AUGUST, 1861. 78

The truth about Bull Run — The press staggers — The Blairs alone firm — Scott's military character — Seward — Mr. Lincoln reads the Herald — The ubiquitous lobbyist — Intervention — Congress adjourns — The administration waits for something to turn up — Wade — Lyon is killed — Russell and his shadow — The Yankees take the loan — Bravo, Yankees! — McClellan works hard — Prince Napoleon — Manassas fortifications a humbug — Mr. Seward improves — Old Whigism — McClellan's powers enlarged — Jeff. Davis makes history — Fremont emancipates in Missouri — The Cabinet.

SEPTEMBER, 1861. 92

What will McClellan do? — Fremont disavowed — The Blairs not in fault — Fremont ignorant and a bungler — Conspiracy to destroy him — Seward rather on his side — McClellan's staff — A Marcy will not do! — McClellan publishes a slave-catching order — The people move onward — Mr. Seward again — West Point — The Washington defences — What a Russian officer thought of them — Oh, for battles! — Fremont wishes to attack Memphis; a bold move! — Seward's influence over Lincoln — The people for Fremont — Col. Romanoff's opinion of the generals — McClellan refuses to move — Manoeuvrings — The people uneasy — The staff — The Orleans — Brave boys! — The Potomac closed — Oh, poor nation! — Mexico — McClellan and Scott.

OCTOBER, 1861. 104

Experiments on the people's life-blood — McClellan's uniform — The army fit to move — The rebels treat us like children — We lose time — Everything is defensive — The starvation theory — The anaconda — First interview with McClellan — Impressions of him — His distrust of the volunteers — Not a Napoleon nor a Garibaldi — Mason and Slidell — Seward admonishes Adams — Fremont goes overboard — The pro-slavery party triumph — The collateral missions to Europe — Peace impossible — Every Southern gentleman is a pirate — When will we deal blows? — Inertia! inertia!

NOVEMBER, 1861. 115

Ball's Bluff — Whitewashing — "Victoria! Old Scott gone overboard!" — His fatal influence — His conceit — Cameron — Intervention — More reviews — Weed, Everett, Hughes — Gov. Andrew — Boutwell — Mason and Slidell caught — Lincoln frightened by the South Carolina success — Waits unnoticed in McClellan's library — Gen. Thomas — Traitors and pedants — The Virginia campaign — West Point — McClellan's speciality — When will they begin to see through him?

DECEMBER, 1861. 129

The message — Emancipation — State papers published — Curtis Noyes — Greeley not fit for Senator — Generalship all on the rebel side — The South and the North — The sensationists — The new idol will cost the people their life-blood! — The Blairs — Poor Lincoln! — The Trent affair — Scott home again — The war investigation committee — Mr. Mercier.

JANUARY, 1862. 137

The year 1861 ends badly — European defenders of slavery — Secession lies — Jeremy Diddlers — Sensation-seekers — Despotic tendencies — Atomistic Torquemadas — Congress chained by formulas — Burnside's expedition a sign of life — Will this McClellan ever advance? — Mr. Adams unhorsed — He packs his trunks — Bad blankets — Austria, Prussia, and Russia — The West Point nursery — McClellan a greater mistake than Scott — Tracks to the White House — European stories about Mr. Lincoln — The English ignorami — The slaveholder a scarcely varnished savage — Jeff. Davis — "Beauregard frightens us — McClellan rocks his baby" — Fancy army equipment — McClellan and his chief of staff sick in bed — "No satirist could invent such things" — Stanton in the Cabinet — "This Stanton is the people" — Fremont — Weed — The English will not be humbugged — Dayton in a fret — Beaufort — The investigating committee condemn McClellan — Lincoln in the clutches of Seward and Blair — Banks begs for guns and cavalry in vain — The people will awake! — The question of race — Agassiz.

FEBRUARY, 1862. 151

Drifting — The English blue book — Lord John could not act differently — Palmerston the great European fuss-maker — Mr. Seward's "two pickled rods" for England — Lord Lyons — His pathway strewn with broken glass — Gen. Stone arrested — Sumner's resolutions infuse a new spirit in the Constitution — Mr. Seward beyond salvation — He works to save slavery — Weed has ruined him — The New York press — "Poor Tribune" — The Evening Post — The Blairs — Illusions dispelled — "All quiet on the Potomac" — The London papers — Quill-heroes can be bought for a dinner — French opinion — Superhuman efforts to save slavery — It is doomed! — "All you worshippers of darkness cannot save it!" — The Hutchinsons — Corporal Adams — Victories in the West — Stanton the man! — Strategy (hear!)

MARCH, 1862. 165

The Africo-Americans — Fremont — The Orleans — Confiscation — American nepotism — The Merrimac — Wooden guns — Oh shame! — Gen. Wadsworth — The rats have the best of Stanton — McClellan goes to Fortress Monroe — Utter imbecility — The embarkation — McClellan a turtle — He will stick in the marshes — Louis Napoleon behaves nobly — So does Mr. Mercier — Queen Victoria for freedom — The great strategian — Senator Sumner and the French minister — Archbishop Hughes — His diplomatic activity not worth the postage on his correspondence — Alberoni-Seward — Love's labor lost.

APRIL, 1862. 180

Immense power of the President — Mr. Seward's Egeria — Programme of peace — The belligerent question — Roebucks and Gregories scums — Running the blockade — Weed and Seward take clouds for camels — Uncle Sam's pockets — Manhood, not money, the sinews of war — Colonization schemes — Senator Doolittle — Coal mine speculation — Washington too near the seat of war — Blair demands the return of a fugitive slave woman — Slavery is Mr. Lincoln's "mammy" — He will not destroy her — Victories in the West — The brave navy — McClellan subsides in mud before Yorktown — Telegraphs for more men — God will be tired out! — Great strength of the people — Emancipation in the District — Wade's speech — He is a monolith — Chase and Seward — N. Y. Times — The Rothschilds — Army movements and plans.

MAY, 1862. 198

Capture of New Orleans — The second siege of Troy — Mr. Seward lights his lantern to search for the Union-saving party — Subserviency to power — Vitality of the people — Yorktown evacuated — Battle of Williamsburg — Great bayonet charge! — Heintzelman and Hooker — McClellan telegraphs that the enemy outnumber him — The terrible enemy evacuate Williamsburg — The track of truth begins to be lost — Oh Napoleon! — Oh spirit of Berthier! — Dayton not in favor — Events are too rapid for Lincoln — His integrity — Too tender of men's feelings — Halleck — Ten thousand men disabled by disease — The Bishop of Orleans — The rebels retreat without the knowledge of McNapoleon — Hunter's proclamation — Too noble for Mr. Lincoln — McClellan again subsides in mud — Jackson defeats Banks, who makes a masterly retreat — Bravo, Banks! — The aulic council frightened — Gov. Andrew's letter — Sigel — English opinion — Mr. Mill — Young Europa — Young Germany — Corinth evacuated — Oh, generalship! — McDowell grimly persecuted by bad luck.

JUNE, 1862. 218

Diplomatic circulars seasoned by stories — Battle before Richmond — Casey's division disgraced — McClellan afterwards confesses he was misinformed — Fair Oaks — "Nobody is hurt, only the bleeding people" — Fremont disobeys orders — N. Y. Times, World, and Herald, opinion-poisoning sheets — Napoleon never visible before nine o'clock in the morning — Hooker and the other fighters soldered to the mud — Senator Sumner shows the practical side of his intellect — "Slavery a big job!" — McClellan sends for mortars — Defenders of slavery in Congress worse than the rebels — Wooden guns and cotton sentries at Corinth — The navy is glorious — Brave old Gideon Welles! — July 4th to be celebrated in Richmond! — Colonization again — Justice to France — New regiments — The people sublime! — Congress — Lincoln visits Scott — McDowell — Pope — Disloyalty in the departments.

JULY, 1862. 233

Intervention — The cursed fields of the Chickahominy — Titanic fightings, but no generalship — McClellan the first to reach James river — The Orleans leave — July 4th, the gloomiest since the birth of the republic — Not reinforcements, but brains, wanted; and brains not transferable! — The people run to the rescue — Rebel tactics — Lincoln does not sacrifice Stanton — McClellan not the greatest culprit — Stanton a true statesman — The President goes to James river — The Union as it was, a throttling nightmare! — A man needed! — Confiscation bill signed — Congress adjourned — Mr. Dicey — Halleck, the American Carnot — Lincoln tries to neutralize the confiscation bill — Guerillas spread like locusts.

AUGUST, 1862. 245

Emancipation — The President's hand falls back — Weed sent for — Gen. Wadsworth — The new levies — The Africo-Americans not called for — Let every Northern man be shot rather! — End of the Peninsula campaign — Fifty or sixty thousand dead — Who is responsible? — The army saved — Lincoln and McClellan — The President and the Africo-Americans — An Eden in Chiriqui — Greeley — The old lion begins to awake — Mr. Lincoln tells stories — The rebels take the offensive — European opinion — McClellan's army landed — Roebuck — Halleck — Butler's mistakes — Hunter recalled — Terrible fighting at Manassas — Pope cuts his way through — Reinforcements slow incoming — McClellan reduced in command.

SEPTEMBER, 1862. 258

Consummatum est! — Will the outraged people avenge itself? — McClellan satisfies the President — After a year! — The truth will be throttled — Public opinion in Europe begins to abandon us — The country marching to its tomb — Hooker, Kearney, Heintzelman, Sigel, brave and true men — Supremacy of mind over matter — Stanton the last Roman — Inauguration of the pretorian regime — Pope accuses three generals — Investigation prevented by McClellan — McDowell sacrificed — The country inundated with lies — The demoralized army declares for McClellan — The pretorians will soon finish with liberty — Wilkes sent to the West Indian waters — Russia — Mediation — Invasion of Maryland — Strange story about Stanton — Richmond never invested — McClellan in search of the enemy — Thirty miles in six days — The telegrams — Wadsworth — Capitulation of Harper's Ferry — Five days' fighting — Brave Hooker wounded — No results — No reports from McClellan — Tactics of the Maryland campaign — Nobody hurt in the staff — Charmed lives — Wadsworth, Judge Conway, Wade, Boutwell, Andrew — This most intelligent people become the laughing-stock of the world! — The proclamation of emancipation — Seward to the Paisley Association — Future complications — If Hooker had not been wounded! — The military situation — Sigel persecuted by West Point — Three cheers for the carriage and six! — How the great captain was to catch the rebel army — Interview with the Chicago deputation — Winter quarters — The conspiracy against Sigel — Numbers of the rebel army — Letters of marque.

OCTOBER, 1862. 288

Costly infatuation — The do-nothing strategy — Cavalry on lame horses — Bayonet charges — Antietam — Effect of the Proclamation — Disasters in the West — The Abolitionists not originally hostile to McClellan — Helplessness in the War Department — Devotedness of the people — McClellan and the proclamation — Wilkes — Colonel Key — Routine engineers — Rebel raid into Pennsylvania — Stanton's sincerity — Oh, unfighting strategians — The administration a success — De gustibus — Stuart's raid — West Point — St. Domingo — The President's letter to McClellan — Broad church — The elections — The Republican party gone — The remedy at the polls — McClellan wants to be relieved — Mediation — Compromise — The rhetors — The optimists — The foreigners — Scott and Buchanan — Gladstone — Foreign opinion and action — Both the extremes to be put down — Spain — Fremont's campaign against Jackson — Seward's circular — General Scott's gift — "Oh, could I go to a camp!" — McClellan crosses the Potomac — Prays for rain — Fevers decimate the regiments — Martindale and Fitz John Porter — The political balance to be preserved — New regiments — O poor country!

NOVEMBER, 1862. 311

Empty rhetoric — The future dark and terrible — Wadsworth defeated — The official bunglers blast everything they touch — Great and holy day! McClellan gone overboard! — The planters — Burnside — McClellan nominated for President — Awful events approaching — Dictatorship dawns on the horizon — The catastrophe.



DIARY.



MARCH, 1861.

Inauguration day — The message — Scott watching at the door of the Union — The Cabinet born — The Seward and Chase struggle — The New York radicals triumph — The treason spreads — The Cabinet pays old party debts — The diplomats confounded — Poor Senators! — Sumner is like a hare tracked by hounds — Chase in favor of recognizing the revolted States — Blunted axes — Blair demands action, brave fellow! — The slave-drivers — The month of March closes — No foresight! no foresight!

For the first time in my life I assisted at the simplest and grandest spectacle—the inauguration of a President. Lincoln's message good, according to circumstances, but not conclusive; it is not positive; it discusses questions, but avoids to assert. May his mind not be altogether of the same kind. Events will want and demand more positiveness and action than the message contains assertions. The immense majority around me seems to be satisfied. Well, well; I wait, and prefer to judge and to admire when actions will speak.

I am sure that a great drama will be played, equal to any one known in history, and that the insurrection of the slave-drivers will not end in smoke. So I now decide to keep a diary in my own way. I scarcely know any of those men who are considered as leaders; the more interesting to observe them, to analyze their mettle, their actions. This insurrection may turn very complicated; if so, it must generate more than one revolutionary manifestation. What will be its march—what stages? Curious; perhaps it may turn out more interesting than anything since that great renovation of humanity by the great French Revolution.

The old, brave warrior, Scott, watched at the door of the Union; his shadow made the infamous rats tremble and crawl off, and so Scott transmitted to Lincoln what was and could be saved during the treachery of Buchanan.

By the most propitious accident, I assisted at the throes among which Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet was born. They were very painful, but of the highest interest for me, and I suppose for others. I participated some little therein.

A pledge bound Mr. Lincoln to make Mr. Seward his Secretary of State. The radical and the puritanic elements in the Republican party were terribly scared. His speeches, or rather demeanor and repeated utterances since the opening of the Congress, his influence on Mr. Adams, who, under Seward's inspiration, made his speech de lana caprina, and voted for compromises and concessions,—all this spread and fortified the general and firm belief that Mr. Seward was ready to give up many from among the cardinal articles of the Republican creed of which he was one of the most ardent apostles. They, the Republicans, speak of him in a way to remind me of the dictum, "omnia serviliter pro dominatione," as they accuse him now of subserviency to the slave power. The radical and puritan Republicans likewise dread him on account of his close intimacy with a Thurlow Weed, a Matteson, and with similar not over-cautious—as they call them—lobbyists.

Some days previous to the inauguration, Mr. Seward brought Mr. Lincoln on the Senate floor, of course on the Republican side; but soon Mr. Seward was busily running among Democrats, begging them to be introduced to Lincoln. It was a saddening, humiliating, and revolting sight for the galleries, where I was. Criminal as is Mason, for a minute I got reconciled to him for the scowl of horror and contempt with which he shook his head at Seward. The whole humiliating proceeding foreshadowed the future policy. Only two or three Democratic Senators were moved by Seward's humble entreaties. The criminal Mason has shown true manhood.

The first attempt of sincere Republicans was to persuade Lincoln to break his connection with Seward. This failed. To neutralize what was considered quickly to become a baneful influence in Mr. Lincoln's councils, the Republicans united on Gov. Chase. This Seward opposed with all his might. Mr. Lincoln wavered, hesitated, and was bending rather towards Mr. Seward. The struggle was terrific, lasted several days, when Chase was finally and triumphantly forced into the Cabinet. It was necessary not to leave him there alone against Seward, and perhaps Bates, the old cunning Whig. Again terrible opposition by Seward, but it was overcome by the radicals in the House, in the Senate, and outside of Congress by such men as Curtis, Noyes, J. S. Wadsworth, Opdyke, Barney, &c., &c., and Blair was brought in. Cameron was variously opposed, but wished to be in by Seward; Welles was from the start considered sound and safe in every respect; Smith was considered a Seward man.

From what I witnessed of Cabinet-making in Europe, above all in France under Louis Philippe, I do not forebode anything good in the coming-on shocks and eruptions, and I am sure these must come. This Cabinet as it stands is not a fusion of various shadowings of a party, but it is a violent mixing or putting together of inimical and repulsive forces, which, if they do not devour, at the best will neutralize each other.

Senator Wilson answered Douglass in the Senate, that "when the Republican party took the power, treason was in the army, in the navy, in the administration," etc. Dreadful, but true assertion. It is to be seen how the administration will act to counteract this ramified treason.

What a run, a race for offices. This spectacle likewise new to me.

The Cabinet Ministers, or, as they call them here, the Secretaries, have old party debts to pay, old sores to avenge or to heal, and all this by distributing offices, or by what they call it here—patronage. Through patronage and offices everybody is to serve his friends and his party, and to secure his political position. Some of the party leaders seem to me similar to children enjoying a long-expected and ardently wished-for toy. Some of the leaders are as generals who abandon the troops in a campaign, and take to travel in foreign parts. Most of them act as if they were sure that the battle is over. It begins only, but nobody, or at least very few of the interested, seem to admit that the country is on fire, that a terrible struggle begins. (Wrote in this sense an article for the National Intelligencer; insertion refused.) They, the leaders, look to create engines for their own political security, but no one seems to look over Mason and Dixon's line to the terrible and with lightning-like velocity spreading fire of hellish treason.

The diplomats utterly upset, confused, and do not know what god to worship. All their associations were with Southerners, now traitors. In Southern talk, or in that of treacherous Northern Democrats, the diplomats learned what they know about this country. Not one of them is familiar, is acquainted with the genuine people of the North; with its true, noble, grand, and pure character. It is for them a terra incognita, as is the moon. The little they know of the North is the few money or cotton bags of New York, Boston, Philadelphia,—these would-be betters, these dinner-givers, and whist-players. The diplomats consider Seward as the essence of Northern feeling.

How little the thus-called statesmen know Europe. Sumner, Seward, etc. already have under consideration if Europe will recognize the secesh. Europe recognizes faits accomplis, and a great deal of blood will run before secesh becomes un fait accompli. These Sewards, Sumners, etc. pay too much attention to the silly talk of the European diplomats in Washington; and by doing this these would-be statesmen prove how ignorant they are of history in general, and specially ignorant of the policy of European cabinets. Before a struggle decides a question a recognition is bosh, and I laugh at it.

The race, the race increases with a fearful rapidity. No flood does it so quick. Poor Senators! Some of them must spend nights and days to decide on whom to bestow this or that office. Secretaries or Ministers wrangle, fight (that is the word used), as if life and death depended upon it.

Poor (Carlylian-meaning) good-natured Senator Sumner, in his earnest, honest wish to be just and of service to everybody, looks as a hare tracked by hounds; so are at him office-seekers from the whole country. This hunting degrades the hounds, and enervates the patrons.

I am told that the President is wholly absorbed in adjusting, harmonizing the amount of various salaries bestowed on various States through its office-holders and office-seekers.

It were better if the President would devote his time to calculate the forces and resources needed to quench the fire. Over in Montgomery the slave-drivers proceed with the terrible, unrelenting, fearless earnestness of the most unflinching criminals.

After all, these crowds of office-hunters are far from representing the best element of the genuine, laborious, intelligent people,—of its true healthy stamina. This is consoling for me, who know the American people in the background of office-hunters.

Of course an alleviating circumstance is, that the method, the system, the routine, oblige, nay force, everybody to ask, to hunt. As in the Scriptures, "Ask, and you will get; or knock, and it will be opened." Of course, many worthy, honorable, deserving men, who would be ornaments to the office, must run the gauntlet together with the hounds.

It is reported, and I am sure of the truth of the report, that Governor Chase is for recognizing, or giving up the revolted Cotton States, so as to save by it the Border States, and eventually to fight for their remaining in the Union. What logic! If the treasonable revolt is conceded to the Cotton States, on what ground can it be denied to the thus called Border States? I am sorry that Chase has such notions.

It is positively asserted by those who ought to know, that Seward, having secured to himself the Secretaryship of State, offered to the Southern leaders in Congress compromise and concessions, to assure, by such step, his confirmation by the Democratic vote. The chiefs refused the bargain, distrusting him. All this was going on for weeks, nay months, previous to the inauguration, so it is asserted. But Seward might have been anxious to preserve the Union at any price. His enemies assert that if Seward's plan had succeeded, virtually the Democrats would have had the power. Thus the meaning of Lincoln's election would have been destroyed, and Buchanan's administration would have been continued in its most dirty features, the name only being changed.

Old Scott seems to be worried out by his laurels; he swallows incense, and I do not see that anything whatever is done to meet the military emergency. I see the cloud.

Were it true that Seward and Scott go hand in hand, and that both, and even Chase, are blunted axes!

I hear that Mr. Blair is the only one who swears, demands, asks for action, for getting at them without losing time. Brave fellow! I am glad to have at Willard's many times piloted deputations to the doors of Lincoln on behalf of Blair's admission into the Cabinet. I do not know him, but will try to become nearer acquainted.

But for the New York radical Republicans, already named, neither Chase nor Blair would have entered the Cabinet. But for them Seward would have had it totally his own way. Members of Congress acted less than did the New Yorkers.

The South, or the rebels, slave-drivers, slave-breeders, constitute the most corrosive social decompositions and impurities; what the human race throughout countless ages successively toiled to purify itself from and throw off. Europe continually makes terrible and painful efforts, which at times are marked by bloody destruction. This I asserted in my various writings. This social, putrefied evil, and the accumulated matter in the South, pestilentially and in various ways influenced the North, poisoning its normal healthy condition. This abscess, undermining the national life, has burst now. Somebody, something must die, but this apparent death will generate a fresh and better life.

The month of March closes, but the administration seems to enjoy the most beatific security. I do not see one single sign of foresight,—this cardinal criterion of statesmanship. Chase measures the empty abyss of the treasury. Senator Wilson spoke of treason everywhere, but the administration seems not to go to work and to reconstruct, to fill up what treason has disorganized and emptied. Nothing about reorganizing the army, the navy, refitting the arsenals. No foresight, no foresight! either statesmanlike or administrative. Curious to see these men at work. The whole efforts visible to me and to others, and the only signs given by the administration in concert, are the paltry preparations to send provisions to Fort Sumpter. What is the matter? what are they about?



APRIL, 1861.

Seward parleying with the rebel commissioners — Corcoran's dinner — The crime in full blast! — 75,000 men called for — Massachusetts takes the lead — Baltimore — Defence of Washington — Blockade discussed — France our friend, not England — Warning to the President — Virginia secedes — Lincoln warned again — Seward says it will all blow over in sixty to ninety days — Charles F. Adams — The administration undecided; the people alone inspired — Slavery must perish! — The Fabian policy — The Blairs — Strange conduct of Scott — Lord Lyons — Secret agent to Canada.

Commissioners from the rebels; Seward parleying with them through some Judge Campbell. Curious way of treating and dealing with rebellion, with rebels and traitors; why not arrest them?

Corcoran, a rich partisan of secession, invited to a dinner the rebel commissioners and the foreign diplomats. If such a thing were done anywhere else, such a pimp would be arrested. The serious diplomats, Lord Lyons, Mercier, and Stoeckl refused the invitation; some smaller accepted, at least so I hear.

The infamous traitors fire on the Union flag. They treat the garrison of Sumpter as enemies on sufferance, and here their commissioners go about free, and glory in treason. What is this administration about? Have they no blood; are they fishes?

The crime in full blast; consummatum est. Sumpter bombarded; Virginia, under the nose of the administration, secedes, and the leaders did not see or foresee anything: flirted with Virginia.

Now, they, the leaders or the administration, are terribly startled; so is the brave noble North; the people are taken unawares; but no wonder; the people saw the Cabinet, the President, and the military in complacent security. These watchmen did nothing to give an early sign of alarm, so the people, confiding in them, went about its daily occupation. But it will rise as one man and in terrible wrath. Vous le verrez mess. les Diplomates.

The President calls on the country for 75,000 men; telegram has spoken, and they rise, they arm, they come. I am not deceived in my faith in the North; the excitement, the wrath, is terrible. Party lines burn, dissolved by the excitement. Now the people is in fusion as bronze; if Lincoln and the leaders have mettle in themselves, then they can cast such arms, moral, material, and legislative, as will destroy at once this rebellion. But will they have the energy? They do not look like Demiourgi.

Massachusetts takes the lead; always so, this first people in the world; first for peace by its civilization and intellectual development, and first to run to the rescue.

The most infamous treachery and murder, by Baltimoreans, of the Massachusetts men. Will the cowardly murderers be exemplarily punished?

The President, under the advice of Scott, seems to take coolly the treasonable murders of Baltimore; instead of action, again parleying with these Baltimorean traitors. The rumor says that Seward is for leniency, and goes hand in hand with Scott. Now, if they will handle such murderers in silk gloves as they do, the fire must spread.

The secessionists in Washington—and they are a legion, of all hues and positions—are defiant, arrogant, sure that Washington will be taken. One risks to be murdered here.

I entered the thus called Cassius Clay Company, organized for the defence of Washington until troops came. For several days patrolled, drilled, and lay several nights on the hard floor. Had compensation, that the drill often reproduced that of Falstaff's heroes. But my campaigners would have fought well in case of emergency. Most of them office-seekers. When the alarm was over, the company dissolved, but each got a kind of certificate beautifully written and signed by Lincoln and Cameron. I refused to take such a certificate, we having had no occasion to fight.

The President issued a proclamation for the blockade of the Southern revolted ports. Do they not know better?

How can the Minister of Foreign Affairs advise the President to resort to such a measure? Is the Minister of Foreign Affairs so willing to call in foreign nations by this blockade, thus transforming a purely domestic and municipal question into an international, public one?

The President is to quench the rebellion, a domestic fire, and to do it he takes a weapon, an engine the most difficult to handle, and in using of which he depends on foreign nations. Do they not know better here in the ministry and in the councils? Russia dealt differently with the revolted Circassians and with England in the so celebrated case of the Vixen.

The administration ought to know its rights of sovereignty and to close the ports of entry. Then no chance would be left to England to meddle.

Yesterday N—— dined with Lord Lyons, and during the dinner an anonymous note announced to the Lord that the proclamation of the blockade is to be issued on to-morrow. N——, who has a romantic turn, or rather who seeks for midi a 14-3/4 heures, speculated what lady would have thus violated a secret d'Etat.

I rather think it comes from the Ministry, or, as they call it here, from the Department. About two years ago, when the Central Americans were so teased and maltreated by the filibusters and Democratic administration, a Minister of one of these Central American States told me in New York that in a Chief of the Departments, or something the like, the Central Americans have a valuable friend, who, every time that trouble is brewing against them in the Department, gives them a secret and anonymous notice of it. This friend may have transferred his kindness to England.

How will foreign nations behave? I wish I may be misguided by my political anglophobia, but England, envious, rapacious, and the Palmerstons and others, filled with hatred towards the genuine democracy and the American people, will play some bad tricks. They will seize the occasion to avenge many humiliations. Charles Sumner, Howe, and a great many others, rely on England,—on her anti-slavery feeling. I do not. I know English policy. We shall see.

France, Frenchmen, and Louis Napoleon are by far more reliable. The principles and the interest of France, broadly conceived, make the existence of a powerful Union a statesmanlike European and world necessity. The cold, taciturn Louis Napoleon is full of broad and clear conceptions. I am for relying, almost explicitly, on France and on him.

The administration calls in all the men-of-war scattered in all waters. As the commercial interests of the Union will remain unprotected, the administration ought to put them under the protection of France. It is often done so between friendly powers. Louis Napoleon could not refuse; and accepting, would become pledged to our side.

Germany, great and small, governments and people, will be for the Union. Germans are honest; they love the Union, hate slavery, and understand, to be sure, the question. Russia, safe, very safe, few blackguards excepted; so Italy. Spain may play double. I do not expect that the Spaniards, goaded to the quick by the former fillibustering administrations, will have judgment enough to find out that the Republicans have been and will be anti-fillibusters, and do not crave Cuba.

Wrote a respectful warning to the President concerning the unavoidable results of his proclamation in regard to the blockade; explained to him that this, his international demonstration, will, and forcibly must evoke a counter proclamation from foreign powers in the interest of their own respective subjects and of their commercial relations. Warned, foretelling that the foreign powers will recognize the rebels as belligerents, he, the President, having done it already in some way, thus applying an international mode of coercion. Warned, that the condition of belligerents, once recognized, the rebel piratical crafts will be recognized as privateers by foreign powers, and as such will be admitted to all ports under the secesh flag, which will thus enjoy a partial recognition.

Foreign powers may grumble, or oppose the closing of the ports of entry as a domestic, administrative decision, because they may not wish to commit themselves to submit to a paper blockade. But if the President will declare that he will enforce the closing of the ports with the whole navy, so as to strictly guard and close the maritime league, then the foreign powers will see that the administration does not intend to humbug them, but that he, the President, will only preserve intact the fullest exercise of sovereignty, and, as said the Roman legist, he, the President, "nil sibi postulat quod non aliis tribuit." And so he, the President, will only execute the laws of his country, and not any arbitrary measure, to say with the Roman Emperor, "Leges etiam in ipsa arma imperium habere volumus." Warned the President that in all matters relating to this country Louis Napoleon has abandoned the initiative to England; and to throw a small wedge in this alliance, I finally respectfully suggested to the President what is said above about putting the American interests in the Mediterranean under the protection of Louis Napoleon.

Few days thereafter learned that Mr. Seward does not believe that France will follow England. Before long Seward will find it out.

All the coquetting with Virginia, all the presumed influence of General Scott, ended in Virginia's secession, and in the seizure of Norfolk.

Has ever any administration, cabinet, ministry—call it what name you will—given positive, indubitable signs of want and absence of foresight, as did ours in these Virginia, Norfolk, and Harper's Ferry affairs? Not this or that minister or secretary, but all of them ought to go to the constitutional guillotine. Blindness—no mere short-sightedness—permeates the whole administration, Blair excepted. And Scott, the politico-military adviser of the President! What is the matter with Scott, or were the halo and incense surrounding him based on bosh? Will it be one more illusion to be dispelled?

The administration understood not how to save or defend Norfolk, nor how to destroy it. No name to be found for such concrete incapacity. The rebels are masters, taking our leaders by the nose. Norfolk gives to them thousands of guns, &c., and nobody cries for shame. They ought to go in sackcloth, those narrow-sighted, blind rulers. How will the people stand this masterly administrative demonstration? In England the people and the Parliament would impeach the whole Cabinet.

Charles Sumner told me that the President and his Minister of Foreign Affairs are to propose to the foreign powers the accession of the Union to the celebrated convention of Paris of 1856. All three considered it a master stroke of policy. They will not catch a fly by it.

Again wrote respectfully to Mr. Lincoln, warning him against a too hasty accession to the Paris convention. Based my warning,—

1st. Not to give up the great principles contained in Marcy's amendment.

2d. Not to believe or suppose for a minute that the accession to the Paris convention at this time can act in a retroactive sense; explained that it will not and cannot prevent the rebel pirates from being recognized by foreign powers as legal privateers, or being treated as such.

3d. For all these reasons the Union will not win anything by such a step, but it will give up principles and chain its own hands in case of any war with England. Supplicated the President not to risk a step which logically must turn wrong.

Baltimore still unpunished, and the President parleying with various deputations, all this under the guidance of Scott. I begin to be confused; cannot find out what is the character of Lincoln, and above all of Scott.

Governors from whole or half-rebel States refuse the President's call for troops. The original call of 75,000, too small in itself, will be reduced by that refusal. Why does not the administration call for more on the North, and on the free States? In the temper of this noble people it will be as easy to have 250,000 as 75,000, and then rush on them; submerge Virginia, North Carolina, etc.; it can be now so easily done. The Virginians are neither armed nor organized. Courage and youth seemingly would do good in the councils.

The free States undoubtedly will vindicate self-government. Whatever may be said by foreign and domestic croakers, I do not doubt it for a single minute. The free people will show to the world that the apparently loose governmental ribbons are the strongest when everybody carries them in him, and holds them. The people will show that the intellectual magnetism of convictions permeating the million is by far stronger than the commonly called governmental action from above, and it is at the same time elastic and expansive, even if the official leaders may turn out to be altogether mediocrities. The self-governing free North will show more vitality and activity than any among the governed European countries would be able to show in similar emergencies. This is my creed, and I have faith in the people.

The infamous slavers of the South would even be honored if named Barbary States of North America.

Before the inauguration, Seward was telling the diplomats that no disruption will take place; now he tells them that it will blow over in from sixty to ninety days. Does Seward believe it? Or does his imagination or his patriotism carry him away or astray? Or, perhaps, he prefers not to look the danger in the face, and tries to avert the bitter cup. At any rate, he is incomprehensible, and the more so when seen at a distance.

Something, nay, even considerable efforts ought to be made to enlighten the public opinion in Europe, as on the outside, insurrections, nationalities, etc., are favored in Europe. How far the diplomats sent by the administration are prepared for this task?

Adams has shown in the last Congress his scholarly, classical narrow-mindedness. Sanford cannot favorably impress anybody in Europe, neither in cabinets, nor in saloons, nor the public at large. He looks and acts as a commis voyageur, will be considered as such at first sight by everybody, and his features and manners may not impress others as being distinguished and high-toned.

Every historical, that is, human event, has its moral and material character and sides. To ignore, and still worse to blot out, to reject the moral incentives and the moral verdict, is a crime to the public at large, is a crime towards human reason.

Such action blunts sound feelings and comprehension, increases the arrogance of the evil-doers. The moral criterion is absolute and unconditional, and ought as such unconditionally to be applied to the events here. Things and actions must be called by their true names. What is true, noble, pure, and lofty, is on the side of the North, and permeates the unnamed millions of the free people; it ought to be separated from what is sham, egotism, lie or assumption. Truth must be told, never mind the outcry. History has not to produce pieces for the stage, or to amuse a tea-party.

Regiments pour in; the Massachusetts men, of course, leading the van, as in the times of the tea-party. My admiration for the Yankees is justified on every step, as is my scorn, my contempt, etc., etc., of the Southern chivalrous slaver.

Wrote to Charles Sumner expressing my wonder at the undecided conduct of the administration; at its want of foresight; its eternal parleying with Baltimoreans, Virginians, Missourians, etc., and no step to tread down the head of the young snake. No one among them seems to have the seer's eye. The people alone, who arm, who pour in every day and in large numbers, who transform Washington into a camp, and who crave for fighting,—the people alone have the prophetic inspiration, and are the genuine statesmen for the emergency.

How will the Congress act? The Congress will come here emerging from the innermost of the popular volcano; but the Congress will be manacled by formulas; it will move not in the spirit of the Constitution, but in the dry constitutionalism, and the Congress will move with difficulty. Still I have faith, although the Congress never will seize upon parliamentary omnipotence. Up to to-day, the administration, instead of boldly crushing, or, at least, attempting to do it; instead of striking at the traitors, the administration is continually on the lookout where the blows come from, scarcely having courage to ward them off. The deputations pouring from the North urge prompt, decided, crushing action. This thunder-voice of the twenty millions of freemen ought to nerve this senile administration. The Southern leaders do not lose one minute's time; they spread the fire, arm, and attack with all the fury of traitors and criminals.

The Northern merchants roar for the offensive; the administration is undecided.

Some individuals, politicians, already speak out that the slaveocratic privileges are only to be curtailed, and slavery preserved as a domestic institution. Not a bit of it. The current and the development of events will run over the heads of the pusillanimous and contemptible conservatives. Slavery must perish, even if the whole North, Lincoln and Seward at its head, should attempt to save it.

Already they speak of the great results of Fabian policy; Seward, I am told, prides in it. Do those Fabiuses know what they talk about? Fabius's tactics—not policy—had in view not to expose young, disheartened levies against Hannibal's unconquered veterans, but further to give time to Rome to restore her exhausted means, to recover political influences with other Italian independent communities, to re-conclude broken alliances with the cities, etc. But is this the condition of the Union? Your Fabian policy will cost lives, time, and money; the people feels it, and roars for action. Events are great, the people is great, but the official leaders may turn out inadequate to both.

What a magnificent chance—scarcely equal in history—to become a great historical personality, to tower over future generations. But I do not see any one pointing out the way. Better so; the principle of self-government as the self-acting, self-preserving force will be asserted by the total eclipse of great or even eminent men.

The administration, under the influence of drill men, tries to form twenty regiments of regulars, and calls for 45,000 three years' volunteers. What a curious appreciation of necessity and of numbers must prevail in the brains of the administration. Twenty regiments of regulars will be a drop in water; will not help anything, but will be sufficient to poison the public spirit. Citizens and people, but not regulars, not hirelings, are to fight the battle of principle. Regulars and their spirit, with few exceptions, is worse here than were the Yanitschars.

When the principle will be saved and victorious, it will be by the devotion, the spontaneity of the people, and not by Lincoln, Scott, Seward, or any of the like. It is said that Seward rules both Lincoln and Scott. The people, the masses, do not doubt their ability to crush by one blow the traitors, but the administration does.

What I hear concerning the Blairs confirms my high opinion of both. Blair alone in the Cabinet represents the spirit of the people.

Something seems not right with Scott. Is he too old, or too much of a Virginian, or a hero on a small scale?

If, as they say, the President is guided by Scott's advice, such advice, to judge from facts, is not politic, not heroic, not thorough, not comprehensive, and not at all military, that is, not broad and deep, in the military sense. It will be a pity to be disappointed in this national idol.

Scott is against entering Virginia, against taking Baltimore, against punishing traitors. Strange, strange!

Diplomats altogether out of their senses; they are bewildered by the uprising, by the unanimity, by the warlike, earnest, unflinching attitude of the masses of the freemen, of my dear Yankees. The diplomats have lost the compass. They, duty bound, were diplomatically obsequious to the power held so long by the pro-slavery party. They got accustomed to the arrogant assumption and impertinence of the slavers, and, forgetting their European origin, the diplomats tacitly—but for their common sense and honor I hope reluctantly—admitted the assumptions of the Southern banditti to be in America the nearest assimilation to the chivalry and nobility of old Europe. Without taking the cudgel in defence of European nobility, chivalry, and aristocracy, it is sacrilegious to compare those infamous slavers with the old or even with the modern European higher classes. In the midst of this slave-driving, slave-worshipping, and slave-breeding society of Washington, the diplomats swallowed, gulped all the Southern lies about the Constitution, state-rights, the necessity of slavery, and other like infamies. The question is, how far the diplomats in their respective official reports transferred these pro-slavery common-places to their governments. But, after all, the governments of Europe will not be thoroughly influenced by the chat of their diplomats.

Among all diplomats the English (Lord Lyons) is the most sphinx; he is taciturn, reserved, listens more than he speaks; the others are more communicative.

What an idea have those Americans of sending a secret agent to Canada, and what for? England will find it out, and must be offended. I would not have committed such an absurdity, even in my palmy days, when I conspired with Louis Napoleon, sat in the councils with Godefroi Cavaignac, or wrote instructions for Mazzini, then only a beginner with his Giovina Italia, and his miscarried Romarino attempt in Savoy.

Of what earthly use can be such politique provocatrice towards England? Or is it only to give some money to a hungry, noisy, and not over-principled office-seeker?



MAY, 1861.

The administration tossed by expedients — Seward to Dayton — Spread-eagleism — One phasis of the American Union finished — The fuss about Russell — Pressure on the administration increases — Seward, Wickoff, and the Herald — Lord Lyons menaced with passports — The splendid Northern army — The administration not up to the occasion — The new men — Andrew, Wadsworth, Boutwell, Noyes, Wade, Trumbull, Walcott, King, Chandler, Wilson — Lyon jumps over formulas — Governor Banks needed — Butler takes Baltimore with two regiments — News from England — The "belligerent" question — Butler and Scott — Seward and the diplomats — "What a Merlin!" — "France not bigger than New York!" — Virginia invaded — Murder of Ellsworth — Harpies at the White House.

Rumors that the President, the administration, or whoever has it in his hands, is to take the offensive, make a demonstration on Virginia and on Baltimore. But these ups and downs, these vacillations, are daily occurrences, and nothing points to a firm purpose, to a decided policy, or any policy whatever of the administration.

A great principle and a great cause cannot be served and cannot be saved by half measures, and still less by tricks and by paltry expedients. But the administration is tossed by expedients. Nothing is hitherto done, and this denotes a want of any firm decision.

Mr. Seward's letter to Dayton, a first manifesto to foreign nations, and the first document of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is bold, high-toned, and American, but it has dark shadows; shows an inexperienced hand in diplomacy and in dealing with events. The passages about the frequent changes in Europe are unnecessary, and unprovoked by anything whatever. It is especially offensive to France, to the French people, and to Louis Napoleon. It is bosh, but in Europe they will consider it as une politique provocatrice.

For the present complications, diplomatic relations ought to be conducted with firmness, with dignity, but not with an arrogant, offensive assumption, not in the spirit of spread-eagleism; no brass, but reason and decision.

Americans will find out how absolute are the laws of history, as stern and as positive as all the other laws of nature. To me it is clear that one phasis of American political growth, development, &c., is gone, is finished. It is the phasis of the Union as created by the Constitution. This war—war it will be, and a terrible one, notwithstanding all the prophecies of Mr. Seward to the contrary—this war will generate new social and constitutional necessities and new formulas. New conceptions and new passions will spring up; in one word, it will bring forth new social, physical, and moral creations: so we are in the period of gestation.

Democracy, the true, the noble, that which constitutes the signification of America in the progress of our race—democracy will not be destroyed. All the inveterate enemies here and in Europe, all who already joyously sing the funeral songs of democracy, all of them will become disgraced. Democracy will emerge more pure, more powerful, more rational; destroyed will be the most infamous oligarchy ever known in history; oligarchy issued neither from the sword, nor the gown, nor the shop, but wombed, generated, cemented, and sustained by traffic in man.

The famous Russell, of the London Times, is what I always thought him to be—a graphic, imaginative writer, with power of description of all he sees, but not the slightest insight in events, in men, in institutions. Russell is not able to find out the epidermis under a shirt. And they make so much fuss about him; Seward brings him to the first cabinet dinner given by the President; Mrs. Lincoln sends him bouquets; and this man, Russell, will heap blunders upon blunders.

The pressure on the administration for decided, energetic action increases from all sides. Seldom, anywhere, an administration receives so many moral kicks as does this one; but it seems to stand them with serenity. Oh, for a clear, firm, well-defined purpose!

The country, the people demands an attack on Virginia, on Richmond, and Baltimore; the country, better than the military authorities, understands the political and military necessities; the people has the consciousness that if fighting is done instantly, it will be done cheaply and thoroughly by a move of its finger. The administration can double the number of men under arms, but hesitates. What slow coaches, and what ignorance of human nature and of human events. The knowing ones, the wiseacres, will be the ruin of this country. They poison the sound reason of the people.

What the d—— is Seward with his politicians' policy? What can signify his close alliance with such outlaws as Wikoff and the Herald, and pushing that sheet to abuse England and Lord Lyons? Wikoff is, so to speak, an inmate of Seward's house and office, and Wikoff declared publicly that the telegram contained in the Herald, and so violent against England and Lord Lyons, was written under Seward's dictation. Wikoff, I am told, showed the MS. corrected in Seward's handwriting. Lord Lyons is menaced with passports. Is this man mad? Can Seward for a moment believe that Wikoff knows Europe, or has any influence? He may know the low resorts there. Can Seward be fool enough to irritate England, and entangle this country? Even my anglophobia cannot stand it. Wrote about it warning letters to New York, to Barney, to Opdyke, to Wadsworth, &c.

The whole District a great camp; the best population from the North in rank and file. More intelligence, industry, and all good national and intellectual qualities represented in those militia and volunteer regiments, than in any—not only army, but society—in Europe. Artisans, mechanics of all industries, of trade, merchants, bankers, lawyers; all pursuits and professions. Glorious, heart-elevating sight! These regiments want only a small touch of military organization.

Weeks run, troops increase, and not the first step made to organize them into an army, to form brigades, not to say divisions; not yet two regiments manoeuvring together. What a strange idea the military chief or chiefs, or department, or somebody, must have of what it is to organize an army. Not the first letter made. Can it be ignorance of this elementary knowledge with which is familiar every corporal in Europe? When will they start, when begin to mould an army?

The administration was not composed for this emergency, and is not up to it. The government hesitates, is inexperienced, and will unavoidably make heaps of mistakes, which may endanger the cause, and for which, at any rate, the people is terribly to pay. The loss in men and material will be very considerable before the administration will get on the right track. It is painful to think, nay, to be sure of it. Then the European anti-Union politicians and diplomats will credit the disasters to the inefficiency of self-government. The diplomats, accustomed to the rapid, energetic action of a supreme or of a centralized power, laugh at the trepidation of ours. But the fault is not in the principle of self-government, but in the accident which brought to the helm such an amount of inexperience. Monarchy with a feeble head is even in a worse predicament. Louis XV., the Spanish and Neapolitan Bourbons, Gustavus IV., &c., are thereof the historical evidences.

May the shock of events bring out new lights from the people! One day the administration is to take the initiative, that is, the offensive, then it recedes from it. No one understands the organization and handling of such large bodies. They are to make their apprenticeship, if only it may not to be too dearly paid. But they cannot escape the action of that so positive law in nature, in history, and, above all, absolute in war.

Wrote to Charles Sumner, suggesting that the ice magnates send here from Boston ice for hospitals.

The war now waged against the free States is one made by the most hideous sauvagerie against a most perfectioned and progressive civilization. History records not a similar event. It is a hideous phenomenon, disgracing our race, and it is so, look on it from whatever side you will.

A new man from the people, like Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, acts promptly, decisively; feels and speaks ardently, and not as the rhetors. Andrew is the incarnation of the Massachusetts, nay, of the genuine American people. I must become acquainted with Andrew. Thousands of others like Andrew exist in all the States. Can anybody be a more noble incarnation of the American people than J. S. Wadsworth? I become acquainted with numerous men whom I honor as the true American men. So Boutwell, of Massachusetts, Curtis Noyes, Senator Wade, Trumbull, Walcott, from Ohio, Senator King, Chandler, and many, many true patriots. Senator Wilson, my old friend, is up to the mark; a man of the people, but too mercurial.

Captain or Major Lyon in St. Louis, the first initiator or revelator of what is the absolute law of necessity in questions of national death or life. Lyon jumped over formulas, over routine, over clumsy discipline and martinetism, and saved St. Louis and Missouri.

It is positively asserted that General Scott's first impression was to court-martial Lyon for this breach of discipline, for having acted on his own patriotic responsibility.

Can Scott be such a dried-up, narrow-minded disciplinarian, and he the Egeria of Lincoln! Oh! oh!

Diplomats tell me that Seward uses the dictatorial I, speaking of the government. Three cheers for the new Louis XIV.!

Governor Banks would be excellent for the Intendant General de l'Armee: they call it here General Quartermaster. Awful disorder and slowness prevail in this cardinal branch of the army. Wrote to Sumner concerning Banks.

Gen. Butler took Baltimore; did what ought to have been done a long time ago. Butler did it on his own responsibility, without orders. Butler acted upon the same principle as Lyon, and, horrabile dictu, astonished, terrified the parleying administration. Scott wishes to put Butler under arrest; happily Lincoln resisted his boss (so Mr. Lincoln called Scott before a deputation from Baltimore). Scott, Patterson, and Mansfield made a beautiful strategical horror! They began to speak of strategy; plan to approach Baltimore on three different roads, and with about 35,000 men. Butler did it one morning with two regiments, and kicked over the senile strategians in council.

The administration speaks with pride of its forbearing, that is, parleying, policy. The people, the country, requires action. Congressus impar Achilli: Achilles, the people, and Congressus the forbearing administration.

Music, parades, serenades, receptions, &c., &c., only no genuine military organization. They do it differently on the other side of the Potomac. There the leaders are in earnest.

Met Gov. Sprague and asked him when he would have a brigade; his answer was, soon; but this soon comes very slow.

News from England. Lord John Russell declared in Parliament that the Queen, or the English government, will recognize the rebels in the condition of "belligerents." O England, England! The declaration is too hasty. Lord John cannot have had news of the proclamation of the blockade when he made that declaration. The blockade could have served him as an excuse for the haste. English aristocracy and government show thus their enmity to the North, and their partiality to slavers. What will the anglophiles of Boston say to this?

Neither England or France, or anybody in Europe, recognized the condition of "belligerents" to Poles, when we fought in Russia in 1831. Were the Magyars recognized as such in 1848-'49? Lord Palmerston called the German flag hard names in the war with Denmark for Schleswig-Holstein; and now he bows to the flag of slavers and pirates. If the English statesmen have not some very particular reason for this hasty, uncalled-for condescension to the enemies of humanity, then curse upon the English government. I recollect that European powers recognized the Greeks "belligerents" (Austria opposed) in their glorious struggle against the slavers, the Turks. But then this stretching of positive, international comity,—this stretching was done in the interest of freedom, of right, and of humanity, against savages and slaughterers. On the present occasion England did the reverse. O England, England, thou Judas Iscariot of nations! Seward said to John Jacob Astor, and to a New York deputation, that this English declaration concerning "belligerents" is a mere formality, having no bearing at all. I told the contrary to Astor and to others, assuring them that Mr. Seward will soon find, to the cost of the people and to his own, how much complication and trouble this mere formality will occasion, and occasion it before long. Is Seward so ignorant of international laws, of general or special history, or was it only said to throw dust?

Wrote about the "belligerents" a warning letter to the President.

Butler, in command of Fortress Monroe, proposes to land in Virginia and to take Norfolk; Scott, the highest military authority in the land, opposes. Has Scott used up his energy, his sense, and even his military judgment in defending Washington before the inauguration? He is too old; his brains, cerebellum, must be dried up.

Imbecility in a leader is often, nay always, more dangerous than treason; the people can find out—easily, too—treason, but is disarmed against imbecility.

What a thoughtlessness to press on Russia the convention of Paris? Russia has already a treaty with America, but in case of a war with England, the Russian ports on the Pacific, and the only one accessible to Americans, will be closed to them by the convention of Paris.

The governors of the States of Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania assure the protection of their respective States to the Union men of the Border States. What a bitter criticism on the slow, forbearing policy of the administration. Mr. Lincoln seems to be a rather slow intellect, with slow powers of perception. However, patience; perhaps the shock of events will arouse and bring in action now latent, but good and energetic qualities. As it stands now, the administration, being the focus of activity, is tepid, if not cold and slow; the circumference, that is, the people, the States, are full of fire and of activity. This condition is altogether the reverse of the physiological and all other natural laws, and this may turn out badly, as nature's laws never can be with impunity reversed or violated.

The diplomats complain that Seward treats them with a certain rudeness; that he never gives them time to explain and speak, but interrupts by saying, "I know it all," etc. If he had knowledge of things, and of the diplomatic world, he would be aware that the more firmness he has to use, the more politeness, even fastidiousness, he is to display.

Scott does not wish for any bold demonstration, for any offensive movement. The reason may be, that he is too old, too crippled, to be able to take the field in person, and too inflated by conceit to give the glory of the active command to any other man. Wrote to Charles Sumner in Boston to stir up some inventive Yankee to construct a wheelbarrow in which Scott could take the field in person.

In a conversation with Seward, I called his attention to the fact that the government is surrounded by the finest, most complicated, intense, and well-spread web of treason that ever was spun; that almost all that constitutes society and is in a daily, nay hourly, contact with the various branches of the Executive, all this, with soul, mind, and heart is devoted to the rebels. I observed to him that si licet exemplis in parvo grandibus uti. Napoleon suffered more from the bitter hostility of the faubourg St. Germain, than from the armies of the enemy; and here it is still worse, as this hostility runs out into actual, unrelenting treason. To this Mr. Seward answered with the utmost serenity, "that before long all this will change; that when he became governor of New York, a similar hostility prevailed between the two sections of that State, but soon he pacified everything." What a Merlin! what a sorcerer!

Some simple-minded persons from the interior of the State of New York questioned Mr. Seward, in my presence, about Europe, and "what they will do there?" To this, with a voice of the Delphic oracle, he responded, "that after all France is not bigger than the State of New York." Is it possible to say such trash even as a joke?

Finally, the hesitations of General Scott are overcome. "Virginia's sacred soil is invaded;" Potomac crossed; looks like a beginning of activity; Scott consented to move on Arlington Heights, but during two or three days opposed the seizure of Alexandria. Is that all that he knows of that hateful watchword—strategy—nausea repeated by every ignoramus and imbecile?

Alexandria being a port of entry, and having a railroad, is more a strategic point for the invasion of Virginia than are Arlington Heights.

The brave Ellsworth murdered in Alexandria, and Scott insisted that Alexandria be invaded and occupied by night. In all probability, Ellsworth would not have been murdered if this villanous nest had been entered by broad daylight. As if the troops were committing a crime, or a shameful act! O General Scott! but for you Ellsworth would not have been murdered.

General McDowell made a plan to seize upon Manassas as the centre of railroads, the true defence of Washington, and the firm foothold in Virginia. Nobody, or only few enemies, were in Manassas. McDowell shows his genuine military insight. Scott, and, as I am told, the whole senile military council, opposed McDowell's plan as being too bold. Do these mummies intend to conduct a war without boldness?

Thick clouds of patriotic, well-intentioned harpies surround all the issues of the executive doors, windows, crevasses, all of them ready to turn an honest, or rather dishonest, penny out of the fatherland. Behind the harpies advance the busy-bodies, the would-be well-informed, and a promiscuous crowd of well-intentioned do-nothings.



JUNE, 1861.

Butler emancipates slaves — The army not organized — Promenades — The blockade — Louis Napoleon — Scott all in all — Strategy! — Gun contracts — The diplomats — Masked batteries — Seward writes for "bunkum" — Big Bethel — The Dayton letter — Instructions to Mr. Adams.

The emancipation of slaves is virtually inaugurated. Gen. Butler, once a hard pro-slavery Democrat, takes the lead. Tempora mutantur et nos, &c. Butler originated the name of contrabands of war for slaves faithful to the Union, who abandon their rebel masters. A logical Yankee mind operates as an accoucheur to bring that to daylight with which the events are pregnant.

The enemies of self-government at home and abroad are untiring in vaticinations that a dictatorship now, and after the war a strong centralized government, will be inaugurated. I do not believe it. Perhaps the riddle to be solved will be, to make a strong administration without modifying the principle of self-government.

The most glorious difference between Americans and Europeans is, that in cases of national emergencies, every European nation, the Swiss excepted, is called, stimulated to action, to sacrifices, either by a chief, or by certain families, or by some high-standing individual, or by the government; here the people forces upon the administration more of all kinds of sacrifices than the thus called rulers can grasp, and the people is in every way ahead of the administration.

Notwithstanding that a part of the army crossed the Potomac, very little genuine organization is done. They begin only to organize brigades, but slowly, very slowly. Gen. Scott unyielding in his opposition to organizing any artillery, of which the army has very, very little. This man is incomprehensible. He cannot be a clear-headed general or organizer, or he cannot be a patriot.

As for the past, single regiments are parading in honor of the President, of members of the Cabinet, of married and unmarried ladies, but no military preparatory exercise of men, regiments, or brigades. It sickens to witness such incurie.

Mr. Seward promenading the President from regiment to regiment, from camp to camp, or rather showing up the President and himself. Do they believe they can awake enthusiasm for their persons? The troops could be better occupied than to serve for the aim of a promenade for these two distinguished personalities.

Gen. Scott refuses the formation of volunteer artillery and of new cavalry regiments, and the active army, more than 20,000 men, has a very insufficient number of batteries, and between 600 and 800 cavalry. Lincoln blindly follows his boss. Seward, of course, sustains Scott, and confuses Lincoln. Lincoln, Scott, Seward and Cameron oppose offers pouring from the country. To a Mr. M——, from the State of New York, who demanded permission to form a regiment of cavalry, Mr. Lincoln angrily answered, that (patriotic) offers give more "trouble to him and the administration than do the rebels."

The debates of the English Parliament raise the ire of the people, nay, exasperate even old fogyish Anglo-manes.

Persons very familiar with the domestic relations of Gen. Scott assure me that the vacillations of the old man, and his dread of a serious warfare, result from the all-powerful influence on him of one of his daughters, a rabid secessionist. The old man ought to be among relics in the Patent office, or sent into a nursery.

The published correspondence between Lord Lyons and Lord Russell concerning the blockade furnishes curious revelations.

When the blockade was to be declared, Mr. Seward seems to have been a thorough novice in the whole matter, and in an official interview with Lord Lyons, Mr. Seward was assisted by his chief clerk, who was therefore the quintessence of the wisdom of the foreign affairs, a man not even mastering the red-tape traditions of the department, without any genuine instruction, without ideas. For this chief clerk, all that he knew of a blockade was that it was in use during the Mexican war, that it almost yearly occurred in South American waters, and every tyro knows there exists such a thing as a blockade. But that was all that this chief clerk knew. Lord Lyons asked for some special precedents or former acts of the American government. The chief, and his support, the chief clerk, ignored the existence of any. Lord Lyons went home and sent to the department American precedents and authorities. No Minister of Foreign Affairs in Europe, together with his chief clerk, could ever be caught in such a flagrante delicto of ignorance. This chief clerk made Mr. Seward make un pas de clerc, and this at the start. As Lord Lyons took a great interest in the solution of the question of blockade, and as the chief clerk was the oraculum in this question, these combined facts may give some clue to the anonymous advice sent to Lord Lyons, and mentioned in the month of April.

Suggested to Mr. Seward to at once elevate the American question to a higher region, to represent it to Europe in its true, holy character, as a question of right, freedom, and humanity. Then it will be impossible for England to quibble about technicalities of the international laws; then we can beat England with her own arms and words, as England in 1824, &c., recognized the Greeks as belligerents, on the plea of aiding freedom and humanity. The Southern insurrection is a movement similar to that of the Neapolitan brigands, similar to what partisans of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany or Modena may attempt, similar to any—for argument's sake—supposed insurrection of any Russian bojars against the emancipating Czar. Not in one from among the above enumerated cases would England concede to the insurgents the condition of belligerents. If the Deys of Tunis and Tripoli should attempt to throw off their allegiance to the Sultan on the plea that the Porte prohibits the slave traffic, would England hurry to recognize the Deys as belligerents?

Suggested to Mr. Seward, what two months ago I suggested to the President, to put the commercial interests in the Mediterranean, for a time, under the protection of Louis Napoleon.

I maintain the right of closing the ports, against the partisans of blockade. Qui jure suo utitur neminem laedit, says the Roman jurisconsult.

The condition of Lincoln has some similarity with that of Pio IX. in 1847-48. Plenty of good-will, but the eagle is not yet breaking out of the egg. And as Pio IX. was surrounded by this or that cardinal, so is Mr. Lincoln by Seward and Scott.

Perhaps it may turn out that Lincoln is honest, but of not transcendent powers. The war may last long, and the military spirit generated by the war may in its turn generate despotic aspirations. Under Lincoln in the White House, the final victory will be due to the people alone, and he, Lincoln, will preserve intact the principle which lifted him to such a height.

The people is in a state of the healthiest and most generous fermentation, but it may become soured and musty by the admixture of Scott-Seward vacillatory powders.

Scott is all in all—Minister or Secretary of War and Commander-in-chief. How absurd to unite those functions, as they are virtually united here, Scott deciding all the various military questions; he the incarnation of the dusty, obsolete, everywhere thrown overboard and rotten routine. They ought to have for Secretary of War, if not a Carnot, at least a man of great energy, honesty, of strong will, and of a thorough devotion to the cause. Senator Wade would be suitable for this duty. Cameron is devoted, but I doubt his other capacities for the emergency, and he has on his shoulders General Scott as a dead weight.

Charles Sumner, Mr. Motley, Dr. Howe, and many others, consider it as a triumph that the English Cabinet asked Mr. Gregory to postpone his motion for the recognition of the Southern Confederacy. Those gentlemen here are not deep, and are satisfied with a few small crumbs thrown them by the English aristocracy. Generally, the thus-called better Americans eagerly snap at such crumbs.

It is clear that the English Cabinet wished this postponement for its own sake. A postponement spares the necessity to Russells, Palmerstons, Gladstones, and hoc genus omne, to show their hands. Mr. Adams likewise is taken in.

Military organization and strategic points are the watchwords. Strategic points, strategy, are natural excrescences of brains which thus shamefully conceive and carry out what the abused people believe to be the military organization.

Strategy—strategy repeats now every imbecile, and military fuss covers its ignorance by that sacramental word. Scott cannot have in view the destruction of the rebels. Not even the Austrian Aulic Council imagined a strategy combined and stretching through several thousands of miles.

The people's strategy is best: to rush in masses on Richmond; to take it now, when the enemy is there in comparatively small numbers. Richmond taken, Norfolk and the lost guns at once will be recovered. So speaks the people, and they are right; here among the wiseacres not one understands the superiority of the people over his own little brains.

Warned Mr. Seward against making contracts for arms with all kinds of German agents from New York and from abroad. They will furnish and bring, at the best, what the German governments throw out as being of no use at the present moment. All the German governments are at work to renovate their fire-arms.

The diplomats more and more confused,—some of them ludicrously so. Here, as always and everywhere, diplomacy, by its essence, is virtually statu quo; if not altogether retrograde, is conservative, and often ultra conservative. It is rare to witness diplomacy in toto, or even single diplomats, side with progressive efforts and ideas. English diplomacy and diplomats do it at times; but then mostly for the sake of political intrigue.

Even the great events of Italy are not the child of diplomacy. It went to work clopin, clopan, after Solferino.

Not one of the diplomats here is intrinsically hostile to the Union. Not one really wishes its disruption. Some brag so, but that is for small effect. All of them are for peace, for statu quo, for the grandeur of the country (as the greatest consumer of European imports); but most of them would wish slavery to be preserved, and for this reason they would have been glad to greet Breckinridge or Jeff. Davis in the White House.

Some among the diplomats are not virtually enemies of freedom and of the North; but they know the North from the lies spread by the Southerners, and by this putrescent heap of refuse, the Washington society. I am the only Northerner on a footing of intimacy with the diplomats. They consider me an exalte.

It must be likewise taken into account,—and they say so themselves,—that Mr. Seward's oracular vaticinations about the end of the rebellion from sixty to ninety days confuse the judgment of diplomats. Mr. Seward's conversation and words have an official meaning for the diplomats, are the subject of their dispatches, and they continually find that when Mr. Seward says yes the events say no.

Some of the diplomats are Union men out of obedience to a lawful government, whatever it be; others by principle. The few from Central and South American republics are thoroughly sound. The diplomats of the great powers, representing various complicated interests, are the more confused, they have so many things to consider. The diplomatic tail, the smallest, insignificant, fawn to all, and turn as whirlwinds around the great ones.

Scott continually refused the formation of new batteries, and now he roars for them, and hurries the governors to send them. Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, weeks ago offered one or two rifled batteries, was refused, and now Scott in all hurry asks for them.

The unhappy affair of Big Bethel gave a shock to the nation, and stirred up old Scott, or rather the President.

Aside of strategy, there is a new bugbear to frighten the soldiers; this bugbear is the masked batteries. The inexperience of commanders at Big Bethel makes already masked batteries a terror of the country. The stupid press resounds the absurdity. Now everybody begins to believe that the whole of Virginia is covered with masked batteries, constituting, so to speak, a subterranean artillery, which is to explode on every step, under the feet of our army. It seems that this error and humbug is rather welcome to Scott, otherwise he would explain to the nation and to the army that the existence of numerous masked batteries is an absolute material and military impossibility. The terror prevailing now may do great mischief.

Mr. Seward was obliged to explain, exonerate, expostulate, and neutralize before the French Cabinet his famous Dayton letter. I was sure it was to come to this; Mr. Thouvenel politely protested, and Mr. Seward confessed that it was written for the American market (alias, for bunkum). All this will make a very unfavorable impression upon European diplomats concerning Mr. Seward's diplomacy and statesmanship, as undoubtedly Mr. Thouvenel will semi-officially confidentially communicate Mr. Seward's faux pas to his colleagues.

Mr. Seward emphatically instructs Mr. Adams to exclude the question of slavery from all his sayings and doings as Minister to England. Just to England! That Mr. Adams, once the leader of the constitutional anti-slavery party, submits to this obeisance of a corporal, I am not astonished, as everything can be expected from the man who, in support of the compromise, made a speech de lana caprina; but Senator Sumner, Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, meekly swallowed it.



JULY, 1861.

The Evening Post — The message — The administration caught napping — McDowell — Congress slowly feels its way — Seward's great facility of labor — Not a Know-Nothing — Prophesies a speedy end — Carried away by his imagination — Says "secession is over" — Hopeful views — Politeness of the State department — Scott carries on the campaign from his sleeping room — Bull Run — Rout — Panic — "Malediction! Malediction!" — Not a manly word in Congress! — Abuse of the soldiers — McClellan sent for — Young blood — Gen. Wadsworth — Poor McDowell! — Scott responsible — Plan of reorganization — Let McClellan beware of routine.

It seems to me that the destinies of this admirable people are in strange hands. Mr. Lincoln, honest man of nature, perhaps an empiric, doctoring with innocent juices from herbs; but some others around him seem to be quacks of the first order. I wish I may be mistaken.

The press, the thus called good one, is vacillating. Best of all, and almost not vacillating, is the New York Evening Post. I do not speak of principles; but the papers vacillate, speaking of the measures and the slowness of the administration.

The President's message; plenty of good, honest intentions; simple, unaffected wording, but a confession that by the attack on Sumpter, and the uprising of Virginia, the administration was, so to speak, caught napping. Further, up to that day the administration did not take any, the slightest, measure of any kind for any emergency; in a word, that it expected no attacks, no war, saw no fire, and did not prepare to meet and quench one.

It were, perhaps, better for Lincoln if he could muster courage and act by himself according to his nature, rather than follow so many, or even any single adviser. Less and less I understand Mr. Lincoln, but as his private secretary assures me that Lincoln has great judgment and great energy, I suggested to the secretary to say to Lincoln he should be more himself.

Being tete-a-tete with McDowell, I saw him do things of details which in any, even half-way organized army, belong to the speciality of a chief of the staff. I, of course, wondered at it. McDowell, who commands what in Europe would be called a large corps, told me that General Scott allowed him not to form a complete staff, such a one as he, McDowell, wished.

And all this, so to speak, on the eve of a battle, when the army faces the enemy. It seems that genuine staff duties are something altogether unknown to the military senility of the army. McDowell received this corps in the most chaotic state. Almost with his own hands he organized, or rather put together, the artillery. Brigades are scarcely formed; the commanders of brigades do not know their commands, and the soldiers do not know their generals—and still they consider Scott to be a great general!

The Congress, well-intentioned, but entangled in formulas, slowly feels its way. The Congress is composed of better elements than is the administration, and it is ludicrous to see how the administration takes airs of hauteur with the Congress. This Congress is in an abnormal condition for the task of directing a revolution; a formula can be thrown in its face almost at every bold step. The administration is virtually irresponsible, more so than the government of any constitutional nation whatever. What great things this administration could carry out! Congress will consecrate, legalize, sanction everything. Perhaps no harm would have resulted if the Senate and the House had contained some new, fresher elements directly from the boiling, popular cauldron. Such men would take a position at once. Many of the leaders in both Houses were accustomed for many years to make only opposition. But a long opposition influences and disorganizes the judgment, forms not those genuine statesmen able to grasp great events. For such emergencies as are now here, terrible energy is needed, and only a very perfect mind resists the enervating influence of a protracted opposition.

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