My Diary North and South – William Howard Russell

Lord Lyons has evinced the most moderate and conciliatory spirit, and has done everything in his power to break Mr. Seward's fall on the softest of eider down. Some time ago we were all prepared to hear nothing less would be accepted than Captain Wilkes taking Messrs. Mason and Slidell on board the San Jacinto, [...]

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December 27th.—This morning Mr. Seward sent in his reply to Lord Russell's despatch—"grandis et verbosa epistola." The result destroys my prophecies, for, after all, the Southern Commissioners or Ambassadors are to be given up. Yesterday, indeed, in an under-current of whispers among the desponding friends of the South, there went a rumour that the Government [...]

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December 26th.—No answer yet. There can be but one. Press people, soldiers, sailors, ministers, senators, Congress men, people in the street, the voices of the bar-room—all are agreed. "Give them up? Never! We'll die first!" Senator Sumner, M. De Beaumont, M. De Geoffroy, of the French Legation, dined with me, in company with General Van [...]

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December 23rd.—There was a tremendous storm, which drove over the city and shook the houses to the foundation. Constant interviews took place between the President and members of the Cabinet, and so certain are the people that war is inevitable, that an officer connected with the executive of the Navy Department came in to tell [...]

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December 15th.—The first echo of the San Jacinto's guns in England reverberated to the United States, and produced a profound sensation. The people had made up their minds John Bull would acquiesce in the seizure, and not say a word about it; or they affected to think so; and the cry of anger which has [...]

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December 12th.—A big-bearded, spectacled, moustachioed, spurred, and booted officer threw himself on my bed this morning ere I was awake. "Russell, my dear friend, here you are at last; what ages have passed since we met!" I sat up and gazed at my friend. "Bohlen! don't you remember Bohlen, and our rides in Turkey, our [...]

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December 10th.—Paid a visit to Colonel Seaton, of the National Intelligencer, a man deservedly respected and esteemed for his private character, which has given its impress to the journal he has so long conducted. The New York papers ridicule the Washington organ, because it does not spread false reports daily in the form of telegraphic [...]

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December 7th.—A visit to the Garibaldi Guard with some of the Englishry, and an excellent dinner at the mess, which presented a curious scene, and was graced by sketches from a wonderful polyglot chaplain. What a company!—the officers present were composed as follows:—Five Spaniards, six Poles and Hungarians, two Frenchmen—the most soldierly-looking men at table—one [...]

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December 4th.—To Arlington, where Senator Ira Harris presented flags—that is, standards—to a cavalry regiment called after his name; the President, Mrs. Lincoln, ministers, generals, and a large gathering present. Mr. Harris made a very long and a very fierce speech; it could not be said Ira furor brevis est; and Colonel Davies, in taking the [...]

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December 3rd.—Drove down to the Capitol, and was introduced to the floor of the Senate by Senator Wilson, and arrived just as Mr. Forney commenced reading the President's message, which was listened to with considerable interest. At dinner, Colonel D'Utassy, of the Garibaldi legion, who gives a curious account of his career. A Hungarian by [...]

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