Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9, 1863: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft

Horatio Nelson Taft was an examiner for the U. S. Patent Office and a keen observer of life in Washington, D.C. On this day 150 years ago, Taft--like a lot of people in the North--was expressing doubts about the Emancipation Proclamation.
Friday Jan'y 9th 1863

No Startling news today afloat. Old Elisha Whittlesey died yesterday very suddenly aged about eighty years, his funeral took place this afternoon. He had been a long time in public life as Comptroller of the Treasury and he possessed the unbounded confidence of all who knew his character was unimpeachable. Called on Maj Williams this evening, paid him $10 for Lieut Belden. Met Doct Stone there, he is in attendance upon Mrs Williams who is sick. The Maj is as full of talk and sharp stories as ever. It is very amusing to hear his remarks upon men and things in Lyons. But I think he is disposed to speak fairly of all, personal feelings of bitterness and acrimony which used to distinguish him when speaking of those opposed to him in politics or otherwise have become much softened. He has learned much the last few years. Congress does not seem to be doing much. The currency Bill, the financial measure of Mr Chase, I fear will be smothered by outside influence. Members will acknowledge the justness and majesty of such a Bill but I fear will lack the courage to face the displeasure of the Banks and interested parties. Mr Chase (the Sec'y of the Treasury) reccommends that all paper money shall be U.S. Money and that all Banking Institutions shall be based upon U.S. Stocks. That would give us a safe and uniform Currency. There seems to be an increasing desire to see this terrible War ended, Negro or no Negro, Slavery or no Slavery. It does seem preposterous to me that we should be spending Millions, nay hundreds of Millions, and sacrificing scores of thousands of lives to abolish Slavery just now, when we have all we can do to hold our own and hope for success without bringing Slavery into the question.

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