EXTRACTS FROM FLOYD’S DIARY.
November 8, 1860 ... I had a long conversation to-day with General Lane, the candidate for Vice-President on the ticket with Mr. Breckinridge. He was grave and extremely earnest; said that resistance to the anti-slavery feeling of the North was hopeless, and that nothing was left to the South but “resistance or dishonor”; that if the South failed to act with promptness and decision in vindication of her rights, she would have to make up her mind to give up first her honor and then her slaves. He thought disunion inevitable, and said when the hour came that his services could be useful, he would offer them unhesitatingly to the South. I called to see the President this evening, but found him at the State Department engaged upon his message, and did not see him. Miss Lane returned last evening from Philadelphia, where she had been for some time on a visit. Mr. W.H. Trescott, Assistant Secretary of State, called to see me this evening, and conversed at length upon the condition of things in South Carolina, of which State he is a native. He expressed no sort of doubt whatever of his State separating from the Union. He brought me a letter from Mr. Drayton, the agent of the State, proposing to buy ten thousand muskets for the use of the State....
November 10 ... Beach, Thompson, and Cobb came over with me from Cabinet and staid, taking informally a family dinner. The party was free and communicative; Toucey would not stay for dinner. Mr. Pickens, late Minister to Russia, came in after dinner with Mr. Trescott, Assistant Secretary of State, and sat an hour, talking about the distracted state of public feeling at the South. He seemed to think the time had come for decisive measures to be taken by the South.
November 11 ... I spent an hour at the President’s, where I met Thompson, Robert McGraw, and some others; we sat around the tea-table and discussed the disunion movements of the South. This seems to be the absorbing topic everywhere.
November 12 ... Dispatched the ordinary business of the department; dined at 5 o’clock; Mr. Pickens, late Minister to Russia, Mr. Trescott, Mr. Secretary Thompson, Mr. McGraw, Mr. Browne, editor of the “Constitution,” were of the party. The chief topic of discussion was, as usual, the excitement in the South. The belief seemed to be that disunion was inevitable; Pickens, usually very cool and conservative, was excited and warm. My own conservatism seems in these discussions to be unusual and almost misplaced.
[Sidenote] Benson J. Lossing, “The
Civil War in America,” Vol. I.,
p. 44. (Note.)
W.H. TRESCOTT TO E. BARNWELL RHETT.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 1860.