Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, May 18, 1864

Selected the Visitors to the Naval Academy, although we have not yet the appropriation bill, but we can no longer delay, if there are to be Visitors. Congress is very dilatory in necessary business, and yet impatient of delay in others.

Mr. Seward called on me this afternoon at a late hour in reference to alleged misconduct of the Marigold, which is charged with firing a gun at a blockade-runner within six hundred yards of Morro Castle. As Temple, Fleet Captain of the East Gulf Squadron, had left me but a few moments previously, I sent for him, there having been no report of the case. While waiting for Temple, Mr. S. informed me that a forged proclamation had been published by sundry papers in New York, among others by the World and Journal of Commerce, imposing a fast on account of the failures of Grant and calling for a draft of 300,000 men. Seward said he at once sent on contradicting it and had ordered the English steamer to be delayed. He then had called on Stanton to know whether such a document had passed over the regular telegraph. Stanton said there had not. He (S.) then ordered that the other line should be at once seized, which was done. Seward then asked if the World and Journal of Commerce had been shut up. Stanton said he knew of their course only a minute before. Seward said the papers had been published a minute too long; and Stanton said if he and the President directed, they should be suspended. Seward thought there should be no delay.

Gold, under the excitement, has gone up ten per cent, and the cotton loan will advance on the arrival of the steamer at Liverpool with the tidings. It seems to have been a cunningly devised scheme, — probably by the Rebels and the gold speculators, as they are called, who are in sympathy with them.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 34-5

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