Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

1861. February 12.—Yesterday’s news from home a shade more promising. The President’s message to Congress on the mediatorial propositions from Virginia is calmly and judiciously written. It looks to that State for the preservation of the Union. The Convention of the Border States, free as well as slave, assembled on the 30th of January, and we ought now to have its first movements. There will be a collection of distinguished men at it,—Rives, Tyler, Reverdy Johnson, etc. I fear, however, they are rather effete celebrities than fit for the moment.

A curious sort of intermediate public counsel, not employed by either plaintiff or defendant, but seeming to act and argue as a Judge-Advocate at a Court-Martial, has addressed an admirable argument to the Bench in “Betsey Bonaparte’s” case at Paris. He seems a representative “pro bono publico.” His name is Duvignaux. Another singular feature of this trial was in allowing a presumptuous American called Gould to intrude his written notions as to what was general opinion about the marriage of Jerome and Betsey with our eminent lawyers in 1803! How completely this could have been exploded by the production of my father’s written and elaborate view of the whole matter given to old Mr. Paterson at the time. I have the rough draft among his relics.

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