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

Adams Family Civil War letters; US Minister to the UK and his sons.

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his brother, John Quincy

H.Q. 5th Mass. Cav’y
May 2, 1865

Now about my arrest and release, as I presume the whole family will desire the story I will send the facts to you and you can send my letter to the Governor. The subject is too disagreeable and too much of a bore to write many letters about it. Here is the whole story. At three o’clock in the morning of the 16th I received an order from General Ord, dated 13th, placing me “in arrest for neglect of duty in allowing my command to straggle and maraud,” and ordering me to Fort Monroe for trial. I reported at the Fort at five o’clock that afternoon and remained there, apparently utterly forgotten and unnoticed until the 27th. I was well enough satisfied that nothing could come of it, for I knew what my orders were and what had been done by me; but it was both vexatious and annoying. I was, in fact, buried alive and could get no replies to any of my letters or communications. At last tired of waiting, on the 22d I resolved to force the fighting somehow and sent in an application to be allowed to go to Richmond. Not waiting for an answer to that on the 24th I sent in another to be released, and, before I heard from either, on the 26th, General Ord came down to see his family at the Fort and I then requested a personal interview. This I obtained. At last, then, in the thirteenth day of my arrest, I had got my hand in. Whether I played it out or not, you will now judge.

As the result of my interview I was released from arrest and, the same evening, joined the General and his family on his boat to Richmond. General Ord treated me with marked attention and civility, though, of course, I did not refer to any matters of business, and, on getting to Richmond, he at once gave me an order exonerating me from all blame and directing me to resume command of my regiment. This I had n’t the slightest idea of doing under the circumstances, and now the farce began. They had all gone off at half-cock on a parcel of verbal complaints of citizens against my regiment, and now they only had blind wrath to show, and lots of it, but neither facts nor evidence. Meanwhile it was my innings. My course was, not to defend my regiment, but, allowing all they said, simply to demand facts on which to punish officers and men. They had n’t one to give. Gradually a noticeable change took place in my position. I became an ill-used, injured man to whom redress was due. Meanwhile, before my release, an inspection of my regiment, with a view to smashing it and me generally, had been ordered and had taken place the very day before my release. I had the Inspector’s report hunted up at once and submitted to General Ord. The Inspector submitted facts and the General in command asked for orders. That report was at once referred to ME by General Ord to recommend what orders should be given. This grew ludicrous. The next day I sent back the report endorsed, recommending simply that all questions and complaints in relation to the regiment be referred to me for investigation and settlement, and that no future complaints be received, except in writing, and all such be at once referred to me. The same day orders in accordance with my recommendation were issued. I was told to put the regiment in camp wherever I chose, and they promised me that I should n’t be troubled any more. The deliciously ludicrous result was thus arrived at, that, after being under arrest a fortnight, the Inspector’s report on the very facts on which I was to stand a trial was referred to me, and finally the facts themselves sent back to me to do what I saw fit about them. They had gone off at H.Q. on the half-cock and with just the usual result.

The whole difficulty seemed to arise from certain horse-stealing propensities of my men. They stole horses at just the wrong time and place. Meanwhile, in other respects, I must confess they are as hard a pack to manage as any I ever had to handle and a most inveterate set of stragglers and pilferers. They can only understand the sternest discipline and must be punished to enforce discipline in a way I never heard of in my old regiment. I no longer wonder slave-drivers were cruel. I am. I no longer have any bowels of mercy…



In May orders came for an expedition large enough to crush out all resistance in Texas. Colonel Adams, though reluctantly, determined to remain with his regiment, believing that he owed something to his position and that “it would not do for a Colonel to set the example of resignation in the face of a distant and dangerous expedition.” A large cavalry force, under the command of Sheridan, was to reduce to submission or destroy General Kirby Smith’s army. The regiment prepared for transportation and only awaited final orders, when Colonel Adams’ health again broke down, through exposure, and on June 1st he set out for Quincy. After five days of trying experience he reached that place, much reduced in weight, wretchedly weak, unable to take up any work or project, mentally depressed and quite broken in spirit. For more than a month he remained in this state when a stay at St. Johns and the Isles of Shoals quite restored him. His military career was ended by his discharge, August 1, after an active service of three years, seven months and twelve days. He turned to civil occupations, practically beginning life anew. The rest is characteristically related in the “Autobiography.”

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the U.K., to his son, Charles.

London, April 28, 1865

Your letter from Richmond was sent by John, as you desired, over to us. I read it with the greatest interest, and sent it off to your mother at Rome. It was a singular circumstance that you, in the fourth generation of our family, under the Union and the constitution, should have been the first to put your foot in the capital of the Ancient Dominion, and that, too, at the head of a corps which prefigured the downfall of the policy which had ruled in that capital during the whole period now closely approaching a century. How full of significance is this history, which all of us are now helping to make! It is literally the third and fourth generation which is paying the bitter penalty for what must now be admitted were the shortcomings of the original founders of the Union. It was Jefferson who uttered the warning words, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Yet even he in his latest years recoiled in equal terror from the opportunity then presented of applying at least a corrective to the fatal tendency of that moment. We have had it all to do at a period when the dangerous evil had reached the plenitude of its power and threatened to expand its sway over all. Practically the task may be said to have been accomplished. But at what a penalty to the generations now alive, and perhaps to their posterity!

And now comes the crowning abomination of this unholy spirit. With its physical power finally crushed, it strives to wreak its last vengeance upon the heads of those whom circumstances have happened to put forward as the leading instruments to bring about this change. Stupidly and blindly these puny devils bring on themselves by their own acts the danger of aggravating the very chastisement under which they are writhing. The magnanimity of the victorious nation was but speaking in the persons of Abraham Lincoln

and William H. Seward words of conciliation and kindness to the fallen, when they came in to substitute another whose bitter sense of personal wrong naturally mingles an alloy of vindictiveness in all his feelings, and to supply fuel to the popular fire which might in its progress burn them all from the face of the earth. Verily, the ways of Providence are past finding out! It looks to me as if it was not its will that mercy should be extended to these miserable criminals.

Yet there was never a moment when the position of the nation was more sublime than on that very Good Friday, the 14th of April, when this most atrocious crime was committed. The war had gone to the extent of disarming all further effective resistance by the rebels, and the question left to decide was only how best to soften the bitterness of defeat. The public voice was unequivocally for Christian charity, and the exercise of it had been agreed upon as a policy in the Executive Mansion by the Chief Magistrate in conjunction with the Commander in Chief of the forces. Even the most prejudiced of the English are reluctantly constrained to admit that this was the grandest spectacle seen in a popular government ever since the world began. Just at that instant comes in a whisper prompted by the father of all evil, “Let us knock down all this edifice by a single blow.” And the blow was given.

But I doubt if it accomplished its object. It may however complete other purposes not contemplated by its author. It may fix the condition of immediate and total emancipation more firmly than before, and likewise call forth from all that is found worth saving in the doomed community a sentiment of reprobation which may be the forerunner of a higher morality hereafter. The murder of Abraham Lincoln sets a stigma which will not be effaced or expiated except by long years of thorough reformation.

The excitement in this country has been deep and wide, spreading through all classes of society. My table is piled with cards, letters and resolutions. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his father

H.Q. 5th Mass. Cav’y, Sutherland St., near
Petersburg, April 10, 1865

Grant’s great movement was already under way and General Weitzel, to whom I reported, ordered me to get out to the front with no delay. The regiment was unarmed, lumbered up with surplus baggage and all disorganized by the rapid move from an old, permanent camp. Arms were to be drawn, stores turned in and the regiment forced to the front in a moment. To add to the trouble it rained incessantly all the two next days — bad enough for me; but that was nothing compared with the anxiety we all felt for the jeopardy in which the grand movement was placed. Thoroughly wet and knee deep in mud the work went on somehow and every official gave us all possible aid. Wagons, animals and arms were procured somehow. I went out to the front and selected a camp and the morning after I landed sent out one battalion. Friday noon it cleared away.

Meanwhile confusion in affairs regimental had become worse confounded and it needed all the head I had to keep things straight at all; but keeping cool and the assistance of first rate officers brought things round and Friday evening, having got ten companies sent forward, I broke up the receiving camp and moved out to the front. Here, in the deserted camp of the 1st N.Y. I found myself very comfortable on Saturday night, and the next evening the balance of the regiment arrived, and once more we were all together. I now found myself in command of all the Cavalry detachments north of the James — some two thousand men in all, of whom about 1000 were mounted. All Sunday reports of Grant’s successes were coming in and we were anxious and expectant. I felt sure that Richmond would be abandoned as Atlanta had been, but Generals Weitzel and Devens treated my suggestion to that effect so lightly that they quite put me out of conceit with it. However, the day, bright and warm, passed away and at night orders came to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. The miscellaneous Brigade of which I had charge was the hardest body to handle of which I had any experience, being made up of all sorts of detachments and being without any staff or organization. I went to bed anxious, weary and disgusted enough.

At dawn I received a dispatch from my picket line that the enemy was not to be seen, and immediately after an order to move my command to the Darbytown road “and there await further orders.” Then came vexations, for, without a staff, I had to get a column in motion. At seven o’clock, after fretting, fuming and chafing for an hour, I had the satisfaction of getting in motion at last. I had about one thousand mounted men and a battery. I got out to the Darbytown road, and by this time heavy explosions were heard towards Richmond, like the sound of heavy, distant fighting. Finding the enemy’s lines deserted and no orders coming I concluded something was up and it was best to push ahead; so we went through the lines and took the Richmond road. Then came an exciting march, not without vexations; but nine o’clock found me in the suburbs of Richmond. Of my march through the city I have written the details to John and he will doubtless forward the letter to you. I am still confounded at the good fortune which brought me there. To have led my regiment into Richmond at the moment of its capture is the one event which I should most have desired as the culmination of my life in the Army. That honor has been mine and now I feel as if my record in this war was rounded and completely filled out.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we lay near Richmond picketing all the roads. My impressions of the city and its people I sent to John; but I also had to ride round a portion of the line of defences, crossing the celebrated Chickahominy swamp and visiting the scene of McClellan’s old operations. The rebel earthworks are the strongest I ever saw and the city is wonderfully defensible. There, at last, however were those works, the guns still mounted and unspiked, with the ammunition beside them, taken at last without the loss of a man, flanked by great marches in Georgia.

Thursday afternoon I was surprised by an order to report with my regiment to General Hartsuff in Petersburg. I called in my pickets and made a moonlight flitting, leaving my camp at midnight. The regiment marched through Richmond at ten o’clock and found that conquered city quiet and silent as a graveyard. I believe I saw but one living being in the streets — a single sentry on his beat and I did not hear a sound. In fact all through the occupation the behavior of our Army has been wonderful. I have not seen or heard of any riot, blood-shed or violence. Of drunkenness there necessarily was a great deal; for, with an insane idea of propitiating our soldiers, the citizens actually forced liquor on them in the streets; but now those two cities are as quiet and orderly as any cities of the North. As for the usual scenes which have accompanied such captures abroad, there were absolutely none of them.

We found the slaves and the poor whites pillaging freely, but that was put a stop to and the soldiers, so far as I could see, behaved admirably. I got to Petersburg at nine o’clock and reported to General Hartsuff. He gave me until next morning to get the regiment together and rest it, and then sent me out here to cover the South Side Railroad.

Here I am on classic ground and see a good deal of the inhabitants. The rumor today is that Lee has surrendered. If this is so the fighting is over. Johnston must follow suit and there will hardly be another skirmish. Even if the rumor is false, however, I am persuaded the war is really over. For the first time I see the spirit of the Virginians, since these last two battles, completely broken; the whole people are cowed —whipped out. Every one is now taking the oath of allegiance. By the first of June you will not be able in these parts to find any confederates. The war is really over. These indications are new to me. In all former times these people might be broken, but they would not bend. Now they cower right down before us.

My present line runs right through both camps of the two armies. It is a curious region of desolation. I have ridden all through it and it seems to have been swept with the besom of destruction. All landmarks are defaced, not only trees and fences, but even the houses and roads. It is one broad tract, far as the eye can reach, dotted here and there with clumps of trees which mark the spot where some Head Quarters stood, and for the rest covered with a thick stubble of stumps of the pine. You ride through mile after mile of deserted huts, marking the encampments of armies, and over roads now leading from nowhere, nowhither. Large houses are gone so that even their foundations can no longer be discovered. Forts, rifle-pits and abattis spring up in every direction, and in front of Petersburg the whole soil is actually burrowed and furrowed beyond the power of words to describe. There it all is, freshly deserted and as silent as death; but it will be years and years before the scars of war disappear from this soil, for nature must bring forth new trees and a new race of men must erect other habitations.

So much for my experiences, so far in the most interesting bit of campaigning it has yet been my fate to take part in. As you will imagine I have been and am happy and contented enough. This continual change and movement, without the crush and drive of a fierce campaign, is most delightful. It is also most fortunate; for to have been forced into the field at once would have utterly ruined my regiment. As it is, it has now an excellent chance. In a word, my usual good fortune has accompanied me. I seem once more to have landed on my feet in just the right moment and at just the right place. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the U.K., to his son, Charles.

London, March 24, 1865

ON this side my situation seems at last to be getting easy and comfortable, so far as freedom from anxiety is concerned. A great change of opinion has been going on in the last few months, in regard to the chances of the issue. People feel the power of our position and the weakness of that of the rebels. They are also not without some embarrassment respecting the possible consequence to themselves of their indiscreet betrayal of their true sentiments towards us. This has led to a singular panic in regard to what will be done by us, after a restoration. A week or two since you could not drive the notion out of their heads that we were not about to pounce at once upon Canada. This was corrected by the first debate that took place in Parliament on that subject. Last night there was another, the burden of which was absolute faith in our desire to remain on the most friendly relations. At the same time £50,000 was voted for the purpose of fortifying Quebec in case of accidents. The case then stands logically thus. If they do believe what they say, the money is thrown away, as no fortification can be necessary. If on the other hand they do not believe it, and that opinion is a just one, £50,000 will not go very far to putting Canada out of our reach. The fear that is implied is far more of a provocative than a resource in the dilemma.

Be this as it may, one thing seems for the present to be settled! That is, that no hope is left for any aid to the rebel cause. England will initiate nothing to help them in their critical moment. So far as any risk of an aggressive policy is concerned, it is over. Mr. Seward may now rely upon it, that if troubles supervene, it must happen very much by his own act. He has a right to exult in the success of his policy in carrying the country in its hour of peril clear of the hazards of foreign complications. The voluminous intrigues of the rebel emissaries have been completely baffled, their sanguine anticipations utterly disappointed. They have spent floods of money in directing the press, in securing aid from adventurers of all sorts, and in enlisting the services of ship and cannon builders with all their immense and powerful following, and it has been all in vain. So far as any efforts of theirs are concerned, we might enter Richmond tomorrow. This act of the drama is over. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his father

Newport, R.I., March 7, 1865

What do you think of the inaugural? That rail-splitting lawyer is one of the wonders of the day. Once at Gettysburg and now again on a greater occasion he has shown a capacity for rising to the demands of the hour which we should not expect from orators or men of the schools. This inaugural strikes me in its grand simplicity and directness as being for all time the historical keynote of this war; in it a people seemed to speak in the sublimely simple utterance of ruder times. What will Europe think of this utterance of the rude ruler, of whom they have nourished so lofty a contempt? Not a prince or minister in all Europe could have risen to such an equality with the occasion. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the U.K., to his son, Charles.

London, February 17, 1865

The Canada brought out the account of the peace commissioners from Richmond, and the coming out of Mr. Seward to meet them, with the President in the background. The effect was to create a general impression that peace was at once to follow. The consternation was extraordinary. The public funds fell. All sorts of securities, except the rebel loan and the United States stocks, went down. The price of cotton was lower by four cents a pound and hardly any could be bought even at that. You would have thought that a great calamity had befallen the good people of England. What would have happened, had the story lasted, I should not dare to say. Happily for the distressed nerves of our friends, the next day brought them a little relief. A steamer had come with three days later news. It was not so bad as they had feared. The conference had dispersed re infecta. There would be no peace. Hurrah. The papers of this morning are all congratulating the public that the war will go on indefinitely. The Times pathetically laments that it can foresee no end of it, excepting in the mutual exhaustion of the parties! i.e., the very end which it most desires to see! Such is the spectacle of alternations of hope and fear about our misfortunes, which this people is doomed to present to us for some months to come! I do not envy the figure it will make with posterity. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his mother

Boston, February 14, 1865

Within this week a curious change has again come over my plans. In my last I was comfortably disposing of myself for a summer’s enjoyment in a snug, pleasant staff place. The very next day I got a cool letter from Colonel Russell informing me that he had resigned and was on the point of leaving the regiment. This makes me full Colonel, and in so far is pleasant enough, but I regard it as decidedly a promotion down stairs as between the command of my regiment and the position I might have held in the Second Corps staff. . . .

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the U.K., to his son, Charles.

London, February 10, 1865

You ask me what effect the storming of Fort Fisher had in this country. I can only say in reply that coming as it did on the back of Sherman’s victorious march, it has for the nonce made the London Times much more respectful. At the only soiree which I have attended, the first remark a very distinguished lady to me was to congratulate me that the war was coming to an end. She had never said so before. She then commented strongly on the blundering policy of the Times which has aimed at a disruption of the Union, whilst the true interest of England should have prompted them to sustain it. She is a woman of sense, and her own opinion is worth having. But her position places her in a circle where she gets the impressions of people of higher influence in the political world. The notion that the war will not last much longer is universal. It is much strengthened by the late reports of rebels and blockade runners from the southern states. I hear all and say little, rejoice inwardly and betray no emotion.

Singularly enough, however, the public sentiment, disappointed in its, sanguine expectations of our ruin, is now taking a wholly new turn. It is whispered about that if the feud is reconciled and the Union restored, and a great army is left on our hands, the next manifestation will be one of hostility to this country. The various steps to rescind old treaty obligations, especially relating to Canada, which we have been forced to take, are cited as proof of our intentions to attack that country at once. Mr. Seward is as usual paraded as the rawhead and bloody bones before the imagination of the English people. Conscience looking back to the enormous extent to which the neutrality of the country has been abused by acts as well as expressions of sympathy with the rebels, doubtless prompts the fear of the effects of our very natural indignation. There are some who do not entirely suppress a wish that some decided course should be taken at once to ward off all these dangers. A quarrel might yet help the failing rebel cause. If it must come, the wiser way would be to provoke it at once. The only thing needed would be a pretext. And that doubtless could be readily found in the mass of complaints accumulated during the struggle. It was very certain that we had the intention very soon to press a heavy amount of claim for damages done by the Alabama, etc., which never could be allowed. Why not take ground on that subject at once?

Such is the tone of the fighting cocks! But as yet they do not venture to crow loud. The politicians are wary. Parliament will be dissolved in July. And the elections will follow. No one cares about raising a new issue. There will be a very fierce personal canvass, in which individual popularity will tell so far in many cases [as] probably to turn the scale. So far as I can observe, I think there is even more timidity here than there is with our members of Congress in advance of an election. Hence I scarcely imagine the martial tone to be likely to be heard. Very certainly not, if nothing turns up to excite the popular passions on any question. After the seats are won and seven years of tenure are in prospect, the case may be altered. Then there may be bolder utterances. Meanwhile, however, events move fast in America. The thinner ranks of the rebel armies show no signs of recuperation. Their paper money is dear at the price of old rags, for it does not pay for the making. And the heart that upheld them is gone. This stage of the disease cannot last any great length of time. There must be some relief or the collapse is at hand. I doubt whether the allies on this side will be able to stretch out a helping hand in season.

Such is the precise condition of opinion at the moment, caused by the last news of the storming of Fort Fisher ! .. .

Charles Francis Adams, Jr., to his father

Boston, February 7, 1865

Reconstruction is looming rapidly up here and public opinion in New England stands in great need of guidance. The old Puritan vindictiveness is beginning to stick out strongly. Among Sumner’s friends I should expect this, but I find it among those not his friends. Dana, Hoar and many others profess doctrines which, if they are carried out, will make an aggravated Vendee, Hungary or Poland of the South and will ruin us as sure as shooting. I find myself and my doctrines, of yielding any terms involving simply property and life but not principle, for the sake of good feeling after Peace, in a sad minority. I know that the mass of the people are neither vindictive nor lawyers and I am sure that they will go with me; but they’ve got to sweep over all the talent and standing of Massachusetts. On that point will Charles Sumner meet shipwreck, and it will be well if many better men do not go with him. However, people seem to me as ugly and vindictive as possible. They really don’t want peace, unless with it comes the hangman. They will insist upon it that this mighty revolution was, after all, only a murderous riot and that the police court and the constable are just about what it needs to quiet it. To this I can’t assent, but public opinion is floating round very loose. I wish you were here to influence. Seward, I think, can be depended upon to be moderate, but the New England influences are all against him. He needs you in Massachusetts more than in London, and I think he can hardly fail to see that himself. If this be so, the time of your return is not far distant.

The only item since my last has been the episode of the Peace Commissioners, an episode which has met with no favor in these parts, in fact it seems to have met with universal condemnation. To this I cannot agree. I regard it as a step forward, an indispensable first step which had to be taken. As for dignity, I do not look to President Lincoln for that. I do look to him for honesty and shrewdness and I see no evidence that in this matter he has been wanting in these respects. . . .

Boston, January 30, 1865

The more I think of the matter [national finances] the more persuaded I feel that my original impressions were correct and all my inquiries among business men here confirm my opinions. The Government is on the wrong track and the sooner it retraces its steps the better. I agree with you that this cannot be done at once, but I also believe that the new policy can be announced at once and that our future efforts should be directed through means distinctly avowed to the proposed end. The time has come for at least the enunciation of correct principles. A return to a specie basis for our expenditure is of course the end sought for. The means must be increased taxation and reduction of expenditure. Navy estimates could be reduced, bounties cut off, and, if we could get back to gold, all pay of officials cut down. In gold, the cost of the war is not now more than seven hundred millions a year. All authorities tell me that the letting loose of a comparatively small amount of cotton would turn exchange in our favor, and I am also assured that wealthy individuals here now hold large amounts of gold or its equivalents in Europe — out of danger, as it were. In the light of recent successes, symptoms of a return to sound financial principles would again recall this capital.

If these facts are as stated, the end and the means to the end could at least be set before the country and effort could be directed in correct channels. We should no longer financially be drifting. The very enunciation of correct principles would probably tumble gold down prodigiously, and any day after gold once approximates paper, a lucky find of cotton and one big, staggering effort might enable the Government to resume payment in specie. This even attempted, and our borrowing brought within bounds, would so restore confidence in our credit that the very attempt would be half the victory. I may be all wrong, but as yet the experiment has not been tried. Fessenden, having done us immense injury by doing nothing in the very crisis of our fate, is soon going out. Who is to succeed him? The very naming of his successor will go far to tell us whether we are to emerge from revolution through bankruptcy, or are to prove equal to the emergency.

They are discussing in Congress the question of retaliation of ill usage upon our prisoners of war. In the last Army and Navy Journal (that of the 28th) you will find my views on this subject in a communication signed by my initials. I hope you will look it up and let me know how it strikes you. I think the views will stand the test of humanity. If the rebels will feed our prisoners on turtle-soup, theirs should be fed on the same. If they give them a pint of meal a day, theirs should have no more, man for man. In a word the rebels should hereafter regulate wholly the treatment of prisoners.

Since I sat down to write this letter all my future prospects have undergone a change. As I was growling over the irregularity of mails, the door bell rang and Hull Adams rushed in in a tremendous hurry and then rushed out again, the bearer of an important message. Major General Humphreys, who now commands the Second, Hancock’s old Corps, had, in a roundabout way in lack of a better, sent through Mr. Campbell and Hull a message to me to the effect that he will be glad to have me on his staff as Assistant Inspector General of his Corps. General Humphreys was Meade’s Chief of Staff while I was at army headquarters, and is kind enough to say that he took a fancy to me, etc., etc. At any rate he has paid me a very high compliment. The position of Assistant Inspector General is generally considered the highest on the Staff — in a Corps it carries with it the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and my predecessor under Hancock was also Chief of Staff and made Brigadier General. It is a position which I formerly greatly coveted. I shall accept this offer, at least for a time and return to a new and more influential life nearer Head Quarters. General Humphreys you must have heard of. He impresses me as one of the few able men I have met in the Army, and he is somewhat notorious as a tough old fighter. The whole matter is, of course, perfectly crude as yet, as I have neither answered, nor fully considered the proposition. . . .