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

Post image for Diary of Gideon Welles.

Diary of Gideon Welles.

June 6, 2014

Diary of Gideon Welles

June 6, Monday. Am urged to go to Baltimore but do not deem it advisable. Some talk with Blair respecting Chase and Seward, who, though not assimilating and unlike in many respects, continue to get along. Each has a policy which seems to me unsound, and Blair coincides with me, but is so intent on other matters, personal to the Blairs and the vindictive war upon them, that he is compelled to defer the differences on grave questions to what so nearly concerns him.

I am uncomfortable about the extradition, or rather the abduction, of Arguellis, the Spaniard. The act shocks me, and the Administration will justly be held accountable. Some of us who know nothing on the subject will have to share the responsibility. I knew nothing of the subject, nor that there was such a man, until after the wrong had been committed and the man was on his way to Cuba. Marshal Murray then informed me, and said he was here to escape the grand jury. A few days after the subject was alluded to in the Cabinet. Seward introduced it incidentally, partly as a feeler and partly to affirm hereafter that the subject had been mentioned. A few words passed between him and the President. As no one said a word by way of comment, I inquired if there was not a law in New York against abduction? Seward claimed there was no law prohibiting the extradition, – that we might do it or not. It was an act of comity merely; Spain could not demand it, etc., etc. It was in answer to these remarks that I put the inquiry. I saw it grated, and when I further remarked if there was no treaty or law for it. I should doubt the propriety of acting, I saw I was making discord, and the subject dropped. The arrest is an arbitrary and unauthorized exercise of power by the Secretary of State.

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