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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday 17th

17 May 1861

Sunday 19th

19 May 1861
18 May 1861
Saturday 18th

Not a great while after breakfast I received from Lord John Russell a note in reply to mine of yesterday proposing that if I would take the trouble to go to Pembroke Lodge at Richmond where he is for the time retired, he would see me on Monday at twelve or one o’clock, or if I preferred it, he would receive me there today at one. It was pretty late, but I decided at once for the earlier date, ordered a carriage, and travelled the nine miles and odd in such speed that I reached his Lordship’s door only a minute or two after the appointed time. The drive was a pleasant one though the air was cold. I was ushered in, and very shortly the minister made his appearance. He is a man of about sixty five or seventy, of about the same size as myself, with a face marked by care and thought rather than any strong expression. His eye is I think blue and cold. He received me kindly and I gave him the letter which Mr Everett had sent to me, after which we proceeded without further ceremony to business. Our conversation lasted more than an hour. I do not report it here for the reason that I shall be compelled to do so more fully in a despatch. My conclusion from it is that the permanency of my stay is by no means certain. For though I avoided the awkwardness of a categorical requisition, it was only to transfer the explanation to the other side of the water. Should the government take offence, my recall will follow in about three weeks. And I must admit that if I were compelled to judge of the character of the reply from that which was made to me, I should143 conclude that my stay is to be short. Yet it is so obviously against the interest of the government of the United States to make a breach with Great Britain that I scarcely can suppose it will so determine without the greatest provocation. At two o’clock the conversation began to flag, and notice came that luncheon was ready. His Lordship then rose and on my proposing to go, invited me in to the Drawing room where Lady Russell and the children, a young lady and two boys were assembled, and then asked me to join them and lunch. Of course I accepted, and we spent half an hour in miscellaneous conversation. Lady Russell is a good deal younger, and is I believe a second Wife. After this when I was going his Lordship invited me to walk out and view the prospect from several prominent points. It is a lovely rural scene, such as this country alone furnishes. The verdure and the general regions in purely picturesque nature. After signifying my thanks I got into the carriage and drove back to the city. But Mrs Adams was anxious to finish off the remainder of the visits of form to the ministers and the corps Diplomatique, so I accompanied her, and we were engaged in this work until dinner time. Hence it was natural that I was pretty fatigued in the evening, and quite unable to undertake the task of writing a despatch.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA61d138