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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Tuesday 11th

11 June 1861

Thursday 13th

13 June 1861
12 June 1861
Wednesday 12th

A fine and warm day— I spent my morning is writing to my son John in advance of the mail day. But prior to this, and immediately after breakfast, I walked to the house of Lord John Russell to have an interview with him as I had desired and he had fixed for ten o’ clock. I was ushered into his room full of papers and business, and he came in immediately. But before proceeding to business Lardy Russell came in to say that she hoped Mrs Adams would come out on Saturday to Richmond in a morning gown and without ceremony, and so much before dinner that she might have a chance to gout and see the park. Her manner is so simple and unaffected that it was quite engaging. My conversation with him was of about three quarters of an hour’s length and covered most of the points at issue between the countries. I tried to act up to my instructions at the same time that I softened as well as I could the sharp edges. The present difficulty as in the friction that is going on both here and at Washington. I think it may be checked if no more impulse be given, but there is the trouble. I asked the meaning of the despatch of troops to canada and his Lordship admitted that they were precautionary, and in consequence of the mission of Mr Ashmun and of a threat made by Governor Seward to Lord Lyons of the seizure of a British vessel on Lake Ontario. Another case of Seward’s horseplay. For I said in reply that I thought it was a strange expedient, if in earnest to give warning of his intervention in season to frustrate it. Now this transmission of troops will be construed as war in America. And then the rebound will come here again. On the whole my place is more difficult than I expected. But I will not permit a quarrel here if I can help it. A dinner today at Mr Milner Gibson’s. Of the company were the Duke of Argyll, Lord Palmerston, Mr Mrs and Miss Gladstone, Sir Edwin Landseer, and Mr and Mrs Sheridan. There was a Russian Secretary too I believe. I had a good deal of conversation with Mr Gladstone who sat next to me, which is the first sensible talk I have met with in all my dinners, or evening since I have been here. He gave me some insight into the life of a Minister here, and the draught upon the powers of a public man. After dinner I talked with the Duke of Argyll a little on American affairs. He is quite friendly. We left quite late.163

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=DCA61d163