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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday 14th

14 June 1861

Sunday 16th

16 June 1861
15 June 1861
Saturday 15th

Another Summer’s day. Our cheerfulness is reviving under sunlight. My morning was absorbed by visits and writing letters. The duty of a minister here is not trifling. He has many small things to attend to in the way of applications by letter and still more them in person. He has formal and other communications with the foreign office, and the same with the Department at home. He has newspapers to read to keep au courant, and information to hunt up on questions that arise. I had a visit today from Mr Gerard Ralston who is the representation here of the State of Liberia. He said he was bout to attend a meeting at the house of Lord Brougham of the opponents of the Slave Trade. They were very desirous of getting the United States to consent to the mutual right of search. And he wanted to know whether I could give any assurance on that subject. I replied in the negative. I could express my conviction that after the removal of the present difficulties, the government would co-operate in real and downright earnest in all efforts165 to suppress the Slave trade. This would be a revolution of some value. But I had no means of knowing to what extent they might consider the right of search as involving collateral questions which would interpose practical obstacles to the concession. I trusted that New York would no longer be a centre for the despatch of slaves, or the government agents be corruptible so far as to connive at it. He asked whether he could be authorised to say so. I said, Yes, provided I was not committed to the adoption of any specific measures. He asked whether I would receive a deputation on the subject, to which I replied, very certainly. I likewise had a visit from Mr W E Forster, who come to make some enquiries about the state of feeling in America. I told him it was pretty bad, but I hoped that the worst had been heard from. The only thing now to distrust it was the sending out of these troops, of the effort of which I was apprehensive. He endeavored to defend the measure, but it was by attributing to our government a desire to pick a quarrel with this country in the hopes of effecting my means of it a reunion. I replied that such a measure would seem to be likely rather to set up the confederates and complete the disruption. If the question were likely to arise with any other power, there would seem to be more reason in it. I then alluded to the accounts of the escape of slaves, as being the most decisive stroke as yet of the struggle. If it continued on any large scale, it would take the strength out of any aggressive movement that might be made, and would bring the majority to terms at once. Mr Forster expressed some apprehension lest this might lead a reconciliation made at the sacrifice of the whole antislavery principle. I said I thought such an apprehension not illfounded, as there was no denying the pressure on the commercial and industrious classes of the north, which would lead them to snap greedily at terms of reconciliation. On the whole we might conclude that a few weeks would bring round new date for judgment. He asked me whether I had any question in Parliament to propose that might client an answer from the Minister. I said I though of none at present; that my disposition was friendly, and that he might depend upon all honest efforts to prevent a breach. He said he had no doubt of it, and he would do all in his power for the same end. Mrs Adams and I drove to Richmond park to dine socially with Lord and Lady John Russell. The country looked much more beautifully than it did when I went on my former166 around nearly a month ago. The men were actively engaged in mowing, and the air was sweet with hay. We found Lady Russell with tea set out on the green, and ready afterwards to walk out and show the same views which I saw before. The air was now softer and the birds were more vocal as it drew towards evening. Our company consisted of the Lord Chancellor and Mr Milner Gibson, Lord and Lady Hatherton, Mr Grosvenor and another young member of Parliament, Mr Greville, and a daughter and a son of the family. It was very social and pleasant, and we remained so late that it was a quarter past twelve before we got home.

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=DCA61d166