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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Monday 17th

17 June 1861

Wednesday 19th

19 June 1861
18 June 1861
Tuesday 18th

The season is now summerlike and charming. My morning devoted to visits of strangers. The only ones of interest were from Sir John Harding and Mrs Blunt. The former is Queen’s Advocate, and though profession to be a conservative declares himself a great friend to us. We talked much of the proclamation and of Lord John’s speech and I tried to explain to him the nature of my objection, which is much misunderstood here. He defended it by the usual argument. I read to him parts of Dana’s letter which seem to me to give a clear view of the objection. He seemed to see the force of it, and to concede that perhaps their action was too early. He assured me however as they all do that the public sympathy is with us. He then talked of the convention at Paris and of the objections made by Mr Mary to t he first article, which had prevented an agreement; and blamed the Ministry here for declining to close with his proposition. He thought it would have been a great thing for Great Britain to secure the assent of all commercial nations to that policy. This rather gives strength to Mr Sanford’s idea, which I regard as short sighted. The168 other visitor was a Mrs Ellen Key Blunt who came in company with a Miss Cunningham, an elderly English woman, for the purpose of asking that she might be presented to the Queen at the Drawing room tomorrow. It seems that she applied to Mr Dallas some time ago, and he sent in her name, but it having been announced that she was a professional reader in public, Sir Edward Cust replied that her admission was impossible. Some time ago she had got to Mr Clay to write me a letter in a rather impervious tone about it, and she now seemed disposed to carry it by storm. I said that as Mrs Adams was about herself to be presented on this occasion, I though it was quite enough to undertake, without attempting to present any one else. She seemed very much disposed to argue the case, but I put a stop to it by saying that under no circumstances would Mrs Adams present any body tomorrow. Next week there would be another Drawing room, and if she was disposed to make her application then I should be ready to give it full consideration. She rose angrily and said it was no matter, the Bishop of London’s wife would present her: to which I expressed no opposition. And the ladies retired. I doubt not that I shall much of this in America. There is no greater difficulty in a minister’s way than the difference between the social equality recognized at home and the inequality established here. Luckily for me I care very little for the popular favor at home. I have had distinction enough, so that the image of the Presidency does not dazzle my fancy as id did that of my predecessors. I shall try to do what I think my duty, and remain content with the reward the consciousness of that may give me. I took a walk with my daughter Mary and then Mrs Adams and I went to dine by invitation at Lady Loudesborough’s. This was a great puzzle to me, as I had no thread of social affinity any more than I had with the Duke of Manchester. I found a very young company, and a young Lord lately come into his inheritance as the host. But his stepmother did the honors. She committed a blunder in ettiquette in going down with the Marquis of Conyngham instead of me which gave them far more annoyance than it did me. I say very quietly between two young men169 who were very civil. The house is princely, but he entertainment much the most meagre I have seen. After dinner, the Marquis was very profuse in his apology for taking my place, which I received in very good part. He told me that this was very much of a family party for two young ladies, one the sister of Lord Lendesboro the other his own daughter, who were cousins and who were soon to be married to two of the young men present. He was himself the elder brother of the late Lord, who had been dead little more than a year. The Dowager was a second Wife, and she had a brood of children besides. He was not aware of my position when he offered his arm to the lady. The only real man present was Sir Roderick Murchison, who came and talked to me pleasantly. But the young Lord seemed so concerned at the blunder, and he expressed so much desire to show his gratitude for the civilities shown him when in America, that he quite won my heart. We returned home at eleven.

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=DCA61d169