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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday 12th

12 July 1861

Sunday 14th

14 July 1861
13 July 1861
Saturday 13th

Another showery day. I had intended to devote the morning to the gallery of the South Kensington Museum. But first I had an engagement with my children to talk French with their teacher Madame Verdure, in order to get back my facility which I have entirely lost. Then came one or two calls at the legation, so that I was detained until a note from Lord John Russell arrived requesting a conference at three, and that finished the project. I made my first visit to the office in Downing Street. There was a conflict of recollection against to our former conference which surprised me. His Lordship actually wrote Lord Lyons that I had suggested the transfer of the negotiation about the Declaration of Paris to Washington. On the contrary I was the first to mention the subject and to place the choice of negotiation upon him, and he then suggested that he had placed it in the hands of Lord Lyons. Be that as it may, as I had now renewed the proposal in writing and as he had accepted it, I prefaced by showing him the power to negotiate and then the copy of a project which is nothing more nor less than the Declaration of Paris. At this he professed great188 surprise. He said that he had never understood the government to be willing to accept the first article before. I replied the government desired the extension of it which had been first proposed by Mr Marcy, but that understanding it not to be acceded to they would adopt it as it stands. His Lordship admitted that such was the fact. He would take the present proposal with him and submit to the cabinet. The singular divirgency of recollection as to facts teaches me the necessity of acting on paper. That I cannot be mistaken in my view of the original conversation must be obvious from it’s very nature. The conference was not upon that subject, but on a very different one. Lord John was not likely to introduce it because he had already sent instructions to Lord Lyons to discuss it at Washington. On the other hand, it was my duty to introduce it, under special instructions from Washington. The proposition therefore to leave it to be discussed there if coming from me would have been directly against my orders, whilst it naturally came from him, and in that way was properly acquiesced in by me. The fact that I did introduce it at the close of our discussion, and the precise mode in which I did os, being rather tentative, and suggesting another conference for that object are as clearly and strongly within my recollection as the fact that I went to Richmond on the 18th of May. Yet his Lordship has turned it all round and made me the proposer of the reference. This indicates either gross inattention or a little double dealing. In either case, it must hereafter be equally guarded against. After some desultory conversation, the whole time being only twenty five minutes, I left him with the understanding that he would let me know when he should be ready to proceed. I then returned home, and afterwards took a walk. Mr F B Crowninshield and his daughter dined with us, after which we went for a few minutes to Lady Palmerston’s reception.

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=DCA61d194