A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Friday 26th

26 July 1861

Sunday 28th.

28 July 1861
27 July 1861
Saturday 27th

A heavy thunder shower. The drops looked like American rain. I left the office early for the purpose of making another visit to the South Kensington Museum. I did this for the reason that my proposed change to Mansfield Street next week will remove me from that point so much as to affect my opportunities of reaching it. I spent several hours in examining the collections of art which are extensive and curious. The antiquities in wood carving, and in iron, the collections of pottery, and glass, the curiosities in ivory and the forms of embroidery were all interesting. The great difficulty is in the multiplicity of the specimens which confuse the attention and fatigue the mind. When I got home near three o’clock I found that I had197 been wanted by Mr Forster, who was made anxious by the news of a projected measure of shutting up the ports of the Southern States, and a Cabinet council on the subject. He wanted assurances from me that I could not give him. So perhaps it is as well that I did not see him. Mr Sanford dropped in and questioned one about the negotiation on the privateer question. I parried it as well as I could until the introduction of another visitor cut the matter short. This visitor was named Alison. He had asked an interview of me, and I had granted it supposing him to be the historian Sir Archibald Alison. His signature singularly favored the delusion. It turned out to be Mr Alexander Alison with projects for settling the difficulties in America. He is a mild enthusiast with schemes for changing the condition of nations in an hour. Without a particle of knowledge of the United States, he gravely proposes to reform American Institutions by establishing a national church, by inaugurating a Monarch, and by obliterating the State distinctions. And on such topics he draws Mr Cassius M Clay into public discussion, and invites me to be the organ of communication with the President of the United States. I could not help cross-questioning him in such a manner as to show him his own ignorance of the nature of the task he was undertaking. I fancy he will not trouble me again. The people of the United States may undergo many transformations in course of time, but the very latest of them will be such a process of centralization as this. In the evening I went up and spent an hour with Edward Brooks and his Wife. On my return home I found the bag by the Steamer Persia just arrived, and was immediately absorbed in the contents.

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=DCA61d208