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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Thursday 22d.

22 August 1861

Saturday 24th

24 August 1861
23 August 1861
Friday 23d.

I confess I felt glad to get home. The town is now deserted by the fashion which only renders the quiet of my life more agreeable. Immediately after breakfast I sat down to my desk, and scarcely left it until six o’ clock. I drew despatches to the Department at Washington, but what was far more difficult, I prepared a letter to Lord Russell which assumes the responsibility of declining to proceed in executing the agreement made on the basis of the Declaration of Paris, because of his proposal to attach an outside constructing disavowing all application to the insurgents of the doctrine of no privateering, on the specious pretext of neutrality. It is difficult to suppress indignation at the miserable shuffling practised throughout this negotiation. I can with difficulty believe that it proceeds from Lord Russell himself. There are reasons for imagining it may come from other influences in the cabinet. I have made up my mind gravely to record all the steps of the negotiation in this paper, and to assign my reasons for refusing to recognize any outside construction of it whatever, unless expressly instructed so to do by my government. This proceeding is not without its advantages, as it throws the failure upon Great Britain at the same time that it postpones the agitation of a disputed question among ourselves. If there should be difficulties with Great Britain perhaps it would be as well to preserve the right of privateering as a protection until she becomes more reasonable. In my opinion she has thrown away an advantage worth saving. It took me all day to finish this paper. The bag was finally sent off, but there was no time to make a fair copy to send to Lord Russell today. In the evening I walked to Maurigy’s and spent and hour with Edward Brooks and his Wife.

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=DCA61d235