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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Tuesday 24th

24 September 1861

Thursday 26th

26 September 1861
25 September 1861
Wednesday 25th
Abergeldie Castle

I was placed in a large square chamber in what is called the tower of the castle, with narrow windows and very thick walls. On three sides it opens to pretty but not extensive views. The little Dee flows directly under one, whilst before the others is the range of the heather topped mountains, in the distance, and a quaint flower garden close to. I was up early to attend prayers, where just the same retinue servants male and female came in that I counted at Mr Sturgis’s—in all ten. The breakfast came immediately afterwards, at a quarter past eight. Nobody here but the family, consisting242 of Lord and Lady Russell, his daughter, their son Lord Amberley, a young man just going to Cambridge, several small children with their teacher, Mr Wagner, and a young man by the name of Villers Lister, a visitor or perhaps his Lordship’s private Secretary. It was cloudy and rained more or less all the morning. My conference with his Lordship was long and uninterrupted. I presented to him the topic of interest, which was the rumored intervention of Spain, France and Great Britain in the affairs of Mexico. I mentioned the uneasiness which it had created in American, and the desire felt by government to do something to avoid any such resort. To that end I had been instructed to request at least delay sufficient to enable it to make some arrangement with Mexico that might be satisfactory. His Lordship showed that he had been made aware of the nature of the project, and be objected to it as not covering the extent of the complaint. Yet I found that through he contemplated measures of redress, he was equally careful to disavow intervention. And he gave me further to understand that he had persuaded France off from it, and had intimated the inexpediency of such a policy to Spain. I expressed my satisfaction with this news. I knew that the United States would interpose no objection to any ordinary measure of redress for wrongs done by the faction that had prevailed in Mexico. But the establishment of a government by force from abroad was inaugurating a new policy which could not fail to involve momentous changes in the political relations of all the powers of the world. The truth seems to be that Spain which is now once more strong enough to begin to aspire to be a power in the world, has fixed its attention upon the means of recovering some of its ancient possessions in America. The difficulties in the United States supervene just in season to remove a check upon its operations, and the effect has been first, to seize upon Dominica, and secondly, to prepare a force against Mexico, with which to renovate the old faction that has always been working in sympathy with it. France is not unwilling to stand ready to avail itself of every opportunity for gaining something, though disposed to keep terms, with243 England, whilst the latter country is quietly working to neutralize all the operations disadvantageous to itself. On the whole the result of the conference was rather quieting to me, from the display of an unwillingness to more without our cooperation. We had some desultory talk of a friendly character on other matters, all of which confirmed my belief that the disposition of his Lordship had became more demonstrative than heretofore and the policy of the Cabinet more conciliatory. How long this may last it is difficult to predict in the face of the ever recurring topics of invitation. I never feel sure that each recurring week’s despatches may not bring a torpedo to scatter to the winds all my feeble labors. After luncheon Lady Russell invited me to take a drive around Balmoral, the Queen’s seat. The day cleared a little sharp, like New England air. But the trip was pleasant. The little river winds about gracefully, and the valley contrasts prettily with the heights around it. I found her Ladyship a quiet, sensible, educated lady with little or none of the salient and repulsive characteristics of the English aristocracy. Indeed the peculiarity fall the family seems to be a love of domestic simplicity. Soon after our return home we dined, and had a short evening, as Lady Russell soon retired from fatigue and I to write out a report of the morning’s conversation. Her Ladyship in the morning had sent her little daughter to ask me if I was going to stay over tomorrow, as she desire to invite from Balmoral some of the gentlemen to meet me. I expressed my regret at the necessity of leaving directly in order to be ready for the despatches by Saturday’s Steamer. As I ascertained today that I must start at ten o’clock in a port chaise in order to get home by Friday night, I labored until after midnight in making up my report without finishing it.

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=DCA61d268