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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Sunday 20th

20 October 1861

Tuesday 22d.

22 October 1861
21 October 1861
Monday 21st

I had a restless, uncomfortable night, the consequence of a disordered stomach which made me dull and uneasy all day. The mail bag also arrived from the United States and brought with it even more than the customary disappointment. Neither my private letters nor the public newspapers brought any details but such as were unsatisfactory. The success of the Bermuda in running the blockade, the apparent inefficiency of the naval force, the obvious incompetency of the head of the government, the greatness of preparation contrasted with the little performance, the unwieldy nature of the material heaped up in the war, all together give me a gloomy foreboding of the waste of human power in this foolish undertaking. Perhaps it is as well however that there should be no great genius in this war. On the other hand the currency is taking a favorable turn. The great demand for breadstuffs is maintaining the resources of the people and furnishing means for the government much more fully than it knows how to husband. I sometimes wish that I could not receive the newspapers, for the day they come is always wasted in reading what never compensated for the labour. I received but a single despatch fromm Washington and that needs no reply—so that my work is again light. I gave Mr Kuntse another sitting. He says only one more will be needed. And I walked around the Regent’s park in spite of the fog and drizzle. Evening, reading Mr Pennant’s Journey to London, one of Mr Fitzgerald’s work. I ought to observe that Mr la Fuente, the Minister of Mexico259 paid me a visit without his interpreter, and we agreed that we would try to talk in French. He remarked that Lord Russell had given him pretty much the same information that I had done as to the fate of my proposal on behalf of the United States and that he had mentioned his counterposition. But he had not stated the substance of it. This led to a question whether I could give him any idea of it. To this I replied that Lord Russell had announced to me his intention to send it directly to Washington through Lord Lyons, so that I knew nothing of it. He then asked if the story in the newspapers was true that the United States had expressed its approbation of the policy of the three persons. I at once scouted the idea. Nothing could have been heard from there since the receipt of my instructions. Lord Russell’s plan had barely reached there even now. He asked me whether I knew that that plan had been laid before France and Spain. I expressed my understanding of Lord Russell’s language to be to that effect, and I described the nature of its reception in each case. Spain could not wait longer than the end of the month. that is, it could not delay action for the answer. My conviction was that Spain at least meditated setting up a government in Mexico. M la Fuente agreed in thinking it probable. But he was of opinion that any attempt to do so by force would fail from the utter aversion to it of the whole population. We then parted with many expressions of mutual good will. On the whole this was a day of as much depression of spirits as I have felt since I have been in England.

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=DCA61d294