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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Thursday 28th

28 November 1861

Saturday. 30th.

30 November 1861
29 November 1861
Friday 29th

Wed, foggy day. Very much occupied in preparing despatches. I had several to write on different subjects, as well as an answer to prepare to a note of Lord Russell to me, a copy of which I desired to send home. This strained me to the utmost. At the specified time I went to see Lord Russell at the Foreign office. In the antichamber I met Baron Brunnow who expressed his great concern at the difficulties that had occurred, and offered his services and those of his government, if they could in any way avail to remove them. I thanked him and said some words complimentary to the general friendliness of Russia toward us. Lord Russell received me civilly. There was a shade more of gravity visible in his manner but no ill will. I apologized for my absence yesterday and stated the reason, but eh said it was not material, as the cabinet meeting only took place today at two. Of course he had not intended to discuss the subject in question at this time. What he wished to know was whether I was possessed of any information or could give authority to any statement respecting the matter. I replied that the whole affair was new to me. I was not prepared to discuss it in any way. I know nothing of the facts from any authorized source. Neither did I know the views held by my government, nor yet whether the officer had acted by authority. Not a word had been whispered to me about such a project. His Lordship then alluded to my conversation with Lord Palmerston, and asked whether the latter had understood me right in saying that the instruction in the case of the James Adger was not to touch British vessels. I said, No, and recapitulated what I did say. Lord Russell then remarked that my explanation was exactly what he recollected me to have said to him. We then took leave very civilly. The conference lasted perhaps ten minutes. I returned immediately and worked on to the last moment previous to the making up the bag.299 On the whole I scarcely remember a day of greater strain in my life. The news papers today are rather moderate under the fear that the law may be against them, but the temper underneath is violent enough. The law officers of the crown are to give another opinion this day, which looks as if the government wanted to have a different one. Mr John Bright the member of Parliament dined with today, to talk of these matters. He is very friendly to America, and desires to control this movement so far as he can. But I urged him not to impair his influence by trying to do too much, He said he had destroyed himself for two years by his opposition to the Russian war. We talked over the whole matter and I gave him such information as might be useful to him in a speech which he proposes to make in a few days. Mr Bright is a thorough republican in sentiment and possessed of much ability as a popular speaker. The aristocracy hold him in aversion because he holds them in contempt. He remained with us until near eleven o’clock.

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=DCA61d333