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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Sunday 8th

8 December 1861

Tuesday 10th

10 December 1861
9 December 1861
Monday 9th

The anxiety about the war increases, stocks fall and a general restlessness shows the sense of future complications and possible dangers all over Europe as occupying the public mind. I have reflected upon the observations of Mr Parkes, and have come to the conclusion that the policy of Lord Palmerston is to terrify America into such terms as he will dictate, which he means to be consistent with the preservation of peace. He may be successful, but his navigation is perilous. I had several consul’s letters to answer and other business to dispose of. Also some visits to make. One to Sir Emerson Tennant, and one to Mr Weed. I had a visit from Mr McIlvaine, the Bishop of Ohio. He is here on a general errand among churches. He told me of several which he had attended in all but one of which, more or less of favorable reference was made to the present difficulty. The despatches came, bringing one many private letters, but not an allusion to the case of the Trent. Mr Seward’s ways are not those of diplomacy. Here have I been nearly three weeks without positively knowing whether the act of the Officer was directed by the government or not. My private letters made me anxious too. My son Charles after long doubt and hesitation has at last accepted a commission as an officer in the cavalry regiment now forming in Massachusetts. I have feared this, because of all my sons he is the one I lean upon the most, and his removal to a new scene of action for which he is less suited than for literature, and business will be a great loss both to myself and to the country. Yet as he has decided upon high grounds of duty I am content to abide by it. God bless and protect him in the midst of the agony of this wretched civil strife. And superadded to that is this unfortunate quarrel with Great Britain, which will perhaps lead us into an unfathomable abyss. Strange to relate the uniform tone of my private letters is to sustain the action of Captain Wilkes. And the various forms of public reception given to him only tend to embarrass the action of the government. Thus far it must be said for the latter that it has not committed itself to any course on the subject.308

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=DCA61d343