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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Sunday 16th

16 February 1862

Tuesday 18th

18 February 1862
17 February 1862
Monday 17th



A visit from Bishop McIlvaine, who came to tell me the result of a conversation he had held at breakfast with Sir Culling Eardley this morning, that gentlemen had apprised him of the existence of rumors that Mr Mason had brought with him authority to make large offers towards emancipation if Great Britain would come to the aid of the confederates. He even specified their nature, as for example, the establishment of the marriage relation, the restoration of the right of manumission, and the emancipation of all born after a certain time to be designated. He had further intimated that31 these views were received favorably here and were the topic of discussion between the religious classes here and on the continent. I remarked upon the impudent character of this fraud, but yet that it needed to be energetically treated both here and at home. On this side it should be viewed by us with favour as making a basis for a possible pacification, whilst on the other the fact of such an intrigue should be made known far and wide among the deluded population who consider themselves as the champions of the highest type of civilization. I was even willing to go so far as to throw out the probability of a consent to their recognition provided that the emancipation should be made forthwith. The Bishop said that just such has been his sentiment. I added that I should write the information home even though not in any authentic form, and in the mean time should be glad of any thing that could fix the propositions upon Mr Mason or any of his crew, most completely. Quiet enough for most of the day. Long ramble before dinner in a drizzly rain. Evening, a little of the Contemporaine, who is inferior to what I supposed. Mr Weed came in. I had been that Mr Seward had ordered him to London, and sounding me to see what I thought of it. I replied to him kindly and gently. But my patience is gradually oozing out of me at this extraordinary practice of running me down with my own colleagues. This makes the forth full minister who has ranged over this manor just as if he was and I was not responsible for any mistake he might make. Mr Seward was not brought up in the school of refined delicacy of feeling or he would not have continued these inflections from the day of my secretary’s appointment down to this. I had thoughts of writing him a letter on the subject. But knowing how much he was already harassed by greater cares, I decided not to annoy him, but rather to speak confidentially to Mr Weed. So I did, but I found that I had touched the wrong chord, for he confessed he had urged Mr Motley’s coming. But on talking with me, he appeared to see the awkwardness of my position and to regret it.32

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=DCA62d048