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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Sunday 6th

6 April 1862

Friday 8th

8 April 1862
7 April 1862
Monday 7th

Pleasant but rather more chilly. Went out early for the purpose of calling on Mr and Mrs Dayton. We found the ladies in, and Mrs Adams agreed to go out with them on a shopping excursion at two o’clock. Miss Dayton is rather pretty and like all young people bends more to her position than her mother. Mr Dayton’s Legation is a little way off in the next street, sot hat I was left there. I found Mr John Munroe with him giving the latest telegraphic news from America. The main points the capture of Beaufourt in North Carolina and an action near Winchester where66 the rebels had been defeated. I had some interesting conversation with Mr Dayton. He said he found so little profit in talking with the Minister that he had endeavoured to get more direct communication with the Chief. An opportunity had been presented on a public occasion, which had been followed up by a private conference. Napoleon had represented the great difficulties in which he was involved by the stoppage of the cotton supply, which were increasing as the time of exhaustion of the stock approached, and had urged the expediency of doing something to remove the obstacles. Mr Dayton had replied by expressing every desire to act, as well as the hope that before long they should open the ports. He also let fall a suggestion that perhaps the Emperor himself might propose some idea. This was not responded to. Mr D’. then went on to speak of recognition of belligerent rights as one of the obstacles to a restoration of the former state of things, and to urge a revocation of it, the favorite measure of Mr Seward. The Emperor did not reject the notion absolutely. He remarked that the act had been done in conjunction with the government of Great Britain. He frankly admitted that at the time the separation was assumed to have been complete. That judgment might have been hasty, but any modification of it must be referred to Great Britain, with whom he desired to continue to harmonize. I observed that this would have the effect to continue to harmonize. I observed that this communication would have the effect to change my course. Down to this moment I had not favored Mr Seward’s notion of pressing the British government on this point. Such was the condition of the Ministry that it could not afford to recant on the foreign policy, the only shred left of its first popularity. I therefore had deemed it impolite to urge that it must decline to grant. Now, the case looked differently. It seemed more important to fasten a responsibility on Great Britain for the circumstance of the present state of things. I had acted in this direction by remonstrances against the toleration of illegal trade with the blockaded ports, already, and I should now follow it up by obtaining if possible some action67 on a direct question of revocation of the original false step. It it should not be conceded, the effect on France might be good. And at all events the position of Great Britain would be more sharply defined. In the history of the world no country had even managed a question with so little wisdom. The characteristics of the policy were precipitation to effect a desired object, and timidity in perusing it afterwards, when unexpected difficulty intervened. Jealousy and fear contending with shame and almost equal fear. Not a single elevated idea. Not a single conception of the possibility of making this same struggle tell for the ultimate advancement of the race. The English idea is alone predominant, the hope of making two nations where one existed, whose opposing interests may be turned to account either in trade or in policy. Such is England, which boast of its liberal ideas and of its philanthropic will! after this not unprofitable conversation I returned to my lodgings where I found Edward Brooks waiting to take some of us out in his carriage. As the ladies were otherwise provided for, I got in with him, and we drove to the Bois de Boulogne. This is the creation of the Emperor for the amusement and advantage of the people. The water is artificial, but it looks as if nature had put it where it is. For a large city such a resource is a great blessing. Napoleon the 3d emulates and will deserve the reputation of Augustus. The drive was pleasant and I got home to an early dinner, as I desired to take Mary with me to the Théatre Français. I noticed in the hill Racine’s Phedre and Moliere’s Medcin Malgné lui, for the same evening, two excellent specimens of the respective dramatic powers of the country’s great authors. The acting was well sustained throughout. There was a little Entre’acte called La Yagenre Impréme which depended exclusively on the finish of the performance, which was complete. The Marquise was a perfect illusion, and the maid servant, a picture. We got home about midnight.68

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=DCA62d097