A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Monday 14th

14 April 1862

Wednesday 16th

16 April 1862
15 April 1862
Thursday 15th



We had American news today, but nothing particularly decisive. It is however very plain that the elements are gathering for the crisis of the struggle, and that we may expect by every arrival either a good or a bad result. We must wait with all the patience we can muster. The current of intelligence has been so favorable for two months back that we have a feeling of disappointment if it does not come. I had a visit today from Mr Charles Anderson, a resident of Texas, expelled from there and compelled to fly for his life on account of his opinions. He has come to this country under one idea that he can do some good by informing the people as to the facts. It is wonderful how many of my countrymen consider this to be their mission. Mr Anderson is nonetheless75 much better entitled to think so than most of them. He is sensible and moderate, and really informed. I offered to put in communication with good advisers and to that end asked him to breakfast on Thursday. At three o’clock I went out in the carriage. Called to return the visit of Mr Stell of Manchester who received my son so kindly during the difficult times. He is an American who has settled here with a handsome fortune made in his business, but who retains his national attachments. I found him at home with his Wife and another lady, and talked over American politics for half an hour. From thence by appointment at four o’clock to see Lord Russell. Met Mr Bille in the Antiroom, and asked him about the Lord Mayor’s dinner for the 28.th He said it must be accepted a matter of course. I asked if it was an occasion for speeches. He thought it was and that I should answer for the corps. I said I should prefer to decline the dinner. As Once was in my mind enough of this sort of exercise. I talked with Lord Russell earnestly for near an hour recapitulating all the arguments in favor of a withdrawal of the recognition of belligerent rights in the Rebels. I did this because directed by Mr Seward, and not form any expectation of success. I did not think he met my reasoning very fully or strongly. The truth is that the measure at that time was a mistake. My object today was to attach to it the responsibility for all the latter efforts of the friends of the rebels here to protract the war. The conversation was earnest but calm. I made a cautious allusion to the Emperor’s language to Mr Dayton, but I found not communication to this government had ensued. I ended by saying that I had done my duty, and then returned immediately home. Lord Russell seems to me a calm and well trained public man, but he never impresses with a sense of power. His reasoning is common place and his views want breadth. Yet he is honest and well intentioned. We could easily have a worse Secretary. At seven I walked to the reform Club to dine there by invitation with Mr Parkes. He had two other friends,76 Mr W. H. Clark of the News, whom I had met at his house before, and Mr Morrison, a member of Parliament. We talked much of American affairs and of the time policy of Great Britain. Mr M has been much in America and is therefore a better judge of our condition than most Englishmen. As to Mr Parkes, he proves away with a most prosaic indifference to the facts or to the precise difficulties in which we are plunged. I find it difficult to keep my patience with him. The dinner was in itself much less choice than I had supposed in these noted Club houses. After dinner Mr Parkes showed me over the whole edifice which is very handsome. It was the offspring of the agitation for Parliamentary reform, and is still the headquarters of the party of movement. It was near midnight when we got through. But Mr Parkes insisted upon taking me home in a cab, stopping on th way to shew me a specimen of one of the forms of London life. This was at a place behind the Haymarket called the Argyll rooms. Each of us paid a shilling for entrance, and we were ushered into a large and handsome dancing hall my brilliantly lighted by numerous lustres, hanging from the ceiling. About this time, after the Theatres are out, women of doubtful or of no reputation, actresses of the lower grades, figurantes &c congregate to dance and to be entertained by such men as they appoint or may chance to meet. Here young clerks from the shops and boys from the colleges are drawn like mosquitoes into the flame of a candle. The strange thing was to see myself in such a place. But there was little to be seen. It was either too early or too late. Only one or two couples are on the floor, and no men except a few spectators lounging in the gallery. There were refreshment rooms we did not visit, and we took our leave very soon. Police officers were at hand to enforce order, and managers to regulate the order of dances. An easy and open path to ruin. Strait is the gate and broad is the way. But even this is better than the open solicitation of the nymphs of the paré, which no person walking in Regent Street at night can fail to meet, in this moral metropolis.77

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=DCA62d105