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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Thursday 15th

15 April 1862

Thursday 17th

17 April 1862
16 April 1862
Wednesday 16th



The bag by the Steamer America reached me at breakfast time, entertaining an unusual number of letters. The most interesting to me came from my son Charles at Beaufort. It is long since we have heard, and this intelligence comes down only to the 11th of March. It scarcely gives a flattering picture of his situation. I fear that he has sealed his own fate. If he escape the dangers of the war itself, he will scarcely recover from the dislocation of mutual and moral habits consequent upon such a chance of life at his years. I mourn over it because on the whole I considered him as the most likely of my sons to acquire distinction in civil life. His only obstacle was the want of perseverance in one direction, which materially contributed to impel him to this occupation. As a subordinate officer of cavalry his powers are all thrown away. The other letters were also interesting. I was engaged in preparing a draft of a Despatch giving the substance of my conference yesterday. This is necessary as the Mail goes a day earlier than usual. At two o’clock I received a deputation of the Anti Slavery society, consisting of about eight or ten gentlemen, who read to me an address expressing interest and sympathy in our cause. The task of a reply was not without its difficulty. I made mine brief and simply trucked on the cause of the difficulty, and the hope that peace might avert worse consequences, by initiating voluntary rather than violent emancipation. The gentlemen expressed great satisfaction with the reply. All Lord Shaftsbury, the acknowledged head of philanthropic movements here, undoubtedly from the influence of Lord Palmerston, to whom he is devoted. Hence the apathy which has left his address to be made until the expiration of the year since I came here. There is no doubt however that the public sentiment has so far changed in the cause of it as to leave Lord Shaftsbury with comparatively little power to affect opinion. No better movement for it could have been chose. I dined at home solitary and alone, and worked all the evening on my Despatch.78

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=DCA62d106