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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Thursday 19th

19 May 1862

Saturday 21st

21 May 1862
20 May 1862
Friday 20th



Mrs Forthingham, her son Edward and two daughters arrived here on their way home by the Steamer of next week. She seems better than when here before. And I am much inclined to believe a continuance at Madeira for one or two years might have made a permanent cure. But this is a penalty which she did not care to pay, so that I fear her case is settled. I was very much engaged until nearly six o’clock in writing despatches and private letters. I sent a closing note to Lord Palmerston assuming his note to be a withdrawal of the offensive imputations and declining this form of correspondence for the future. I also sent the remainder to the government at home. My relief at getting out of the personal question is indescribable. I t is not for me to become a cause of quarrel between the two countries at this crisis. I had besides a visit from M Garnier Pagès, a French gentleman on a visit to the exhibition. He was the Minister of the finances during the republican government. He enlarged upon the struggle in America, and spoke of the state of feeling in France on it. The Emperor for objects of his own was ill disposed, but the great body of the republicans sympathized strongly with the government cause. Envy one felt that their existing government had no roots, and could not continue at farthest beyond the life of his ruler. His policy had been to appeal to democratic support to sustain him in his arbitrary system. This gave the republicans greater strength for the future at the expense of a few passing years of subjection. He then alluded to the pressing causes which acted on both France and England to move in American affairs. It would be advisable for us to131 adapt our policy to the counteraction of this tendency. He enlarged on the blockade, and strongly urged the complete withdrawal of it, and the opening wide all the Southern ports to trade. This would be appealing to a great principle which would meet a hearty response from the popular heart of Europe. It would establish a sympathy which no governmental prohibition could restrain. He hoped that I would urge that policy upon the administration as much as I could. I replied by saying that I believed the government would heartily rejoice in taking that cause—that it would have been adopted ere this, but for the action of illdisposed people here, who prolonged the war by illicit introduction of munitions of war. The Southern coast was now almost entirely in our hands. The disposition top open the trade had already been shown in regard to the principal ports under our authority. But it would not be prudent for the government to push its policy faster than the decline of the rebellion would justify. It was certainly and clearly committed to the principle. M Pagès then spoke of the expediency of avoiding all acts of harshness towards the body of the insurgents. Confiscation and abolition might be applied to the chiefs but to extend them would not restore order or conciliate the good opinion of the world. I remarked that no harsh measures of a general kind were contemplated by the government. The bill now in Congress contemplated only the conspirators and Officers found in arms. M. Pagès expressed himself pleased at finding such a concurrence of opinion, made some shrewd remarks on the nature of the public sentiment here towards America and then took his leave. At half past two o’clock, Mrs Adams, my daughter and I started by the Great Western railway to go to Slough, from which point we got a vehicle to take us about the three miles farther to Stoke Parks the residence of Lord Taunton, where he had invited the world to a féte. When a boy at my father’s I recollect seeing him as Mr Lubruchere, the fourth of the set of young Englishmen who then came to see us, and all of whom either have already or else will become peers. This seat formerly belonging to the Penn family has been purchased by132 him and much improved. Art has done all it can do to heighten its beauty. The view from the conservatory door is a beautiful specimen of rural park scenery. The water and the bridge, the church spire and a monument on a gentle elevation in the distance with the arrangement of the word fully realize all my notions ornamental landscape. It is the first time they do. For though I admired Chiswick I did so with some drawback on its triste effect. Even here we sadly wanted the sunlight to inspire hilarity. The sky was heavy and grey, but it did not rain. There was a considerable company, but it di not look large when spread about the ample grounds. I found a fair proportion of acquaintances. At about half past five we left to return to a dinner in London N. B. The passage between these parentheses in red ink; belongs to the record of Saturday 21st: After a hurried walk, I went with Mrs Adams to dine with Mr McCalmont, a gentleman who seems to be well disposed to America and anxious to mark it to me. The company not large and consisted of relations mostly. Sir Hugh Cairnes and his Wife, who is a cousin. A brother and his Wife. Sir Gore and Lady Ouseley. The dinner much as usual. Sir Emerson Tennent, Wife and daughter complete the number. We left soon in order to attend some private theatrical gotten up by Mrs Milner Gibson at the Hanover Square Rooms. In twice only for the last price “Lend me five shillings” which was barely passable.

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=DCA62d171