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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Wednesday 22d

22 October 1862

Friday 24th

24 October 1862
23 October 1862
Thursday 23d.



Another very heavy gale with rain. The last week has been exceedingly destructive to shipping on the coast. I have seldom known one of great severity. It was my day for writing despatches, and I was busy about it until half past two o’clock, when I drove to the Foreign Office to keep the appointment made by Lord Russell for three. I found in the antichamber quite a number of the corps however apparently assigned for the same hour. Among them Count Berstorff who has just returned Baron Brunnow, Count Flahault, M Musures and the Spanish and Danish ministers at a later moment. Of course there was a long delay and desultory conversation. The only thing worth nothing was that Baron Brunnow on coming down from his interview took me aside and reminded me of a conversation we had had some time ago in the same chamber, in which he had expressed a belief of the intention of this government to maintain it position with us. He remembered I had expressed doubts, but he had proved right. He still thought that the same disposition continued to prevail. I said I was glad to hear him say so. As to the past I could only say that I then though I had reason for my doubts. Some time or other I would tell him, but at present I could not. He said he remembered I had said so before and he had made a note of it. It was half past four before I had my audience. I began by referring to the topic which had last occupied us at the preceding meeting in August, the objection of Lord Palmerston to a report of certain language of his at our conference last year attributed to me by one of the commanders of our national vessels whom I had never seen or heard of. I read to him a part of a Despatch of Mr Seward on the subject completely exonerating we from all share in the business, and promising to search out the source of the fable. Lord Russell said this was quite enough to dispense with the necessity of saying any thing to Lord Lyons about it. I then seized this allusion to Lord Lyons to introduce my real object in the interview. I express ed the hope that he might be going out for a long stay. I221 had indeed been made of late quite fearful that it would be otherwise. If I had entirely trusted to the construction given by the public to a late speech I should have begun to think of packing my carpet bag and trunks. His Lordship at once embraced the allusion, and whilst endeavoring to excuse Mr Gladstone, in fact admitted that his act had been regretted by Lord Palmerston, and the other Cabinet officers. Still he could not disarm the sentiments of Mr Gladstone so far as he understood them, which as not that ascribed to him by the public. Mr G was himself willing to disclaim that. He had written to that effect to Lord Palmerston. I replied that I had no intention to ask a disavowal, nor did I seek even to impute to Mr Gladstone the construction of his language adopted by others. At the same time I saw its mischievous effects in aggravating the evil of the growing alienation of the two countries. Mr Gladstone’s speech would be published every where in American It would there be regarded as an official exposition, and as such would aggravate the irritation already much too great. On the other hand, it formed a nucleus here around which all those adverse to peace with us would concentrate. Lord Lyons had called on me in the morning and we had joined in regretting the change going on here for the worse. Much as I had been disposed to friendly relations I was beginning to despair. His Lordship admitted the change in a degree, but he thought there was still a majority in any ordinary meeting well inclined. I said that it might be so now, but two more speeches like that of Mr Gladstone would dissipate it all. His Lordship said that the policy of the government was to adhere to a strict neutrality and to leave this struggle to settle itself. But we could not tell what a month could bring forth. I asked him if I was to understand that policy as not now to be changed. He said Yes. I answered that my errand was then finished. And I took my leave. I go home in season to take my usual walk. In the evening I finished Lord Auchland’s Journal in Spain.222

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=DCA62d296