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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Friday 14th

14 November 1862

Sunday 16th

15 November 1862
14 November 1862
Saturday 15th

The morning newspapers contained Lord Russell’s reply to the French note. It declines the proposition with civility as not likely to do good at this time. After breakfast I went down to see him by appointment at his house in Chesham place. I began on my business, which was the negotiation of a convention of claims. But he remarked at once that I must have seen his note. This led me to say how glad I had been to see it, as it had put an end to my doubts about going on with the other matter. For in consequence of the effect produced by Mr Gladstone’s speech, I had received instructions not to proceed in the negotiation if there was any question of such a proposal. I then commented on the nature of the Emperor’s note and the effect it was likely to have in America. I hoped it would open the eyes of the people to their mistake as to the desposition of the Emperor, and make them more liberal to England. I found strong hopes of a better feeling to make them more liberal to England. I formed strong hopes of a better feeling to come out of it. His Lordship seemed a little elated by his paper, and was more cordial than usual. He alluded to the alleged audience granted to Mr Slidell at Compigne, and said that if the Queen had granted any such to Mr Mason, there would have been no end to the indignation in America. I said, Yes. I was disposed to charge a good deal of this to Mr Slidell. I much feared the result would be to embroil the two countries. The policy had already been foreshadowed by M Mercier at Washington, and had been decisively declined. His Lordship said that the impressive given had been different— For it had been intimated that at235 the time I referred to Mr Seward had shown some disposition to listen to a proposition. All I could say in reply was that he had sent me a report of his conference with M Mercier, which was quiet in a different spirit, and had since furnished me with a copy of a Despatch to Mr Dayton embodying sentiments of the strongest character. So strong indeed, that through a discretion had been vested in me to submit them to his Lordship, I had not done so because things seemed to be going on well enough without it, and I found that in a case like this Her Majesty’s government might be compelled by it to appear to act under instinct. His Lordship said he thought it had been wisely done not to use it. I then spoke of Napoleon and his views. I recalled to his recollection our conversation last year at Abergeldie, when I had expressed my uneasiness respecting his movement is again with its borders on the Mississippi river. His Lordship said he had supposed only that we were uneasy at having him for a neighbor. I asked if he had heard of the Russian answer. He said he had received a telegraphic summary to the effect that she could not act officially in a case which seemed likely to meet with a chilling reception from America, but if France went forward and England should acquiesce, she would direct her Minster to give his moral support. I laughed and said that the answer would do. We then got talking about the convention and I presented Mr Seward’s proposals of modification which he took for consideration. Last of all I touched upon the old case of the Alabama, and apprised him that I had another representation to make on it, He said he supposed I knew the facts of the case for he understood Mr Layard had fully informed me. I observed that I did not remember ever talking with that gentleman about it. He seemed surprised and said he heard that Mr John Bright was charging him with having given warning to the 290 to go, before the order to stop her could be sent. I replied that all I236 knew had come from himself, for he had told me of the delay caused by Sir John Harding’s illness, and that when the advice was at last given and the order went down, the vessel was gone. His Lordship confirmed this as the true statement. After some other remarks upon the temper shown in Liverpool I took my leave quite well satisfied with the result. On reaching home I wrote a supplementary Despatch to Mr Seward, and sent it in the public Mail. I added a copy of the Russian answer, which came to hand in season. The family came back at noon today in good health, after a pleasant and exhilarating visit. In the evening I took a walk round the path. News from America that the democratic party had succeeded in New York, in the elections.

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=DCA62d319