A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Thursday 15th

15 January 1863

Saturday 17th

17 January 1863
16 January 1863
Friday 16.th

My whole day was spent at home incessantly engaged with some object or other. Mr Muse came in with a person from Glasgow to apprise me that a vessel was about to sail from Liverpool intended to play the part of the Alabama. He seemed fully informed of the facts, but quite unwilling to come forward and testify to them in his own name. This of course renders my action feeble. But after consultation, finding nothing better to be done I advised Mr Muse to address a letter stating the facts to me, and I would forward it to the foreign office. Towards evening he did send it, and I forwarded it accordingly. I wrote my customary letters to my sons. Mr Evans called to see me about an interview which had been asked of me for this day, to present to me the resolutions of the273 Emancipation Society on the President’s proclamation. He seemed to be very dubious of the effect of the step, and desirous of suggesting to me an effort indirectly to merge the proceeding in a greater public one which is projected to take place on the 29th in Exeter Hall. Later in the day the Committee came, but it proved so numerous and respectable that I heard no more of Mr Evans’s sample. He as Chairman presented to me the resolutions, after which Mr P a Taylor, member of Parliament for Leicester, the Revd Baptist Noel, and Revd Newman Hall and Mr Jacob Bright made some remarks, all expressive of earnest sympathy with America in the present struggle. I had not anticipated the probability of being called to say any thing—but as it opened a chance for perhaps putting in a seasonable word, I made use of it at once. May the words so hastily summoned by productive of fair fruit! There can be little doubt that now is the time to strike the popular heart here. And the effect may be to checkmate the movement of the aristocracy. All these things and the correction of the Reporter’s notes of my observations kept me steadily at work until nearly seven o’clock. Our dinner had been ordered earlier in advance of a proposed visit to the Count Garden Theatre, to see the opera called Ruy Blas, of which we came in for a little more than half. The music seemed to me thin, and the execution barely middling. The pantomime is founded on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast. The scenery was very beautiful, but the text infinitely beneath mediocrity. I sometimes think highly of the English taste, and at others I am perfectly astonished at its purely animal vulgarity. The one feeling arises when I see the fine engravings which hang in the rooms of the country inns; the other when I witness such bald and senseless platitudes as they tolerate or even seem to delight in at their theatres. How to reconcile these inconsistencies! I may have grown older, but it really does seem to me that the pantomimes of my youth really had a redeeming spice of fun. Some humour however grotesque. This had not a particle. Home after midnight.274

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=DCA63d016