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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Tuesday 24th

24 February 1863

Thursday 26th

26 February 1863
25 February 1863
Wednesday 25th

I caught a severe cold in that chilly auction room on Monday. It showed itself most unpleasantly this morning in a little suffusion of blood in my right eye, without any pain. Several years ago I had a similar experience, occasions as Dr Bigelow said by the breaking of a minute vein in the ball. Nevertheless I persevered in dressing to attend the leve held by the Prince of Wales for the Queen. My suite all attended with me. Found there all the corps Diplomatique, and the various high functionaries of the government. Among them a good many more acquaintances than I expected. The door opened at two o’clock, and in we went. The Prince stood and bowed quietly and with dignity. Around him were the Duke of Cambridge and the members of his new household. As the current swept me along by the steps of the throne I came round to the place ordinarily occupied by the corps, but new filled by the whole of the Ministry. I was thus brought face to face with Lord Palmerston. Of course I was called to decide something, so I made a formal bow and put out my hand. He bowed in return and took my hand. So that no perceptible difficulty took place. Most of the other301 Cabinet members treated me with great cordiality. I had conversation with the Duke of Argyll and Sir George Lewis. The former asked me about the organization of the tax law collection of last year. I promised to get him the report of the commissions which he said he should be very glad to receive. Sir George Lewis spoke of the reply to the French proposal which came out by the Steamer of today. He had expected as much, and was glad England had declined to take part in it. I remarked that I was glad too, for the effect had been to change American feeling a good deal from France to England. He said that the hostility there was so great as to make any such overture at once open to unfavorable construction. Fourth of July orations had done much to keep up the enmity. I replied by saying that it was rather apparent than real, and it could easily be changed. The French alliance had been indeed the traditional policy, but the course of Napoleon seemed to be an abandonment of it. His Mexican expedition indicated a settled policy. Sir George did not think it meant occupation. He wished occupation for his army and success, after which he would abandon. Indeed at present he seemed to be fixing his attention to the Rhine. He thought Napoleon had too much credit for deep schemes. Perhaps this may be true. But he has no guide of principle—and his schemes are whilst carried on not a little dangerous. Count Flahault was there not as Minister. He seemed anxious to know whether the answer was amiable. I said yes, entirely so. He expressed much satisfaction. The force of this I did not feel until I found after that the Times had circulated stories of a very serious misunderstanding. We left at three o’clock, whilst the queue of carriage to set down still stretched all the way up into Grafton Street. What a piece of cumbrous machinery this is to carry on a government with. In the evening I went with Mrs Adams t Mr Henry Holland’s where was the usual assemblage of persons I did not know, endeavoring to be amused by some rather indifferent harmonies of several young ladies. Thence to a reception at the Marquis of Salisbury’s. Not so large as last year, and easily escaped from, after which to Mrs Lowe’s where we found not more than twenty people. Home shortly after midnight. Messr Brooks, Hunnewell, & Tucker dined.302

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=DCA63d056