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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Tuesday 21st

21 April 1863

Thursday 23d.

23 April 1863
22 April 1863
Wednesday 22d.

The season continues remarkably dry and fine. But my duties grew more and more onerous, so that I scarcely have time to enjoy it. I received a visit from a Mr Frederick Chapple with a friend. A stout, short, florid, respectable looking, round faced, spectacled gentleman who came charged with a great hurdle of papers, who announced himself as a merchant long engaged in the Mexican trade. He was in the habit of sending goods in Vessels to Vera Cruz, to Tampico and to Matamoras. The present state of things materially disturbed his voyages, and he now came to ask me to look at his papers and satisfy myself of the entire freedom of his trade from suspicion. He hoped that the case would appear so clear, as to render it in my mind practicable to me to give him a leisure like that which I had given in a former instance. I looked as grave as possible whilst this comedy was going on. After he had done,345 I very amiably pushed away the papers he offered, expressing some little surprise at the mistake which had led to such an application. I had never entertained a thought of intermeddling with the trade of British subjects. The letter I had given to Admiral Dupont was intended to protect two American citizens against the risk of being taken by him for smugglers or traitors. It covered only them and their property from seizure. It had nothing to do with vessels or property of English people. Hence however perfect might be the proof given by Mr Chapple. I was content to assume it without examining his papers. For I could base no action upon it whatever. The whole question was out of my province. Mr Chapple still proposed to show me the manifest and other papers suggestion that I might simply affirm the fact that I had seen them. I replied that all matters of Merchandise belonged to the consular Department. If he wished to make an exhibit of that kind, I should refer him to Mr Morse. He then rose, thanked me for my politeness and retired with his friend. Not long afterwards I received a letter from Mr Spence, of the firm of Pile Spence & Co making a precisely similar application. This immaculate concern stated the Peterhoff, and is now engaged in sending the Sea Queen, formerly Lloyd’s, in execution of a secret arrangement made with Jefferson Davis the nature of which is clearly exposed in a secret circular from Messr Bennett and Wake a copy of which I have long had. He now proposes to me to give a license to this very vessel of the Sea Queen, new stopped at Falmouth in consequence of the capture of the Peterhoff. Of course the trap was evident enough. The incident, however, fell in with my convenience for I wanted the occasion to write a letter, which would be sure to get into the papers, without my agency. I corrected the impression which had been sedulously given to my prejudice here, and sent it away at once. Dined with Mr and Mrs Thomson Hankey. The company consisted of the Marquis and Lady Townsend with a daughter, Mr T. Baring, Mr Hankey, Miss Andrews and Mr Evelyn Ashley, and perhaps one or two more. They are pleasant hosts but the cast was not so good as at our former dinner there. Several persons came in afterwards, but I did not catch their names. We left there early to go to a reception at Mr 346 Gladstone’s. Quite crowded. I perceive no sensible difference in the treatment of me, though it is very certain that all the newspapers, and even excepting the News have directed their batteries against me. I go to these places from a sense of duty now in order not admit by my absence the inference that I am offended, by attacks on me, or admit that I have done any thing unusual.

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=DCA63d112