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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Friday May 1st

1 May 1863

Sunday 3d.

3 May 1863
2 May 1863
Saturday 2d.

The weather is uncommonly clear and fine. I devoted myself to the work of disposing of the accumulation of arrearages of small correspondence. As usual the Consuls come in for a material portion. They continue to submit questions of various kinds, many of which are of a pricey legal character, involving the construction of statutes, and therefore not a little reflection. At two I went in the carriage to call at Edwards’s Hotel upon Mr Evarts to take him to see the lawyers, but he was said not to be at home. So I drove with Mrs Adams to leave our names at Marlborough House for the Prince and Princess of Wales, and to leave cards on the new Secretary at War, Lord de Grey. I then got out and took a long stroll to Kensington gardens which look in great beauty. This is altogether the finest of the three spring seasons I have seen here. We dined early, and Mr Evarts and Mr Henry Emmons were here. At eight o’clock I received a deputation of the working men of London to present me the address to Mr Lincoln adopted at the meeting at St James’s Hall in February last. Thirty men came in company with Mr John Bright, their chairman. Several of them made remarks reflecting rather sharply in the tendency of the Aristocracy to involve the two countries in war, and earnestly soliciting forbearance on our part for the sake of the large class of which they were the spokesmen, who are our friends. It was clear that the idea of a rupture was heavily on their minds. My reply required some car not to associate myself with any partisan divisions here; so I began by disclaiming any right to draw distinction here. It was not for me to find fault with these who spoke harshly of my country or of her cause. I saw in them a class of persons associated for the protection of the rights of labor, although in this country those rights enjoyed the benefit of the law. It was natural in them to feel alarmed upon discovering an attempt to set up in America a new government upon the basis of a denial of the existence of any such rights. I then turned to the question of war, and tried gently to intimate that we were as anxious to do any thing honorably to avoid it as they could be. They received what I said very kindly, and took their leave. Mr Bright remained357 with us in conversation until after eleven o’clock. He gave an account of the first debate on Mr Forster’s motion and the effect upon him of the disappointment in the expectation raised by Lord Russell. His Lordship had been dissatisfied with the way in which the thing had been left, which had given occasion to the second debate. These things come from Milner Gibson without doubt. Mr Bright is always very bitter upon Lord Palmerston, to when he is reluctant to assign one good quality. He descanted on his jugglery with the newspapers, which has been evident enough to me throughout our struggle and is so yet. Averse to war yet bent upon effecting a permanent division in America, his policy adapts itself to the sinuousities of the policy adapted to bring out this end. Perhaps his villainy may succeed. That it will result in benefit to England if it do, is quite another matter. If it be the will of God, then must we all submit to the chastisement. But I doubt whether his Lordship will have much leisure to congratulate himself on his success.

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=DCA63d122