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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Monday 11th

11 May 1863

Wednesday 13th

13 May 1863
12 May 1863
Tuesday 12th

This day I had accepted an invitation to visit the Tower, which Lady Charlotte Denison had been kind enough to extend to me on the par of Lord De Ros the governor. But I found myself papered by two engagements which I could not put off, so364 Mrs Adams and Mary went without me. I walked to the house of Lord Russell at Chesham place to see him by appointment at a quarter before twelve. On my way, as I crossed Hyde Park I saw a large body of men in read coats drawn up in line, as if under review. Just as I came to a pathway I observed that the spectators opened to make way for two horseman in plain citizen’s dress who passed the line and rode to the front. As they went by I observed that one of them was the Prince of Wales. He bowed slightly as he crossed the road and round off to the point where he was received by the officers, at the head of whom was the Duke of Cambridge. They were militia, and seemed to me to number about six or eight thousand men. My object in seeing Lord Russell was to submit to him copies of the Preisdent’s answers to the London and other addresses, which I have at last received in a proper shape. I showed the firms which had been accepted, and submitted them all to his Lordship’s approbation. He looked at them, approved of them, murmured something about attacks on the government in the resolutions and then let the matter drop. I then disposed of one or two other questions of trifling importance. We proceeded to speak of Mr Evarts and the Alexandria and then of the Peterhoff which brought me just to the point I desired I casually ransacked that I had not yet perceived any rectification of the erroneous report in his Lordship’s speech respecting my action in the case of the letter written by me. That he actually made the statement as reported. I have not a shadow of a doubt. That he should have denied it to me and then left it so long uncorrected furnishes me proof of what I have long suspected, the moral cowardice of the man, and his inclination to small subterfuge. He now replied by saying that he had not done so, because if he attended to the subject at all, he should be obliged to make some comments on the letter which might prove less satisfactory to me than if he left it alone. In other words, as he had told a falsehood, he would not retract it without attaching some conditions to save his own pride of opinion, before the world. The manliness of attacking a foreign365 Minister in a body where no answer can be given, and in a country where he is bound to silence is quite a feature in this extraordinary transaction. In order to do justice to me he thinks he must pay me off in another way. I made no sign of the opinion I had of this reasoning, but simply confined myself to the remark that all matters of opinion were beyond my sphere of remonstrance. Statements of fact were a very different thing. If the remark he had been reported to have made were correct I should consider myself as having committed a very grave error. It was for this reason that I could not consent to its remaining apparently uncontradicted. As the time and manner of doing it I was not disposed to press it immediately. Regarding it as a purely personal question I had no disposition to elevate it up to the level of a difference of national feeling. So long as these might be any risk of bringing on further complications between the countries I was willing to wait, if necessary. His Lordship made no further reply and I took my leave. I walked home only to stay an hour or so, and then walked down to the Board of Trade, Whitelake, there to meet with the Trustees of the Peabody fund. All there with the exception of Mr Morgan. The only business was to accept a present of a bust of Mr Peabody and to act upon some proposals for land, and some payments of money on account of the building. The meeting lasted less than an hour. Casually Sir Emerson Tennent observed that he had met Mr Mason in the street a day or two since and found removed in a cab. The fact probably is that the natural instincts of the man as they showed themselves habitually during the period of his sojourn at Washington, are now beginning to come to light in this his new position. At home we had to dinner Mr and Mrs Theodore Lyman and Mr Browning, with Mr and Mrs Bentsen. I had asked Mr Evarts likewise but he did not come. Mr Browning is a lively, pleasant man, and Mr Lyman is a great talker. So the party remained until eleven o’clock.366

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=DCA63d132