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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Sunday 7th

7 June 1863

Tuesday 7th

9 June 1863
8 June 1863
Monday 8th

Showery day. The letters and newspapers came today and were read with much interest. Among other things I got a joint note from the President and Mr Seward, in the handwriting of the latter, assuring me of the unabated confidence of the government in me. This extraordinary step appears to have been occasioned by the appearance of an attack upon me in the Standard from a New York letter writer who takes advantage of all these late agencies of the government to this country to assert that they have been made necessary by my incapacity. I had never seen this stuff when it came out, so that this proceeding was entirely a surprise to me. Of course, it is gratifying as an approval of my services, and I shall feel grateful for it. But it cannot be denied that every since I have been here the almost constant interference of government agents of all kinds has had the effect, however intended, of weakening the position of the minister. Most of all has it happened in the case of Mr Evarts, whom the newspapers here have all insisted to have been sent here to superintend my Office in all questions of international law. I doubt whether any Minister has ever had so much of this kind of thing to contend with. Mr Seward’s defect is want of delicacy of feeling, whilst the President is utterly at fault in his measurement of men. It is only just to say however, that both of them have been very steady in their approbation of every thing I have done during my stay, and have recorded more commendation than in any other case. The only exception has been in the case of the my letter to Admiral Dupont, where my action was out of line, and where the government was placed in difficulty out of which it was bound to relieve itself even at my expense. Whilst I do not regard that act as in itself at all indefensible, I was not prepared to find it made the instrument of simulated discontent with my country on false grounds. Having no other objects to serve here than the interest of America I look to that end only as the aim of my endeavours. But I cannot say that my experience does much to fascinate me with the attractions of this post, or to induce me to continue in public life at all one minute beyond the call of duty prompts it. At two o’clock the Prince of384 Wales had a Levee. I attended and my Secretary Mr Moran and my son accompanied me. The day was dark and the old palace looked uncommonly gloomy. The corps Diplomatique in pretty full numbers, but the general circle was composed mainly of young officers of the Army and Navy. The Prince had with him the Prince Alfred and the Duke of Cambridge, who shook hands with me. We got through and went home by three. Quiet dinner, after which I went with Mrs Adams and Mary to Guildhall, to the ball given by the city of London to the Prince and Princess of Wales. My experience of a similar affair last year was of such a kind that I accepted this invitation with much misgiving and reluctance . I found matters rather better, but still wanting in all the features most indisposable to comfort and convenience. Nobody was at hand to point out to us where to go. So we did our best to get through the crowd and push our way to the dais where the Prince and Princess were to be. After much effort this was managed, and here we remained until nearly midnight. A flourish of trumpets preceded the entry of the Prince and Princess. The ball blazed with light and gilding, and the view of the thing below in all their gay dresses reminded me much of the much imitation of such scenes I have witness at the play. The dancing was confirmed for the most part to the royal set. At a given signal supper was announced and those of us who had received tickets followed the court. The pushing was prodigious. As my daughter had not any card, I was concerned about her, but through the active assistance of Messr Bille and Corwyn of the corps I succeeded in getting her in. Covers were set for about sixty. The supper was very splendid, but so badly served that the guests got none of it, excepting some soup, first and champagne. The Lord Mayor gave a toast and the city of London. All drunk standing. Then came the return to the all, and the departure of the Prince. After which with indescribable pushing and delay we at last succeeded in getting the carriage and home by half past two.385

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=DCA63d159