A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Friday 4th

4 September 1863

Sunday 6th

6 September 1863
5 September 1863
Saturday 5th

My thoughts turned strongly upon the present crisis, and the difficulty of my task. My conclusion was that another note must be addressed to Lord Russell today. So I drew one which I intended Only to gain time previous to the inevitable result. I have not disclosed to Lord Russell those portions of my instructions which describe the policy to be adopted by the government at home in the case, because that course seemed to me likely to cut off all prospect of escape. Contenting myself with intimating the existence of there I decide upon awaiting farther directions. This will give a month. After I had sent the note I received me from His Lordship, in answer to my two previous ones of Thursday and Friday, saying that the subject of them was receiving the earnest and anxious consideration of the government. There is then one chance left and but one, I sent off a copy of this note to catch the Steamer, in order to neutralize the effect of the earlier one at least for the moment. I did not send a copy of my latest notice, but rather prepared to wait456 for specific direction. as long as possible. In the mean time if the Iron clad goes out, it will take a month or more for her to go over and get her ornament and be ready for an attack. So that the excitement in America will not reach here for six weeks. In that interval something may happen to save us from this fearful addition to the public calamities. I cannot help thinking that the Ministry here were not quite prepared for the direct issue which was thus been made. The very fact that it comes at a moment when they are all dispersed, and nothing but ordinary business is transacted shows it. This perhaps the most unlucky part of it. For Lord Palmerston may, if he chooses, take advantage of the circumstance to precipitate the object he may have in view. I do not believe he wants a war, but if he should find himself cornered, he will not scruple at it to save himself by an appeal to the pride of the British people. Of his bad disposition towards America I have no doubt. Considering all these various chances, I confess my hope of tiding over this difficulty is not bright. I had visits from Governor Wright of Indiana and Mr Hoyt, as well as Mr R. J. Walker. Also wrote two or three letters. In the evening came the letters and papers from home. Afterwards the family arrived from their journey. At the same time Mr Dudley came in from Liverpool to consult me about farther measures in regard to those War vessels. He suggested the expediency of getting an opinion from Mr Lush on a case presented with the same evidence that has been sent to the foreign office. I explained to him the precise situation of the question with teh government here. Such a step as he suggested might be well enough to put into the record which would be ultimately made up between the countries, but I had no idea it would in the least avail to affect the immediate result. I should counsel the measure as a part of a policy in advance of the rupture which now looked more than probable. He remarked that as it was late he would wait until tomorrow to show me the papers he had, before deciding what course to take. The newspapers were so attractive that I read them for some time, in spite of the trial to my eyes.457

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=DCA63d248