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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Thursday 17th

17 December 1863

Saturday 19th

19 December 1863
18 December 1863
Friday 18th

A busy day writing with only a single interruption. Sir Henry Holland came in to say a word about the President He alluded to the controversy which has lately been going on between Mr Cobden and the Times, echoing the opinion of the Clubs which of course is adverse to the radical doctrines of him and Mr Bright. Nothing that I see here gives me more astonishment than the influence of that press on the educated and intelligent classes of the English. Mr Cobden though he has not managed his share of the controversy with skill is unquestionably right, and rests on an undeniably just position. The Times is equally regardless of morals or consistency in its proceedings. Its objects are all temporary, to be gained by the readiest means without reference to their nature. Not a single aspiration is every betrayed in it. And yet the moral and religious Englishman is not ashamed to submit his opinions to its guidance, and to submit under in its decisions as if they had the infallibility claimed for the Pope of Rome. Its treatment of Messr Cobden and Bright is of the de haut on bas style, the mixture of insolence and knavery of a pampered upper servant in an aristocratic household. This may do for a time, but it cannot last. It takes not less than thirty years in this country for a sound principle to grow into a tree and yield fruit. Messr Cobden and Bright are now sowing seeds for the profit of another generation. The Times may strive to exterminate it by denouncing those who show the courage to labour in the work, but the effort523 will not accomplish the purpose. It may discredit the agents for a time, just as we were all discredited in America, when in 1846 we undertook to stem the torrent of pro-Slavery servility. Nearly twenty years have elapsed, and how are matters reversed! So has it always been in the great movements of the world started in pure and stable moral foundations. The edifice of English society rests upon great moral incongruities which will not fail in time to shake it down. Sir Henry and I could not agree. After finishing my private letters home, I found it already darkā€”But I took a long walk. Evening, and a little of Vanity Fair.

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=DCA63d352