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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Thursday 4th

4 February 1864

Saturday 6th

6 February 1864
5 February 1864
Friday 5th

I had but a single private letter to write home today. Concluding from Louisa’s intelligence that Charles is probably on his way out, I omitted my customary one to him. I cannot help feeling that he may come in the Scotia expected here at least by telegraph today. The public is much relieved by the tone of the speech of Lord Palmerston in the Commons last evening. He assumed the Prussian note which Lord Russell read aloud in his speech to be a clear adhesion to the Treaty of 1852. Lord Russell on the contrary treated it as ambiguous and unsatisfactory. Here is an illustration of the difference in the moral sense of these two men. The question addressed to Count Bismarck was clear and simple. The answer admits, it is true, some obligation to the Treaty; but it clogs it with so much566 of condition and circumlocution, that the result is left obviously uncertain and unsatisfactory. It happens to suit Lord Palmerston’s interest to accept this just now even though by doing so he withdraws from Denmark all the support thus far extended to her. Had the case been with America, what amount of indignation and ridicule would have been spared to show our absence of good faith, all of which Lord Palmerston would have been prompt to countenance. The upshot of yesterday’s discussion is that the Ministry is without a policy, whilst Germany is dismembering one of the old kingdoms of the north. And England which has been counselling the Danes to make every sacrifice to unreasonable demands and atrocious violations of Treaty obligations, now politely turns it back upon them, and accepts from the perpetrators, just what circumlocution they are pleased to pass off upon him for truth. Surely this is not a very favored position for the fast anchored isle. I went out early, and called to see Mr Bates. He said he was better and had slept in bed for some night. But he looked jaded and dispirited. His most ominous symptoms have indeed disappeared, but I see no recovery yet. It seemed to me that he was himself coming to the conception of the issue. For I noticed that his talk was mainly upon pecuniary arrangements. From here I went to Sir William Ouseley’s. He is evidently yielding also, but much more gradually. His conversation is always mild and kindly and pleasing. His active life is obviously over, yet he retains a serenity even in the distress and trial which has crushed him, that is singularly attractive. In the evening, I went with Mrs Adams and Mary Lady Russell’s reception. There were more people than last week, but I was not so much amused. Mr Arthur Kinnaird asked me how I liked the course of Lord Palmerston in avoiding all notice of America. I replied that it suited me exactly. What I had always wanted was that the whole of our troubles should be left to us to manage. If we could gain this point, we should settle them before a great while. In point of fact the Danish complication has driven American questions entirely off the field. Home by midnight.567

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=DCA64d036