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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Wednesday 24th

24 February 1864

Friday 26th

26 February 1864
25 February 1864
Thursday 25th

After despatching my regular work I went down to attend the sale of coins at Sotheby’s. The assemblage was small as the collection was not particularly choice. The customary dealers with the exception of my friend Mr Court, and only two or three amateurs. These are generally the occasions for purchasing at a more reasonable rate. Though somewhat mixed, there were a good many nice things. I was obliged to return before the close, in order to complete the regular work, after a conference with Lord Russell at half past three. I had intended to go into some discussion of the general relations between the countries, but I found his time so shortened by other engagements, that I was forced to go through my various topics quickly. There were four Despatches from Mr Seward which dictated instructions. The material one was in relation to the Alabama and its effects of her cruising. I alluded to the doctrine of Mr Vernon Harcourt in his articles of Historians in the Times, which tended to abandon the propriety of receiving that vessel in British ports. Likewise to intimations that had been made to me through Mr Evarts, that the government needed a remonstrance from us. I explained my reason for silence to be that I had construed the act of receiving the Alabama at Kingston in Jamaica, as settling the question. From that moment I had regarded the British government as having taken the responsibility for the consequences of recognizing her as an Insurgent vessel.. His Lordship replied that I had judged rightly. The government had though the vessell sufficiently commissioned, and it was ready to assume the responsibility therefor. I subjoined, that in addition to this, it has seemed to me, on any supposition of a disposition of this British government to act in a restrictive manner, it would be far wiser to await it quietly as a spontaneous act, then by interposition to give a reason for assuming a state of intimidation His Lordship assented readily. But he added that the opinion of the cabinet was unchanged. I found on the whole, that his Lordship was not disposed to make any concessions. The late trials of the friendly party in the House of Commons have alarmed all government officers. I found I could do little today, so I made the best of the time to dispose of the other matters in my charge. These were the compliment to Sir Frederick Bruce for his conduct in China respecting the expedition of Captn Sherward Osborne, and the reciprocity585 Treaty. It was plain that His Lordship was meditating upon the deputation he was expecting to receive, so I gave way, promising myself to go more at large into the matter at some future opportunity. Walked home. Quiet dinner and evening. Charles had gone to Oxford We concluded not to go to Mrs Gladstone’s, though it is her last evening.

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=DCA64d056