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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Monday 29th

29 February 1864

Wednesday 2d.

2 March 1864
1 March 1864
Tuesday March 1st

It was a wettish atmosphere with very muddy streets, but I was obliged to go tot he City to see the Barings, and get money for the monthly settlement. This answered two or three hours, and on my return I found the Mail and newspapers from America. Charles went off on my return I foudn the Mail and newspapers from America. Charles went off on a visit to Lord Gallway’s in Yorkshire, at the invitation of Lord Houghton. Mr Evarts came in and made one of his dreary visits. He has decidely too much spare time on his hands. A long letter to me from my son John containing the materials for much reflection. I had another visit from Mr Scott Russell, who at last brought his matured plan. On reading it over I perceived the modifications nearly all favorable. One clause retaining the cotton loan I objected to, and it was agreed to be erased. Another providing a strong law against the levy of debts for ten years seemed to require an amendment of the Constitution which is cumbrous. It was modified to contain a proviso as far as the constitution would permit. With this change it seemed to me that the principle of a complete restoration of the Union was fully contained in this paper. I know not what its fate may be, but if carried out in good faith I should entertain no doubt of arriving at a more stable condition by means of it, than we have ever yet enjoyed. Mr Russell said that he should now proceed to make the final588 draught of the paper, after which he should address an identical not to each party explaining the origin and purpose of this transacting and defining the precise limit of the responsibility of each. His southern friend might be ready to start in the Steamer of Saturday. If not, he would go the next week. Mr Russell then returned to the question of passage for him through the United States. I seized the moment to explain my remaining difficulty. It was now absolutely indispensable to know the extent to which the person could be regarded as a representative man. All our trouble would be thrown away if it should turn out that he had no authority. Mr R then went over the statement he had made at our last meeting. He said the gentleman had been in close personal relations with Mr Davis. Some of his letters he had himself seen. He belonged to the Staff and was employed in confidential duties. In this way he had been over here to make a faithful report of the prospects of aid from this government and that of France. It has been suspected that the representatives of others who had been sent out earlier were rather too high colored. The object was to obtain either confirmation or a correction of them. The issue of his observation had led to a general recall of all the agents, who with one or two exceptions were about to return. I then asked if the project of the gentleman was known to Mr Slidell and Mr Mason. He could not say about Mr Mason. But as to the other the conditions had been shown to him, and had met with his approval. They had also been submitted to most of the leading men in Paris, and to the chief mercantile men in Liverpool—who all assented to it. He could have nothing more decided on this side of the water. Presuming that this was sufficient the next thing I must know was what he wanted me to do to severe the transit of this person. Mr R. suggested a certificate or a reference in case he should be arrested. I replied that in order to do this I must know his name. If I required it, he said he should give it. The person was named Yeatman. He had belonged to a respectable and wealthy family in the South, but had married and been for a time settled in Massachusetts.589 Thus it appears that in my conjecture about Mr Huse, I was mistaken. I asked if he was not the son of Mr John Bell, former known as the Under Yeatman. He seemed to think it was so, but did not speak certainly. So far then the mysterious veil is raised. But the great doubt about authority remains. In any event I am quite as likely to be disavowed as he. The process is purely a tentative one on both sides. On reflection I added that I would give him a reference to Mr Seward in case of obstruction on one condition—and that was that he was not the bearer of any papers or information or letters that would furnish any advantage to the insurgents at Richmond. I asked this only as a protection to myself. Mr R said he had not thought of that before, but he saw the importance. He would consult his friend on that point. Soon afterwards he left me, promising to bring his corrected papers at an early moment. We dined early, for the sake of going to the Princess Theatre to see a representation of the Comedy of Errors. This is an attraction and abridgement of Shakespeare’s play into a few scenes. The Dromios were played by two brothers who resembled each other quite closely enough for the effect. But they wanted repose and a keen sense of the humour of the situation. I well remember the performance of the whole play many years ago in Boston, when Mr Hacket imitated so happy the manner of Mr Barnes, and both threw out so much of the comic of the situations as to make it a charming treat. As it was, the piece was not without its attractions. There was another piece called Paul’s return full of long sentimental speeches and cold in action. Home at eleven.

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=DCA64d061