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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Thursday 3d.

3 March 1864

Saturday 5th

5 March 1864
4 March 1864
Friday 5th

Before I had done breakfast Mr Bowles was here about starting the organization of his plan. They had had their meeting yesterday and had organized the Committee. The difficulty now was to make them stand. He urged upon me to see Mr Bates as soon as possible. I said I would try as soon as I got therefore my work today. It was unusually heavy however, for I was obliged to prepare four confidential letters to Mr Seward giving my reports of various proceedings, besides writing a long reply to John’s last to me, and one or two other letters to America. In point of fact I got through barely in season for the departure of the bag. Mr Scott Russell brought me the paper of agreements singed by himself alone, together with his explanatory letter in duplicate also signed by him. I sealed and sent them with a brief letter of my own. Mr Yeatman leaves next week with his copy. Thus is the matter brought to a close. Mr Russell reaffirmed the fact that Messr Mason and Slidell approved of this arrangement, as did every body of that faith on this side of the watter. I sincerely believe that it contains the germ of a restoration of the Union, which nothing but the wilful passions of the contending parties can prevent from reaching a state of fructipiation. I am glad that I have been the humble instrument under the providence of God; to contribute in giving its shape. Throughout this painful trial it has been my good fortune to have been penetrated by no vindictive passion. Mad as have been the actors who raised the strife, I have only felt regret that they should have drawn upon themselves so severe a retribution. The moment has come when the slave question is to be settled forever. I have been the first person to draw a confession of the fact from by those who entered the struggle to maintain and perpetuate it. Let me be humble grateful that I have been of some utility in my day and generation. The question now passes out of my hands into others vested with the actual power to act for evil or for good. May they be prompted by a higher power to serve the highest ends of humanity and the true happiness of my country. I was detained at work until nearly six o’clock so that very customary exercise was abridged. All the family but Henry went to dine by invitation with Mr and Mrs Washington Jackson. As usual I knew few of the company.594 Mr and Miss Bille, and Lady Pomfret were all, and the latter was made for the occasion as I took her down to table. Yet we had a rather more lively time at our end of it then has been usual at this house. They are Americans of very dubious fidelity, transplanted here and yet retaining their property over there. He is a dull, uninteresting old man of eighty. She is rather more pleasing. I found Mr Bille a little more excited against Lord Russell, and affecting to believe in a general commotion in Europe. The position of Great Britain towards Denmark is certainly discreditable. Advising her to sacrifices and yet never giving support when the issue of her advice proves to be disastrous. Protesting against the policy of the German States whilst backing her bold language by no corresponding acts. On the whole I prefer even our position of distraction and civil war to hers of enervated prosperity. We went from here to Lord Russell’s where there was a reception. Met Mr Evarts and Mr Milner Gibson there. They both spoke well of the speech of Mr Shaw Lefevre in the House this 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=DCA64d064