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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Friday 10th

10 June 1864

Sunday 12th

12 June 1864
11 June 1864
Saturday 11th

Had a visit from Mr Bright who came with a Mr McKenna, the editor of a paper at Belfast, that has been quite friendly, for the purpose of obtaining my aid with the government at home to procure the release of a man named McHugh, who was taken and put in prison for giving aid and comfort to the rebels. I have no great sympathy with these English people who meddle with our affairs, but agreed to forward a representation with a moral engagement on the part of the man’s friends that he would trouble us no more.45 At two I went by appointment to see Lord Russell at the Foreign office. He kept me waiting until after three, and then shortened the interview by pleading a Cabinet meeting I told him my errand however, which was to speak of the attack of Spain upon Peru. This had roused much feeling in America. Mr Seward had directed me to speak of it and to express a hope that Lord Russell as a common friend to both countries might endeavour to bring about a better state of things. His Lordship said he certainly was friendly, and for that reason regretted the proceeding. As yet the Spanish Minister here Mr Corwyn, had only requested a suspension of judgment until further intelligence should be obtained as to the actual facts. He disavowed on the part of his government any desire to repossess itself of territory on the continent. There might be an occupation of the Chincha islands for some time to come. Lord Russell then added that the British government had no inclination to favor these movements by others; as it had shown at the time when the Spanish government had proposed a candidate for a King in Mexico. under the expectation that England might do so too. His Lordship intimated that this expedition to Peru had been initiated by the preceding Ministry, and the present one was embarrassed by it. I asked him if there was any truth in the stories I had seen in the newspapers, that Spain had recalled the commander of the Squadron who had seized the islands, and had addressed explanatory notes to England France and the United States. He replied, that he knew nothing of such. The remarks of the Minister in the Cortez were all that he had seen. On the whole, I inferred from his conversation, that whilst he did not believe Spain to be intending this outrage, he was nevertheless not altogether sure that he was right. In any event, the only to do at present was to wait. As I went out, I spoke to him about the Alexandra and the Hawk, both of which vessels were fitting out. He replied as he always has done by talking of the necessity of gaining evidence. I admitted that I had none. The Consuls could not obtain any, as the rebels had been made much more cautious46 by their past experience. He said they would do what they could, but it was very plain to me that that meant nothing at all. I then drove home, and was kept at work in preparing reports to Mr Seward on this conference and the case of Mr McHugh drove nearly to the close of the Mail at six o’clock. Mrs Adams and I dined with Mr and Mrs Milner Gibson. The company consisted of Lord and Lady Rick, For ought I know he may be only a Baronet. Mr Villiers. Sir E Lytton Bulwer, Mr and Mrs Higgins and Mrs Ford. I almost forgot Mr Goschen, the member for London. The most amusing of these was Sir E Lytton Bulwer. He talked rather for effect, but his conversation was amusing and not uninstructive. He and his brother are the best table company I have met in England. Sir David Dundas and Mr Villiers perhaps came next. From here, we went with the young ladies to the reception at Lady Palmerston’s. Rather longer than usual. The American news of Grants having again turned Lee, and got near to Richmond had sobered people, so that I saw the subject was not agitated. I asked Milner Gibson how matters stood about the Cabinet. He thought they would stand, but evidently spoke doubtfully, and intimated that differences existed. In the evening I met Mr Hayward, who though nothing would come of the Conference, but that the fortnight’s extension of the truce had saved the Ministry. He would wager three to one on their continuing. The motion of want of confidence is talked of for next week.

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=DCA64d163