A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Monday 4th

4 July 1864

Wednesday 6th

6 July 1864
5 July 1864
Tuesday 5th

A rather quiet morning devoted to the completion of my customary annual settlement of my books. One curious result, I notice, which is the almost uniform similarity of the expenditure for my establishment during the three years since I have been established in London. It regularly exceeds my salary in the sum of about five thousand dollars. A visit from young Mr G. Bancroft who came to tell me a painful story of his difference with his father, the historian,and his desire to try and go home with his family to be reconciled. He married in France and lived there much against his father’s will, but so far as I have leavened, his life and character have been blameless. His object was to ask me to lend him the necessary funds for his passage. He has a property from his mother, barely sufficient I fancy for his support. Feeling much sympathy for him I gave him a note to Mr Sturgis, stating his case and agreeing to guaranty any advance. The state of my own account would not warrant my doing it myself. Drove out in the carriage and returned several visits, after which I walked to the House of Commons, to listen to the debate now going on upon the motion of want of confidence. It opened yesterday with a direct issue between Messr D’Israeli and Gladstone—which was followed by telling speeches from General Peel and Lord Stanley. I found Mr Cobden speaking in his forcible, impressive way, evidently holding the attention of a crowded house. He was followed by Mr Forster. These are what are called independent members.64 In other words, they exercise the privilege of freely condemning the ministers whilst, they do not disguise their determination to adhere to them as against the other side. Lord Robert Cecil and Mr Liddel followed in opposition, which cleared the house for dinner. Lord Harry Vane and Mr Whalley spoke to empty benches. Then came the reflux when Mr Roebuck and Mr Horseman and more independent speeches. After which Mr Seymour Fitzgerald replied for the opposition. Throughout this exhibition one thing was apparent There was no real question at stake. The only thing which could have given grandeur to the conflict was absent. The issue of peace of war. Mr Cobden affirmed that there were not five members of the House who would advocate the latter, and nobody ventured to doubt it. Thus it happened that from a true battle field this became only a gladiatorial show. No mercy was given to the Ministry on any side. The tone of condemnation was vehement and general. Yet I inferred that in the end they would be sustained by a majority however narrow. The base of the opposition is too negative to furnish the confidence that assures success. Mr Cobden and Mr Forster both though the Ministry would escape, but by a very small preponderance. The former told me that Lord Palmerston and a majority had, down to the Saturday closing the conference, very decidedly favored sending a fleet to the Baltic, and a considerable force. To that end the usual manipulation of the press had been made. Thus every body outside had been prepare to hear of war excepting the members of the House, who had convinced themselves that among the body of their constituents no such idea would be accepted. Hence when Mr Brand, the whipper in came to sound the opinion of the ministerialists, eh found it such as to make it necessary at once to apprize the ministry that nothing could be done in that way. Hence the change of policy and the general abandonment of Denmark on both sides. The probability was now that the Cabinet would be saved. There was still some recalcitration among a few, but they were holding out only to secure their favorite personal objects. Perhaps a peerage, or office, or something of that kind. At the same time, the debate itself would be so very damaging, that a dissolution65 could scarcely be avoided sooner or later. It seems to me as if this must be the end of the immediate contest, whichever way it may turn. But after that is over, I can scarcely understand how Lord Russell can remain in Office with credit or honor. Not a vice has yet been lifted in his defence. One singular feature of the debate is the cautious avoidance of every allusion to America. The only instance was by Mr Liddell, of the tory side, and was not uncomplimentary. For it attributed to Mr Seward’s straitforward declarations of the American policy, the only case of faithful adherence by Lord Russell to the true idea of nonintervention. I walked home at a quarter past twelve.

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=DCA64d187