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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Sunday 10.th

10 July 1864

Tuesday 12th

12 July 1864
11 July 1864
Monday 11th

Warmish day. Very quiet at home, with some leisure on my hands which I spent on my Catalogue of coins. This gives me a familiarity with the whole of English numismatics I have never had before. They are very interesting. One visit today, which was a singular one. A card was sent who after a course of treachery at Washington, has come out here, and published an account of it which carries it over evidence of justification of the treatment by the government of which he complains. I learn that she is much received and befriended by the bitter enemies of the government here. Under these circumstances an application to me rather excited my surprise. It turned out that she had volunteered to solicit my interposition with Captain Winslow in favor of one of the officers of the Alabama who had been taken prisoner in the action. His name was Wilson, and he was desirous of going home on his parole. Captain Winslow had permitted him to come here with an engagement to return to him tonight. He had however given him reason to suppose that a line from me would be decisive. Mrs Greenhow then enlarged upon the manner in which Semmes had conducted himself under similar circumstances, and intimated that the liberality would be felt and appreciated. I replied by enquiring why the young man had not come in person. I had70 been already apprized of his case by Mr Smith, an officer of the Kearsarge, and had supposed he would apply. I could exercise no authority over Captain Winslow. All that I could do at best would be to write my opinion of the case—and even that I could not do without some means of judgment founded on communication with the individual interested. Mrs Greenhow said she had not seen him and did not know precisely where he was; but she would endeavor to let him know my desire. I thought I perceived a little inclination to extend the conversation, but I gave no encouragement to it, so that she rose to leave. I then enquired about the health of her daughter. Mrs Morse, who has come out with quite strong letters to me, as being the Wife of a loyal Officer, and as having been sent for change of air, because threatened with consumption. She showed a little emotion a this and replied that her condition was very alarming. At which I expressed much concern. Thus ended the Conference. I believe this to be the first instance in which any individual marked in the advocacy of the rebellion has ever volunteered communication with me, in person. This woman was in such low esteem at Washington, before the war, that it was a serious question with Mrs Adams whether we should accept an invitation from her to dinner. A question only settled by consultation with Mrs Judge Wayne, an authority in such matters, who decided for it on the ground that, not being residents, the act implied no continuance of social relations. Since then she has been treacherous, bitter and malignant to the last degree— Under such circumstances it seems the part of prudence to avoid her intervention. Considering what she was, it struck me that her manner was much subdued. But that may be owing to her daughter’s condition. She certainly conducted herself with great propriety. In the evening, a visit from young Dayton who came over to get a key to the cipher used with the government. They could not find any in the Legation at Paris, and hence were puzzled about a Despatch. I went with my Wife and daughter to a ball at Lady Spencer’s. Not very large, and with a smaller proportion than usual of acquaintance. Nothing new. Home before two o’clock.71

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=DCA64d193