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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1865

Tuesday 14th

14 February 1865

Thursday 16th

16 February 1865
15 February 1865
Wednesday 15th



I found on my dressing table a telegram announcing the passage of the Constitutional Amendment about slavery, through the House of Representatives by a large excess of the requisite two thirds, and also the fact that three peace commissioners had come from Richmond, and had been met by Mr Seward at Fortress Monroe, where the President had joined him. The newspapers further reported that as the first named passed in a Steamer down James River they were loudly cheered by the respective armies on the opposite banks. This looks like progress. I expect no immediate result, but it brings matters a step forward. The effect of this news here was electric. Consternation, disappointment, vexation. The funds fell. All stocks but American fell. They rose. Cotton fell. It was as if a calamity had209 befallen the good people of England. On the other hand, I had several of our friends to congratulate me on the advance of the good cause. The passage of the amendment is indeed a great triumph. He shows that this question is passing from the arena of partisan politics, and rising into the grandeur of a historical epoch. Well too, a precursor to pacification and not to follow after. The next thing in order is for the rebels to arm and free their slaves. Only after that event can their assent to a restoration mean any thing durable. I wrote to Mr Seward a short Despatch to go out today, simply to apprize him of what I had learned yesterday, and promising to write fully by the regular steamer of Saturday. Neevid also accounts from Nice of the travellers who had reached there. On the whole, it was both a busy and a cheerful day, in spite of the cold and snowy aspect out of doors. Drove out in the carriage to see a picture of the action between the Kearsarge and the Alabama painted by a certain Captain Anderson, for Mr Seward. It is barely tolerable. Then called at Fenton’s Hotel to see General Barlow and Mr Bacon, and to correct the very curious blunder made last Sunday. It is certain that the servant said he was there. But instead of asking for Mr Bacon, I made a blunder and called the name Bradlee. The servant looked at the book and said he was there. So I left cards. Yesterday a man sent me up his card G W Bradbee, and asked if I had intended to visit him. So came the discovery. I went to the City for money and to arrange some business matters with Mr Sturgis. Late in the day, walk around the Regent’s Park. Dined with the Attorney General. The Archbishop of Canterbury and his daughter, Lord Russell and Lady Georgina, Dian Milman, Mr and Mrs Cardwell, Mr Vernon Harcourt, Lady Radstock, and two or three more. I took into dinner the only lady I did not know, Lady Radstock. Of course every body full of the peace news. Many congratulations to me as these are mostly friends. I forgot to name Lord and Lady Cranworth, among the most earnest. From here I drove to Lady Waldegrave’s where was quite a crowd. I had been invited to dine here also, to meet the Count de Paris, whom I saw as it was. Invitations rather crowd in upon me. I met not quite so many acquaintances as last week. Home before midnight.210

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=DCA65d046