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Charles Francis Adams,
This review is from: Charles Francis Adams, (American statesmen, ed. by J. T. Morse, jr. [v. 29])
Charles Francis Adams is best remembered as the ambassador to England during the Civil War who helped keep England (and France) from recognizing the Confederacy. His father was John Quincy Adams. He was a Boston Whig very much opposed to slavery, though like Lincoln, he was willing to concede smaller issues to protect the larger ones (mainly the spread of slavery to incoming states). Adams was an austere man; it was said that when he entered a stuffy room, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. The most interesting events dealt with in this biography, written by his son, include:
the 1848 Presidential election, where Adams had presided over the Buffalo Convention which formed the Free Soil Party and saw the nomination of Martin Van Buren as President and himself as Vice-President;
the war with Mexico, a war Adams thought unjust and only an excuse for slave states to gain new territory;
the Trent Affair in 1861, when two Confederate commissioners were arrested aboard the "Trent" on their way to England, which almost caused war with that country; and
the launching of the "Alabama" in Liverpool, a British privateer that Adams tried but failed to prevent from sailing, and then held the British government responsible for for the destruction of American property caused by the ship.
Adams, Jr., tells his father's story in a robust, very readable style. It's informative and authoritative, and even after 100 years has the feel of definitiveness about it. Highly recommended.
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Initial post: Nov 2, 2014 8:38:08 AM PST
The Autobiography by Charles Francis Adams Jr. does NOT tell "his father's story," but his own. The volume makes it very clear that he did not care much for his father, whom he here described as "cold, narrow, and rigid." Charles Jr. did not accompany his father to Britain, so he did not witness nor discuss the events listed by this reviewer. Instead, he joined the Massachusetts cavalry and later led the black Massachusetts Fifth Cavalry. What book did this reviewer read?
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