Adams, Charles Francis


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Adams, Charles Francis,

1807–86, American public official, minister to Great Britain (1861–68), b. Boston; son of John Quincy AdamsAdams, John Quincy,
1767–1848, 6th President of the United States (1825–29), b. Quincy (then in Braintree), Mass.; son of John Adams and Abigail Adams and father of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86).
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. After a boyhood spent in various European capitals, he was graduated (1825) from Harvard and studied law under Daniel Webster. He practiced in Boston, looked after his father's business affairs, and wrote articles on American history for the North American Review. Adams served (1840–45) in both branches of the Massachusetts legislature. He founded and edited the Boston Whig and became a leader of the Conscience Whigs. In 1848 he was the Free-Soil party candidate for the vice presidency. He represented (1858–61) his father's old district in Congress and assumed prominence as a Republican leader.

On Seward's advice, Lincoln appointed Adams minister to Great Britain. In the face of English sympathy for the Confederacy, he maintained the Northern cause with wisdom and a bold dignity that won British respect, particularly in the serious Trent and Alabama incidents. He is credited with preventing British recognition of the Confederacy and with averting Britain's possible entry into the Civil War on the Confederate side, thus contributing much to the Union victory. He later represented the United States in the settlement of the Alabama claimsAlabama claims,
claims made by the U.S. government against Great Britain for the damage inflicted on Northern merchant ships during the American Civil War by the Alabama
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. He published many political pamphlets and addresses and was an editor of the works (10 vol., 1850–56) of his grandfather, John Adams, and of his father's diary (12 vol., 1874–77).

Bibliography

See biography by M. B. Duberman (1961); W. C. Ford, ed., A Cycle of Adams Letters, 1861–1865 (1920); J. T. Adams, The Adams Family (1930); R. Brookhiser, America's First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735–1918 (2002).


Adams, Charles Francis,

1835–1915, American economist and historian, b. Boston; son of Charles Francis AdamsAdams, Charles Francis,
1807–86, American public official, minister to Great Britain (1861–68), b. Boston; son of John Quincy Adams. After a boyhood spent in various European capitals, he was graduated (1825) from Harvard and studied law under Daniel Webster.
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 (1807–86). In the Civil War he fought at Antietam and Gettysburg and was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. Adams became a railroad expert after the war, writing Chapters of Erie (1871), which exposed the corrupt financing of the Erie RR, and Railroads: Their Origin and Problems (1878). In 1869 he became a member, and from 1872 to 1879 was chairman, of the Massachusetts Board of Railroad Commissioners, the first such board in the nation. Adams was made chairman of the government directors of the Union Pacific in 1878 and became president in 1884, but he was ousted by the forces of Jay GouldGould, Jay,
1836–92, American speculator, b. Delaware co., N.Y. A country-store clerk and surveyor's assistant, he rose to control half the railroad mileage in the Southwest, New York City's elevated railroads, and the Western Union Telegraph Company.
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 in 1890. His reform of the public schools in the home town of the Adamses, Quincy, Mass., was described in The New Departure in the Common Schools of Quincy (1879), and the Quincy system was widely adopted. Adams served 24 years on the Harvard Board of Overseers and was president (1895–1915) of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He wrote Three Episodes of Massachusetts History (1892); Studies: Military and Diplomatic, 1775–1865 (1911); Trans-Atlantic Historical Solidarity (1913), which was a collection of lectures he had given at Oxford; and biographies of his father (1900) and Richard Henry Dana (1890).

Bibliography

See his autobiography (1916, repr. 1973); W. C. Ford, ed., A Cycle of Adams Letters, 1861–1865 (1920); J. T. Adams, The Adams Family (1930).


Adams, Charles Francis,

1866–1954, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1929–33), b. Quincy, Mass.; grandson of Charles Francis AdamsAdams, Charles Francis,
1807–86, American public official, minister to Great Britain (1861–68), b. Boston; son of John Quincy Adams. After a boyhood spent in various European capitals, he was graduated (1825) from Harvard and studied law under Daniel Webster.
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 (1807–86). He practiced law for a brief period in Boston but for most of his life was connected with a wide variety of business enterprises in that city and elsewhere. Adams served in the cabinet of Herbert Hoover.

Adams, Charles Francis

(1807–86) diplomat; born in Boston, Mass. (son of John Quincy Adams, grandson of John Adams). He practiced law in Boston, wrote and edited family histories, and served in the Massachusetts legislature as a Whig. He was a member of the House of Representatives (Rep., Mass.; 1859–61). As ambassador to Great Britain (1861–68), he skillfully lobbied to keep Britain neutral during the Civil War. He declined the presidency of Harvard University, but served as one of the University's overseers.
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gives a passionate and almost bitter commentary on the British reaction to emancipation in Adams, Charles Francis Adams, pp.