This work was begun many years ago. In 1908 I read in the British Museum many newspapers and journals for the years 1860-1865, and then planned a survey of English public opinion on the American Civil War. In the succeeding years as a teacher at Stanford University, California, the published diplomatic correspondence of Great Britain and of the United States were studied in connection with instruction given in the field of British-American relations. Several of my students prepared excellent theses on special topics and these have been acknowledged where used in this work. Many distractions and other writing prevented the completion of my original plan; and fortunately, for when in 1913 I had at last begun this work and had prepared three chapters, a letter was received from the late Charles Francis Adams inviting me to collaborate with him in preparing a "Life" of his father, the Charles Francis Adams who was American Minister to Great Britain during the Civil War. Mr. Adams had recently returned from England where he had given at Oxford University a series of lectures on the Civil War and had been so fortunate as to obtain copies, made under the scholarly supervision of Mr. Worthington C. Ford, of a great mass of correspondence from the Foreign Office files in the Public Record Office and from the private papers in the possession of various families.
The first half of the year 1914 was spent with Mr. Adams at Washington and at South Lincoln, in preparing the "Life." Two volumes were completed, the first by Mr. Adams carrying the story to 1848, the second by myself for the period 1848 to 1860. For the third volume I analysed and organized the new materials obtained in England and we were about to begin actual collaboration on the most vital period of the "Life" when Mr. Adams died, and the work was indefinitely suspended, probably wisely, since any completion of the "Life" by me would have lacked that individual charm in historical writing so markedly characteristic of all that Mr. Adams did. The half-year spent with Mr. Adams was an inspiration and constitutes a precious memory.
The Great War interrupted my own historical work, but in 1920 I returned to the original plan of a work on "Great Britain and the American Civil War" in the hope that the English materials obtained by Mr. Adams might be made available to me. When copies were secured by Mr. Adams in 1913 a restriction had been imposed by the Foreign Office to the effect that while studied for information, citations and quotations were not permissible since the general diplomatic archives were not yet open to students beyond the year 1859. Through my friend Sir Charles Lucas, the whole matter was again presented to the Foreign Office, with an exact statement that the new request was in no way related to the proposed "Life" of Charles Francis Adams, but was for my own use of the materials. Lord Curzon, then Foreign Secretary, graciously approved the request but with the usual condition that my manuscript be submitted before publication to the Foreign Office. This has now been done, and no single citation censored. Before this work will have appeared the limitation hitherto imposed on diplomatic correspondence will have been removed, and the date for open research have been advanced beyond 1865, the end of the Civil War.
Similar explanations of my purpose and proposed work were made through my friend Mr. Francis W. Hirst to the owners of various private papers, and prompt approval given. In 1924 I came to England for further study of some of these private papers. The Russell Papers, transmitted to the Public Record Office in 1914 and there preserved, were used through the courtesy of the Executors of the late Hon. Rollo Russell, and with the hearty goodwill of Lady Agatha Russell, daughter of the late Earl Russell, the only living representative of her father, Mr. Rollo Russell, his son, having died in 1914. The Lyons Papers, preserved in the Muniment Room at Old Norfolk House, were used through the courtesy of the Duchess of Norfolk, who now represents her son who is a minor. The Gladstone Papers, preserved at Hawarden Castle, were used through the courtesy of the Gladstone Trustees. The few citations from the Palmerston Papers, preserved at Broadlands, were approved by Lieut.-Colonel Wilfred Ashley, M.P.
The opportunity to study these private papers has been invaluable for my work. Shortly after returning from England in 1913 Mr. Worthington Ford well said: "The inside history of diplomatic relations between the United States and Great Britain may be surmised from the official archives; the tinting and shading needed to complete the picture must be sought elsewhere." (Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, XLVI, p. 478.) Mr. C.F. Adams declared (ibid., XLVII, p. 54) that without these papers "... the character of English diplomacy at that time (1860-1865) cannot be understood.... It would appear that the commonly entertained impressions as to certain phases of international relations, and the proceedings and utterances of English public men during the progress of the War of Secession, must be to some extent revised."