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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Sunday 26th

26 May 1861

Tuesday 28th

28 May 1861
27 May 1861
Monday 27th

Pleasant day. Walked to the legation after twelve. I limit my reception of business visits between 10 and 12 o’clock. Then home and with Mrs Adams to the National Gallery to see the collection of old pictures there. I spent three hours very profitably in taking a general survey of the entire gallery. The present result is only that there are some very good pictures, and some very poor ones, whilst between these there a large number that escape a cursory observation. I promise myself a return more than once to study the better class, and to improve my knowledge of the subject. After dinner I went to the House of Commons to listen to a debate on the budget. My secretaries both accompanied me. The hall contrasts singularly with that of the House at Washington. It is much more plain and so small in size as not to accommodate the members when the attendance is very full. They sat tonight packed in the seats as people do in a popular meeting, though not by any means all were there. It is lighted from the top as with us, and has even more of a boxlike appearance than ours. The style is very much more simple and grave. No gilding, or ornamentation, excepting carving in wood. When we first entered a member from Ireland was speaking in committee of the whole upon the remission of the duty on paper which is the test question of the Chancellor’s budget. It was dull and not more than forty or fifty member were in their places. Only two or three of the Ministry on the Treasury benches. Several persons followed, none of them among the leaders, but as a division was expected individual began to drop in and take their seats until the House became full. It was soon apparent that the opposition was in great force and spirits. This became unequivocal when Sir John Ramsden, and Sir Robert Peel on the government side came out in effective and decided attacks upon the Chancellor’s measure. The order is good, but the expression of approval in the use of the word Hear, often becomes boisterous, and is always noisy. It was plain to me that from the feeling on the respective sides a division would leave the ministry in the minority. The opposition seemed more eager than its leaders. For Mr D’Israeli gave in with great appearance of courtesy to the motion from the Treasury side that the Committee rise, whilst Lord Palmerston claimed the delay until Thursday without disguising much the motion that prompted it. I did not get home until after midnight.150

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=DCA61d147