A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Tuesday 28th

28 May 1861

Thursday 30th

30 May 1861
29 May 1861
Wednesday 29th

The is the day of the Derby at Epsom. Parliament adjourns to let the members go and Lord Palmerston denominates it the British Isthmian Games. I am no racer no enthused about horses, so that I could not screw up my courage to see the sight. But I was amused to observe the stream of vehicles passing through this thoroughfare of Regent Street for two hours. Mr Bates who came in, remarked that exactly like this would be the appearance of the road for the entire distance of fourteen miles. Mr Motley came in to see me, and to talk of public affairs. He has seen and conversed with Lord John Russell, and he is convinced the Ministry are all well disposed. He goes to America on Saturday, and he expects to be able to give such information as may be useful. I gave him my views of the state of things here very frankly. We then went together to call on Lord Lyndhurst. The old gentleman received me very cordially. He sits in a long easy chair, confined with gout, but with a table before him, on which he has objects to attract his151 attention and exercise his mind. He talked much of our difficulties, and of the action taken by this government, showing the retention of great activity of mind. He and Mr Quincy were born at about the same time, and suckled by the same nurse, in Boston. He became a refugee, and though the son of an american painter, he rose to the dignity of Lord High Chancellor of England and of a peer of the realm. Mr Quincy, though not quite so successful in reaching high place has yet gone through a term of public service in various honorably posts in America with equal distinction. Each is in his ninetieth year. And with the present favorable means of comparing the two, I should say that they had won almost equally well. Of the two, Lord Lyndhusrt is perhaps a little the most vigorous. Whilst we were there, two remarkable man came in. One, Sir William Armstrong the minister of the celebrated rifled cannon, which is making a revolution in the art of gunnery. For although there be some question of its success in practice, there seems to be no reason to doubt that the result to be attained is certain. He brought in for Lord Lyndhurst to see, a pattern of new fuse for a shell, designed to remedy the difficulties new apt to occur of not firing at all, or of firing amiss, to o soon or two late to reach the object. He explained its operation to us by the aid of sections which he brought with him. The other was Lord Bungham. He came in and we were all presented. He mumbled something about a letter which I brought from Mr Everett and then sat down to talk of things in general. He said he had known my father whom he thought he had met as the minister about twelve years since. I said it was forty four or five years. His Lordship has no personal beauty, and his language is yet tinctured with a strong Scottish twang. But he is nevertheless the most remarkable man in England at this day. He is now eighty three years old, and the impression now is that his energies are failing. We took leave, and I afterward parted with Mr Motley in the street, and went to the new house to meet Mrs Adams there. Though small, I think it will be comfortable after we get established. The only difficulty is that in a short time we must move again. I then drove with Mrs Adams, and returned some visits of form after which I labored in bringing up the arrears of my Diary, which before I went to be I made out to accomplish.152

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=DCA61d149