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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Saturday. 7.th

7 December 1861

Monday 9th

9 December 1861
8 December 1861
Sunday 8th

A clear, fine mild day. By arrangement with Mr Ralston we went to the City and attended Divine service at a little chapel of the Baptists where a preacher officiated by the name of John Howard Hinton. It was a contracted place, finished without a particle of ornament, and with narrow and upright pews not by any means entirely filled. The attendance consisted of people of the lower class somewhat of the character of those I saw at Mr Spurgeon’s. The service was simple and effective. The sermon was improvised and colloquial. The topic not new. The well worn one of faith and works. But it was well illustrated and pointedly applied. The language simply but not inelegant. On the whole far superior to any thing I have heard in England but Spurgeon’s, and better reasoned than his. The dissenters are certainly more intellectual than the established clergy. In his prayer he made a feeling allusion to the difficulties between the two countries, and prayed that war might be averted. After the service Mr Ralston presented me to the preacher and I expressed my thanks to him for his prayer and my assurance that it could meet with an echo from large numbers of people on the other side of the Atlantic. As an issued from this place our attention was drawn to an iron railing running along one side of the court, on the other side of which all the way down a long lane was congregated a crowded of wretched looking men and women who seemed to be306 carrying on some species of trade. This is what is known as Rag Fair. Here it is said assemble eight or ten thousand people every Sunday, about all of them Jews, to buy and sell old clothes, the lowest strata of society. The countenances as a general thing were far from attractive, but they looked in tolerable condition. I should not care to pass through such a mass alone with any valuables about me. There were police officers here and there who kept good order. I saw no emotion of any kind. No merriment, or noise excepting the buzz of many voices, which could be heard even in the church during the service. Having seen enough of this, Mr Ralston next carried us to the Greek Church, a small building in a warm street. Here we were ushered into a small interior very handsomely fitted up, in which perhaps sixty men and as many women were worshipping. All were standing. The service was in Greek, and consisted in alternately reading and chanting. The papa occasionally issuing from the sanctuary and elevating the cross and the host. The congregation was evidently Greek and of the wealthy the life of this immense metropolis, and in marked contrast with the other. Here was the descendant of the ancient Jew and of the Gentile, each of which marks its distant age in the movement of the globe, and between the two is the Saxon whose day is not yet gone by. The first of the three the most degraded when it might have been the most exalted. All of them assembled in a little island which has no attraction for any human being but in the game it offers of worldly accumulations. In this race all three men about equally well. We returned home, and after luncheon I called on Mr Thurlow Weed. Met Mr Peabody sitting with him. We talked about the prospects and about the state of the public mind. Afterwards we had visiters at home. Mr and Mrs Synge, Sir Henry Holland, and Sir Gore Ouseley. In the evening Mr and Mrs Parkes. I scarcely know the source of his information, but he very distinctly intimated to me that there would be no war. But there would be a suspension of diplomatic relations for a period more or less long. I might spend the interval on the continent.307

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=DCA61d342