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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Saturday 30th

30 August 1862

Monday 1st

1 September 1862
31 August 1862
Sunday 31st

As it was a fine day we executed our long deferred intention to go to attend public worship at the Foundling Hospital. This Institution founded nearly a century and a half ago still continues to sustain the interest it originally created. The crowd is always great on Sundays as we found, for but for the precaution of going quite early we should scarcely have obtained seats. The service was much as usual excepting that the children who filled the gallery over the door sang the responses, and anthm, guided by practiced voices. The sermon had noting in it. After service the crowd pressed into the wings of the building in which the dinner of the children was prepared, adn presented they filed in and took their seats The meal consisted of bread, meat and potatoes in abundance. They are of all ages from two and a half to fourteen. Most of them hearty in appearance, and a number very pretty. I did not see more than three hundred of both sexes. They look well cared for in all respects. It has always been a question of morals whether such a place did not encourage vice, or at least illicit connections. The practical answer is to be found in the rapid increase of infanticide, which is apt to be the alternative. There are eight thousand women in this city who have got beyond all scruples on the subject, and probably as many more whose natural affection are not yet wholly subdued by the contest with purity and vice. The moral effect is scarcely appreciable, but what there is of it tends rather to good than evil. How many of these children ultimately turn to bad courses I do not know that any body has sought to ascertain. The charity is a pleasing one to the mind. It appeals to sympathies which can never die. Towards evening I went out with Mary on our usual walk to the Zoological gardens. The animals were rather dull after their meal. But I could not help noticing how the howl of one Lion by degrees roused regular responses from the other neighboring beasts until they all joined in chorus, and then did away the moment he ceased and rolled over to sleep. Judge Thompson dined with us.191

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=DCA62d243