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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Friday 6th

6 March 1863

Sunday 8th

8 March 1863
7 March 1863
Saturday 7th

This day had been fixed for the reception of the Princess of Denmark. Of course it was a holiday. I cared little about the procession, but I wanted once to see the population in the Streets. To this end I started with my son Brooks to visit the city. He had come from school for the purpose. We took the Metropolitan Road, and reached Farringdon Street terminus at half past eleven. The carriages were full but there was no crowd. Neither did we find it inconvenient until we reached the proposed line of the procession at Cheapside near St Paul’s. The current of human beings setting through that opening became obstructed by the line of carriages moving to set down person at the places they proposed to occupy, and so for a time we were closely packed. This did not last however, so that from thence all the way to the Mansion House we made our way with sufficient ease. The windows and even roofs were people along the whole line, and the flags and streamers and ornaments attached to the houses made the aspect gay. But the crowd in the street was staid and respectable. At the Mansion house it was plain that no more direct progress could be made. I then resorted to a detour, behind that edifice which brought me to a street on the other side that led me to Lombard Street and directly into the square. The whole area was covered with human beings of every conceivable class except the first. At the Mansion house, and all the other buildings were arranged in seats many of the wealthy cits of both sexes. Generally the crowd was in good humour and sociable. No bad language nor vulgarity though many looked as if familiar with both. Not perceiving any unoccupied point to stand at safely, I decided to leave this position before it should become still more thronged, and make my way either west or east as I should find it most easy. I tried to cross over in the wake of a company of riflemen who were filing off into Moorgate But before I could effect my purpose I found myself caught in a mass of people rushing in at once from Cheapside in the west, and Threadneedle on the east. Then the pres became tremendous, and I began to doubt whether I should be able to endure it. Men, women with babies in their arms and other women struggling and gasping, heaving to and fro only to309 make the pressure more intense. On three sides it was clear no relief to be expected. The only vacuum was in the direction of Moorgate through Princes Street. That way then bore the current with such force at last that I found myself carried on tiptoe just enough to maintain my standing until the pack loosened and gradually disappeared. By this time I was nearly at the end of Moorgate Street. My wish had been to see a London mob. I had done so more than enough, besides feeling it more than I fancied. The next thing was to get away. Turning down to the left I sought to get through the narrow side streets to the east. But here I come across all the carriages of the city procession uniting the movement to men into place. Here again the crowd looked too dense to encounter over again, I then struck down a narrow lane which brought me easily to the point of entrance on Cheapside. But just there the lane was blocked. A cabman had driven his vehicle there and had established himself with a number of persons mounted on its roof to see the show. By the side of this cab and closing the rest of the lane a party of four men had put up a low staging perhaps four feet, which they let as standing places. It was hopeless to struggle through, and as much to so to go back, so I reconciled myself to a detention and lurid places for us two. After an hour spent in waiting we saw the city procession move down on its way to meet the Princess and after an interval, it came back again. The banners of the Livery companies and the quaint dresses of some of the servants and postilions constituted all the display. Then came the Princess and Prince, in one carriage, preceded by her younger sister in another, with horsemen and some escorting coaches. The thing itself was not worth the trouble of seeing, but the city of London in a convulsion of enthusiasm about a girl of eighteen of whom nobody yet knows anything good or bad, fully repaid my fatigue. We immediately started on our return, took the train at Farringdon Street, and reached home by a quarter of four o’clock. So it was not a very long affair. Brooks went on to Mr Milner Gibson’s where Mrs Adams and my daughter had gone, but I had had enough for one day. It set into rain before dark. Quiet evening at home. I felt rather fatigued and retired early.310

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=DCA63d066