A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Monday 9th

9 March 1863

Wednesday 11th

11 March 1863
10 March 1863
Tuesday 10th

We were obliged to dress at once in order to be in season to breakfast and get away to the Paddington Station, ready for the special train at twenty five minutes past ten, which was to take the invited guests to Windsor. At the Paddington Station was quite an assemblage, but nobody at hand to indicate what we were to do. Meeting with M and Madame Musuras, and Mr and Madame Moreira we succeeded in getting into a carriage which was otherwise filled by Count Kilmansegge and Mr and Mrs Cardwell. In this manner we were carried to Windsor. In London the fog had been so thick I could not read the newspaper at breakfast. But it was clear comparatively at Windsor. After some struggle for coaches we succeeded in getting to St George’s chapel. and to our assigned places, on the north side, under the Queen’s closet, and directly overlooking the haut ped so called, where the ceremony was to take place.311 I shall not attempt any details of the affair. It passed in complete accordance with the programme as I place it within these leaves. The scene was very impressive. Here amidst the emblems of a remote age were assembled all there is of rank and official reputation in the kingdom. Here the greatest dignitaries of the Church performed the solemn service which waited a young couple destined under Providence to continue the line of monarchy for another age. The parties are very young, and are supposed to be attached, a rare event in such cases. THeir deportment was all that could be desired. As I looked down on the picture of the woman with her eight young bride’s maids kneeled before the altar, with the surroundings of the royal family, the household and the Court resplendent with gay attire for the first time the conception dawned upon me of the political importance of all the paraphernalia that surround a throne. Satin and lace and diamonds and gold embroidery all contribute to make a pageant which knits the wealth of the land into the texture of the crown itself. It is a ponderous machine enough, but may-be necessary. I hope the young Prince will prosper. He has all the aid of favoring gales with which to embark on his voyage. But there has never yet been a marriage of a Prince of Wales that has prospered him in later years, so that this must form an exception instead of the rule. The service was read by the archbishop of Canterbury, and lasted perhaps half an hour. The procession then moved away again to the Castle. The corps Diplomatique moved likewise, but in a hap hazard method, as nobody seemed ready to designate their course. Rather than await a carriage Mr Moreira and I determined to walk. We groped into the quadrangle, and with the aid of Mr Helps whom are met by accident, at last found ourselves at the main entrance just as Mrs Adams and Mrs Moreira were getting from a carriage. We were ushered into a large and handsome hall decorated with many portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence of the Sovereigns and Ministers of note at the time of the Treaty of Vienna, rather poor things in themselves but curious as historical. Here were assembled most of312 the invited guests. But there was no host, or person authorized to act for him. After some delay, we were ushered into a smaller all, and then into St George’s hall where were tables set out with refreshments. After taking a slight repetition we then left the palace in a carriage for the Station. Fortunately we were in season for a regular train so eight of the corps Diplomatique took possession of a compartment. Baron Gros, Count Visthern, Mr and Mrs Moreira, the Peruvian Minister, Mr Gutierrez and ourselves. Thus we returned in safety home before five o’clock. I afterwards learned that others who stayed to see the Prince go off to Osborne were not so fortunate, and encountered a scramble and a crush. After dinner we had made arrangements for a carriage to witness the illumination. I had ordered a small one for my own house which looked quite as well as most that I saw. The streets were full of people and the thoroughfares so choked up with carriage s that movement was extremely slow. The intention had been to go St Paul’s through Oxford Street, Holburn to Cheapside and back by the Fleet and strand. After a long delay we worked back as far as Farringdon Street which was so much blocked that we were directed to cross Blackfriars bridge and go round to Westminster. But every avenue found so entirely closed that our only resource was to make a great circuit and strike Vauxhall Bridge. This brought us home at a little before there in the morning, pretty wary and having seen little. At no preceding time was there ever such a mass of human beings concentrated in the streets of London. As on Saturday my chief amusement was to observe the crowd, which was more talkative and disposed to good natured jeering. As the night drew on there were signs of growing intemperance, but still no violence or injurious language. The London mob is a good natured brute when in repose. I have seen him twice within a week, and that is enough to satisfy my curiousity for ever.313

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=DCA63d069