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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Saturday 31st

31 October 1863

Monday 2d.

2 November 1863
1 November 1863
Sunday 1st

Attended Service in the City at St Albans’s, Wood Street. This church dates from a very early period, but the edifice has been twice rebuilt. It is from Wren’s designs, but in every respect different from his customary manner. It is Gothic, a style which he appears so little to have fancied that I cannot help thinking he must have followed the desire of others to copy the older model. I should have been glad to see it even in the that shape, as it is described in Brayley’s London, with its wainscoting of oak, and high pews, and pulpit with carved soundery bound. But all this is gone. Every thing is Gothic modernized, to me a most incongruous idea. I took no more satisfaction in it than I should in the Episcopal church at Quincy, with the single exception of the hour glass attached to the pulpit, which is preserved. I have seen this nowhere else. It is at once typical and hortatory. The service was in some respects peculiar. For the first time since I have attended morning ministrations, the Litany was omitted, and the substitute prayers given. Another peculiarity was that the congregation consisted almost entirely of young people and they sang the chants and hymns well, without charity children. I heard no banns declared however. Attendance fair. It was All saints day, and the preacher gave a sermon appropriate to the occasion part of which he read, and part improvised. It was not remarkable for any thing except its very christian and liberal spirit. He absolutely went the length of declaring his belief that salvation did not depend on faith in any particular creed. This is getting on in England. The old bigotry which expelled two thousand of the best men in the church from their pulpits as unworthy of Christian confidence, because they could not subscribe to a system is after the lapse of two centuries wearing array. I liked his earnestness and his candor. Home where I had a succession of visits. Mr S. B. Ruggles on his way home from Berlin He talked largely of his action there, and of his purposes here. Had been to Russia on a singular project of fanning the establishment of a Greek church in San Francisco. His account of the development of the emancipation policy in that country was deeply interesting to me. He says that the serfs are so eager for instruction that it is very494 difficult for the government to expand its system to an adequate degree. Already ten thousand schools have been organized, and now the want is felt of capable teachers. He likewise told me of his interior with the Archbishop of Moscow, and his plea of harmony in the interchange of christian offices between the sects, which made the water come into my eyes. That is the kind of Christianity for me. I think it is coming, but like all great movements, slowly. He asked me many questions about the state of the established church here, which I answered to the best of my ability. He expressed a wish to see some of the dignitaries, and I promised him letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. Next came Mr Parkes, who had his usual amount of gossip. Among other things he talked of the late story running the rounds the clubs, of a suit in Doctor’s commons for Divorce, which involves no less a person than Lord Palmerston as the correspondent. His Lordship is now too far advanced in life to make such a story likely. In earlier days nothing would have been more likely. Whilst he was sitting with me, Mr Bright came in with his son. We had a pleasant chat of an hour or more on the present state of opinion here, and the prospect for the future. He asked me some questions respecting my mode of proceeding about the Ironclad vessels of Mr Laird, and I told him frankly the truth. He said he did not doubt Parliament would pass any restrictive measure the Ministry would propose, in support of the enlistment law. He also thought that Baron Pollock’s law in the case of the Alexander would be overruled on the appeal. I replied that in such case I should have no further apprehension of the danger of war with this country. Mr Bright is an honest and therefore a strong man with his powers of debate. I like him better than any man I have met in this country. He showed me a letter he had received from Mr Cobden, containing a copy of a note from Mr Crampton to Mr Marcy begging that no Russian privateers might be allured to victual in America pending that war. He thought it might now be retorted by me. I said the answer would be that the rebel vessels were not privateers. Quiet evening. The bag came, but nothing of importance.495

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=DCA63d305