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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Saturday 21st

21 November 1863

Monday 23d.

23 November 1863
22 November 1863
Sunday 22d

A mild, springlike day. Went by the railway to the City, to attend service at Great St Helen’s. This is really an old church and a curious one. The external architecture is in no way remarkable. The interior is interesting from the number of its monuments erected however in honor of no particularly distinguished persons. A large portion of the surface is given to them. The pews are disposed in two lines under the two divisions of the roof, a common feature of old churches. The pulpit is attached to the South side, midway, whilst the altar as usual is at the east end. On the doorway at the west end was the organ, and ranged about it were the charity children male and female—the latter in their quaint cap & dress. When they rose and sung one of the hymns in the service, the sunlight streaming in from a side window, the picture was worthy of a painter’s study. During the service I perceived a closet on one side fitted with shelves on which were ranged in order small loaves of white bread. I waited to see what this meant. After service, a ring of poor women was made each with a bag, and these loaves were distributed by the Beadle. Some of the monuments were of the fifteenth century. I rather liked the service in this antique spot around which the inundation of traffic was swept leaving it as a memorial of a different age. After service was over I walked down to the Station of the London and Blackwall Railway, near Fenchurch Street, and took my ticket for Richmond. It is rather a roundabout way to get there, but that was a recommendation to me to whom much of the region to be traversed was new. We went through Stepney, Bow, Victoria Park, Hackney, Kingsland, Islington, Camden where we changed carriages, and then went on through Highgate, Hampstead, Kensal Green Hammersmith, Kew, Chiswick to Richmond. In other words, this is a circuit from the East to the North and thence to the West of the city. My object was to call and see Lord Russell at Pembroke Lodge. I got to the Station at about three, and my walk from there though the Park took me half an hour more. I found Lady Russell at home, who received me very cordially. She had with her Mr Layard, and a clergyman and his Wife whom I did not know. Lord Russell was at the moment engaged with Sir Henry Balwer, in his room, but506 they joined us soon. His Lordship was very cordial and presented me to Sir Henry, who reminded me of his residence in America as Minister. Sir Charles Wyke also came in, so that we made a pretty lively set. I snatched a few moments of silence to speak to His Lordship on the two points which I had in my mind when making this excursion. These were, to deliver the complimentary message about Mr Steward, lately the Secretary of Legation at Washington His Lordship seemed quite gratified And to propose a mode of settling the difficulty respecting the occupation of the island of Sombrero. This he requested me to make a minute of, and send it to him in writing. This being arranged, we talked generally about Mr Hawthorn’s new book, and the play of the “Ticket of Leave” man, until I found it time to take my leave, on doing so His Lordship said he was always here on this day and would be glad to see me. This was significant as the newspapers will have it that he has resigned. The probability is that there has been some difference in the cabinet about the acceptance of Napoleon’s proposal of a congress. It is very questionable how long this combination with last Lord Palmerston’s position has been lately a little compromised by a scandal created out of a petition for divorce of a husband against his Wife for adultery with him. Considering that the old man is now in his eightieth year, this is a little strong. He defies it boldly, and calls it a scheme to extort money. But his character in early life was not good, and many here pretend that he has bought off the suit with a round sum. The Queen who is strict in upholding the morals of the court, is well known to have been long averse to Lord Palmerston, and still more to his Wife, whose career a Lady Cooper was not run without reproach. For this and other reasons, it would not surprise me to see a catastrophe during the next session of Parliament, a new Ministry and a dissolution. However I might have viewed this at any former period I must say that since the more decided action taken against the rebel movements here, I am not disposed to wish any change. Lord Russell is certainly more courteous than ever before, and his policy grows more rather than less conciliatory. My term is running out with him, and though 507 by no means acquitting him of both rudeness and meanness in his treatment of me in the case of the letter given to Howell and Lerman, I can not to begin anew with a stranger. I walked back to the Star and garter, where I dined. The site is pretty and the dinner was good, though very dear. A considerable number of parties in the room, all of whom seemed to be on a pleasure trip for the day. I returned by the South Western Road to the Waterloo Bridge, and walked from there home. Quiet evening.

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=DCA63d326