A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Monday 14th

14 March 1864

Wednesday 16th

16 March 1864
15 March 1864
Tuesday 15th

Not long after breakfast I went out with my son Charles. My first object was to go to the house of Messr Baring, to draw some money, and to ask them to engage a room for him in the Steamer of the 26th. For he must return, and with our anxiety to us. It seems scarcely a moment since he came. Having accomplished this, we walked to the tower, a place which I have never visited since I came. Found there are of the Madagascar minister, and a number of others making the usual party of twelve. They show the armory in the White tower which was built by William the first, ad the royal Jewels. The first is a species of museum of all the shocking and instruments of destruction devised by man during the last thousand years. The barbarous part of our nature laid open. Instruments of torture too, numerous and fearful, now laid aside in the progress of civilization. What interested me was the room in which Sir Walter Raleigh spent so many years of captivity prior to his final execution. And the Beauchamp Tower where prisoners of State have left cut into the stone, sad memorials of their dreary sojourn. It is to be hoped that we have turned over a brighter leaf of the world in this respect. Doubtless there will yet be struggles and conspiracies— Indeed where is a more lamentable case than that going602 on now at home? Yet even in that is perceptible the increased humanity of the age. For purely political offences have not thus far met with any harsher penalty then that incurred by many in the battle field. Severe indeed has that been but not and now wantonly inflicted. The spot where the wives of Henry the 8th and Lady Jane Grey were executed is also marked by a stone. The water gate through which the prisoners were brought from the river is now closed, and the river shut out. On the whole the aspect is very gloomy. The room where the young princes were suffocated is not shown. It is all bad enough. Human passions raging for the possession of a short lived power, which two often leaves not a trace of good behind. Having moralized thus, we issued from the portal, and directed our cause next to the Thames Tunnell. A wonder of art that has led to no useful end. We walked through the arches under the bed of the river to the other side and back. Perhaps there might have been twenty people there—in addition to a few wretched looking people who had stalls set up to see knickknacks and refreshments. Their importunity showed well enough the scarcity of custom. It is to all appearance solid. Some signs of dump, but none of leakage. As a thoroughfare it failed from the want of funds to complete the grades of approach to it on each side of the river. There is now a project of running an underground railway through it. But I should fear the effect of a continuous jar upon the solidity of the brickwork. As one of the curiosities of the world I am glad I have seen it. But it is misplaced industry,and an enormous waste of wealth. We took boat to get to Charing cross, but a heavy shower came on making it uncomfortable, and we stopped at the Temple stairs, where I walked home, having made something of a day of it. I dined with Mrs Adams and Mary at Dean Milman’s with a very small party. Lord and Lady Belham, Sir Thomas and Lady Colebrooke, Sir James and Lady Colville and Mr Browning. It was very genial and social. The Dean is an excellent man besides being a scholar and a wit. Lady Colebrook I have met a dinner before somewhere but I had forgotten her. Lady Belham reminded me of our dinner at Sir Thomas’s Cochran’s. She has lost the stiffness she had then603

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=DCA64d075