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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Wednesday 12th

12 June 1861

Friday 14th

14 June 1861
13 June 1861
Thursday 13th



The summer seems to be approaching. Soon after breakfast Mrs Adams and I went in the carriage to St Paul’s Church, to witness the assembly of the charity children in the various schools of the city and the neighborhood. The Bishop of London had been kind enough to send us tickets which gave us eligible places. Under the circle made by the huge dome of the church were ranged on seats gradually rising more than half the height of the arches on two sides, the girls dressed in white and the boys in dark clothes. Much care being taken so as to dispose of them as to contrast the coloring the most effectively. The number must have exceeded five thousand. The more which was kept open the whole length was densely packed with human beings, so that the whole effect was striking and grand. The customary service of the Episcopal church was performed with the responses chanted and occasionally a chorus in which all the children joined. The harmonies were on the whole quite remarkably preserved. A sermon was preached by Lord Auckland, the Bishop of Bath and Wells on preaching the gospel to children, which was of the usual mediocrity. And the ceremonies closed some time before two o’ clock. I could not help reflecting upon the probabilities of the future of this mass of youthful life I saw before me. All brought up by charity to be thrown on the crowded world in due course without any guidance beyond that they are now receiving in this wholesale form. It might not be forgotten that this community responds very liberally to all the claims of this kind that are made upon it, charity and kindness are felt to be duties by the Aristocracy as well as the rich middle classes. But after all the best that these young people can hope to arrive at in England is perhaps domestic service, and hard labour, whilst the worst is only to be learned in the history of the region of th Seven Dials, the work houses and the prisons. Here is the painful idea of a city of three millions of people. We were at home the rest of the day. For though we had received three invitation to dinner for this day, the Duke of Argyll’s, which had been the earliest and accepted, was put off until Monday, he having received a direction to dine with the Queen, which supersedes every thing. I was not sorry to enjoy the respite. In the evening Mr Sanford came in, and Mrs Crowninshield and her daughter were here. The power is as usual poaching a little on my manner. He removed the topic of privateering and I frankly declared my approval of its abolition, which made him monosyllabic.164

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=DCA61d164