This journal was kept by Sir Francis Evans for over thirty years and contains extracts from another book (missing) in which he kept family and business records and the signatures of those present at his Christmas dinner.
Briefly, he was a much travelled man, having spent time between 1862 - 8 in North and South America, when he was present during action in the Civil War.
On return to London he commenced a career as a banker and merchant, with directorships in many companies, chiefly to do with finance, railways and shipping. He was created K.C.M.G. for services in connection with the colonies while Deputy Chairman of the Union Steamship Co., and he began a political career by becoming a Liberal M.P. He sat for Southampton, 1882 - 1895, and 1896 - 1900, and then for Maidstone, 1901 - 1906, commanding, it seems, strong popular and workingman's support. (His family had radical connexions, his father being a friend of Cobden). He was born 29 Aug. 1840, married 31 July 1872 to Marie de Grasse, widow of Irving van Wart of New York, by whom he had five children, all referred to, and died 22 Jan. 1907.
The journal is written in an informal lively style, mainly detailing his widespread travels at home and abroad, family problems and illnesses, and his own accounts of events affecting his political and business career. 19 Sep. 1873 has a dramatic description of a 'run' on his bank, Jay, Cooke, McCulloch & Co., the reasons for which are not clear, but by 1879 two of his partners had left the firm, one of whom, Puleston, he sued ostensibly for having embezzled £10,000 for speculative investment. Not until 1882 can he record that 'I consider myself well repaid for all the work and annoyance the suit imposed on me.'
In 1888, while he was in America, the Southampton by-election (at which he was standing) was held, and he gives his own exciting version of the hectic travelling to get back as soon as possible, and his attempts on arrival to discover the result from the ship's pilots. He also recounts his tumultuous reception and ascribes his success in the election wholly to his wife's efforts in his absence.