Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Thursday 30th.

Saturday. 2d.

Friday. July 1. CFA Friday. July 1. CFA
Friday. July 1.

The heat was quite considerable today and promised us much weariness in our project to pass the day in examination on the American side. We joined the new friends whom we had made and who asked us to be of their party and after breakfast took the road to the ferry. This 25is nothing but a simple rowboat managed by a single oar’sman, although it crosses but a very short distance below the foot of the Fall. The appearance is certainly that of extreme danger but in fact there is little or none. The current carries the boat down when it gets into the eddy but by a skilful movement up where the water is still and then shooting across, the passage is very brief. The appearance of the little thing from the height above, is among the interesting things of the place for it gives a strong idea of the relative size of man to the creation around him. Fourteen of us crossed at once among whom my Wife was the only person much terrified.

The first thing was to take a look from the point of the American Fall. This is fine. It gives an idea of vastness and of power more distinct from the nearness to which you approach it, and from the depth to which you see it descends. As a whole, I think this end of the Fall on the American side may be considered as separately the finest, although the Horse Shoe is undoubtedly the finest general mass. We here first saw a beautiful rainbow with a refraction making an outer circle, which added much to the pleasure of the scene. Having lingered here some time, we next ascended the Ferry stairs and after sending for letters of which to our great disappointment there were none for me, we crossed over the singular bridge to Goat Island. Here are two or three points of view from above and as many from below by the way of the Biddle Staircase as it is called from Mr. Nicholas Biddle who caused it to be erected. Those of the middle and American Fall from above as well as of the Horse Shoe from below did not compensate for the labour taken to get them. On the other hand, that of the Horse Shoe from the Stone tower gives an increased idea of the velocity and force of the Fall.

My Wife was so entirely exhausted when she got thus far that I thought it unsafe to go farther today and we accordingly returned to the refreshment room and waited for the remainder of the party who went on exploring. Getting tired here we went to the Ferry, and I thought I would take a turn round to the Hotel to see if there were any of our acquaintance arrived there. I found Mr. and Mrs. Curtis and all the Whites excepting the father. The Colden and Wilkes party finding it too late to return to dinner at the Pavilion concluded to dine here and we accordingly went up. But I was overheated and exhausted. It is a foolish thing to try to do so much in one trip. The only way is to avoid making a great toil of a pleasure. The dinner was cold and poor and we adjourned to the parlour where we dawdled.

Mr. Cramer finding his sister and her husband had come down con-26cluded to remain on this side, and the party urged us to do so likewise, but I preferred that it should be as it was. They knew for I told them I was going to the Pavilion and I foresaw that for the sake of their company a day or two I should probably lose that of to me far more agreeable people. So that I thought we were quits in our attention to each other’s wishes. We were sorry to part with Cramer who is a good fellow, but he appeared to justify us in the decision we had made though he could not himself join in it. To this as he goes no farther there is less inducement for him. There were other reasons connected with young Mr. White whom we first saw at Tonawanda and again here which gave me a disrelish to joining them. We crossed the ferry again and got home to tea but were sufficiently tired to be desirous of going to bed very soon afterwards. The house this night was crowded to overflowing.