Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 3d.

Tuesday 5th.

Monday. 4th. CFA Monday. 4th. CFA
Monday. 4th.
Niagara — Lake Ontario

We have had four pleasant days here which I shall not soon forget, but the end comes of all things and so it is with our stay at Niagara. The morning was consumed in packing and the ordinary preparations for departure, and in receiving a visit from our friends the Whites, who all came to spend the day on this side of the River. I thought there was some little formality on their part and on our’s. They were not perhaps over well plased with my declining their polite invitation yesterday which I am very sorry for. But be this as it may the civility was cold and we all felt somewhat relieved when the Stages came to the door to take us to Niagara.

After leave taking which was regularly done we started off, making two stages full, I being in a small one with Mr. Peacock and his two daughters and my Wife with the Wilkes party in the other. The distance to go was fourteen miles for the most part along the bank of the Niagara River and a more beautiful ride I have seldom taken. The Country improves as you go on and the verdure of the season does much to set it off. But the great charm is in the very deep blue of the River and the rapidity with which it flows. It is to be sure a little singular not to see a sign of navigation but the eye soon gets accustomed to that and watches only the stream itself. If it was slower water, there would probably be a greater desire to animate it.

We stopped at the Heights of Queenston to see the monument erected to the memory of General Brock who fell here when the Americans made their attack, during the last War.1 A man who appeared to keep guard there went over his lesson to us and pointed out the spot where Brock was shot, that where his aid in attempting to rally was also killed, the place where the Americans landed and the scene of final action. The Americans not being properly reinforced were finally defeated. The Canadian frontier furnishes no great occasion for national pride on our part. The Monument is a handsome one 32of Stone, a column ninety feet high, I should think, with an inscription purporting that Upper Canada had erected it in honor to Brock. The fence designed to protect it is not yet put up. We remained here only a few minutes and then hurried our pace to get rid of a thunder storm which threatened very decidedly in the North.

We arrived at the little town of Niagara or Fort George at about three and stopped to take dinner. Mr. Colden reminded us that it was our National Anniversary, a fact we should hardly have known from any thing about us. A few flags flying from various places on the other side of the river and now and then a distant shot was all we observed. I cannot say that I was sorry. I dislike noise and rioting although I have a great regard for the recollections of that day. We remembered it in a glass of very indifferent Champagne.

At five we went on board the Cobourg, a steamer of the largest Class and soon found ourselves floating along on the quiet waters of Lake Ontario. We passed close to Fort Niagara on the American side, a place not so famous for any military history as for being the dungeon into which poor Morgan was thrown previous to his final catastrophe in the waters of the Niagara. This is the birthplace of Antimasonry and as such I ought to regard it.2

We had a pleasant trip to Toronto, a distance of thirty six miles where we stopped for the night. It became a question whether we should go on shore to sleep or remain on board. Some of the party decided on the former, but as the Captain offered a nice State Room to us Abby and I concluded to remain. We and Mr. Peacock and his daughters who likewise staid, however accompanied the rest of the party to their Hotel where we had some Ice creams served from the shop, the Captain having informed us it was not proper to go to it, after which we went back again.


Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock; see DNB .


On the murder of William Morgan in 1826 and its significance, see vol. 4:350.