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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1861

Saturday 16th

16 November 1861

Monday 18th

18 November 1861
14 November 1861
Sunday 17th

Ossington seems to be a landed Estate of about twenty two hundred acres. The house is in the centre of an extensive park through which runs a small stream, probably a tributary of the Trent. The surface this morning was covered with snow, with a clear, cold sky reminding me in a degree of New England. We all attended Divine service in a little chapel close by the house, both morning and afternoon. The usual service excepting that on the second occasion the Bishop preached. His sermon was simple, impression, earnest without being in any way remarkable. The effect of it was much increased by a good voice with sympathetic tones. Every body seemed highly gratified. It is plain that the Bishop is286 regarded as the most eloquent of the faithful. He is certainly before any body else whom I have heard. Mr Denison took us a walk of about a mile to see a new church which he has built at his own expense as a substitute for an old one which was in decay. It is a small, neat structure of stone with barely ornament enough to save baldness, and a little belltower to relieve its angles. Inside the fitting was plain and neat though rather bare. My ideas of Christian worship run so much counter all the medieval fancier that I cannot relish these very bare and strong walls, any more than the dark and luxurious cavern of St George’s. But I said what I could to my host how has laid out a thousand pounds and more for a very worthy purpose. We then went on to see some forms of cottage houses which he has built for his various form people. They are neat and very small, built of stone in the plainest manner. He says they cost him three hundred pounds for two together, which is cheaper than we build of wood, of similar compass. The walk which made nearly four miles in all was fatiguing on account of the softness of the snow. In the evening we were all assembled after dinner in the pleasant and spacious library, and the first amusement proposed was the describing of some English word of the same sound but used in various senses, in three different forms so as to learn it to be discovered by the heavier. The Bishop and Lord Stratford each tried his hand, Lady Denison and Mr Howard were pretty quick at divining, but I only made out one. Lord Stratford then diverged to the not uncommon practice in country houses of tales of wonder. Here the Bishop was in his element. Very evidently of a nervous and excitable temperament he soon disclosed the fact that he was to some extent a believe in the stories he told. He also composed some degree of faith in mesmerism and the phenomena of spiritualism. His last and his best effort however was not tinged with the supernatural, and was perhaps for that reason more effective. The company retired about midnight, the ladies declaring themselves frightened.287

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=DCA61d321