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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Sunday 23d.

23 March 1862

Tuesday 25th

25 March 1862
24 March 1862
Monday 24th

A spring day. Not having much to do I determined to execute an intervention which I have had since the day I came to England, but which an accidentall circumstance has lately impelled me to at once. In glancing over the advertising columns of the Times to find houses to let I came across a notice that at Ealing was to be had the house called Little Boston House. This was a month ago, but for one reason or another I could not find the time to gout to see it until this day— Mrs Adams, Henry and Mary accompanied me. The weather was warm and genial, and we followed the course with tolerable accuracy to Brentford. Here I though my recollections would begin, but there were many buildings since erected which confused my mind almost until the moment55 we got to the gate. This was caused the more by the appearance of a modern house on the other side of the lane. We knocked at the gate, and a woman let us in. And there it was almost the same thing as I knew it forty five years ago. It looked now smaller than I thought it, and it certainly was in much less fresh condition. It was stripped of its furniture and had the aspect of neglect which inevitably attends an untenanted place. Still the rooms were the same. There was my mother’s Drawing room, my father’s study, my brother George’s chamber, and that occupied by John and myself. And the grounds though not in order looked little changed. The oaks scarcely altered, but a cedar much extended in years. O! how the remembrances clustered thick about every thing. And every person of the family is gone but myself, and two servants, Guista and his Wife who still survive at Washington. And how much as happened since this fresh time of my boyhood when all around the spot looked so charming on my return for the holidays from my dismal school experience at Dr Nicholas’s. I remember nothing since that comes back quite so sunny to my heart, though my life has not been unhappy. The place now looks modest for the minister of the United States to live in. I could not do it now. But the position of the country has changed and requires a presence in town at quarter cost with less pleasure. My family sympathized with me though they could not partake my emotion. Life has rolled away since I was here. The future which then seemed illimitable is now little or nothing. And yet the place is before me first as it was with not even te name of the proprietor changed. We walked and drove along the road to Great Ealing where the school was. There was the dismal iron gate which never was opened and is not now, through which I used to look at the lovely place hat had belonged to the minister, Spencer Percival. There was Ealing Church, but I could not identify the school. It has gone with all those who kept it. Dr Nicholas was old and gouty when I left it, and nearly half a century has elapsed. Yet Ealing looked prettier than any place I have yet seen since I have been here. It more resembled56 my early notion of rural scenery. We drove home by the Acton road. I am glad I have been there. Perhaps I shall never visit it again. My spirit was softened all day as if I had accomplished a pious pilgrimage, and as if I could lay up the remembrance of a cheering vision of the distant past, as one of the compensations of my in some respects painful present state. In the evening we had very exciting news from home—of the retreat of the rebels from Manassas and the line of the Potomac. It breaks off however just at the interesting point. Our own army has advanced. A few days will develope the whole story. In the mean time we must be as patient as we can.

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=DCA62d083