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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Tuesday 12th

12 August 1862

Thursday 14th

14 August 1862
13 August 1862
Wednesday 13th

Hereford is an old town remarkable only for the presence of a cathedral which immediately after breakfast we went over to see. Like many others it is in process of restoration. One end however is substantially new as the tower fell many years ago, carrying the door and several arches with it. The reconstruction was undertaken at a time when the subject was not so well understood as now, so that it proved to be no restoration. The Lady chapel and the cloisters as well as the remaining tower constitute the present beauty of the edifice. It is prettily situated in the midst of a quiet green and near the River Wye. Not far from it is a public walk called Castle Green which has fine trees around it, and from its proximity to the river had a quiet, attractive appearance. Having viewed all this, we took our departure from Hereford in a train to Ross, twelve miles, where we stopped to take luncheon at the Royal Hotel. The site is exceedingly picturesque, looking along the serious course of the Wye and having the whole interval under the feet. We spent an hour in viewing it in the fine sunshine, and in paying a visit to the quaint old church close by. This has been made favours by the caprice of Pope who took it into his head to lavish his Eulogy upon John Kyrle, for the beneficence exercised by him on a small way on his neighbor of this town. Fame is a strange thing. The man of Ross has been immortalized in a couplet or so for acts of which he little expected such a memorial, whilst many a man who has done a hundred times171 as much with the hope of similar reward has fallen into compete obscurity. I could have staid here longer but we deemed it wisest to push on about ten miles further tonight to reach Monmouth. This portion of the way we accomplished in an open carriage for the purpose of better seeing the country. This Valley of the Wye is famous for its beauty. The only drawback to its enjoyment was the use of some clouds of mist which now and then gave us a sprinkling. The country is very pretty. We stopped at Godrick Court, an edifice built by an executive gentleman by the name of Meyrick in 1828, in imitation of an ancient castle, and with the object of making it a Museum of antique armor. Here we were ushered into a hall in which were arranged equestrian figures dressed in armor of the respective ages from about the twelfth to the seventeenth century. Sir Samuel is dead and his place has passed into the hands of relations who very justly may consider the task of preserving his legacy a burden. It threatened so much wet that we contented ourselves with a distant view of Goodrich Castle, a ruin which Sir Samuel desired long to possess and died with the prize. The Wye like all sluggish streams courses along a track of twenty three miles to the same point we reached in ten. Had it been clear we should probably have ascended Simion’s Yat or hill to see the view which is said to be exquisite, but the rapid rise of the clouds warned us to be speedy, especially as it was growing dark. As it was we did not reach Monmouth until dusk and in a very brisk drizzle. Here we dined, not forgetting the salmon from the Wye, which Fluellen made the basis of well known parallel between Henry the 5th and Alexander the Great. I knew not that Monmouth has any other distinction in history than that of being the birth-place of the former. An awkward statue of him placed over the door of the town hall. Geoffry the chronicler, is perhaps one feeble exception.172

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=DCA62d225