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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Sunday 17th

17 August 1862

Tuesday 19th

19 August 1862
18 August 1862
Monday 18th



This day marks fifty five years complete. I scarcely like to reflect upon it in the midst of the anxieties and distress of the time at home. Thus far I have cause for profound gratitude for the care and protection extended over me and mine, but when observing the affliction of others I feel that I can only rejoice with trembling. The pleasure I find in this journey is mainly due to the fact that it diverts my mind from the habitual gloom which the state of America sheds on me in London. My term of life is growing shorter, it is true, but it may yet extend beyond that of the happiness of my country or my own. I pray for mercy and for patience. We started early today177 on our travels. The cruise today was to Bridgewater by rail, and thence to go in a carriage along to Dunster, and as much further as we might find practicable. So much had been said to me of the beauty of this part of Somersetshire that I was desirous to see it carefully. The road runs along by Carrington and Nether Stowey, to the north of the Quantock hills until it comes on the border of the Bristol channel. Much of it is highly rural and picturesque, whilst the approximating to sea-air gave us all a sensible stimulus like the return of an old acquaintance. We passed Milliton and get to Dunster, the end of our post to luncheon. The inn is a pleasant old specimen of English life such as I have seen in books often but now before in reality. I could have been reconciled to stop for a day, but on reflection, I deemed it best not to lose a limited period of time, which might be used to better advantage elsewhere. So I decided to post it twenty two miles more tonight to get to Lynton. We now had a small omnibus and four horses, the necessity of which I only comprehended after we got some way. We sat on the top to see the country. From Dunster to Porlock, about nine miles I think it was the perfection of English rural scenery. Narrow country roads or rather lanes perfectly embossed in foliage and running through diversities of verdure and of surface which were raising a constant succession of charming pictures to the eye. No manufactures here, and yet the appearance was of comfort and even wealth. Arrived at Porlock the scene shifted as quickly as in a pantomime. First comes s a hill of three miles in ascent much of it steep. The men all walked up it to relieve the horses, the use of four of which I now comprehended. Having reached the top we saw a wide expanse of coast and sea on the one side into the mountains of Wales in the distance, and on the other an indefinite extent of mild and lonely moor. From here to Lynton was a gradual descent from the height of eleven hundred feet until we found ourselves nearly on the level of the water at the place of Lynmouth. As the Hotel was full we again scrambled up a hill in utter darkness until we succeeded in establishing ourselves at the Valley of Rocks Hotel at Lynton.178

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=DCA62d230