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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Thursday 25th

25 June 1863

Saturday 27th

27 June 1863
26 June 1863
Friday 26th

The first thing after breakfast today was to attend the funeral of Mrs Bates. I had intimated to him that I would come if it was agreeable, and he had assented. At the house I met Messr T. Baring, Sturgis, Baring Yong, Laugel, Forbes and Mr Erickson, the medical attendant, and Sir Frederick Smith. The first process was to put us in long black scarves with heavy mourning badges pendent from our hats, and then to put us in a black carriage dragged by four horses all back and with black insignia. Then the procession started. First a singular congeries of mourning psalters in three bunches, supported on the heads of men walking. Then the catafalque with four black horses and an array of plumes both on the horses and on the her. Then Mr Bates with M Van de Weyer and his two sons in the first carriage. We followed, Messr Laugel, Sturgis, Forbes and myself bring in the next carriage. and so on. Men in black walked by the sides as well as before the bier. Thus we went all the way to the cemetery at Kensall Green. And this is called a funeral conducted with the utmost privacy! The expense of such a process, though of no consequence in this case must often prove a heavy burden to families with moderate means. The bier was carried into the chapel where part of the service was read. We then went to the tomb where it was completed. The most touching part of it was however omitted. We then separated and returned home. I doubt if Mrs Bates has left more than one mourner in the world. And he, after a life spent in rolling up an enormous fortune, feels himself now, I fancy equally alone in this island. His only child and her husband and children live in a circle in which he never can feel at home. They are too worldly to feel any very deep interest in him, or his reminisces of the past, which constitute his main enjoyment. And half a century of sojourn in this land has done nothing to weave him into the texture of English society, nor would threefold more time, if allowed him do any better. Yet very possibly his grandson may become a peer on the strength of his earnings, and pride himself upon every thing but he nobility of his descent. Such is the moral to be drawn from this history.398 This affair took some precious hours, so that when I got home I found myself much strained to get through my private letters in season for closing. By assiduous labour however I succeeded in accomplishing every thing. A brief period for interval enabled me to get exercise in the Park, and then I went with Mrs Adams and Mr Evarts to dine with the Archbishop of Canterbury. A large company of whom I knew but few. The Duke of Cleveland and his daughters, Lord and Lady Tukeville, the Bishop of Chichester, and Lord and Lady Drogheda were a part. I took the latter into dinner. I had heard of her some time ago as one of the strong friends of America who keep up the battle in society for us. I took occasion to express my sense of it to her—but she did not interest me much. The Archbishop is the same person to whom I was indebted on my first arrival for a rescue from the crowd at Harrow on the day of hte speeches. His dinner was completed much quicker than usual, in order to give the guests an opportunity to go to the ball given by the guards, or rather their officers to the Prince and Princess of Wales, at the gallery of the International Exhibition. We went likewise. The space was large, but the gallery is narrow and thus the crowd had little opportunity to circulate. It was prettier and more effective than the ball at Guildhall. As on that occasion the dancing was mainly in the Prince’s set, and every body else looked on. All the high ability were present, and in every respect the affair was very successful. But I have outlived all desire to figure in such scenes. It was three o’clock, and quite light when we got to our door.

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=DCA63d177