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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Wednesday 5th

5 August 1863

Friday 7th

7 August 1863
6 August 1863
Thursday 6th

The morning was lovely. I was up early and went out to hunt for a bath. After a long walk I found a very good swimming bath, which I enjoyed almost alone. The arrangement better than any I have ever seen of this kind. Mrs Adams was quite unwell all night, and so much dissatisfied with the accommodations that we decided to change our quarters to the Caledonian. In the mean time I went with the children to see the castle, which occupies so imposing a point in the landscape of the place. Here were shown to us the Regalia of the old Kingdom which are not much.428 What was of more interest was the little closet rather than a room in which Mary was confined, and bore James the first of England. Her suite seems to have consisted only of this little room and one a little more ample. She had retired to his place from Holy rood for greater security, and in this respect she was doubtless wise; but a more gloomy seclusion could scarcely have been chosen to usher into the world the new successor to a fated race. I can remember in history no example of a royal family which has for so many generations been marked with misfortune. The Greek traditions only furnish something like it. Mary seemed to carry the curse with her all her life for destruction attended almost every one she trucked. Her first, second and third husbands, her secretary, and most of her advisers punished before she was herself brought to the block. And this was royalty, to bring forth a child in a closet lighted by a single narrow window, looking far more like a prison than a palace. With such associations in his mind, I cannot wonder that James should have rejoiced in his transfer southward. There is nothing else worth seeing but the view. In the court a regiment of Highlander was under drill, many of them fine looking, tall men. In the afternoon, Mrs Adams being still unwell so that she could not go out, we took a carriage to visit the palace of Holy rood. Here are shown the chambers of Mary in which David Rizzio was murdered, and these of her husband underneath. Indeed the stains of the blood shed three hundred years ago are alleged to be visible on that floor. Here again the scene is a closet hardly large enough to hold the number of persons alleged to have been present and witnesses. The barbarous and brutal nature of the whole affair is illustrative of the manners and habits of the day. That the murder was actually committed I have no doubt—but as to the details so minutely described of time and of all the indelible stains, my faith is weak. The ruins of the Holy Chapel are interesting as they show greater advancement in this art than in most others at the early period assigned for its construction. The rest of the palace is modern429 and is not shown. From here we drove around Arthur’s seat and Salisbury crags, returning by way of the Canongate. This is the old town, and it has a character about it which is not found in London, or elsewhere in England. The enormous height of the buildings, and the numerous inlets packed with human beings, and called closes plainly mark a state of society in which the strong hand was the chief source of law. Over all this neighborhood glooms the castle, of feudal times. In the midst of the miseries brought on in my own country by the hand of violence, I yet thank my stars that I was not an actor in those days. We got home to find Mrs Adams better, and enjoyed a quiet evening.

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=DCA63d218