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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Tuesday 5th

5 January 1864

Thursday 7th

7 January 1864
6 January 1864
Wednesday 6th

A sharp frost heralding a brilliant morning. This old house is not well fitted for such weather. To make it worse Lord Wensleydale had a fancy to make us breakfast in his new room. Pleasant as this might have been in summer or autumn, it did not answer well just at this crisis. There was a huge fire burning that looked like a furnace and scorched any body near it, but it quickly lost its radiating force when dispelled over the remoter points. After the meal was over, the younger men went out to try the shooting, whilst the ladies amused themselves with books and drawings. I went out on a walk, with Lord Wensleydale, who insisted on going a mile towards Ampthill. He is in his eighty second year, and suffers from gout. Lord Alwyne also accompanied us. On our way his Lordship took us into a schoolhouse for the young of Ampthill. It is all on one floor, intended for both sexes, but separated by a curtain. The place was neat and comfortable, but does not compare with any of our latest forms of schoolroom in America. The children were not in just at the time. I looked at some of the copy books, which are fair. The house is new, but left in an unpolished shape. His Lordship stopped at Ampthill, but we538 prosecuted our excursion. The day was exhilarating, the air cool but calm, and the temperature bracing and agreeable. By the desire of His Lordship, we stopped to look at the Union workhouse, which was on our way. I had never seen at English one, and was rather curious about it. The building is comparatively new. It is designed for the poor of nineteen parishes in the vicinity, and at present has seventy eight inmates. This does not show much poverty on the Duke of Bedford’s domain. We went over all parts of it. The arrangement is simple, but the place is carefully and neatly kept. The people do not look happy or contented. Most of the men are doing nothing. Not many females. Several of them were idiots and one ore more insane. On the whole the sight was painful, and yet I know not why it should be. These are the drift word of the social world which must be laid up, in a harmless form or it falls quickly into vice and crime. The bedding was abundant and clean. The rooms warm and dry. The great difficulty is to keep the people clean. The overseer seemed a mild and reasonable man. I wrote a line in his book commending what I saw. We then went on making perhaps three miles. I should have preferred a longer stroll, but I would not force my companion to accompany him. On my return, I found the letters from America had come. A long one from Charles giving his usual narrative of hairbreadth escapes and privations. Neither he nor John say any thing of his coming over on leave. Dinner much as usual, with the addition of two more guests. Mr Smith and Mr Flower, young men. There was to be a ball at Bedford. Mrs Adams went with Mary, Lady Alwyne and Miss Campbell. Whilst the four young men went also. Lord Wensleydale had his usual table at Whist. He had tasked himself too hard by his walk, and complained much of cold. We retired at midnight. I wrote a letter to John Mrs Adams returned at about three o’clock.

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=DCA64d006