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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1865

Wednesday. February 1st

1 February 1865

Friday 3d.

3 February 1865
2 February 1865
Thursday 2d.

A soft cloudy morning, Up in season and after breakfast left the good town of Canterbury to transport myself to Rochester. Here I stopped to wait over a train, for the purpose of visiting the Cathedral. The situation of the place is pretty, on the Medway, and close to Chatham one of the great naval Depots of the Kingdom. In antiquity the cathedral dates next to Canterbury but as a whole the effect was not agreeable. There is a mixture of style, and a trace of patching and mending which takes off from the impression of the outside. Yet the first Bishop Gundulf is celebrated as the great architect of his day in this particular style. The front is rather low, but fine, especially the door—and there is a door to me of the chapels which is admirable. The choir seemed narrow and bald—the nave very good, though wanting in the grandiose of perspective arches. In one of the aisles of the choir there is an appearance of imperfection in carrying up the lines to the roof, and a poorishsubstitution of wood in the roof, which implies either a departure from the original plan, or a subsequent reparation in a different style. The cloisters are gone and194 also other buildings adjourning of which only ruins remain. There is a crypt of a remarkable character, but not comparable to that at Canterbury, which I failed to notice in my record of yesterday. For these instances there can be no doubt that they were used for some species of service or other in the Roman Catholic era. I have no books by me to explain what. The stillness, darkness and seclusion must have been great aids to every effect upon the imagination of superstitious believers. Having seen this, I had time to go over to visit the ruins of the castle, that stood on the river close by. This is the work of Gundulf, as is also the white tower at London. The tall massive pile yet remains in tolerable preservation. It forms a square with five stories of chambers. But I could not comprehend the arrangements. There was a round tower at each angle. I ascended to the top from which there is a pretty view of the river and the surrounding country. The outer wall seems to have extended along the line of the water, thus enclosing a considerable surface of land. I have however become rather satiated with revived castles. They tell only of times of war and confusion, of semi civilization and license. At twenty minutes past one o’clock I resumed my journey and reached my house before three. Of course there was no time to lose in making up the customary work of the day. The only change was to carry it far into the evening. Having no inducements in the house to draw me off, the labour was not unacceptable.

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=DCA65d033