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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1865

Thursday 6th

6 April 1865

Saturday 8th

8 April 1865
7 April 1865
Friday 7th

Up half an hour earlier in order to get ready for the start, which was from the Waterloo Station in an extra train at forty minutes after nine. Mr Moran accompanied me down, and I found on the platform large numbers of persons, members of Parliament and others going on the same errand. Met with Mr Forster, who helped me to a carriage, in which Mr Moran and young Mr Dayton followed us. There were four others, only one of whom I knew, Mr J. B. Smith. Our course was to Petersfield, from whence on a branch line to Midhurst, which we reached at noon. Here we all got out and walked perhaps a mile tot he point ant which the immediate procession would pass from the house to the Church of Lavington where the body was to be buried. Here we were to fall in and follow. I saw here Mr Gladstone, Mr Villiers and Mr Milner Gibson of the Ministers, and perhaps sixty members of Parliament. Lord Kinnaird the only Peer and I walked together. Besides which there were deprecations from several of the great towns of the mouth. Manchester and Birmingham, Bradford and Rochdale, and Liverpool. The day was lovely, and the scenery of that peculiarly quiet, English character seen nowhere but in this little island. It has not however that defect of flatness and over culture which robs so many parts of all interest. There is irregularity of surface, and in a degree roughness of wood and wild to make the picturesque. We would along a road gradually ascending until we came to a steep rise which brought us to the little church. The site is thus high and from it the eye wanders over a wide space terminating in a range of a distant hills, all rural and quiet. The region is purely rural. Here the last ceremonies were completed. The service feebly read by an elderly clergyman of four in attendance. The land is thrown up in glacis, on the highest of which was the tomb into where the body was finally placed to relapse. In front were the pallbearers and nearest relatives. On one side were the members of Parliament and at the back I stood with many more, thus making three sides of a square, the fourth side left open as the corner of the sloping terrace. There was emotion, shown by none so much as by Mr Bright. No pageant could have touched me so much. I felt my eyes filling from mere human sympathy. The deceased statesman had fought his way to fame and honor by the single force of his character. He had had nothing to give. No wealth, no honors, no preferment. A lifelong contempt of the ruling class of his country men had earned for him their secret ill will, marked on this day by the almost total absence of representations here.249 And of foreign nations, I above, the type of a great democracy, stood to bear witness of the scene. The real power that was present in the multitude crowding around this lifeless form was not the less gigantic for all this absence. In this country it may be said to me its existence to Mr Cobden. He first taught them by precept and example that the fight of government was not really belonging to the few, but to the man. He shook the pillars of the aristocracy by proving that he could wield influence without selling himself to them, or without recourse to the arts of a demagogue. Thus he becomes the founder of a new school, the influence of which is only just beginning to be felt. In the next century the effects will become visible. Such were my mediations as I drew away from the spot, and sauntered along a quiet crossroad by myself back to the little town of Midhurst. Old looking with narrow streets, but neat as possible and substantial looking. No dilapidation or symptom of dirt or poverty. An aspect of complete repose, as it were Pompeii, after an entombment of centuries. Presently Mr Forster overtook me and we went into an inn, where members of the visitors were busy in tasking the utmost proves of the landlord for a supply of luncheon. A couple of Liverpool gentlemen, Mr Jeffrey and Mr Robertson Gladstone were civil enough to ask me to join their table, so that I faced well enough. We soon afterwards returned in the train at a quarter to four, which got to town at six. Thus passed this day. I was glad I went, for it seemed to be very acceptable. Besides which it was an event to mark in a lifetime. Quiet dinner and evening at home.

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=DCA65d097