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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Saturday 5th

5 April 1862

Monday 7th

7 April 1862
6 April 1862
Sunday 6th

A bright sun such as we have not seen in England was shining into our windows so as to wake us up early. The day was superb. Soon after breakfast Edward Brooks came in and arranged for Mrs Adams to go out with his Wife in the carriage which he would walk with me and Mary to get a sight of the city. My wish had been to attend service at a Catholic church, and get a clear notion of its character. But I only succeeded in getting into the church of St Roch towards the close of a mass. It was singular to observe even this. Worship here seems to be individualized rather than social. It is originated by an appeal to the senses through outward objects, and not to the mind, but when thus commenced its continuance depends solely on innate fervor. People walk in and out, they stand or sit or kneel. They worship in the body of the church or in any separate chapel. They assist in a wedding or a funeral service, or at a christening. Of course all this puts to flight every idea of social devotion. The forms are in a strange language, and yet it is impossible to question the sincerity of most of the worshippers. It is then the religion of pure emotion, the supply of a want of support from a superior being, whose nature and attributes are taken on faith, and without examination. The process is going on all the time in one of these churches. It does not depend on any particularly ceremony, though it may be stimulated by it. This system is well adapted to a primitive condition of society. But I cannot understand how a cultivated nature can confidently repose in it. We left at the close of the mass, and took a direction towards the garden of the Tuileries. Here it was that I caught a glimpse of Napoleon the first when he showed himself to the people from the balcony of the upper of story in 1815. The place was only changed by the extension of the boundary set for the private use of the palace. We then walked into the street along the seine, and the place Carousel where I went to see Napoleon review the Cuirassiers, which I also recognized. Every thing else however has been transmuted. The Court of the Tuileries is all new65 most of it the work of the present Emperor. We were naturally drawn to the gallery of the Louvre. And here we spent perhaps an hour in staring at pictures which deserve the study of months. Here are pictures of Raphael, and Leinardo, of Titian and Paul Veronese, of Rubens and Rembrandt, and to speak of the Dutch school, which strike me at a glance. But this was all that I could give, so we left the palace and walked into the church of St Germain, to see a beautiful font of three cherubs lately put up. Here we met Miss Curtis, who is staying in Paris with her father, Mr T. B. Curtis. She is lively. I told her that she figured in Mr Senior’s Diary, but I did not say how. In the Church a priest was preaching to a small auditory within the Choir. We then walked through the gardens and the Champs Elysées as far as Mr Brooks’s residence. The crowd and movement were such that it looked rather like our fourth of July anniversary than a Sunday. The French are a gay, lively people, and i this particular strikingly contrast with the sober gravity of their island neighbors. After a short stay at his rooms we went back to ours to dress and return to dine with them. Mrs Brooks looks feeble, but seems in pretty good spirits. They live in what we should call small quarters, but comfortably enough. After dinner we remained until ten. Mr Dayton and Mr and Miss Weed came in which made quite a party. They were looking out for us, and Mr Dayton immediately asked us to dine on Wednesday, which we agreed to do. Home at last pretty well fatigued.

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=DCA62d096