A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Thursday 9th

9 July 1863

Saturday 10th

11 July 1863
10 July 1863
Friday 10th

Warmer than before. This summer bids fair to be both hot and dry. I had less of private writing to do, so that after finishing the customary letters to my sons, I had time to turn my attention to the preparation of a note to Lord Russell on the subject of Mr Laird’s vessel of war. This is the greatest event of the series, and must be treated with corresponding seriousness. If the government do not exert themselves now I fear that it will be regarded by America as war in disguise and lead to some measures of retaliation. My responsibility under such circumstances is heavy. Towards evening I408 took a walk and found the heat slightly oppressive. In the evening I went with Henry and Mary to the opera at Count Garden, to witness the performance of Faust. This piece was originally prepared for the stage in French with music by Gennod. It has been now reconstructed and rendered into Italian for this meridian. The great attraction is in the scenic effects which are extraordinarily fine. The moonlight scene at the close of the third act, and the final one were very striking. But with the exception of a quick dancing air or two it seemed to me either that the music was heavy or that my relish was gone. The acting was very tame. Mephistopheles was dull and Marguerite insipid. Goethe’s story is disgusting enough, but it is clothed with the pretrial charm. This is the naked thing in all its deformity. When Marguerita is brought forward visibly pregnant, the affair instead of being sentimental becomes manifestly bathos. On the whole I was glad when it was over. In England I have never yet enjoyed an opera. Perhaps this may be owing to other cause than their want of interest. not a single one of the performers gave me the slightest emotion, unless perhaps tedium. We did not get home until near one 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=DCA63d191