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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Sunday 29th

29 May 1864

Tuesday 31st

31 May 1864
30 May 1864
Monday 30th

Up early in order to get off in season to attend the Wedding ceremony of the Count de Paris, which I finally accepted. I took post horses and the open carriage, and had on the whole a pleasant though a cool drive through Brempton, Fulham, Wandsworth, Putney to Kingston. The country about the latter place is pretty. Reached there rather early, but found the little catholic chapel already half filled with invited persons. Presently there came in successively the representations of Austria and Prussia, of Belgium, Saxony, Bavaria, Portugal and Spain. Mr Lisbon came32 from Brazil. My place was rather adroitly arranged so as to give me my official precedence over the English, and yet not raise a question with Mr Cernyn who is in fact my junior. Lord and Lady Russell, Lord and Lady Clanricarde, Lord and Lady Foley, Lord and Lady Stanley of Alderley and two daughters, Lord Lunderman’s, Lady Waldegrave and Mr Fortescue filled the seats in the body of the church so far as I knew them. The wives of the Ministers are invited, but Mrs Adams was not. Presently came in all the difficult branches of this numerous family. D’Annale, Nemurs, Montpensier, Joinville, with the Duke de Chartres, and all the Juniors. The Count de Paris led in the old Queen Marie Amelie, the Widow of Louis Philippe. Although over eighty two, she is still quite vigorous in mind and body. Lastly came in again the Count de Paris, and his bride and cousin, the daughter of Montpensier. The Ceremony was performed by a number of Priests—the main point consisting of a French translation of the ring and the mass was performed as well as a communion service, only partaken of by the Highest priest. Genuflexions and raising of the arms &c in abundance, but only or two short prayers read. This lasted for a half an hour or more. No music but a voluntary on the organ. It gave me a rather sad impression to perceive all this careful preservation of the forms of royalty, with the substance gone. All the party then proceeded in carriages to Claremont, about five miles. The houses along the road, many of them lined with flags of various nations among which I noticed our own. The people all the way along appeared heartily friendly to the family. At Claremont the rooms were soon filled, principally by French people who have come to attend this ceremony. But there were also here the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Alice, and all the Cambridge family. The Count de Paris received me with great cordiality, expressing his pleasure at my having accepted his invitation. He then presented me to the Bride, to whom I said a few words of congratulations. I also saw the Prince de Joinville, and was presented to the Duke de Montpensier.33 I also knew the Duke d’Aunnale, and was presented to the Duke de Chartres. This embraces all the chiefs of the family but Nemours. There was a crowd outside, and a procession of children of the schools which came to the front, and the Count and his Wife went out, where he addressed them a few words. We then went to breakfast in a tent prettily got up in the rear of the house, for the occasion. There was an attempt at arrangement, but beyond the royal people, it appeared to break down—so we got seats at the table as we could, I fell in between Lady Foley, and a french lady whom I did not know. There might have been perhaps two hundred persons seated. A great many gentlemen and some ladies were provided for at a beaufet. A déjeuner à la fourchette light but good. The old Queen close it by saying a few words and proposing a sentiment, which was returned by the Prince of Wales, in honor of the couple. The Prince then led her out, most of us rising and forming the usual lines. The Prince stopped her in presence of Lord Russell to whom she said a few words, and then he came to me. Here he said to her, This is Mr Adams. She immediately spoke in French but in so low a voice that I could catch only expressions of good will, and a closing regret at the war, and a hope that it might soon end, to which I only bowed, and echoed the hope. We then returned to the Salon, took a look at the bijoux presented to the bride and departed. All this spectacle is in curious contrast to that which I witness at Windsor last year. It carries its moral with it. The Orleans family is now only a shadow of the past, but as it now stands. I honor it much more than I should have done in the day of its glory. Louis Philippe and his children are worthy of the position they ought to hold in France, intellectually, socially and politically. Looking back to his Ancestry, I cannot say the same either of Egalité or the profligate regent. Their situation here must be in many respects a painful one. The necessity of preserving the royal position, without any occupation, or admixure of engagements to prevent them from seizing the first opportunity to reestablish themselves in France, entails an isolation and a state of suspended vitality that must be depressing. One of the bad consequences in the34 necessity of intermarriage of cousins, a process which will inevitably lower in time the physical and intellectual condition of the race. I left Claremont at a quarter to three and was at home by half past four. After dinner, went with all the family to Morgan House at Haven to attend the ball given by the Duke and Duchess of Chartres, on this occasion. Found there the royal purple in abundance just as at Claremont. There was a tent here much of the same sort, for dancing, and another for supper. The company more purely French than before. It was curious to notice the contrast which this offered to English Society. There was life and expression in the enjoyment of dancing. A positive hilarity which extend itself to the English portion of the royalties, and broke up the formalities completely. One of the Quadrilles especially could scarcely have been done with more thorough jollity in a moral festival on a village green. The Prince of Wales does much to produce this. Yet he is neither boisterous nor vulgar. Externally he preserves the conventional usages of rank as well as if he was more solemn. At supper I sat between Lady Harriet Fletcher whom I was assigned to, through I never laid eyes on her before and a French lady settled here whom I did not know, but who proved much the most pleasant of the two. She told me much of the family and the occasion. She pointed out many of the people here from Franche, who had been attached to in its prosperity. She commented upon the absence of Mr Guizot, and intimated that it had been felt. We left the table before midnight and returned to the dancing. Mary had a good many partners, and was therefore rather desirous to stay. I did not wonder at it, as it was so different form the usual ceremonial observances of English balls. The whole air and trumure of men and women in France is social. Without knowing any of the men present I saw at a glance that they were of the highest class. That is what I never notice in this society. All are awkward and angular and ordinary. We did not get home until three o’clock, when it was broad daylight.35

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=DCA64d151