Letter from William Henry Seward to Francis Adeline Seward, June 2, 1859

  • Posted on: 20 April 2021
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Francis Adeline Seward, June 2, 1859



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Francis Adeline Seward, June 2, 1859

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: London, England, UK

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: msf 

revision: agw 2020-12-03


Page 1

Thursday May ^June^ 2 d 1859
The Queen
Birth: 1819-05-24 Death: 1901-01-22
somehow on coming home from
the Isle of Wight

heard that I had Mr Dallas
Birth: 1792-07-10 Death: 1864-12-31

had been denied leave to present me at
the Ball on the 8 th, of May June — The rule
is that no person can be invited to any Court
entertainment until he has first been presented,
and no person can be presented except at
a levee — There was a concert at the palace
to come off two last night (the 1st, a Ball on the 8th
Page 2

and a party on the 11th — While no levee is to
be held until the 20th, Of course I was not to
see the court until that day, Mr Dallas had
asked a repair departure from the rule so far
as to allow me to be presented on the 11th at
the ball – being instructed that ^such^ exceptions are
sometimes made on the application of ambassadors
and had been denied – I was under an engage-
ment to dine last evening with the Archbishop
of Canterbury
Birth: 1780-02-25 Death: 1862-09-06
and it was this that hurried me
back from the Derby. On coming to my room I
found the Queen’s invitation for a concert to be
given at 9 1/2 o clock. The Archbishops dinner
was of course excused, Lord Napier
Birth: 1819-09-19 Death: 1898-12-19
put tailors
shoe makers and hatters in requisition. Mr Dallas
sent his secretary
with a letter from the Lord
Birth: 1791-10-26 Death: 1869-02-23
explaining that the matter of my
presentation had become known to the Queen
that she directed me to be invited and expect-
ed him to present me at the Concert.
At half past 9 we entered the
concert room — a Hall in Buckingham
Palace as large or larger than our church
One end was fitted up with ten rows of
Page 3

benches cushions in red and extending quite across the
room elevated in tiers reaching from a stage up to
the base of a grand organ — On the benches
were about two hundred and fifty male
and female artists including two prima donnas
In front of the stage was a row of chairs
for the Queen and Royal family, behind them
a large circle for Ladies and Gentlemen in
attendance on them — then the rest of the spacious
hall was filled with crimson covered seats
adequate to seat six or seven hundred persons —
The seats on the sides elevated in rows
On one of them appropriated to the Diplomatic
Corps I sat with Mr Dallas — My costume
a black dress coat, white vest, ^black^ pantaloons
tight and buttoned around the ancles, black
silk stockings with buck shoes and buckles,
a ^black^ chapeau in my hand — As my dress
was the same worn by the whole party I soon
forgot its peculiarities. The party being assembled
The queen and royal family entered and
passed down one of the aisles. She bowed
and spoke graciously to the persons nearest
Page 4

her along her way, the whole audience standing, and
those whom she saluted gracefully bowing to
her. She took the middle chair in front of the
orchestra distinguished from the others by having arms,
Then giving leave to her companions all sat
down. The performance began — and continued
for an hour or near — Need I say it surpassed
any orchestra I had ever heard in its
wonderful performance.
Mr Dallas flattered me by
telling me that Her Majesty looked towards
us to ascertain whether I was there. Presently
At the end of the the Lord Chamberlain
came and informed us that I would be expected
to be presented at the end of the First act.
When that time came the Queen rose and
walked through the aisles saluting those of
the party she had not passed in coming in.
^The Prince Albert
Birth: 1844-08-06 Death: 1900-07-31
performed the same duty^

When he reached the Diplomatic benches he
stopped and spoke to Mr Dallas, Mr D. pre-
sented me to him, he bowed, I returned the
salute. He asked if I was recently from
America – I replied briefly, Did I expect to
Page 5

spend some time in England. I replied a month.
He bowed and I bowed — he passed on — the Queen
soon came up I was presented to her — She asked
how long I had been in England — About ten days.
Is it your first visit. I might say so — I was
here once but many years ago, How long, When
you madam were at school as I then learned —
You must observe some changes — All is changed
madam — Is it improved, vastly improved
yes there were then no rail roads — Your own
country I understand is much improved also
Yes all is changed, there were then no steam-
ships on the ocean — no telegraphs. Do you think
the improvement will go on. I trust so if we
can preserve peace between the two branches
of our great family — I hope so indeed – How
long will you stay in England. Until I
see end of the great debate in your parliament,
to which I look for much instruction — She
courtesied, I bowed – she passed on — This is
said to be a very distinguished reception
The Queen led the way now to supper
all followed — The Royal party stood
Page 6

near the center unapproached — After a while
all took refreshments who wished. The banqueting
Hall was near as large as the Concert room. The
supper table extending one half way around
it. After supper we dispersed ourselves
where we wished and I made an hundred
distinguished acquaintances during the last act
of the Concert. Then the Queen taking leave
of the Company in the manner in which she
had received them, the carriages were
summoned and at half past one I was at
my hotel —
The Queen is a sturdy small, unaffected and
kind person — and is the eminently the woman as
she is the popular sovereign of England — Not one
person have I heard speak reproachfully or
unkindly of her —