Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, August 6, 1859

  • Posted on: 8 December 2021
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, August 6, 1859



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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, August 6, 1859

action: sent

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

location: Paris, France

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: rmg 

revision: vxa 2021-03-13

Page 1


Editorial Note

William Henry Seward's series of travel letters in 1859 are organized and listed by the date of each entry.
Paris Saturday August 6, Morning
It is disrespectful to your minister to seek to communictate with the
Government of the Country in which he resides - Mr Mason
Birth: 1799-04-18 Death: 1859-10-03
was to meet the
Secretary of State
Birth: 1782-10-09 Death: 1866-06-17
on Tuesday last to arrange my presentation at St
Cloud - On Tuesday Mr Mason was ill and could not call
on the Secretary - but he would do so on Friday - on
Friday he was yet confined to his home - on
Friday night I concluded that I had
wasted long enough and determined
to set out for Rome on
Sunday morning.
Page 2

Paris Saturday evening
I revisited this morning the prison of Marie Antoinette


because I had been hurried off with only a glance
at it before. The pavement remains unchanged,
the room small now is yet somewhat enlarged -
beyond its previous dimensions. The crucifix which
she held in her last prayers remains on the
same altar - before which she kneeled and the a
monument being a tribute to her memory erected
by Louis 18th
Birth: 1755-11-17 Death: 1824-09-16
has been spared by his
I desired to see the French army
and yet I have been deterred to avoid the
Grand Review and military pageant of the 15th.
It is sad enough to see an army in its camp
overlooking the capital of Paris. I desired to
spare myself the pain of seeing France pay homage
to that army. I rode out this afternoon [to be]
with some friends, and found the army encamped
there increased from 15,000 on my former count to
50,000 now. I walked through as well as around
Page 3

it. When I looked
on the subservient faces
of the Frenchmen the
fierce countenances of the ^cat like^ Zouaves
and the ferocious features of mulattoes
and negroes gathered from Africa and
here called Turcos. I felt [] that if jud-
-diciously handed this machine would hold down every
enlightened and humanized people. While These reflections
did not exclude another, the pretenses of which you may like
to see. I have seen Africans trained to be the warriors
of freedom in Italy as well as of despotism or if the French
prefer so to say of "order" in France. Who shall say that
the race thus trained will not some day use its educa-
tion to avenge its own wrongs accumulated wrongs. The thought
is fearful. Perhaps it is -
We were about to ready to leave the field (being at
that moment in the center of the camp, when we saw a quick
movement of horsemen and carriages along its border as our express
left. There was a slight cloud of smoke - a moving of the
persons on the border of the camp to see the show
a soldier occasionally said to another it
is the Emperor
Birth: 1808-04-20 Death: 1873-01-09
. A crowd seemed
to gather around him and
some voices as of ^a^ duteous
crowd cheering, and
the ^party^ soon disap-
in the
Page 4

We returned to our carriage outside of the
lines, and then saw the same show moving less
rapidly down through the middle of the
camp to the South, and then it turned
and approached the place where we
sat in our barouche. We drove quite to
the side of the road. A single horseman

rode along before us and as we were ^in^ the
only carriage that was near directed us to
remain where we were. Then came a ^small^ escort
of cavalry and in the middle of this a
barouche drawn by four horses - on the ba with
a driver
and two footmen
. On the back
seat were the Emperor and the Empress
Birth: 1826-05-05 Death: 1920-07-11
dressed like any ordinary gentleman and
lady, each easily recognized by the pictures
and statues every where exhibited. A small
crowd of 100 or more persons ^soldier and others^ rushed up to
see the procession and then a few voices
rather chanted then shouted "L'Empereur
vive L, Empereur. He made no sign of
acknowledgment by bow, or speech or otherwise, but
Page 5

seemed pleased.
The Empress who is very
beautiful graciously bowed
to the crowd on either side - who
foll were attending their movement. I was
moved to lift my hat and make a saluta-
tion, but as our position was a little higher
than the road on which they were, and as their attention
was fixed upon the crowd around their wheels, it was
manifest that we if seen were unnoticed, and so I remained
motionless while my companions offered unacknowledged courtesies
homages. The Emperor Ruler
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
of France, the Terror of Europe

passed by,
the same man whose hand a quarter of a century ago I held
in mine and pressed with sympathy because he was then an
exile. What a day? from the dungeon and scaffold of Marie
Antoinette I had passed into the Camp to see another her suc-
cessor scarcely less beautiful or refined or good receiving the
same homages which from the same people which had called
been the welcome of the under like circumstances of
the fairest and most best of all the
daughters of the House of Hapsburgh.
I may not calculate on the
next revolution in France
fickle as France
is. But you
Page 6

well expect to see it. Keep this letter
my dear child and read it then, and then de-
termine whether I was right when I deprecated
standing armies and foreign levies in times of
peace as the ^preparation of^ accumulation of honors in this
civil honors for this wonderful this most
eccentric People. I spend the evening by invitation
with the La Martines
Birth: 1790-10-21 Death: 1869-03-01
. Tomorrow I leave for
Paris, and you will next hear from me
on the blue Mediterranean.
Your always affectionate father
William H Seward.
Fanny A Seward