The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Adolph Meyer, July 3d, 1861


Paris, July 3, 1861.[2]

We are busy with the purchase of equipments here. The preparations for court-life are most unpleasant, and I am not able to imagine myself as “Excellency.” We have learned our first lesson regarding the required uniforms and court-costumes here. My head is quite confused by all these gold embroideries, brocades and laces, and, in addition to this, the whole stupid monkey-comedy is so expensive that my salary of $12,000 seems very petty to me for the first twelve months. Here, it appears, democratic simplicity has reached its limits. I left America hoping that a Minister of the United States would be allowed to conduct himself as sensibly abroad as at home. But here, I am told that the court regulations are relentless. If one wishes to have diplomatic influence, one must participate in the masquerade as gracefully as possible. I must wear a uniform and my wife must wear a court train. And to think of spending so much money, only to look as absurdly as others! But as many a wise man has already said, “Man is an adaptable creature,” even to the extent of seeming foolish to himself.

  1. Mrs. Schurz's brother.
  2. Translated from the German.