[Boston—Sunday, 1 October 1871]

Sunday. We went to hear M. Athanase Coquerel preach. The text was from the epistles to the effect If one of the members suffer, all the members shall suffer with it. I could only think of one of the Apostles going among the Gentiles, he was so brave & earnest and simple. There was no thought of oratory and very far from an attempt at any such thing. Afterward he came to lunch with us.

We rose early that Sunday morning and dear J. drove out to Mrs Putnam’s to ask her to come with Georgie and Charley, to meet M. Coquerel. Mrs Putnam & Charley came gladly. G. was too busy with her Sunday School. After his effort in preaching Coquerel was of course somewhat wearied, especially as he was suffering from a severe cold and had what he called a “tomato on his face.” He bore himself bravely however and soon fell into a current of talk. He told us how his great-aunt Helen Maria Williams the authoress of that beautiful hymn “While thee I seek protecting power” taught him English while he was no higher than her knee and he remembered her as she came to bid him good bye in Holland where his father had then carried the whole family, kissing him in his little bed and leaving a tear upon his cheek. He still has in his possession a large number of letters written by that gifted lady to her friend Humboldt. Many of them must be interesting to the public & he has sometimes thought of publishing them but he fears it now to be too late. Six volumes at least of her letters are already published and he thinks more would not be received. He spoke of Thiers as a man fit to hold the nation in its present neutral ground until a real republic shall be permanently founded. He thinks they never can return to the old dark days of monarchy. Of Guizot he said, “He declares to the people I am your leader and I will follow you!!” He is doing a grand work here. Religion is needed in France—and justice toward France is needed here. I believe both these ends will be furthered by his visit. Much was said of the lack of sympathy towards France shown by our newspapers. It is ignorance. They have no correspondents from republican France. Mrs Putnam put the case so earnestly to him that I think he will try to see the thing done in future. Ever since M. Coquerel’s interview with Horace Greeley, things have gone better in the Tribune although Mr. Greeley did not at the time confess how much he was persuaded to be a Christian.

Monsieur C. finds English a clog to his feet in his preaching but it is a marvel to consider the accuracy with which he delivers himself. Mrs Putnam remembers the orating of his father as something perfect as music. Although you might know what the words were with which he was to conclude his discourse for instance she said, you lingered and listened for them as for the dying away of some noble anthem.


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