Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 14, 1833

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 14, 1833
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:obm

student editor

Transcriber:spp:msr

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1833-07-14

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 14, 1833

action: sent

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

location: London, England, UK

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: obm 

revision: msr 2017-10-10

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London July 14th 1833
My dearest Frances, My last letter which was addressed one sheet to yourself and the other to Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
brought down the account of my sojournings
to Edinburgh – I resume my journal at the date of the 6th July. We found at Edinburgh an agreeable and profitable acquaintance in
Mr Thomas Ruthven
Unknown
who conducted us to the most interesting points of that beautiful city – He introduced us to Mr Black
Birth: 1784-02-20 Death: 1874-01-24
one of the pub-
lishers of the far famed Edinburgh Review. We found the latter Gentlemen an ardent admirer of our Republican Institutions – His
conversation as well as that of many other friends of liberal Government made us sensible how strong an interest is felt on
this side of the water in the great experiment now going on in America to test the capability of men for self Government. Eve-
ery where we have met congratulations upon the safe passage of the American Government through the peril of its expo-
sure to the disorganizing efforts of the Nullifiers. Indeed I may safely say that no less solicitude for the result of the late alarm-
ing crisis in American affairs was felt on this side of the water than our own – This fact may serve to remind us what we
are too often liable to forget that the interests of the human race are deeply concerned in the manner in which we acquit
ourselves of the great trust reposed in us as the only free people on Earth –
But I must confine myself to matters more interesting to you – The next object (in connection with our view of Edinburgh) which we visited was
the house which was occupied by John Knox. It is still distinguished by manner of a figure of the Reformer which was placed upon
the walls by some subsequent occupant – It is held in great veneration by "the faithful" ^of the Kirk of Scotland.^ — We then pursued our walk down the Canongate
until we entered the precincts of Holyrood Palace the ancient abode of the Kings of Scotland — Such was ^is^ the sanctity of this
place that the adjacent grounds marked by a small strand has for time immemorial ^been^ regarded as too sacred to be
trodden by officers for the pursuit of Debtors. It therefore was always a refuge for that unfortunate class from the pursuit
of bailiffs – I think this custom is mentioned in the Fortunes of Nigel
 Publisher: Fiske DeWolfe Date: 1822
. So it is however that I had never forgotten it and
as the custom ^it^ seemed to me peculiarly interesting I was not a little excited by the assurance of my approaching the
palace when our guide pointed to the little gutter we were crossing in the street and the said this marks the limits of the
sacred precincts of Holyrood — The palace having been constantly kept in repair is a beautiful though not very imposing
building — It consists of a quadrangle built round a central court surrounded by piazzas – it is two stories high ^in front^ – has
a flat roof and the entrance is under a cupola well executed in stone bearing the coat of arms of the Royal family of
Scotland. The other sides are three stories high and a small square tower rises at each corner –
We first visited the Chapel adjoining the palace – It is now in ruins – Many years ago when the Palace was repaired a
was 200 ft ^new roof^ was put over the chapel but being too heavy it fell and the walls are yet standing roofless – the pavement of
touchstones still remain on the sides of the area but the inner space is covered by luxuriant grass – the walls are ma-
jestic and display great excellence of architecture. The tradition concerning the Chapel is that David the 1st when hun-
ting was attacked by a stag at bay and ^was^ is danger of losing his life when a cross or rood was miraculously displayed
to save himself – Grateful for the preservation he vowed to erect an Abbey upon the spot and to call it the Monas-
tery of the Holyrood or Cross – The chapel with the monastery was built in 1144 but was often destroyed. In the 16th cent[ ury ]
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the chapel was rebuilt and of this as I have said the ruins only remain – A small chapel ^surmounted by a tower^ yet remains containing a very ancient a[ nd ]
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grotesque monument of ^some of^ the nobility. The length of the ^whole^ Chapel within the walls is 127 feet, its breath about 60, its height 70 feet, a noble Wind[ ow ]
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yet remains 36 feet high and twenty feet wide. What is said to have been a private door conducts the visitor into the area. In the mid-
dle of a passage leading from this door to the interior is shown a flat square stone under which they say lie the remains of Rizzio
 Death: 1566-03-09

A shield with saxon characters is engraved upon the stone. I despair of making you understand the singular and even ludicrous appearance
of the monuments erected 250 years ago – of which that of Count Belhaven
Birth: 1573 Death: 1639-01-14
and wife is one – The ^deceased^ persons are represented lying or stand[ ing ]
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with arms folded perhaps in prayer and the effigies of mourning children stand with arms clasped about them in groups – You
are now to imagine that these effigies are carved in oak – in the custom of the age which they were made and the effigies
are hardly better executed than some of those made by the North American Indians and found in our museums - And
Here ^from this^ to imagine A monument perhaps twenty feet high surmounted by several groupes of such figures and you will
have some idea of the numerous monuments which remain in this and the other ancient chapels and cathedrals
I have visited – It is difficult to decypher the inscriptions beneath your feet which have been worn by the weather and by human
footsteps, they seem all to commemorate the rank and merits of persons of noble families. Among them is one “Here lyes one
honest man Robert Votherspore
Unknown
burgis and deacon of y’e Hammermen in Canogait R V. 1520
Another is “Here lyes ye nobil and poten[ t ]
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Lord James Douglass Lord of Cardell and Thowloll who married Daime Eliza-
beth Cairlill
air and heritrix yalof
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Editorial Note

WHS likely mistranscribed this word.
, who was slain in Edinburgh ye XIII day of July in the [ yeire ]
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Alternate Text: year
of God 1608 was slain in
483 c b 1086. In the South East corner of the Chapel is the Royal Vault where are buried the remains of David IId King of Scotland
James 2d James 5th and Henry Lord Darnley the husband of Mary Queen of Scots.
But I have detained you long enough in the chapel of Holyrood. The Palace is connected in Scottish history with many of the greatest ever
but all these associations isare forgotten now except those which relate to Mary. It was at Holyrood that she took up her abode wh[ en ]
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she returned from France to Scotland in 1561. The guide book put into my hands describes the splendor of the procession by
which she was escorted from Leith to the Palace. Bonfires were lighted in all directions – she rode in a kind of triumphal
entry and all the musicians of Edinburgh collected under her windows all night long after her arrival announced
the enthusiasm of her subjects. Holyrood resounded with the mirth and festivity of her greeting. Mary revived the chivalric combats
of Knighthood and the Nobles contended for the rewards which she distributed with her own hands – She appeared on horseback
among them and this enhanced the excitement of the scene – she also led in the sports of archery hunting and hawking – In the
Abbey Church (the Chapel before described Mary was married to Lord Darnley in July 1565 at 5 O. Clock in the evening – We were sho[ wm ]
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also the room in which John Knox held his Audacious interview with poor Mary and the crucifix is yet preserved. Earlier
we were told Knox snatched from his sovereigns hand and dashed to the ground as a relic of abominable popery — We ent[ ered ]
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the little Chamber memorable for the murder of Rizzio – this was a little cabinet about 12 feet square – History says that [ on ]
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that occasion it contained a little low reposing bed and a table at which there were sitting at supper the Queen Lord Argyle
and Rizzio with his cap on his head – The King with Lords Ruthven and Douglass and two others
xothers
x
Unknown

Unknown
rushed into the room
seized Rizzio and presenting a pistol to Marys bosom forced Rizzio from the ^protecting^ grasp with which she seized him, and killed him
before her face – He received fifty six wounds and was dragged out of the room down the stairs and through a private entrance into
the Chapel — Rizzios walking cane was exhibited to us (his name inscribed) at the Museum of the Society of Antiques – We saw
also the hall in which Mary was married to James Earl of Bothwell – They soon after this event fled to Dunbar Castle Mary
following the Earl disguised in Mans apparel – Holyrood was honored also by the coronation of the unfortunate King Charles
I of England
A Great part of the palace was destroyed by Cromwell’s troops but after the restoration it was rebuilt in its present
form nearly 200 years ago – In the year 1745 it was made the head quarters of the pretender Chevalier Charles
 Death: 1788-01-31
during his resi-
dence at Edinburgh — After his abandonment of the palace it remained unoccupied until in the time of the French Revolution it
was repaired and assigned as the residence of the Bourbon Exiles
x Birth: 1755-11-02  Death: 1793-10-16  Birth: 1754-08-23  Death: 1793-01-21 
from France. By a singular fatality it was twice the dwelling
of the Count dArtois the late Charles 10th
Birth: 1757-10-09 Death: 1836-11-06
, who after regaining his throne ^succeeding to the throne of France^ was in 1830 deposed and again took up his residence
here – The front of the palace is 230 feet long. The entrance is in the centre through a porch surmounted by the Royal Arms of Scotland
cut in stone – The exhibitors of the Palace show a dark stain upon the floor of a room adjoining Marys apartments which they pre-
tend was made by the blood of Rizzio – This of course is impossible but they find a shadow of plausibility in the circumstances
that this room is separated by a temporary partition from the other apartments ^as if to preserve the mark of the violent deed^ – They show an ancient bed of great splendor
as the bed in which the pretender slept in 1745 and which after his defeat and flight was appropriated to the use of his
victorious enemy the Duke of Cumberland
Birth: 1721-04-26 Death: 1765-10-31
on his return from the field of Culloden– The roof of the preserved chamber
in which this bed now stands is of oak and divided into compartments containing the cyphers of the Kings of Scot-
land in paint and gold – There is here a sofa lined with blue silk formerly belonging to Charles 1st and his Queen whose ini-
tials are wrought in the silk. We next visited Marys bed Chamber which is in front of the tower and looks up the Canongate
street. Here are preserved her bed which is of crimson damask bordered with green silk fringes and [ chineel ]
x

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Alternate Text: chenille
tassels wrought
by the Queen herself. The basket in which the clothes of the infant King James were kept, and Marys dressing box flowered with
silk are preserved in a glass case – Here is also a portrait (painted soon after the death of Mary) of Qu[ een Eli ]
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zabeth in which the
painter has expressed his sense of Elizabeths cruelty by making the hands red with blood - The p[ ainti ]
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ng still [ han ]
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gs though in rags
over the private door of the passage through which the murderers of Rizzio entered the Queens apartment
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In the room under the preserved Chamber are genuine portraits of Queen Mary in the dress in which she is said to have been executed ^also portraits of^
John Knox & Charles 1st. In another room is a portrait of Mary painted in France when she was 16 years old — From these apart-
ments we entered a long picture gallery containing 111 pictures of Kings of Scotland most or all of which are said to be spu-
rious and ^to have been^ introduced by the housekeeper to swell the marvels of the place. Passing from the gallery we entered the now
desolate rooms which were abandoned by Charles 10th
Birth: 1757-10-09 Death: 1836-11-06
the Dutchess de Berri
Birth: 1798-11-05 Death: 1870-04-17
and the other French Exiles in November
last – Here was an Assembly room audience Chamber Dining room – the throne and other appurtenances of Royalty.
I conversed with several of the inhabitants of Edinburgh who frequently saw Charles 10th and his Court while they
last resided here – They described the Exiles as amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
affable and charitable and throughout there whole residence
here as having won the respect and good will of the People. In ^some of^ these apartments the Walls are covered with ancient tapes-
try of exquisite workmanship, one piece of which represents the battles of Alexander and Darius – another many
scenes from Heathen Mythology – Here are also many very fine portraits of distinguished personages of the Old Scottish
Court — The garden and parks of the Palace interesting only from association furnish nothing worth describing – I have purchased
some engravings which I shall carry home with me and until that time my dearest we must take leave of the most interesting spot I have yet visited. Adieu to Holyrood!
On our return through the town we stopped to bestow a hasty look at the house which was occupied by Murray
when Regent of Scotland. It exhibits no aspect of aristocratical distinction.
On the 7th July we commenced our excursion with a visit to the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries – to which we were admitted without
charge – In the room which we first entered stood the table of the society with the chairs of the members arranged on each side. At
the head was a large ornamented chair for the President. I felt no desire to know who succeeds Sir Walter Scott
Birth: 1771-08-15 Death: 1832-09-21
in the honors of the
station. I could obtain no catalogue of the interesting curiosities preserved here and found it quite impracticable to take extensive notes- There
is the identical old oaken pulpit of John Knox, with its plain panel doors destitute of ornament. There is a part of the oratory of
Mary Queen of Scots. The Maiden (a Guillotine introduced by the Regent Morton) upon which was executed Morition
Unknown
and the Earl
of Argyll and Morton himself and a host of others – an old coarse hempen shirt worn by penitents in the monastery. The ad-
dress of the Highland Clans to Geo the 1st
 Death: 1727-06-11
in 1715 the rejection of which produced the revolution - The original solemn
league and covenant for reformation in 1645. The certificate before a Notary of the true preservation of the Regalia
of Scotland. The true genuine Confession of Faith adopted, by the Kirk of Scotland in 1590. The shoe buckles worn by Oliver
Cromwell – a pair of white long kid gloves which belonged to Mary – Rizzios walking staff before mentioned – a snuff box
presented by Burns
Birth: 1759-01-25 Death: 1796-07-21
to his father
Birth: 1721-11-11 Death: 1784-02-13
, a tree planted by Mary in the garden of Holyrood – a flag borne by the Covenants display-
ing the motto “Covenants Religion King and Kingdom” The cap and armor of Sir Walter Scott as an officer in the Midlothian
yeomanry – The chip bored from the stone at Bannockburn in which Bruce set his standard. A fragment of the tree in which
[ Sir ]
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William Wallace concealed himself when pursued by the English – A piece of the yew tree from Renfrewshire under which
was the courtship of Darnley and Mary – a piece of the coffin of Robert Bruce and the stool thrown by Jenny Geddes at
the head of The Bishop of Edinburgh when that Prelate first read the liturgy appointed for the use of the Scottish Church
by Charles 1st. We visited also the spot near the University distinguished by the wonder of Lord Darnley – We rambled
through the vacant Halls of the University now newly erected but it was the season of vacation. There we ascended
Salisbury Craig which rises about 500 feet higher than the town of Edinburgh — From which we had a complete and unique
view of the whole town – Here our guide pointed out to us the dwelling of Jeanie Deans now used as a refreshment house
for visitors to the Craig – Here also around the Craig are the rivers of St Anthonys chapel and well immortalized in
the affecting story of Jeanie Deans – Our friend Mr Ruthven was well acquainted and even intimate with Sir Walter Scott and spoke
in captions whenever he alluded to any of the scenes described or incidents mentioned in the novels of the great Unknown. It
was truly gratifying to see with what veneration his memory is cherished by every body here
Descending the hill we rested an half hour at Mr Ruthvens and then returned to our lodgings where we began
to prepare for our departure – At about 6 oclock unwilling to quit Edinburgh without a view from Arthurs seat which over-
hangs the city at an elevation of more than 900 feet I sallied forth alone and making my way through the hundreds
[ of ]
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persons who sauntered in the walks of Holyrood I reached the foot of the Hill – the walk which seemed to me to be when
[ I ]
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set out only a mile and an half proved to be a circuitous ascending path of more than three miles – With great exertion
[ I ]
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reached the summit – but the smoke of the city and the shades of night ^evening^ rendered the prospect dim and unsatisfactory –
[hole] my impatience to descend I pursued a precipitous descent down the very face of the mountain and not without some
[ p ]
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eril reached the valley below and pursued my way homeward so as to arrive at our lodgings at ten o clock at
The night – I retired weary and lame and the next morning Saturday July 16th saw us at 7 o.clock upon the coach top bound to London. The last view of Edinburgh was from the hills on the shore of the German ocean —
The country for many miles is
beautiful – It was haying time and women were busy in all the fields making the hay – we passed Porto Bello Muss-
elborough
and several other towns upon the coast – not the least important of which in History was Prestonpans where
was fought a memorable battle between the English and Scotch – The castles of the Nobility of Scotland are very ru-
[ i ]
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nous – We passed the seats of the Earl of Lauderdale
Birth: 1784-05-12 Death: 1860-08-22
and the Duke of Roxborough
Birth: 1816-07-12 Death: 1879-04-23
– and arrived about noon at
the borders of England at Berwick upon Tweed a town of great celebrity in the wars between England and Scot-
land. The ruins of an old Castle still remain – The town enjoys the distinction of belonging neither to England nor Scotland
but having a jurisdiction of itself — Like all the other rivers I have seen the Tweed appears very insignificant for a stream
so far famed — A splendid bridge has been erected here upon the Tweed consisting of fifteen arches — there is also a chain bridge. Near the ruins of the castle
yet stands the Bell tower which formerly contained a bell used to sound the alarm to the Inhabitants on the approach of enemies – But the days
for its use are long since gone by. England and Scotland have ceased to be rival nations. Every year witnesses a more intimate connection and
consolidation of their interests and assimilation of feelings. The descendants of the frontier inhabitants of Berwick upon Tweed instead of having
as in the older time enemies on one or the other side if not on both now have double security against their only enemies beyond sea in the ^joint^
protection of their Southern and Northern neighbours – The next town through which we passed was Belford in Northumberland.
It is a fine and pleasant town. Our visit happened to be upon the market day. In England in all the principal towns a day in
each week is in accordance with ancient custom set apart as the market day – In the widest street or in the public square
stands are erected – The merchants here dispose their goods and here the market women and girls from the county bring their
provisions and whatever else they have to sell – the town exhibits always on these occasions an air of great bustle and
importance. The market day at Belford from its novelty was interesting to us. We looked attentively at the busy scene around
us and on leaving the town for several miles saw the market boys and girls returning home some with baskets on their
heads and others carrying them by way of panniers or with small carts drawn by asses In all this county I have
not seen a solitary two horse lumber wagon such as is used in America — The labor of the farmer is so easy and his
market town so convenient, that one horse does here the labor which we assign to two – and very often the use of a
horse where we would consider it indispensable is dispensed with altogether. Near Belford are the ruins of an ancient
chapel and also of Bamborough Castle – an ancient fortress and prison but now fitted up for the use of shipwrecked s[ t ]
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eamers
On our left we next passed Howick the seat of Earl Grey
Birth: 1764-03-13 Death: 1845-07-17
now prime minister of England and leader of the Whig Nobility - But castles
and palaces had before this time become so familiar to our vision that we hardly stopped to inquire who were the owners as we
passed them. We soon however arrived under the walls of one which was an exception. Alnwick Castle “the house of the Per-
cys heaven born race–” When we gained our first view of this splendid and recovered palace we were descending a hill,
a monument by the road side commemorates the fame of Malcolm 2d. King of Scotland who fell upon that spot in besieging
the Castle – The monument was probably erected by someone of the Northumberland family as it reflects greater hon-
or upon their ancestors than it directly confers upon King Malcolm – The castle stands upon an eminence at the en-
trance of the town of Alnwyck – and is a stupendous pile walled with towers in front and on each angle – upon
Page 3

the towers and statues of men armed with every kind of weapon for resisting a siege and in the attitude of ^vigorous^ defense. We had ta-
ken our seats in the Coach for New Castle and of course were compelled to be content with the view of the exterior of the
celebrated Castle although I should willingly have paid my “two and six pence sterling” for the privilege of being
shown from turret down to dungeon keep.” We dined at Alnwyck the principal part of the town belongs
to the Duke of Northumberland
Birth: 1785-04-20 Death: 1847-02-11
– the coat of arms of that Nobleman meets you with its motto in every place
“Esperance in Dieu” – As we left the village we passed a tall obelisk bearing an inscription which states that
it was erected by the tenantry of the Duke as an expression of their sense of his kindness and benevolence –
Passing the town of Morpeth which exhibits nothing interesting to a traveller except the ruins of an old castle
the history of which I could not ascertain we arrived at eight o clock in the evening at the town of New
Castle upon Tyne
. The fatigue of my last days excursions at Edinburgh together with exposure during this
days journey to the cold South East wind blowing off the German ocean had produced a violent ague under
which I trembled like an aspen leaf for two hours before reaching New Castle. I had a bed comfortably war-
med in a room heated by a coal fire and passed of course very rapidly from my violent chill into a no
less violent fever – I was glad however of any opportunity for rest and I continued to sleep with hardly
any interruption except from the operation of ipecacuanha and jalap from Saturday evening until
Monday at noon. When I came to recollect my senses I was sensible that I had been delirious during Sat-
urday night and Sunday – Fortunately my father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
judged correctly of my symptoms and under his careful
and constant treatment I was able to resume my journey in the inside of the Coach on Tuesday. I was
deprived of the opportunity of seeing New Castle but I suppose I lost not much that would interest you. It is a
town about as large as Albany. It has long been celebrated principally for its great colliers – It has a very
fine stone bridge of nine arches built upon the River Tyne. Its streets are generally black and far from being
prepossessing but it has some very fine modern buildings and some of the dwellings of the merchants in the
borders of the town are almost equal to palaces. As New Castle stands very near the mouth of the Tyne the river
is here an arm of the sea and is larger than any of the European rivers I had seen except the Mersey —
Its surface at one place seemed almost covered by very small steam boats not as large as the small
steamboat erected two or three years ago as you may recollect upon the Skaneateles lake — Leaving New Cas-
tle we saw around us immense Collieries with all the ponderous machines for seizing the coal from its
bed and also great numbers of railways for carrying the coal to the river – On the South side of the river and Con-
nected with New Castle by the bridge is the village of Gates head which may be called a suburb of the larger
town – We now entered the County of Durham celebrated as being the best grazing county in England. And well
does it merit its celebrity as any person will be convinced who shall see the cattle in the fields – But you
take little interest I in farming and we will therefore expedite our way through Chesterle street and Durham
on the river We are with its castle and Darlington which in my memorandum book I described as a pretty village
and we shall then enter Yorkshire at North Allerton a town of considerable dimensions near which took place
the celebrated battle of the Standard at which King David of Scotland was defeated by the Barons – Thus
far I rode alone in the inside of the Coach, I now had the pleasure of society – a Lady
Unknown
from London who [ had ]
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been visiting in Yorkshire was returning to her husband
Unknown
[hole] the metropolis She was very communicative but [hole]
man unfortunately took it into his head to [hole] with the opposition – My companion was frig[ htened ]
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and incessantly demanded that I should arres[ t ]
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[ t ]
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he progress of the coach — all my well intended efforts [hole]
complish that purpose were unheeded by th[ e ]
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[ co ]
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achman – We passed with the velocity of Jehu though [hole]
ful village of Thirsk and through Easingwold [ and ]
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at three o clock in the afternoon arrived at York — [hole]
whole of Yorkshire through which we passed surpassed in agricultural excellence and beauty any country [ I ]
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have ever seen. The climate here is milder than in the North. The wheat crop (in England called corn) now
began to assume the yellow hue – its luxuriance seemed twice as great as that of the American crop in the
most fertile spots in Western New York – Women in groupes of five – six ten, twelve and fifteen were enga-
ged in gathering hay and laboring in the potatoe fields – Farmhouses of respectable appearance are freq[ uent ]
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and the cottages of the peasantry adorned with flowers relieve the dull monotony of the fields —
“With the exception of the memorable names of Roma Sparta Athens and Jerusalem there are few places whose his[ to- ]
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ry is composed of more interesting and instructive materials than that of the ancient metropolis of Yorkshire the
City of York. Be not [ stailted ]
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Alternate Text: stilted
my dear Frances I am not going into heroics” The above is the flourish or rather the most
modest part of the flourish with which the author
Unknown
of the Guide to York sets out in conducting the traveller through
its wonders – Yet notwithstanding all this demonstration the York minster or Cathedral is almost the sole ob-
ject worthy the traveller’s attention. That superb, that wonderful edifice he cannot survey too long nor
admire too much. The York Minster of which you have often read is the Cathedral of the See of York and exceeds in
beauty and architectural excellence every Cathedral in Britain – It is ranked by travellers as second only to
St Peters at Rome. As in all other com The existence of a Cathedral upon the site of the present York Minster is
traced back to a very early age in the Christian Church but those edifices were several times destroyed. The
present was built in about the year 1150 – and it has ever since that time been regarded with great veneration. It
has been the scene of the marriage of many of the Kings of England and of the coronation of others – It was certainly
an interesting fact to recollect that I stood within the walls which witnessed the coronation of that King of England
Richard the 3d after the murda ^murder^ of his nephews
x Birth:   Death:   Birth:   Death:  
in the tower of London.
All tourists describe the Cathedral as astonishing the beholder by its immense height and dimensions – arresting the eye
at an great great distance and throwing into shade the town by which it is surrounded. The material of which
it is constructed is a white limestone almost as white as marble but without polish and rather resembling
chalk. It is built in the form of a cross and consists internally of a nave with two aisles, a transept with aisles
and a in the centre, a choir with aisles and chapels on the South side and a Chapter House with
a vestibule on the North side. What contributes very much to the superior effect of this edifice is that it has
all the grandeur of the ancient Gothic architecture yet with the beautiful and exquisite workmanship
to which that order was brought, and yet every high part of it even the ornaments are in perfect presentation
Wherever any portion of the walls or the roof or the ornamental parts have decayed the edifice has been
repaired in the original manner — The West front consists of two majestic towers each of which is 196 feet
high, they are supported by buttresses at each angle which diminish as they ascend in to several continua-
tions – At the top of each tower are eight pinnacles connected by a battlement. The front contains seve-
ral rows of niches in many of which yet remain figures of saints. The ^great^ window in the West front is of dimen-
sions proportioned to the height of the towers. The other sides of the building are finished upon the same great
scale and in an equal perfection of workmanship – each front containing seven different rows or stones
of niches filled with statues of saints – The only fault of the exterior of the building is that the ^central^ tower is too
low in comparison with the towers of the Western front – The length of the building (and in all these Cathe-
drals you will recollect that the whole space is left open – so that the view of the whole interior is had at
once) is 524 feet. The entrance is through the Western door and you look down through a double column of
Page 4

Gothic pillars of great strength and beauty. There are sixteen windows in the side aisle and all except two are constructed of painted
glass. The paintings consist of Scripture pieces, pictures of saints, Kings &c, and of the coats of arms of distinguished benefactors
of the Church. The roof is of oak in the unadorned Gothic style. The pavement is of mosaic work. The nave fron is 99 feet high
and 109 feet broad. The central tower rests upon pillars which terminate at the height as I have mentioned of 99 feet in an arch said by his-
torians to be the highest lightest and most extensive in the world. The large end window in the North transept demands particu-
lar attention It is formed of two tiers of painted panes of glass. The lower tier is 50 feet high. The Central tower or steeple from vault
to dome is 188 feet high – Over the entrance of the Chapter House are niches said to have formerly contained figures of the twelve
Apostles made of silver and double gilt with gold and to have been stolen from the Church by Henry 8th . The Chapter House
was the place of assembly for the Ecclesiastical dignitaries of the Bishop’s see – It is 67 feet high – On the wall near the
entrance is the rhyme “Ut rosa flos florum In English–“ As the rose is the chief of flowers
Sic est domus ista domorum” So is this the Chief of Houses” –
The Choir (the place of worship) is separated from the nave of the Cathedral by a stone screen so light so airy so graceful-
ly wrought that you can hardly believe it to be made of stone. It is divided into 15 compartments with corresponding deco-
rations pedestals and statues. On the pedestals are placed the statues of the Kings of England with their names and
the date of their reigns respectively William the Conqueror, William Rufus, Henry I, Stephen, ^ Henry 2d ^ , Richard I, JohnHenry 3d Edward
1st
, Edward 2d Edward 3d, Richard 2d, Henry 4th , Henry 5 Henry 6 . The statues are in the regal costume of the respective
reigns. It was our good fortune to be at York during the celebration of the evening service in the Choir — The organ is one of great
power and you can better imagine than I can destribe the effect of the choir with so fine an organ in a building of
such dimensions as the York Minister — You have better information concerning the construction of such musical instru-
ments than I have I therefore give you the dimensions of some of the component parts of this organ from which you
will be able to understand its superiority – There are 20 pedals stops – two octaves each – The double metal open dia-
pason is 32 feet long and 20 inches in diameter. There are three sets of keys of six octaves each from CCC to CCC
in alto – 2 Octaves of pedal keys from CCCC to CC. There are 56 stops all through that is 24 to the great organ 16 to the
choir organ 12 to the swelling organ and 10 to the pedals –
In the resting room we were shown several interesting relics of antiquity – a crosier formerly belonging to the Roman
Catholic Archbishop of York. It is of massive silver and is six feet long – In the crook is placed an image of the
Virgin Mary with the infant saviour in her arms. It was brought from Portugal by Catherine
 Death: 1705-12-31
Queen Dowager of Charles 2d
Birth: 1630-05-29 Death: 1685-02-06

and was presented by her to her Catholic confessor Smith
 Death: 1711-05-13
archbishop of York – A drinking horn of immense size made
of an elephants horn & called Ulphus horn is preserved here. It was given by Prince Ulphus to the see – Ulphus was
son of Thorald – His sons quarrelled about the future division of his land and estates – to quiet the controversy “Ul-
phus came to York with that horn wherewith he used to drink filled it with wine and before the altar of
God and Saint Peter Prince of the apostles kneeling devoutly drank the wine and by that ceremony enfeoffed
this church with all his lands and revenues.” By this relic the Cathedral still holds great possessions.
It bears the following inscription in latin. “This horn Ulphus Prince of the Western parts of Deira originally gave
to the Church of St Peter together with all his lands and revenues. Henry Lord Fairfax
 Death: 1688-04-09
at last restored it, when
it had been lost or conveyed away. The dean and chapter decorated it anew A.D. 1675
Here also is preserved a large silver bowl which was given by Archbishop Scroope to the company of Cord-
wainers of York in 1398 It contains this inscription Richard Arche beschope Scrope grant unto all tho that drinkes
of this cope (cup) XL ti (40) days to pardon — Robert Gobson
Unknown
beschope bishop mesin grant in same forme aforesaid XLti
days to pardon Robert Sherwall
Unknown
.” A wooden head is also exhibited, the history of which is that Archbishop Roth-
erham
having died of the plague was buried without ceremony with the vulgar dead – Afterwards an effigy of
the deceased Archbishope was buried with great solemnity, of that effigy this is the head found in the tomb.
Three silver chalices which were found in the graves of Archbishops are preserved I sat while making a memo-
randa of their curiosities in the chair wherein Richard the 3d was crowned —
After having traversed every part of the interior of this stupendous pile we ascended by 107 ^steps^ feet to the summit of the Cen-
tral tower – A glorious prospect here opened to our view – The Country is beautiful it was the most interesting in En-
Portions It was the scene of the contests of Britons Scots Romans Saxons Normans and of successive English fac-
tions — The ancient town of York with its wall and gates had in the varying fortune of war been the strong hold of
these successive Conquerors – and the edifice upon which I stood had during almost a thousand years been regarded
with the most profound awe and veneration by men whose only pardonable fault was superstition. But I must close –
We left the dome of the Minster with regret at sunset, devoted an hour to a stroll about the streets under the
gates and upon the walls of York and to a more detailed examination of the beautiful ruins of St Marys Ab-
bey – A part of the wall is yet standing, it contains eight Gothic window arches now overgrown with ivy.
Pillars, statues and inscriptions have been collected and preserved and these prove it to have been an Edifice of great
beauty – The foundations show that it was 371 feet long and 60 feet broad. It was built in 1270.

[right Margin]
July 24th. 1833. My dearest Frances, This letter written so badly that I am ashamed
to send it I have just completed on board a steamboat upon the river Rhine in Prussia
on our way from Amsterdam to Cologne I wish I could make it say how anx-
ious I am to know that you and the little boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
are well and happy – We travel
with so much expedition that I am not permitted to hear of you by your letters
as often as I might – We left London on Wednesday the 17th of July – one or two days
probably before the arrival of the Liverpool packet of the 26th June – We directed
our letters to be forwarded to us at Havre – We have traversed Holland and are
now visiting the Western part of Prussia – We have not yet determined whether
we shall go from the Rhine direct to Paris through Belgium – or shall go
on to Switzerland – At the rate we travel we could overrun the whole con-
tinent long before the period assigned when we left home for our return
I have no doubt that we shall sail for America before the first of Sep-
tember – My father is continually impatient of delay and although he thinks
he is hurried to find time to visit France will in fact return to America
in a very short time because he like Alexander can find no world to
conquer on this side of the Atlantic – I shall endeavour while on board the “stoom-
boot” as the Hollanders say to send you another sheet, and in that to announce
with greater certainty our future route — meantime I dispatch this so
that you may be advised of our progress thus far — Farewell my dearest, Farewell
my brother Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
will read & then forward this
one sheet only
Benjamin J. Seward esq
146 Nassau Street.
New York
France Havre
Hand Shiftx

Benjamin Seward

Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
Mrs Wm H Seward
Auburn
x

Stamp

Type: postmark
NEW YORK
SEP 4
x

Stamp

Type: postmark

7
Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
1833
From London