Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 24, 1833

  • Posted on: 1 December 2017
  • By: admin
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 24, 1833
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:ahf

student editor

Transcriber:spp:msr

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1833-07-24

In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's persons.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "pla" point to place elements in the project's places.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's staff.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's bibl.xml authority file. verical-align: super; font-size: 12px; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration: line-through; color: red;

Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 24, 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: ahf 

revision: tap 2017-06-01

<>
Page 1

July 24th 1833. On board the Steamboat on the Rhine. My dearest Frances. The shores of the Rhine are resorted to by tourists as the most beautiful Country in Central
Europe, but the beautiful scenery does not commence until the traveler passes Düsseldorf. I have therefore no temptation to resist in order to continue my journal
from the end of the letter which I have just finished in order to send it by the return boat to Amsterdam. (NB. That letter was sent from Cologne by way of Havre)
On Wednesday 10th July at 6 o,clock in the morning we left York upon the outside of the Coach (going to London. We were now in one of the most beau-
tiful parts of England, a very great difference was seen between the fields through which we passed and the hard unyielding soil of Scotland.
We were in a country where corn (as here all kinds of grain are called) is cultivated in preference to grass instead of a great extent of land occupied
by one proprietor
Disposed to be gracious or merciful; ready to forgive sins and bestow blessings • Favorable •
with tenantry the fields are subdivided and are in the most perfect state of improvement. The finest crops of wheat
were just beginning to assume the yellow hue of harvest. The haymaking season was improved by the farmers. Every few rods we counted
eight ten twelve and fifteen women generally young and many of them very pretty busily employed in drying and raking hay.
Generally not more than two or three men and boys were seen at work with three or four times as many women and girls.
These females are hired by the farmers at a few pence per day, they were neatly dressed and seemed contented- The weather was
very fine and at the middle of the day these interesting haymakers were seen resting in groups under shade trees shielded- at full
length sometimes in conversation, sometimes taking their coarse dinner and some Enjoying a siesta.
The road for miles passes through fields bearing the most luxuriant crops without a fence of any kind. The farm houses are more frequent snd
wear the appearance of far greater comfort than those we road saw in the North, the dwellings of the laborers seemed more comfortable
Every where cottages are surrounded by vines and flowers but I did not admire the long rows of dwellings of the tenantcy in the ham-
lets. To make short a description which would occupy too much time, the common people here seemed to enjoy much more of
comfort and independence than in the country in Ireland or Scotland or the North of England, still there were more persons destitute of both than
in any part of America and beggars followed us where we turned even in this rich and delightful region. It is the country for the
rich. They can doubtless secure more luxuries than in America, and they are loyal, they are proud of the prosperity and power of
old England while among the peasantry and common people I met not one who did not entertain a regret ^express regret^ that he could not
emigrate to America- Nine miles from York we passed through the village of Tadcaster which contains a population
of about 1500 It is situated upon the river Wharf over which there is a fine bridge. Near this town in 1461 was fought a furious
battle between the armies of York and Lancaster- As we drove through the streets we saw for the first and only time in England
a pair of stocks, they were in good repair as if they were still used although I had supposed that in England as in America corporeal
punishment for petty offenses had ceased to be inflicted. We next passed Ferry bridge, a beautiful structure created over the River
Air which is made navigable as a canal. A small village of the same name stands on the south side of the bridge on the right
hand at a short distance from our road was the village of Brotherton and on our left the more interesting town of Nottingham
the capitol of Nottinghamshire. I endeavored to satisfy myself that I saw where Newstead Abbey is. Deprived of the opportunity
of visiting the former abode and final resting place of Lord Byron
Birth: 1788-01-22 Death: 1824-04-19
I was gratified by knowing that I was upon the ground which had been
familiar to him and among a People who had often seen him. Fifteen miles further we reached Donvale
Unknown
a town of genteel
Polite; having the manners of well bred people • Graceful in form; elegant in appearance, dress or manner •
appear-
ance containing a population of about 10,000 and celebrated in the sportsman’s annuals for splendid horseraces We passed
immediately by the side of the race course which is admirably prepared for the purpose. The arrangement of the stands for the judges
and for those spectators who can afford to pay for the places was very good. You know I am no admirer of this as it called man
-ly sport I made few inquiries on the subject and you will not expect or desire more particular information. East Retford on the
River Idle and Oxford in Nottinghamshire are pleasant villages though inferior to some of equal size in New York. We next
passed through Newark upon the Trent a handsome town about as large as Utica, where we saw the ruins of the castle in
which King John expired. Here for I think the first time in Great Britain we passed over a wooden bridge thrown across the
Trent The Castle Walls are still in good preservation and look down upon the Trent. They are 80 feet high and very picturesque
very overgrown in some places with ivy. One of the towers appears to have been broken off at a considerable elevation above
the wall and moss has acquired a luxuriant growth upon the vine. The School boys in the village were at play and as
they thronged around the coach and set up a shout with screaming of no very grateful tone. I could not but recollect Mrs Troll-
opes
Birth: 1779-03-10 Death: 1863-10-06
insidious contrast between the manners of English and American children. But let that pass. I have seen quite enough to convince
me that all that she and Captain Hall
Birth: 1788-12-31 Death: 1844-09-11
tell say about the superior refinement of Gentlemen and the more respectful demeanours of
common people in England to that exhibited by the correspoding classes in Americas is utter humbug. There is this difference in fa-
vor of the latter country. You cannot obtain civility from inferiors in England unless you will pay for it in addition to the com-
pensation demanded for service. While in America equal respect is shown you without the exactions practiced in England.
Grantham the next village on our route has a church steeple 246 feet high. At Greetham we were reminded that this was the birth
place of Sir Isaac Newton and his residence during his retreat from the plague at London. We next arrived to Stamford in
Lincolnshire a town of great antiquity. This was the residence of Lord Burleigh prime minister in the reign of Elizabeth Here he
was buried and here is Burleigh became the residence of the present Family his descendants. We passed in the night Alconbury
Buckden Baldock and Stevenage. I was so fortunate as to obtain a place inside the coach during this part of the route, a pre-
caution rendered necessary by my late illness, my only travelling companion was a young Quakeress
Unknown
a very intelligent woman. She was
of the orthodox party. Indeed I learned from her that the schism which so disastrously divides the society of Friends in America has not reached
England. She well understood the history of the feud, her sympathies, and she said those of the whole society in England are with the
Orthodox party in America. With them they maintain a regular correspondence while they refuse all fellowship with
the Hicksites. My fellow traveller had read as indeed every body in England and America has read Mrs Trollopes travels
She was a disbeliever in the book. The great majority of all the English I have met are of the Whig party who are univer
sally
Wisdom; sageness; knowledge •
admirers of American Institutions. Still when I have recollected how generally all English travellers have accu-
sed us of national vanity and of exacting unreasonable admiration of our Institutions I have been compelled to smirk
at the pride of Englishmen in relation to their own country Often when at their request I was describing to them
the difference in our institutions and their own they would exclaim that I ought not to insist upon their remembering
their form of government by a revolution to establish one like our own which might well enough do us but could
not exist in England- and this they would say with warmth although I never professed to recommend or even to
exact discourse upon the excellence of our government. My Quaker companion, like all the Ladies on our own side of the Atlantic
maintained that the difficulty of obtaining servants in America is a great and irrepressible evil A fine bright morning
were dawned upon us. I left my fair friend and rode outside until we arrived at our breakfast house in the village
of Welwyn. The parsonage and the burial place of Young
Birth: 1683 Death: 1765-04-05
the author of the Night Thoughts
Author: Edward Young Publisher: Scott, Webster and Geary Place of Publication:London Date: 1800?
, he is buried with his wife
Birth: 1693-05-26 Death: 1741-01
under
the altar of the Church The altar is decorated with a piece of tapestry wrought by her We next passed Hatfield at which
place is Haffield House a large castle the principal residence of the Marquis of Salisbury in this castle Charles I was
imprisoned. We had but a glimpse of the castle after which we lost it in the shade of the immense park which
spreads before it. The next town is Barnet in the centre of which is a shabby monument from which I copied this
inscription “Here was fought the famous battle between Edward 4th and the Earl of Warwickin 1471 in which the Earl
of Warwick was killed- You will recollect the intense interest thrown into Warwick’s character by Shakespeare
To me it always seemed when reading of Warwick as indeed it always did when reading of Napoleon
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
that one whose
prowess was so great and whose success had continued so long ought to have been invincible
We now passed under a gateway over which a road is and here the first view of the metropolis broke
upon us. It ^This view^ was not calculated to enhance our awe of the mistress of the world. The smoke enveloped a great
part of the city- In a few minutes we were in “merry” Islington where John Gilpin his famous gambols did play
Islington then a village at some distance from London and in the suburbs is now a compact part of the town though it is
occupied like the upper part of New York principally by dwelling houses. The Coachman now applied whip The
sound went the wheels.” We were almost as glad as Gilpin’s family. The stones of Cheapside rattled under-
neath our wheels and at 2 O.clock we arrived at the Saracen’s Head in London.
I can hardly describe the painful sensations with which I looked forward to our visit in London. My anxiety was
great to obtain letters from you. We were not well informed as to the proper place to stay- We had before us the spoils of
world to see- and to see them all was to accomplish so much that I shrunk from the attempt to do any thing-
I verily believe that the next painful sensation of in the world is that of the necessity of effort attended by a consciousness of the insig-
nificance of oneself and the sense of the vastness of purpose before you- Such were my feelings- I advised and we put into
[ ex ]
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ecution the plan of taking a room to dress, ordering our dinner and while it was preparing of presenting ourselves to
[ our ]
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Banker
Unknown
to obtain the long expected letters from America and also to ascertain what would be a proper place for
[ our ]
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stay in London. Having put ourselves in order a guide showed us the direction to Baring Brothers & Co “our Bankers we found-
their office occupying the whole of an immense building a card suspended by the counter entitled “Letters to the care
Baring Brothers &Co remaining uncalled for” upon this list we had the pleasure to find both our names- We announced
the clerk nearest us our desire to see Mr Baring
Birth: 1772-06-12 Death: 1848-04-03
and having gone through the formality of sending in our cards were immediately
[ s ]
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hown into the Counting room in which is transacted with one exception the greatest financial business in the World-
Page 2

The partner to whom we were introduced was Mr Bates
Birth: 1788-10 Death: 1864-09-24
The interview was calculated to confirm an opinion I have long entertained that the success of indi-
viduals even in the highest departments except those of literature depend upon circumstances more than on a necessary superiority of intellect. He was
polite and attentive to our wants- Of course we asked immediately for our letters and were gratified when he produced a large package You
may imagine my chagrin and disappointment when I found that the large pacquet addressed to myself contained only half a dozen common-
place letters of introduction from persons in New York-
to Gentlemen in London letters which by accident had not been delivered to me before leaving New York
My father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
had a long letter from Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
& another from Washington
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
- During our travels he had expressed doubts
about receiving letters while I had confidently asserted that I was sure of a letter from you- I asked Mr. Bates, if there were no more
He replied that there were none I could not believe that you had suffered three weeks (for the packet ship sailed on the 16th June
to pass without writing to me and I was left to the painful reflection that you had written and the letter whether its tidings
were of good or evil had failed to reach its destination- I had need of all my indifference- but summoned it in vain- Mr
Bates advised that we should go to the flash hotel in Regent street at the West end of the town. This neither suited my fathers
inclinations nor my own. It was certain we could not stay in so obscure a place as the Saracens head in the
part of the town- We knew of no other house- I had read in the journals of American travellers many allusions to Mr Miller
Unknown

the publisher and vendor of American books and had heard him spoken of as one who showed the kindest attentions
to Americans visiting London. We procured a cab and having ascertained Mr Millers direction we rode up town about
two miles and an half when we were so fortunate as to find him at his shop in Henrietta Street Covent Garden-
Without letters we introduced ourselves to him and stated our desire to obtain information as to Lodgings. Commu-
nicating at the same time the recommendation given us by Mr Bates He understood us at once- said we were right
in not going to so expensive a house as Mr Bates named and told us we would find in Mrs Wrights
Unknown
Hotel in the Adel-
phi the house at which the most respectable Americans stop and one which would be congenial to our tastes-
We immediately took lodgings at Mrs Wrights which is also in the West end of the town, returned with the aid of a cab
to the Saracen’s head, dined drank our bottle of wine and at about eight o.clock were inducted into our neat and pleasant
rooms at Mrs Wrights- Our way to and from the West end of the town lay through the strand and Cheapside and we found abun-
dant evidence in the journey that we were in a greater city than we had ever seen before- The walks were crowded so much
that two would not walk abreast. Coaches omnibus carts waggons and cabs followed each other in a constant procession
It was unsafe at any place to cross a street without taking a view in advance in all directions- Sometimes the procession of
carriages would be obstructed and then we were compelled to wait two three or five minutes until those in advance of
us had passed on- The aspect of London was far from being prepossessing. The houses are built of brick- of an old fashion
are discolored with smoke and exhibited an appearance very different from the light and gay
x

gay

Excited with merriment or delight • Having many or showy colors • An ornament •
streets of American
towns- Being comfortable bestowed in our lodgings I began to despond
Tasteless; destitute of taste; wanting the qualities which affect the organs of taste • Wanting spirit, life, or animation; wanting pathos, or the power of exciting emotions • Wanting power to gratify desire •
under the painful sensation of solitude enhanced by
my disappointment in receiving no letters from you. I set out alone in quest of a theatre and found to my great gratification
that I was distant but a few steps from Covent Garden, theatre– Inquired my way step by step through what was called Covent Garden which means a part of the town 50 years ago perhaps occupied as a garden by that name but now
forming a compact mass of buildings market ^&c^ in the centre of the town- I secured a seat, in a theatre of which I had
all my life long read but until within a few weeks had never expected to see- The exterior of the Theatre is not inspiring
The interior is very similar to the Park and Bowery Theatres in New York but much larger- The fashionable
boxes are in the second row and more than half of them are owned by individuals in their own right- The British
theatres as well as our own have greatly degenerated. Instead of the good old standard tragedies and comedies
of the British Classics Operas and dances command almost exclusive support in London- That night we had the
English opera of the “Somnabulist” and the star of the Theatre was Madame Malbian
Birth: 1808-03-24 Death: 1836-09-23
(formerly Signorina Garcia.)
I had never any taste for musical performances but I had supplied myself with a copy of the opera and was able
to follow the performers through the piece & I confess that contrary to my anticipation it afforded me the most exquisite
pleasure- The plot is so simple and short that I will not detail it to you. The scene is in Switzerland and the opera commences
[ wi ]
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th the festivities of the peasantry on the occasion of the betrothal of Amina the fairest of the village damsels to Elvino who is equally the superior
among the swains- The ceremonial of the contract and the giving the ring and fixing the wedding day is conducted with great effect ^amidst^ the
songs of the Young men and Maidens of the village. Madame Malibran of course played Amina and as she is really a good actress
she acted her part so well independent of her musical accomplishment that I could not but be interested in her- Among the peasant
party Liza is a conspicuous personage She has been long desirous of the love of Elvino and finding his affections bestowed on Amina
she is determined on revenge and if possible on preventing the union of the happy lovers. In the midst of this scene of village hilarity found
Rodolphe the Lord of the Manor appears as a foot traveller and after learning the occasion of the merrymaking takes lodgings at
the inn kept by Liza- When he is on the eve of returning ^for the night^ the peasants tell him that the chamber in which he is about to lodge is
haunted and excite his superstition so much that ^on reaching the apartment^ he does not return to rest- Meantime the secret escapes that he is the Count
their master and the peasantry determine upon coming in a body preceded by the notary of the village to pay their respects
to the Lord at an early hour in the morning- All having retired and Aminas mind filled with the joyous anticipation of her
approaching nuptials she is seen to appear in her night gown and cap asleep walking and holding as she suffers conversation
with her lover- She crosses the street and enters the haunted chamber (thus showing that she is the ghost who has before alarmed
the village. He steps as she approaches the Counts room compel Liza ^to retire^ when wide awake ^Liza^ has suffered herself to be persuaded
to continue too late her interview with her noble guest in his chamber at midnight). Amina enters the Counts apart-
ment singing love songs to Elvino in her sleep. The Count gradually discovering that she is no ghost but the most beautiful
village maiden he had seen in the evening and also that she is asleep and dreaming of her love retreats from his room
rather than alarm her- Almira sings (oh I cannot tell you how exquisite!) to her lover until wearied with the fatigue
of pleasure ^contented both^ waking and sleeping she throws herself upon the bed which had been prepared in the Counts apartment-
Morning arrives and shows the peasantry crowding timidly in to the room to pay homage to their Lord, Liza rejoicing
in the opportunity of disgracing Almira and securing the hand of Elvino to herself while poor Amira sleeps uncon-
scious in the bed which the peasants approach expecting to find on it Count Rhodolphe- The scene is very fine when the
peasants discover their mistake and Almira awakes and flees abashed to her own house- Then follows the scenes of
most intense interest. The village youth and lasses cast off Amira, Elvino throws her from him, with horror. All
who but last night rejoiced in her approaching happiness not one regards her with kindness or respect. her love ^is^ lost
^Her^ mother forgives her but she and she only believes though she knows not how the protestations made by Almira of her inno-
cence of intention Almira herself having no recollection of her somnabulism only knows that she has intentionally done
no wrong- The distress the despair of Almira is protracted to the highest pitch & is expressed with all the power of
action combined with power ^the most exquisite effect^ of music which I had never before seen approached and to crown the catastrophe
the peasants assemble to celebrate the nuptials of Elvino and Liza. The Count Rodolphe suddenly appears to prevent so gross injustice to Almira and save Elvino from himself- they gather around ^the Count^ he astonishes them by telling them that
there are persons who walk in their sleep and by declaring the true history of Almiras coming to his bedchamber- The peasants are
stricken by the presence of their Lord are inclined to credit the story but Elvino rejects it as a fabrication of the noble sedu-
cer of his betrothed bride, the fatal ceremony is about to proceed when to the astonishment of all Almira appears before
the vestibule of her room in the garret of the mill in her nightdress with a candle in her hand, walks along the narrow
terrace and down the trembling narrow staircase singing among the astounded group songs of love to her still
Constant Elvino- The result of this confirmation of the Counts story you may imagine but you cannot imagine
the effect of it upon the audience- Like a fool as I am I wept for sorrow and I wept for joy during the performance
of the piece- I procured for you the copy of the opera it is now before me, the most meagre of all works of fiction- nev-
ertheless I have seen you weep under the effect of I will bring the opera with me you may conceive from read[ ing ]
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it how it was that I was so intensely excited by its performance. The farce was not extraordinary. The audience
at London appear not very different from a New York audience except that respectable or rather moral people
of both sexes but of the common class of People sit in the pit, and there is less much less disorder and tumult at Covent
Page 3

garden than are exhibited at New York by an audience not more numerous. The reason of this is obvious- Women do not go into the pit at
New York and of course that part of the audience are there free from the salutary restraint which the presence of their wives and
daughters would improve- At about 12 O.Clock I left the theatre among the crowd and with the exercise of much prudence
in making inquiries found my way back to my lodgings where I slept soundly after a day of unwonted fatigue and excitement
One would snore about Madame Malbian- Although a Native of Italy and educated among that most factitious of all the People of Earth
She is the most perfect actress of nature I have ever seen and her powers of surpass anything I had ever believed possible
I saw her as you may recollect under different circumstances in New York- She was then young and beautiful- She
was the idol of a city of free enthusiastic people in the land of all civilized lands most remote from her own- She had married a man of immense estate who had been captivated by her talents and beauty The time when I was her
then was the day after her marriage- she played merely to complete and engagement and was then to bid adieu to
the stage forever and in the calm enjoyments of domestic life to realize a degree of happiness to which the public per-
former must be a stranger- Now how changed! that husband proved unkind, his wealth was a bubble, and she sings upon the
stage to obtain means of present subsistence and with the certainty that she is to know no better destiny- I really was romantic
enough to wish her husband dead though Heaven knows my dearest I did not desire to be his successor-
On Friday morning (July) I woke with the still painful impression London was so vast, that I could not see it and
had hardly spirit enough to make the attempt. My first effort was to call on my friend Mr Miller. He took some of my
letters, sent some by a messenger, some by post and advised me to deliver the others in person especially my letters to Mr
Vail
Birth: 1796 Death: 1878-11-04
Charge des affaires of the United States at London- We pressed our way through the West end of the town to call upon
that important personage in old Cavendish street- The buildings in this part of the town are of brick covered with a yellow stucco. they are spacious and inspiring and the streets are wide- still I think that like this the most
imposing part of the town is not equal to the most fashionable parts of New York and Philadelphia- But the splen-
dor of the shops and Bazaars and Arcades exceeded by far every thing of the kind in America- My constant exclama-
tion was how rich are these English People- The equipages of the nobility and Gentry are in a style of magnifi-
cence which seemed to me to be ruinous in expense- Then with these reflections never ceased to occur that overpowering
one- this is a city of one million four hundred thousand inhabitants- We loitered by the way at
where all manner of “contrivance” had been resorted to to make the shop a lounge for the great and fashionable.
We gazed with astonishment at the immense public buildings and lost ourselves in the crowd which
thronged the streets- But we were constantly recalled to the recollection that we were in London by the hosts of
intrusive persons officiously offering to sell us everything and insisting upon a bargain and still more by the hundreds
of beggars who solicite alms at every corner- Arrived at 13 Cavendish street we found the tenant of the lower
apartment was a tailor while the representative of the American People occupied the chambers above- We
sent up our cards and were immediately shown into the presence of a young man
Unknown
about 27 or 28 years of age
of dark complexion stiff and unprepossessing or rather rigidly polite and - who talked English with such
a degree of French pronunciation that we thought there must be a mistake and that we had entered the apartment
of the minister from France- but then I recollected that the Prince of Benevento represents the French court. Our
letters commended us to the particular kindness of the Minister- but we experienced hardly ^so much as would have been due to^ politeness enough for one who had no other claims than being the countryman of the Diplomat and after sitting fifteen minutes we took
our leave We called upon several merchants from all of whom we received every attention we could expect and
I then again presented myself at Barings determined that I would have a letter from you- The Clerk apologized for his
mistake on the preceding day and delivered to my eager grasp your dear letter with a letter from Weed
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
and half
a dozen of Col. Stone’s
Birth: 1805
newspapers- We made our retreat into a restaurateurs room- ordered a luncheon- and I read
over and over again your letter and Weeds and Tracys
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
, and then I was unhappy that I could not have time to
answer them all- We were invited to dine with Mr Alkinson
Unknown
a lawyer- at 1/2 past 5- we went in an omni-
bus with our host who lived at Islington. When he ascertained my residence you may judge my surprise when [ he ]
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inquired about “Dick Smith
Birth: 1791 Death: 1838Certainty: Possible
otherwise called wicked Dick”. Really thought I my volatile friend Smith woul[ d ]
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surprised to hear that his fame had reached London as the young Gil Blas
Author: Alain Rene Le Sage Publisher: H. Durell Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1824
was when assured that his glory had p[ rece- ]
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ded him at Oneida- My friend Alkinson told me however that he had spent several years in America that
owned land in Cayuga County and that Hulbert & Smith had been his agents- He had known Smith in the
acme
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acme

The top or highest point; the summit • the crisis of a disease or its utmost violence • People of mature years •
of his fame as a member of the Legislature at Albany- Mrs Alkinson
Unknown
is from Boston- the drive [hole]
consisted besides ourselves of several brothers and sisters of Mr and Mrs Alkinson- they were all American in their pre-
dilictions. The party was much like the dinner parties at Albany except that the Gentlemen did not sit
so late- and all joined the ladies at coffee in the drawing room- at 11 O.Clock we hailed a Coach in
the streets of Islington which for three shillings sterling set us down at our hotel three and half miles
distant- I read once more your letter and then went to sleep with a full determination that on the next day
I would set about seeing the Lions of the Metropolis in good earnest
On Saturday (July 13th). We began the business of pleasure by a visit to Westminster Abbey- I do not know
whether you understand the character and uses of the Abbey- It is no more nor less than a church of great
antiquity and was originally a Roman Catholic Monastery. Although built upon the same place with the
Cathedrals at Chester and York and in a chaste and beautiful style of ancient Gothic architecture
therefore very far excelling every church in America or rather having no imitation in America it is nev
ertheless inferior in point of grandeur to those I have before described- Westminster Abbey derives all its
interest from its associations with the history and the religion and science of the English People- Divine
service is performed every day in the Abbey as in all the other Cathedral churches in England-
The visitor is admitted and shown through the Abbey in the intervals of service for the consideration of one shilling and
three pence sterling. There are nine different apartments (beside the choir) which are called the nine chapels- to wit St.
Benedict
;St Edmunds St Nicholas, Henry 7th St Pauls. St Edward the confessor’s St Erasmus. Islip Chapel ded-
icated to St John the Evangelist, St John, St Michael and St Andrew. We were conducted through these chapels in their
order in that of St Benedict is the monument of Archbishiop Langham built of stone with the effigy of
the Prelate recumbent on the ^tomb^ and an inscription stating that “he died in 1371 on whose soul God have
mercy and grant him the joys of Heaven for the merits of Christ” This prelate was bishop of London
and monk Prior and Abbot of Westminster Abbey while it was held by the Roman Catholics before
the Reformation- A monument with grotesque effigies of Lyonel Craanfield Earl of Middlesex has a later
inscription which recites the great public services he performed. the great rewards be received and the
great persecution be suffered and finally that having been by such persecution “grievously tossed about
he happily escaped shipwreck and in a composed winter of life cast anchor and finished his course
in a retired last leisure- Here lying concealed being wearied out first and wasted afterwards this
was roused up to undertake a safer voyage and made the port of Heaven” on the 6th of August 1645.
On the moment of Dr Gabriel Goodman a decon of this church the deceased is represented in the wood kneeling in his ecclesiastical habits also are the ruins of a monument erected in mosaic work over the
Children of Henry 3d & Edward 1st. It is so much defaced that its purpose is Known only by history
omitting to notice the tomb of more obscure persons or ^and those monuments^ having nothing peculiar in their construction or inscrip-
tion we passed on to the Chapel of Edward this is a monument in house of John son of Edward
2d with the figure of the Deceased in Alebaster-
Page 4

The most illustrious personages buried here were William and Blanch son and daughter of Edward 3d. and the Lady Frances Dutchess of Suffolk- who is represented in effigy in her proper robes- I doubt whether this noble lady would have been desirous had
she foreseen the change of fashion in these latter days of being preserved in such garments which though doubtless
very genteel
Polite; having the manners of well bred people • Graceful in form; elegant in appearance, dress or manner •
in that age make but a sorry figure now a days- She was daughter of the celebrated Charles
Brandon
by Mary the French Queen daughter of Henry 7th and became Dutchess of Suffolk by marrying Henry Grey
then Marquis of Dorset but upon her fathers death created duke of Suffolk and afterward beheaded for being
concerned in dethroning the bloody Queen Mary.
A monument of great splendor erected in honor of Lord John Russell by his wife who was considered a great poet in her
Age has unfortunate inscription which is rather unfortunate as a specimen of the poetical power a
A part of it is “My husband dear, more than this worlds light,
Death hath me reft. But I from death will take
His memory, to whom this tomb I make.
John was his name (ah! was!) wretch must I say?
Lord Russell once, now my by clay.
There are 5 inscriptions on the tomb three
of which are in Latin. One in Greek
and one in English a part of which
I have transcribed-
In this chapel also is a monument to Lady Knollys daughter of Lady Mary who was the wife of William
Carey Esq
and sister to Anne Bullegne Queen of England- It seemed like revising all my reading of history to peruse
these inscriptions upon the tombs of those connected with the reigns in which violence and treachery found
such distinguishing traits. Here also is the monument of Mary Countess of Stafford wife of Viscount Stafford who
was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1680
In the 3d Chapel that is the Chapel of St Nicholas is a most magnificent monument of variegated marble erected to the memory of Ann Duchess of Somerset wife of Edward Duke of Somerset brother of Jane Seymour
the 3d wife of Henry the 8th uncle to Edward 4th and Regent during a part of his minority but afterwards dis-
graced tried convicted and beheaded in 1551- His figure is immortalized by Shakespeare-
this is a monument erected by the great Lord Burleigh to the memory of his wife. It is one of the most spleen-
did in the Abbey. Another immortalizes Lady Winfred who having been inflicted by being cruelly severed by
the violent hand of Death from two noble
x Birth:   Death:   Birth:   Death:  
husbands as the inscription declares will rejoice in Christ
forever”- What refinement of Cruelty was that practiced by Death in this case!
Frankford on the Maine. Sunday 28th July 1838 My dearest Frances We are just arrived at the Hotel de Russel (Russian Hotel) in
the Capitol of Prussia. I hasten to finish and dispatch to you this letter. My last was written as this was on board the steam
boat in ascending the Rhine and was sent from Cologne by the way of Havre. I trust it is already far on the way
for from my own solicitude concerning yourself and the boys and all my dear friends in America I can judge full
well how distressing it must be to you to be ignorant of my progress-
Our travels on the Continent have been full of interest and our voyage up the Rhine seemed like travelling in
the land of romance- I am so far behind in my letters that I almost despair of being able to give you the de-
tails by letter But I hope we shall rest here one or two days and in that fortunate event I shall apply my-
self industriously in all my leisure moments to bring up my journal- We are now [ posi ]
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tively isolated- Except
English travellers with whom we fall in occasionally we meet no person who speaks more of the English
language than sufficient to guide us about the towns- Most persons to whom we address ourselves speak
French in which I am only so far proficient as to read it and to express my most necessary desires- but I cannot
to any considerable extent understand it when spoken to me. My guide book is in French and I have made diligent
use of my time- I find the difficulties of passing through the country decrease as my knowledge of the French language
increases- But we meet no Americans, we hear nothing of America. How much I shall rejoice when we
arrive at Paris to receive letters from you! Thus far we have travelled without fixing limits to our
proposed sojournings in Europe or determining more than the immediate point ^of destination^ - We are now at that place
where it will be necessary for us to decide whether we go as is most probable immediately
to Paris and then embark after a few days or whether we go to Switzerland and thence to Paris or
whether if we go to Switzerland we attempt to penetrate Italy. The latter is very improbable- but
if no inconvenience presents itself I shall retain this letter until my father decides-
It seems almost impossible to myself that in five weeks we have traversed so much of Great Brit-
ain and the Continent- My fathers health continues good and my own has been entirely so nice Newcastle
Benjamin J. Seward Esq
14 th Nassau Street
New York
1833
From the Rhine
NEW YORK.
SEP 26
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Benjamin Seward

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

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William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
I must repeat again and again that I am most anxious that you should
make my friends to whom I ought to write understand the true
reason why I do not write to them Hurried and ill digested as my letters
to you are I hope that you show them to all our family and to Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03

and any intimate
Inmost; inward • Near; close • Close in friendship or acquaintance • One to whom the thoughts of another are shared without reserve • To share together • To hint; to suggest obscurely; to give slight notice of •
friends to whom it would be a gratification-
And if it is at all consistent with your feelings I wish you would
write to Weed & Tracy and explain what must seem to them so
heartless a forgetfulness of them- From the impossibility of my
writing to you one half as much as I ought you can easily judge
that I cannot write at all to them-
And now leaving just sufficient space to state when ascertained the
course we take from this place I bid you and the dear boys, and
Grandmother- Your father Aunt Clary & Lazette a particular adieu
and send my best wishes for all- May God preserve you and them
If my mother is with you make my love and remembrance known to her-
Frankfort- Monday July 29th. My dear Frances we have determined upon our route
set off this morning for Constance and Geneva there to Paris We shall I have no
doubt sail from Havre as early as the first of September But of this I will
write more fully soon after B.J.S will read & forward this letter-