Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 4, 1833

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 4, 1833
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:hrr

student editor

Transcriber:spp:msr

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1833-08-04

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 4, 1833

action: sent

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

location: Geneva, Switzerland

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: hrr 

revision: crb 2017-06-06

<>
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August 4th 1833 (Sunday.) My still and ever dearest Frances. My last letter was forwarded from Darmstadt on the Grand Duchy
of Baden in Germany on Tuesday last. After almost uninterrupted travelling I resume my journal for you fresh while in one of the
loveliest spots on this broad earth. My chamber window overlooks the Lake of Geneva and Mount Blanc after having been vi-
sible during the morning has his lofty head now concealed in clouds. To abandon poetry my letter is dated at Lausanne
in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland.
As Darmstadt we were compelled to part with one of our large trunks which is to follow
neces—
sity of postponing until I recover them further description of the incidents of our travels in London and will commence this letter
with our voyage from London to Rotterdam. I regret this interruption of the succession of my journal because I know not when it will be
in my power to supply the omission but I have no doubt you will be gratified by my passing over the wisdom of my observations
upon London.
It was a delightful morning when we embarked on aboard the Harlequin Steam Boat at the Tower stairs at 8 O.Clock
The river is so small at the central part of London that the Steamboat dare not approach the shore. We of course went on board with
the aid of Watermen in their small boats. The fare for a passage to Rotterdam has long been six pounds sterling (almost $30.)
but an opposition line was just established and the fare was reduced immediately to one pound. We found it no trifling matter
to quit England. The servants at the Inn although more moderate than most English servants in their demands all had regu—
lar accounts from the Chambermaid to the Boats. We were really grateful for the kindness and attention shown us at Mrs
Wrights
Unknown
and having to the entire satisfaction of the Mistress and daughter
Unknown
liquidated their demands we set off for the Town
stairs in a Hack. The Coachman charged us double fare, the Porter demanded double fare for carrying our luggage to the
Watermen after the Watermen released us from the extortion of the Porter only to charge us with equal extortion or usury on
board the Steam Boat. Nevertheless we sailed with our effects at 8 O.Clock and I confess that I left London without a lingering
wish to spend another hour in the City of Cities. There are many places in England which I should have been gratified by seeing
but it was not consistent with the ulterior purpose we had in view. The passage down the Thames seventy miles was full
of interest. We passed the great London Docks where is received the Commerce of a great part of the world—We passed Green—
wich
Known throughout the World as the starting point in the reckoning of longitude. We had a fine view of the Observatory and an
immense Hospital established there. Woolwitch the point at which large ships wait for the Custom House office. Gravesend and
Margate were speedily left behind us. The latter exhibits immense fortifications of splendid execution and is also one of the
fashionable watering places. The Thames had now swelled into a broad of the sea and seemed worthy to be the
Avenue of nations to the Queen Of Cities. We now had time to look around upon our fellow passengers. It was quite ob—
vious that our boat was destined to Holland. In both the Cabins were Dutchmen speaking in their barbarous language and
otherwise easily distinguished from the more gay
x

gay

Excited with merriment or delight • Having many or showy colors • An ornament •
and spirited English tourists who comprised the greater number of passen—
gers. A Coach with a coronet and servants proved that a Lord
Unknown
was setting out upon his travels. Artists with their portfolios
folios and tourists with maps and guide books were communicative and social. The Lord was dignified and reserved. Most of the tour—
Ists were of his own age but rank seems to interpose a barrier against intercourse with them and they acquiesced in the distinction.
The Dutch Gentlemen drank coffee and smoked their fantastic pipes. I approached them by inquiries in bad French as to dis—
tances in Holland and was surprised that instead of giving me for answer the number of units or leagues they in all
ease told me how many hours were required to journey between the places concerning which I inquired sure that
then I have had abundant occasion to learn that distances in the Northern parts of the Continent are estimated sole
ly by time. Among the passengers was a Mr Baker
Unknown
of Dorchester near Boston who was travelling like ourselves for informa—
tion and pleasure. We found him an amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
man and pleasant acquaintance. I made also the acquaintance of a young
Gentleman
Unknown
a Clergyman of the English established Church. He earned my entire confidence by relating to me his sentiments
With Bishop Hobart
Unknown
whom he very much venerated in Italy. The day and evening passed pleasantly in conversation.
For a small gratuity the Steward
Unknown
of the boat furnished us with bed beds wretched enough but as good as any in the
boat although we had come on board too late to secure [ births ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: berths
. We had a restless night and awoke in the morning
within the banks of the River Meuse In Holland. Here a new country was presented. The river was upon a level with
the Country as far us we could see, and its waters were confined within its banks by great dykes the lands ad—
jacent were low and the ditches in every direction had not proved quite sufficient to protect the meadows
from inundation. Dwarf willows lined the banks of the river and drains, and the level surface which was
spread out on both sides of the river was divided into meadows. Unhealthy as it seemed to us this Country must
be it was evident that it supported a dense population. Farm houses built of brick upon the identical mod—
el of the old Dutch buildings remaining in our own State were seen at very short distances and villages containing
manufactories and distilleries gave interest to the scene. We passed The towns of Briel And Naarden [ situate ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: situated
upon
the banks of the Meuse and were then boarded by a Pilot
Unknown
who informed us that the Cholera was raging with great vio—
lence in Rotterdam but that it did not extend into the adjacent Country. A large town upon the North bank of the Meuse
and situated upon the level of the River was pointed out to us as Schiedam celebrated in America for The manu—
facture of Holland gin. Doing all proper honors to the town from whose labors I have derived so much com—
fort I now directed all my curiosity to the beautiful city of Rotterdam which was long but a few miles farther up
the river. A broad street shaded by venerable trees and built in a substantial and beautiful style crowned the bank
of the River. This street was intersected at intervals by equally spacious and beautiful streets also shaded by the same manner
and through each of which a Canal communicated with the river. The view through those streets was limited because the
whole town was built upon an entire level. Instead of the bustle and confusion observed in large commercial
towns in America here were seen no crowds, nor was any noise heard. Few persons were about the docks. Dutch wom—
en
Unknown
dressed in short gowns and petticoats with capes for covering of their heads seemed to be the only persons employed
some were doing errands, some selling fruit, some washing the doors and windows some going to market and others
returning. A soldier in a blue coat and coarse black pantaloons awaited us upon the dock and being satisfied
with the inspection of our passports suffered us to proceed. Our luggage was carried to the Custom House and
We were informed that we could have it in half an hour. We walked down the beautiful street to the “Hotel de
La Pays bas”, (The Hotel of the Low Countries.) Our Hotel was spacious and there as well as all along the streets we observed
the peculiar neatness of the Dutch HouseKeeper. The outside of their Houses, the doors windows even the side walk
and carriage way in this the most commercial street in the second Commercial city of Holland were Kept
perfectly clean almost as a parlour. One of the peculiarities which arrested our attention was the meeting at different
comes two persons arrayed in long sable coats with a black sash down their backs. Black trimmed chapeaux and black
small clothes and stockings who Knocked at the doors of the dwellings and delivered the news of the death of
some of the friends of the inhabitants of the houses. These functionaries were met so frequently as to confirm the news
which we received on going ashore that the number of deaths daily was from 50 to 60.
The Dutch shipping in the Harbor and lying at the docks was all constructed upon an uniform model and
different from that of any other commercial nation. The sterns and bows and generally the decks were entirely round and
the vessels instead of being painted were covered with a composition of tar and some other substances, which gave
the ship the appearance of being varnished. Thus finding constant subjects for curiosity we made on our way to our Hotel
Our landord had taken great pains to secure us, as the several Hotels had runners at the dock. We were grieved
that we had taken breakfast on board the Steamboat because one so much better was offered at the . Having arranged
our toilet and taken a gulp of gin to mitigate the disappointment of our Dutch host we went back to the Custom
House. The Inspector inquired in French fo which were our trunks, and having looked at them as they lay in a heap
told us the fee was twelve stivers for each trunk and on paying that amount we removed them. The alarming evidence
of the prevalence of the Cholera induced us to make our stay at Rotterdam as short as possible. It was yet an hour
before the departure of the Canalboat to Delft. That brief space we devoted to a superficial survey of the town. The
Description already given of the few streets we saw on entering the Town is applicable to the whole city. The
streets spacious and elegant have in the center of each a broad canal shaded by ancient elms planted in lines on
each side. The buildings ^are^ uniform and imposing in appearance, quiet pervaded every place and neatness and
cleanliness met us every where. In the market place we found a monument in honor of the great Scholar Erasmus
who was from here. The population of Rotterdam is about 60,000 souls.
Half a dozen cheating lying porters all of whom proposed to be more honest than their competitors secured the luggage
of those passengers who were going by boat to Delft. We followed the porters guide to the farthest point of the town where
a small boat upon the Canal was about to depart. Here we found new difficulty. We inquired the fare, and received
polite answers but neither understood the numbers or the Kind of coin mentioned. However our luggage was put in the
forward cabin and we took our places in the after cabin called the , that being the select place.
Travelling by Canal in Holland is not in all respects similar to that mode of travelling in America. Instead of one
large packet boat with a common cabin for all the passengers traversing a great distance and drawn by three or
four horses as upon the Erie Canal, the boat is small, is drawn by one horse only and travels only twelve or fourteen miles, the
Cabin has a before mentioned two apartments. The forward cabin is much the largest and in generally crowded being much the
cheapest. The or after Cabin is about eight feet square and in neither cabin can a person stand erect or have room to walk
a narrow table is permanently fixed in each cabin and upon this is always placed a box containing ing turf and a skirt
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box. Generally every man carries will his pipe and tobacco, the former being made in a manner adapted to permanent use, the latter
in a bag of leather or other pliable material, but if the passenger be not provided with these indisputable comforts
he obtains them from the Boatmen. No sooner does a passenger enter the boat then he replenishes his pipe and commen—
ces smoking and the presence of the ladies offers no objection. The sun shone brightly upon us, there was something
exciting in the novelty of the scene and the circumstances, and this excitement was not a little enhanced by our ina—
bility to converse with our boatmen or fellow passengers. I filled a long pipe and smoked my way with the others
and observed that instead of dropping the tow line when meeting a boat the line is elevated by means of a kind of
mast so as not to pass over the approaching boat. In going under a bridge this mast is lowered to the deck.
We passed through a beautiful and highly cultivated grass country, low and flat exhibiting not the slightest inequality
of surface so far as we could see—beautiful Country seats and farm houses decorate the bank of the Canal—they
are erected generally one story in height are painted white, and ^are^ of various models, all rendered cheerful and
light in appearance by the green venetian blinds of the windows and the graceful and various ornaments bestowed
upon them. At intervals of twenty or thirty rods stands what are called tea houses upon the banks of the Canal.
These are generally circular buildings containing one room only but that is spacious with large windows of
different shapes and surmounted by turrets or other ornamented roofs. The immediate banks of the Canal are covered
with grass and on each side is a row of shade trees. The Country seats and tea houses are always surrounded ex—
cept on the Canal side by beautiful groves. I have seen in the scenery for Countries having warm climates
in our theatres such edifices country seats summer houses groves tower gates &c as here presented themselves
during our excursion
Deviating from a stated or settled path • Progression beyond fix limits • Digression; wandering from a subject or main design • An expedition or journey into a distant part •
upon the Canal but I had never believed that there was any country in which these
scenes actually existed. Windmills were seen upon both sides of us throughout the whole route. We soon arrived
at a small village called the halfway place. This too exhibited though more humble the same air of com—
fort and neatness that pervaded Rotterdam. The Captain
Unknown
sans ceremonie pushed the boat to the shore and
Left us. We followed “Koffy” houses as they are called were frequent and persons of both sexes sat before the doors
in the shade of the trees sipping coffee. Talking and smoking it seemed as if we had arrived in a land where labor and
care were vanished. Coaches diligences and wagons passed us, those who rode as well as those who walked—even
Unknown of the Army riding and walking with the ladies all smoked from long pipes. The very storks which are
here cherished and therefore numerous seemed to share in the general comfort and contentment which was
so new to us. After sipping coffee and eating a cake the Captain and passengers again came on board
and we presumed our way in the same manner and through similar scenes to the place of destination
Delft. Delft is an ancient and not prepossessing town. We walked through it and went on board another boat at
the other end of the village and presumed our way to The Hague the Capitol of the Netherlands.
In passing under bridges the Dutch have not learned that if the towpath should go under the bridge, the consequence is that
some person on the bridge must throw the low line off so that it can be again fastened to the boat after the bridge is
passed. There being no locks there are no regular agents for matters of this kind, some person living near the bridge
does the service and receives from the passengers a few pence. In going under a bridge of this kind a woman
Unknown
assisted
us by carrying the rope to us from the bridge and then handed to us a small box with an orifice made to receive
the halfpence. The passengers contributed each a halfpenny and then to my astonishment instead of throwing the
box upon the tow path threw it into the Canal, the woman had left us and gone into the house immediately
after leaving the box with us. I could but be grieved that the kind soul should be put to so much trouble to re—
gain the box with the scanty treasure we had put into it. My empathy for her was agreeably relieved when I
saw her little terrier dog leap into the Canal, swim until he secured the box in his mouth and then convey it safe to his mistress.
We arrived at half past 4 O.Clock in the afternoon at The Hague, our boat as before landed us at the entrance of the city, and
the Hotel to which we had been directed (the Hotel Belle vue) was on the opposite side. We paid the porter for carrying our
luggage (which might as well have been carried by the boat) a sum equal to the boat fare from Dresden and af—
ter traversing a city of palaces reached our Hotel delighted with the romantic interest with which everything had been
invested during the day. The waiter presented to us a book in which we recorded as by law required our names,
ages, places of birth and residence, the place of our embarking the point of destination and the object of our
sojourning in the dominion of his sacred Majesty
Birth: 1792-12-06 Death: 1849-03-17
! Having complied with this requisition And delivered our pass—
ports, taken our dinner and drank as is the custom of the country a bottle of wine we promenaded in the
delightful public walk which lay immediately before our Hotel. These grounds nearly a mile long and half a
mile broad are planted with shade trees and traversed by gravel walks on the one side are a row of cottages
neatly constructed of wood and fancifully painted above are gold refreshments of all kinds. Before each of them
and inside the lofty elms were placed some fifty or sixty chairs, and Gentlemen (with their pipes) and ladies sat
enjoying their coffee in a manner which seemed to preclude all possibility of care. The drums in the farther part
[ of ]
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Reason: hole
the grounds attracted us to a drill of his majestys troops where we found a multitude of all kinds of people.
It was almost dark when we reached the Voorburgh the most fashionable street in the city where are the valen—
ces and dwellings of the aristocracy, if aristocracy there is in a city where none appear to be poor except the men—
dicant you meet in the streets. The Voorburgh is a beautiful oblong square upon the sides of which are fine dwel—
lings, in the centre shade trees under which are erected cottages for the sale of refreshments similar to those I have before
described. At one end of the oblong is an artificial lake from the bosom of which rises the palace terrace upon which situated in
a grove of elms is the Palace. All the streets of The Hague like those of Rotterdam are traversed by Canals and adorned
with shade trees. We passed the Kings Palace And Prince Fredericks
Birth: 1772-08-24 Death: 1843-12-12
and the Princess Maryanne
Birth: 1810-05-09 Death: 1883-05-29
palaces. They
differ from the Residences of the Royal and Noble families we had seen in England in their being constructed upon
the modern plan without the affectation of Gothic architecture. You can distinguish them from the dwellings
of citizens only by their greater extent. On returning to the Hotel we were joined by Mr Baker who had left us at Delft.
The “noble lord” with his retinue had also arrived and two young Englishmen a Mr. Blundel
Unknown
and Mr.
Unknown

who had come over with us in the Steamboat from London. We had offers without number of Guides Conductors
and interpreters called Commissionaires for assisting us in our further examination of the town on the morrow
But although appeared that we could not accomplish our purpose without such aid we concluded to dispense
with it and after a weary days enjoyment slept soundly our first night in Holland.
In the morning (Friday 19th July) we were early abroad. After having tried on three streets to procure
a carriage upon reasonable terms we were compelled to be content to take one without stipulating a price, and
having given our Dutch driver directions to were driven to the Police Office where we received our pass—
ports duly signed with his Majesty’s permission to visit Amsterdam. Here we saw the Palace a plain old fashioned
edifice where the Deputies of Holland (the Legislature) assemble. They were not in session during our stay in Holland.
From this place we drove to the King’s Palace in the Woods distant about two miles and a half from the city in a forest which
has been planted so long that it resembles the original forest in America. The exterior of this edifice like that of the palace
in the city is very plain but the interior exhibits much taste and magnificence, the paintings are numerous and of rare
value. The Queens apartments are finished with Egyptian Marble and furnished complete with Chinese tapestry and furniture
presented by the Emperor of China to William the 4th. The painted Chamber is a central and circular room the dome of which
is 40 feet high. The walls and ceiling are completely covered with Tawdry national paintings in the best style and the floor is of
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Mahogany. Princess Marianne’s Chamber has its walls covered with Chinese needle work with satin curtains decorated also with
the same expensive kind of work. But I must not dwell too long upon the splendors of this abode of Kings or you will think I
am losing my taste for the simple and better institutions of our own land. Returning from the palace in the woods we clambered
from basement to dome in one of the hundred windmills which are seen in the vicinity of the city. Our next excursion
Deviating from a stated or settled path • Progression beyond fix limits • Digression; wandering from a subject or main design • An expedition or journey into a distant part •
was
to the singular and unique village of Schevelin upon the seashore distant about 24 miles from the Hague. The way
is perfectly straight though an avenue of elms beeches and poplars. The path like that of all the roads in Holland is
made of a very hard brick. Schevelin is the great fishing town for the Hague. The population are unique in their
dress habits and customs. We met hundreds of women all dressed exactly alike with large plain bonnets and small
crowns, carrying baskets of fish to the town or returning with provisions purchased by the sale of their fish. All wore short
gowns and petticoats precisely of the Dutch pattern which prevailed in Albany half a century ago. But what was
not less amusing to us was the almost uninterrupted procession of small fish carts drawn each by two or three
strong dogs in harness and driven by boys who rode in the carts. Generally the animals were kind and submissive
but we were infinitely amused by a baulking team of three mastiffs who when whipped crouched, snarled at the driver
and endeavored to snatch the whip in their mouths. When either of the dogs exhibited symptoms of a disposition
to submit the others were indignant at him and directed their rage against the coward. I know that from this depic—
tion you will do these fish merchants the injustice to believe that they are poor and comfortless—nothing can be far—
ther from the truth. Many of them have secured comfortable estates, all wear a weight of awkward gold orna—
ments which no lady of fortune would think of demanding in America. These are displayed at the ears, across the
forehead and in combs. Having driven through the village of Schevelin we arrived at the watering place on the
seashore. It is not very different from that of Coney Island except that the buildings for the accommodation
of visitors are more spacious. Here the King has a pavilion. The sand beach exhibits more than an hundred
carriages constructed for bathing houses, so that a person ^desiring^ desing to bathe may ride into the surf, bathe within
the coach dress and return without being observed by any person. We took a cup of coffee at the sea side gleaned
as well as we could news from the French newspapers, promenaded the beach and then returned
to the Hague. It would amuse you greatly to see the meanness of the equipage of even the wealthiest in Holland.
Homes generally rough as if never brushed, Dutch collars, Old leather harness with rope traces and reins make
a sorry contrast even with the dull heavy coach of a Dutch burgher. Such was our establishment which
was quite equal to any I saw at the Hague. Having dismissed our Coach we next visited the Royal Museum
one of the finest I have seen. We were shown first into what is called the Chinese room Containing an enumerable num—
ber of curiosities of all sorts from China. Next into the Japanese room entirely filled with curious things of every
sort from Japan. We saw also a gun presented to the King of Holland by the Dey of Algiers
Birth: 1765 Death: 1838
. ^The model of a ^ a Dutch House
constructed altogether of tortoise shell which was made at the command of the Emperor Alexander
Birth: 1777-12-23 Death: 1825-12-01
. The builder
devoted 25 years to its construction, and dem[ and ]
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Reason: hole
ded for it 25,000 florins. The Emperor was dissatisfied with the offer
and refused to take it. After some time it was purchased at a greatly reduced price for the museum. But
gallery has works of still greater value. “The Young Bull” the chef d'oeuvre of Paul Potter a celebrated Dutch
The Wife of Rubens, and his Confessor both by Rubens. The presentation in the Temple by Rembrant. The death of [ Abel by ]
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Reason: hole

Guido, and the Schoolmasters House by Dow from which was taken the design of the school a picture
been engraved and which you doubtless recollect to have seen in on of our annals. Time would fail me to
the peculiar beauties of these and many other paintings which are exhibited in the Museum. But let it suffice that I provided
a catalogue of them all and that on some quie[ t ]
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Reason: hole
[ S ]
x

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Reason: 
unday I shall have great pleasure in going over the catalogue with you
dearest, dilatory with a travellers upon merits 7gof each as for as a memory impaired by excessive gratification
of taste will enable me to do so. Having thus seen whatever of interest Hague affords to the traveller we paid our bill
in which with great minuteness we were charged for candles, soap, eggs, cotelettes, &c and having embarked
once more upon the Canal took our course towards Leyden. The Hague contains about 40,000 inhabitants.
In going on board the Canal boat we witnessed an unsurpassed scene of parting between an old Dutchman
Unknown
and his wife
Unknown
. As he could not speak a word of French or English we could not ascertain whether he was undertaking
his perilous journey. His wife remained with him until the moment of departure and I have never seen any woman
more studiously solicitous that all should be ready, and every arrangement made for the comfort of their husband
she wept, he kept his pipe at his mouth gave her his hand and bade her goodbye but without exhibiting one
feeling of regret or of affection. As before our route lay through a succession of country seats and summer houses
and the occupants were seen enjoying their coffee as we passed. To each our Captain made a polite and
respectful obeisance and they returned the compliment. We arrived at Leyden early in the evening, not a soul of us being able to
speak Dutch I had by signs engaged rooms in one Hotel when a part of our Company had taken rooms in another. I retreated with—
out being able to make explanation or apology. I regretted very much the disappointment we had caused the good old mistress
Unknown

of the Hotel but am ashamed to say that these conscientious afflictions were completely forgotten an hour afterwards in the enjoy—
ments of the House which secured our preference. We were now five in number a party much as can not every day be boasted
of by a Dutch Inn Keeper of the plain sort in Leyden. The moving cause for the preference which we made was that the family
could speak French and Mr Blundel
Unknown
one of our party being able to talk in the same language we should be able as we
hoped to get along better. We were met at the door by the [ Maitre du ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: Maitre d’hotel
Hotel a Dutchman of stiff and respectable appearance
who raised his hat quite from his head and exhausted his whole stock of English in inquiring Our health. Two or three
stout
Unknown in short gowns and petticoats clamorously expressed in their own language the desire for directions whither to convey
our luggage, and having received information I was astonished to see them carry up the steep staircase trunks I could not
lift from the ground. They obstinately refused my aid in the process and indeed the facility with which they carried them
aloft showed it was not necessary. But there was one member of the family who soon [ atchieved ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: achieved
The conquest of all our hearts. This was the
daughter of the Maitre du Hotel a tall graceful girl of about eighteen with a blue eyes that spoke the sweetness of her disposition.
She was dressed not differently from females in our own country for the afternoon at home. She conversed in French with perfect
ease and we immediately understood that she was put forward into our noisy circle because she was the only per—
son in the house who could be made to comprehend our wants. None of our party spoke French well and neither my
Father nor I spoke it at all. But our pretty hostess had all imaginable patience in listening to our efforts to speak in
Foreign tongues, she was quick of apprehension and exhibited so much satisfaction when she had ascertained our
meaning, so much alacrity when she directed our commands to be obeyed and so much regret when obligated to aban—
don the hope of understanding us that we were all delighted and the three of us who were married men not less in love
with her than the two [ batchelors ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: bachelors
. We succeeded in obtaining a good supper of excellent coffee bread and butter, and
veal cutlets. After which our hostess brought us a bottle of the real Hollands manufactured at Schiedau and
with the aid of a long pipe for each smoker and the toddy we passed the evening in great hilarity. My Father
was so much excited that he required the influence of reverie to compose his thoughts before retiring, and after sound
execution we succeeded in explaining to [ Madmauselle ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: Mademoiselle
his desire that she would sing. she gaily and archly explained for
the first time she had spoken to us in Dutch “Ich caunicht forstaun” (I cannot understand), which by the way was the
only Dutch sentence we could understand. But the pleasures longest protracted must have an end. We returned to our good—
Page 4

soft beds and slept soundly forgetting Hostess, Hollands Canals Dykes and summer houses altogether in the morning when we arose ^early^ to set
about our purpose of seeing the town of Leyden. But how was it to be done without knowing the language of the persons to whom
we must necessarily apply for the exhibition of whatever was curious! Our Hostess did not appear and if she had
it would have been worse even than asking her to sing to require her to be our guide. But all difficulty was removed when
her brother
Unknown
a boy of 12 years old with one of the nicest faces in the world told us ^in French^ his sister had sent him for our con—
ducteur. We promptly availed ourselves of his services and found him intelligent modest and amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
. He sallied
through the streets but the town as yet being asleep except the milk women
xwomen
x
Unknown

Unknown
who were seen carrying heavy tin vessels larger than
enough to hold five pails each by a strap suspended across their shoulders. And the boys who were early abroad
playing under the trees by the side of the Canal and running races in their awkward wooden shoes—the clattering
of which upon the pavement was hardly less clamorous than the hoofs of horses. Leyden like the other town through
which we had passed had canals on all the streets crossing each other at right angles and the communica—
tion of the different parts of the town thus divided into islands is carried on over a drawbridges. Happening
as we were passing ^along a^ side street to look up I saw in a mirror affixed to the casement of the window and thus over
hanging the street the face of a very pretty woman who was in that manner taking an observation of the “English
Travellers”, ^We all go for Englishmen”^ I had before seen these mirrors so fixed but did not understand their use. I now discovered that no
respectable house is without them. They have them for their sitting rooms in both their second and first stories
of the houses and in the afternoon the Ladies place themselves, with their “work” at opposite sides of the same
window another without the necessity of looking down the two are sure to obtain a view of all that passes
in the street. An admirable invention this for taciturn people because it furnishes the means of reviving
conversation when the subject is exhausted.
An old Dutchman such we passed was employed in milking his goats. These animals abound in this Country and are very
Much cherished. Our little guide conducted us to the University and we first visited the Botanical Garden. It is far
superior to any I saw in England and indeed is celebrated as being one of the best in the world. Here is a statue of Linnaeus
Birth: 1707-05-23 Death: 1778-01-10

and an Alpine honeysuckle tree planted by Linnaeus himself and secured from the approach of visitors by an iron
frame. They showed us also a flowering ash tree planted by Boerhave. One of the greatest curiosities was the
large trunk of a tree 16 Inches in diameter in the very heart of which were found and yet remains two ^crosswise^ large Knives
such as are used for manufacturing agricultural purposes. The explanation was that in sawing the tree ^crosswise^ the saw stuck
these Knives, the joiner then sawed around them and the two parts being drawn asunder the Knives yet remain perma—
nently fixed with their hilts in the one part while the orifices in which the end of the Knives were remains in the other.
It is said by the naturalists that the phenomenon was caused by the growing together of two trees across which at their
Junction these Knives had been left. This tree with many other of the curiosities of the Country was removed by Bona—
parte
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
to the Louvre In Paris and was in 1815 restored to the Country to which it belonged
We saw also the India rubber tree and a palera tree two hundred years old.
Our walk next extended to a Roman Museum or tunnels in the centre of the city the more remarkable as it is the
only elevation to be found in or near Leyden. It is preserved as a public walk and the traveller is shown to his
sorrow the playing of fountains and jets through pipes so constructed as not to indicate their purpose
and while he is admiring the walk or the trees the spray of the fountain is cast upon him. from the summit of
of this elevation we had a fine view of the town and adjacent Country which is flat and monotonous
exhibiting villages and windmills in every direction.
The University of Leyden is one of the most renowned in Europe. We traversed (and spent our time delighted
in the ) The Libraries museums &c. In the museum of anatomical preparations was an exhibition of
the effects of age upon the human constitution. By the side of the skeleton of a man who was more than 6 Feet
high and who died at middle age is placed that of one who died at the age of 100. The contrast even in their
frames destitute of all other appurtenances showed that it was the design of Providence that the human constitu—
tion if it escape violent disease shall yield to that of age age. The sloping posterior and attenuated bones were
in painful contrast with the exact muscular skeleton of the Russian Major. What I have no doubt
will be more grateful to you to read was our visit to the Museum of Antiquities, Where are preserved the col—
lection of centuries. Ancient statues exhibiting the perfection of the Greeks and Romans is sculptures, pillars cornices
and vases exhibiting their skill in architecture. A very extensive collection of ancient curios and what was most interesting
Unknown
Par le Havre
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Benjamin J. Seward Esq
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24

14th Nassau Street
New York
Hand Shiftx

Benjamin Seward

Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
Mrs. Wm H. Seward
Auburn
New York
Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

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

[right Margin] hundreds of vases, jars and other vessels of use and luxury obtained from the
ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. No nation of Antiquity can be men—
tioned of which some relic is not found here.
We visited also the Museum of Natural History, where are preserved
specimens innumerable of animals of every description. A whole
apartment is set off for the different species of dogs, another for horses
another of cows &c &c and this is probably greatly inferior to the
Geological and Numerological cabinets which we had time only
to look through. After visiting the Town Hall, the market for the sale of flowers
and that for the sale of fruits we returned to the Hotel dismissed our youthful guide and
parting with ^Taking leave of^ him and his sister (who was still pretty in the morning though then ar—
rayed in a white short gown and black petticoat) we parted with both with regret
which it seems strange should have been provided by an acquaintance so short.
We made many promises to call and see them if we ever should come there again
although they little comprehended the utter improbability of our meeting.
This letter is closed at Geneva. We shall probably be a few days in this
vicinity and I shall endeavor to write again. We have recently travelled
so hard that my Father is not so well, but he is recruiting strength and I have
no fear that he will be well His health is improved.
I cannot tell our next destination But it may be I shall be ever
my dearest Frances your own Henry. I and Frederick are both good boys.
P.S. I will read forward &c day.

[bottom Margin] My dearest Frances, After almost uninterrupted travelling five days I that part of my trek which affords me the quaintest pleasure and