Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 6, 1833

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 6, 1833
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:lmd

student editor

Transcriber:spp:msr

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1833-08-06

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, August 6, 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: Unknown
Unknown

transcription: lmd 

revision: tap 2017-10-12

<>
Page 1

Geneva – Tuesday, August 11th, 1833. My dear Frances, I brought somewhat suddenly to a close this morning in order to send the letter by the post my
account of our sojourning at Leyden. We left that place in the middle of the day taking our places in the Canal boat to Harlaem. July 21st.
The Country through which we passed was not so highly cultivated, nor was there as much taste and munificence displayed in the
dwellings situate upon the banks of the Canal on this route as it I have before described. The forward cabin was crowded with
women and men of promiscuous condition, the Roof (After Cabin) was occupied by Ladies
Unknown
with the exception of a young Dutch
Officer
Unknown
and ourselves. The Cabin was so small that but one or two of the Gentlemen
Unknown
could find places in it. Some inquires which I
made discovered my ignorance of both Dutch and English and brought to my aid one of the Ladies who spoke some English. She
was young and intelligent and as handsome as intelligent persons need be. She apologised for attempting to speak English hav-
ing never practised it since she studied it at school. After so long a stay in Holland deprived of the opportunity of acquiring in-
formation or holding conversation with its inhabitants you will easily imagine that I did all in my power to encourage
her to exercise the great gift of tongues. When she learned that I was an American she expressed herself with great freedom
and warmth. She disliked and said that her Countrymen dislike Englishmen who visit the Continent. They are haughty and
arrogant or seem so. I had discovered very soon after entering Holland that the People are very much excited in consequence of their
war with Belgium and that the patriotic spirit is widely diffused among all classes of society. The conduct of England in refe-
rence to the Revolution by which Belgium was lost to Holland hads not been such as to conciliate the Dutch and as my fe-
male friend was a Patriot it is not improbable that this circumstance combined with other causes to strengthen her antipathy
against England. She expressed herself rapturously concerning the freedom and equality and simplicity of the American
People and her confidence in their successful accomplishment of the destinies before them. One must be as I am far away
separated by an immense ocean from the land of his birth, among the People who know only the shadow of liberty
and who venerate the Patriots of America and sigh for the introduction of similar institutions in their own countries to be able to
understand how gratifying is the praise of the wise and good for bestowed upon that land which before we never
knew how to value. Under such circumstances the individual traveller becomes the representative of his Country and
experiences in the kindness bestowed upon him the good feeling which exists toward his native land. Nor is it a
little remarkable how easily we suffer ourselves to appropriate and felicitate ourselves upon acquiring this kindness
to our own benefit and advantage just as if it were a tribute to our individual worth. We forget that we have
not achieved the liberty of our Country or established her institutions while we engross the homage intended for those
who have done both. I confess I was not slow to express my respect for King William
Birth: 1772-08-24 Death: 1843-12-12
who has done much for
his People. He is idolized by the People of all classes and it was gratifying to find that there existed no party in the
Kingdom who did not join in the applause every where bestowed upon him. While he has faithfully endeavoured
to maintain against foreign interposition the integrity of his Kingdom he has ever since his ascension of the
throne employed himself in improving the natural and social condition of his Country. They describe him as
a plain man destitute of affectation and importance who though every inch a King acts as if he were only a
citizen intrusted with power to be exercised only for the public good. My fair acquaintance with all the other
Ladies spoke very contemptuously of the Belgians. The young officer displayed a medal of pewter made to
ridicule the Belgians – the design was a hare in full flight and the motto “Dieu protege poltrons” (God
protect the poltroons. When we arrived at the Halfway house the ladies went on shore and took coffee in
the Cottage Coffee house ordering it for themselves and paying for it as if it were quite a thing of course for ladies
here to travel without Gentlemen for protectors. We arrived at Haarlem about 11 O.Clock in the evening – The
mother
Unknown
of my fair Dutch friend was waiting for her with a coach upon the dock. I waited upon her to her
place and having promised to visit her if my stay in Holland would permit and she having promised me that
she would come to America if she could we parted to meet no more. She will forget me very soon and
I notwithstanding the favorable impression she made upon me shall probably forget her after having intro-
duced her to one more aimiable and intelligent than herself. I could not but remember her during my stay
in Holland on account of the great solicitude she manifested that I should learn her language so as to be-
come better acquainted with the character and condition of her countrymen. To my surprise I found it not diffi-
cult of acquisition and I actually succeeded in learning to understand so many words as to make my most common wants
easily understood – had the instruction of my fair teacher been continued for a short time I should have become quite
a proficient – but I left Holland so soon that I have brought away no important knowledge of the language.
After obtaining ^a^ comfortable apartment in the Hotel de Alouette we had only time the same evening to make our dinner and sup-
per at the same meal. Our Landlady
Unknown
was a French woman and kept a good house but her conversation had no interest.
In the morning we went to the Cathedral (here a protestant Church) It being the Communion Sunday we had an opportunity
to witness the manner in which that ceremonial is performed as well as the ordinary service conducted. The
Cathedral is a very large and imposing building but destitute of the ornaments I have had so many occasions to de-
scribe. The only monuments were a few plain slabs with unpretending inscriptions, the floor is composed of
tombstones. Haarlaem contains a population of about 11,000 souls yet the congregation in this the principle
Church in point of dress and appearance are inferior to those of any Village Church in our own state. In
the centre of the Church they have perhaps 200 to 300 plain ancient chairs – each of which is numbered –
these are lined in the same manner that pews are with us. If I do not mistake the only pews there
are in the Church except those appropriated to public offices & officers of the Church – are free. But it
is neither the extent of the Cathedral or any thing in the appearance of the worshippers that makes the visit to
the place desirable. What excites the entire interest is the organ said to be the largest and finest
in the world. It has 8000 pipes and 68 stops, the largest pipe is 32 feet long. Travellers who are not as we
were so fortunate as to arrive at Harlaem so as to hear the organ during service on Sunday elicit it[ s ]
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tones by a contribution of two or three guilders to the bellows blower
Unknown
and a ducat to the organist
Unknown
. The ser-
vice was commenced by singing a psalm – the leader of the music being the Clerk
Unknown
who wears a black
sash down his back and occupies a desk in front of the pulpit. Then we had prayer and reading and
a sermon delivered in the most animated manner by a Clergyman
Unknown
habited in a surplice. Of all this impor-
tant matter we understood not one word and the tones of the organ were so much subdued that during a[ ll ]
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this part of the service we derived very little gratification from that source. The Communicants receive
the sacred elements sitting at long tables in the Church as in the Presbyterian Church in America and the
ordinance was administered in the same manner. When all was closed the organ unaccompan[ ied ]
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played a voluntary in tones that filled the vaulted roof. We listened to it with awe and reverence. And left the
Church regretting that we had heard so little of the powers of this great instrument. Churches in Holland resem-
ble those built in America sixty or seventy years ago. A canopy is suspended over the Preachers head and
generally so near it as almost to rest upon him. Contributions are collected in small bags suspended
at the end of a long staff. In front of the Cathedral is a monument to a native of that Town who the stone
asserts was the inventor of the art of Printing. I found however that the honor of the discovery is contested
by two or three individuals
xindividuals
x
Unknown

Unknown
. Certain it is however that some of the first printed papers are preserved in
the town hall at Harlaem.
After Church we visited another Palace in the Wood so called because located in the midst of a large
and beautiful grove used as a public promenade. The palace was built by Mr Hope
Birth: 1735 Death: 1811
the author
Birth: 1769 Death: 1831

of that most powerful most wonderful work Anastasius
Author: Thomas Hope Publisher: J. & J. Harper Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1831
, but afterwards was purchased by the state
and has ever since been a Royal palace. Its construction is upon the Grecian Model. We went through
the superb apartments and found them far more beautiful than those at the Hague. One of the fireplaces
is an antique excavated from Pompeii and was purchased by Mr Hope at the price of 10,000 flor-
ins. The paintings here are not equal to those in the palace at the Hague. Having traversed the whole
from the throne to the bedroom of the Princess
Birth: 1774 Death: 1837
and paid our two guilders as was demanded we returned
to the town. Here a novel difficulty arose, to relate which I must begin another page tomorrow morning.
Page 2

Desirous to see as much as possible of the town without waiting too long we took a path from the woods different from that by
which we went to the palace and entered the town by a different street. We now found it impossible to find the street
in which our Hotel was situated. To complete the embarassment we neither knew the name of the street nor remem-
bered the name of our Hotel or our Hostess. The canals, shade trees and draw bridges caused all the streets to
appear alike. Ignorant of the points of compass we could obtain no aid from the bright sun above our heads
and unable to speak Dutch or understand it we could obtain none from the dozen obliging persons
Unknown
who ass-
sisted us successively as guides. I could only describe our lodgings in bad French as a Hotel kept by a French
lady where the diligence from Amsterdam stopped. This was insufficient and only brought us to the bureau
or Office of the Diligence which it being Sunday was closed. Occasionally the Grand Cathedral was seen
towering above the town. Thither we for half a dozen times directed our steps and then sought our way from
that as a starting point but the Cathedral had more fronts than Janus had faces and we only walked
in a circle – returning every time to the point from which we started. We found nothing by which we could
recollect the street in which we belonged. After wandering two hours dismissing half a dozen obliging per-
sons who rendered us gratuitously their unavailing services and being much chagrined that we had lost our
way in a town containing so small a population we encountered a Frenchman
Unknown
whom I accosted in the
best French I was able to command with an inquiry for the Hotel kept by the French Lady. My despair
was complete when in reply he asked me “if I could speak French”. God knows what language he
thought I had been addressed to him. However our troubles were now near a close. I succeeded in making
him understand that “une Femme Francois was Martresse du Hotel” and he being a fellow lodger imme-
diately inquired if it were the Hotel de Allouette”. The name of Alouette was oil and wine poured into
our hearts. We had but to turn one corner and the sign of the swallow (Alouette) smiled upon us. We had
been travelling in a circle about it for the last hour. My father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
as if there were an impeachment of our
understanding in the circumstance of our being lost in a foreign town where we were ignorant of the ^situation of the streets^ lan-
guage and did not understand the language of the inhabitants insisted that we should conceal the
circumstance of from our fellow travellers
Unknown
. I consented to do so although I differed from him as to the necessity
of that course – so you my dear Frances are the first depository of the important secret. During our peregri-
nations the Diligence had departed and the other Gentlemen having waited for us we procured an
open carriage with two horses with which we set off immediately after a hasty dinner for Amster-
dam — Our road like all the roads in Holland was level and paved with very small hard brick set upon edge.
The Country was not interesting until we approached the great City but we had a view on the one side of the
River Yaud the other of the Zuyder Zee an immense Lake connected with the ocean and at the head ^on the south side^ of which Am-
sterdam is located. It was 5 O.Clock in the afternoon when we arrived at the Commecial Metropolis of the
Netherlands. It is in dimensions and population equal to New York but very inferior in appearance.
The streets are very narrow – the side walks are so small that the passage on foot is always in the
common carriage way. Standing upon ground reclaimed from the ocean the whole city is built upon piles
(immense timbers driven end foremost into the earth, the houses are built so as to project at the top into
the streets – so that the street is wider than the space between the upper part of the houses thus in a great de-
gree excluding the sun. The shops in the streets were open. The streets were crowded by women children
and men as if the whole population were abroad and the dresses were unique. The short gown and petticoat
and the cap with fantastical gold and silver ornaments for the head ears and arms distinguish the
Dutch women from all others. Our misfortunes at Harlaem induced us to consent without reluctance to take up our
abode in the American Hotel which had been recommended to us, but our English Gentlemen under the influence
of natural predilection insisted upon going to the English Hotel. While we were yet, discussing the point the carriage
arrived at the Hotel to which we proposed to stop when we discovered upon one side of the door the words "American
Hotel" and on the other the words English Hotel. Both our recommendations it appeared concurred in the same
house and the dispute being thus settled by a discovery that there was nothing to dispute about we surren-
dered our baggage to the porter
Unknown
while a Chambermaid
Unknown
who spoke English with tolerable fluency showed
us our apartments. They were dirty and the furniture was old and shabby — the entrance to the Coffee room
completed our conviction that we were in the meanest lodgings we had found in our travels. Nevertheless
the English language was grateful to us and we longed to see some persons who could give us some
account of our own land never before so dear to us as then it was felt to be. The Coffee room economi-
cally was made to serve two purposes – eating and amusement – one table being spread with a ^white^ cloth
for the former purpose — the other dressed in green cloth offered us the latter by way of billiards —
It being Sunday a fine opportunity was offered to see the Churches. We found a protestant Dutch reformed
Congregation worshipping in the New Church (New Kerck). The organ one of the best in the world is said at Amsterdam
to be only inferior to that we had seen in the morning at Leyden ^Harlaem^. We listened to its tones during the performance of one psalm
and then directed our course to the Ouden Kirk (the Old Church). Both these edifices are remarkable for their great extent,
[ th ]
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e splendor of their painted windows and the great number of monuments of distinguished persons buried there.
I bestowed myself sans ceremonies into one of the chairs in the area of the Cathedral and I was soon made to un-
derstand by the surprise exhibited by the Sexton
Unknown
and the neighboring worshippers
Unknown
that I had taken a privile-
ged seat. Of course I vacated the place as soon as I discovered my title was questioned and left the Church stop-
ping long enough to make a memorandum in my note book of one monument, that which is consecrated
to the memory of Jacob Baron de Petersen
Birth: 1703-03-23 Death: 1780-01-20
(probably one of the relatives of the Petersens
Unknown
in Owasco) of whom
the Latin inscription recites that he died a Batchelor in 1720. Extending our promenade to the Exchange we were
amused by a new kind of vehicle which was met in every street. It consists of a coach body set upon sleigh
[ r ]
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unners and drawn by one horse. This is the most common hackney carriage in use there. The interior
of the vehicle generally is finished in the best style the exterior is plain – the horse is harnessed in the most
shabby ragged manner with rope reins and traces. The Driver of the vehicle walks, and the carriage
of course never goes more rapidly. Our dinner was in keeping with the meanness of the house. We called
for ham and eggs which we supposed would be served to us in something like the manner we get that luxu-
ry in America. When it came upon the table no apology was made though the ham was mere pork. Even
good fried pork would have been good but it was not only not as good as Mrs Eleazer Hill
Birth: 1796 Death: 1863-04-22
's pork but
was even inferior to our own which you know Grandma Miller
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
says is good enough for our family.
My inquires resulted in the satisfactory information that Mr Cattermole was an Englishman and
that neither he nor any of his domestics had ever been in America. We found a few Americans
Unknown
there
but they were the most stupid beings I ever saw — they were very common captains of trading vessels
At 4 O.Clock the next morning we were on our way to the unique and interesting village of Broeck. We
crossed the dykes or embankment built around the city to protect it from the floods of the ocean. Am-
sterdam with all its wealth and population is exposed to inundation from the sea it being in fact lo-
cated four feet below the surface of the sea. The cellars are built with cement which renders them water-
proof. Having crossed the River Y (which is larger than the Thames at London) in a ferry boat we took a calashe
upon the opposite side. While this was being prepared we went to take a view of the Grand Canal 72 miles
Page 3

long which bears the trade of Amsterdam to the sea. This Canal is 100 feet wide and 25 feet deep and was constructed at immense
expense to avoid the dangerous navigation of the Zuydersee the natural channel of communication with the German
Ocean — We traversed a part of our road to Broeck upon the Bank of the Canal and met many merchant ships
of the largest size. Most of these were Dutch ships built upon the peculiar model I have before described, several
were English vessels from New Castle loaded with coal and we had the pleasure to see the stars and stripes,
of our own Country at the Masts of others. We examined the lock at the end of the Canal ^opposite Amsterdam^ . It was of workman-
ship not inferior to the locks upon the Erie Canal but what excited our astonishment was that it was
built upon piles of wood. Along our route we had abundant occasion to witness the industry and per-
severance of the Dutch People. The River Y may be regarded as a branch of the sea. and Besides what has been
already obtained from the water the inhabitants are busily employed in rescuing more land — The operation is carried on by inclo-
sing with a mound of earth and rubbish the tract intended to be reclaimed (except at one point). They then proceeded assid-
uously to fill up the area and a few years only elapse before garden orchards or dwellings occupy ground before
covered with water. The Country through which we passed was intersected in every direction by small canals
and ditches for draining the land — on the banks of these are placed windmills with forcing pumps by the
application of which the water collected in the small drains is conveyed into the Grand Canal – the double
purpose being thus accomplished – first of supplying the Grand Canal and next of keeping the adjacent
lands dry enough for cultivation. In all the part of Holland we have yet seen the only species of Agri-
culture carried on is the raising of cattle — and this is done with great success. The Herds of cows oxen
and sheep are innumerable — and the butter manufactured here forms a grand object of trade with Great Britain
We passed also a great many dairies and not infrequently loads of hundreds of Dutch Cheeses.
From several places upon the dykes the road being frequently carried along their summit we had a fine
view of Amsterdam which presents a beautiful front on the River Y. A few years ago the dykes on the sea
side gave way and the water of the Ocean spread immediately over the whole surface of the Country sixty miles in
land sweeping before it cattle and crops and often dwelling houses. It ^The deluge^ was arrested by the dyke immediate-
ly in front of Amsterdam — The desolation was disastrous but fortunately none or a few lives only were lost
The people of Amsterdam devoted themselves for two or three days to rescuing the inhabitants from the flood
by means of small boats which they rowed to the very windows of the upper part of the Houses where the
affrighted sufferers had taken refuge. Constant care and watchfulness isare required to preserve the canals and
dykes in order to prevent the occurrence of similar disasters and it is the industry and ability of the Kin[ g ]
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in this respect which does more I was assured than any other of his many good qualities to secure to him
the attachment of the People. Our guide
Unknown
a Hollander who speaks English very well described to us the
universal happiness of the People where the King (Stadtholder) as he was there called) was restored to the
throne and a termination was given to the exactions of Bonaparte
Birth: 1778-09-02 Death: 1846-07-25
. There's perhaps no country in the
world where there is in proportion more wealth than in Holland. This Bonaparte well knew and
he failed not to make the People contribute largely to the funds which were required in the provi-
tion of his stupendous projects. I could easily [ im ]
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agine that it must have been a day of universal ju[ bilee ]
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when their own King returned once more to t[ heir ]
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[ shores ]
x

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to reestablish the reign of peace and liberty.
But I detain you too long on the way to ou[ r ]
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[ desti ]
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nation. Two hours brought us to the most singular spo[ t ]
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ever seen. This was the village of Broeck. [ I ]
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[ t ]
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[ co ]
x

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nsists of about 200 to 300 dwellings, most of them one a[ nd ]
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half stones in height, none more than two [ st ]
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[ one ]
x

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s — occupied by families who live secluded from the world in the [ settle- ]
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ment of estates which have been hereditary for centuries. A Community in fact which holds no intercourse out of its ow[ n ]
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borders. We stopped at a hotel (the only one there) which is on the road side. There we left our horses and went into the interio[ r ]
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of the village. No language can enable you to conceive the neatness and elegance of the village To avoid all possibility of
their being annoyed by dirt the streets are mere footpaths not one of which is wide enough to admit a carriage
of any kind. Horses if the inhabitants own any are kept in the adjacent Country and never brought nearer
the village than the Inn on the road where we left our conveyance. Each house has a garden and court-
yard, most of them of course very small but exhibiting more of taste and elegance than the finest we saw in England.
Indeed the clean tidy dwellings seemed to be placed in a bed of flowers. The front doors are never opened
except when some one in the family is married or buried — and the shoes of domestics are always left at
the kitchen door when they enter. In the whole of this unique town and we traversed every street (or
rather every lane and avenue we saw not one object offensive to any sense or taste. In lieu of streets
the village is intersected by diminutive canals, none of which is large enough for any craft but a skiff. The
paths which serve as streets cross these canals upon very small draw bridges and whatever that is de-
nied cannot be brought in or out of the village by the hands only is borne in these small boats.
Generally the houses are built in a plain manner but some are in the richest cottage style. Although it was
now seven or eight O clock we met very few of the inhabitants. One of these was an idiot girl
Unknown
who
insisted upon kissing us a compliment from which I obtained my deliverance by giving her a few stivers.
Another was the only fisherman
Unknown
in the town whose establishment was as unique as the rest. The pavement
of the narrow streets were constructed in a fanciful manner consisting of figures like those of a carpet
made by the variegated forms of bricks white black and red. A small artificial lake with a summer
house like a Chinese pagoda supplies or is rather the reservoir of the numerous little canals I have
mentioned. Almost every dwelling has a beautiful summer house in a garden. And as trees would if
suffered to grow in their natural shape occupy too much space the fine elms apple trees and others
are all formed into trellices. Over the gates of the Court yards or gardens is often seen an inscription – one
of which I noted as expressive of the purposes of all "Vrede Zij Denningang" In English "Peace be to him that
enters here" – Over the doors of the houses is engraved or printed the date of their construction and rebuild-
ing–" Gervacht Anno 1596 verminen Anno 1669". Built in 1596 and rebuilt in 1669. We remarked a beautiful wreath
of flowers and roses suspended over one of the doors and inquiring the meaning learned that it signified that
the Lady
Unknown
of the Mansion had happily given birth to another inhabitant
Unknown
of the village. The only public build-
ings in the village are a Concert room and a Church. The former was simple in its construction but beautifully
located in a grove. The latter was decorated in a far more expensive style than any ^other^ we saw in Holland.
Chairs were arranged as seats, a fine organ expensively ornamented, painted glass in the windows.
Bibles richly gilt in silver clasps and a pulpit built of Ebony were among the luxuries displayed
to our admiration. We were assured by our guide that the people owning the property here refuse to sell
any and in that way preserve themselves against the intrusion of new residents. Their only intercourse
with Amsterdam is to loan their money and receive interest. They maintain their own poor, regulate har-
moniously all their concerns and an instance is not recollected in which it has transpired that a
quarrel existed between any of the inhabitants. I never see any such quiet peaceful scene but I fancy the
happiness you and I might enjoy there with our dear little boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
. I could have wept from the mere force
with which this association sent back my thoughts and wishes and recollections to you and them in the soli-
tude to which thank God for only a brief season I have left you –
Page 4

We forced ourselves away from this delightful scene and on our return to Amsterdam devoted the ^residue of the^ morning to a walk
through the Museum Royal. The Amste exhibition is ^an^ extensive collection of paintings many by the first masters, some
of them were carried by Bonaparte to Paris and on his downfall were restored to Holland – but for their
respective merits I must refer you to my catalogue with the notes I made therein at the time which unfor-
tunately is left in my trunk behind me. It will afford us the subject of a good long conversation when
I shall be with you once more never again to be separated by an ocean –
From the Museum we next proceeded to the Palace Royal an immense edifice in the centre of the town
built originally for a City Hall but subsequently presented to the Government when Louis Bonaparte
held his short and unhappy reign in Holland. The exterior is in the Grecian style, the immense front is sur-
mounted by an entablature or group of statuary, allegorical of the City the River Y. and the river Amstel
upon the confluence of which rivers the city is placed. At one end is a Colossal statue of Atlas bearing
the world upon his shoulders. Immediately upon entering the Palace a book was presented in which
we were required to record our names and residences. Stopping a moment to admire a marble
statue of Ignatius Loyola the founder of the order of Jesuits a discussion somewhat too warm occurred
between our guide and myself not about I Ignatius nor yet about the Jesuits but about the lovely Hor-
tense Beauharais
Birth: 1783-04-10 Death: 1837-10-05
who as wife of Louis Bonaparte had played the queen in this palace and
who I maintained was a virtuous woman while he with the greater advantage of having lived
upon the spot but the greater disadvantage of i[ r ]
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rational prejudices against the whole Bonaparte
family maintained was the mistress of her Father in law
Birth: 1746-03-29 Death: 1785-02-24
and brother in law Napoleon
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
.
It was certainly an interesting place and excited a thousand reflections, of the most mixed complection when I found
myself in the sitting room of Hortense Beauharnais still decorated with the same furniture which she had provided
in the anticipation of a long and happy reign as Queen of Holland. But instead of yielding to those reflections like a
dutiful husband as Heaven knows I ought to be I busied myself in making notes for your benefit of the
garniture of the Chambers. Hortenses sitting room has hangings of yellow satin. The sofa and chairs
upon the former of which I sate while taking my notes are of the same color and material. Her bed
room is furnished in blue silk. In both these rooms the walls instead of being painted or covered with paper
are covered with silk of the colors respectively which I have mentioned. Her bathing room was plain
white. King Louis bed room is furnished in yellow silk. His Audience Chamber in green – and
contains many splendid paintings most of them illustrative of Great Roman characters but one of
them of much excellence is the Napoleon's Battle of the Pyramids. The Chapel has a group of fine
statuary symbolic of the vision of the Yaud and the Amstel. In the small or more private dressing
room of the Royal pair are some very fine sculpture pieces particularly one of Moses expounding
the law to the Elders. The Grand Dining room is 130 feet in long and is furnished entirely
with marble
The Throne room is finished off with crimson satin and is very splendid. Sitting for a moment in
the throne which Louis and above all which ^Napoleon^ Bonaparte himself had occupied I could not
suppress the aspiration that like the present wise and good King William his successors
might have good sense enough to preserve unimpaired the tapestry and garniture of this
Hall which although it tells of the conquest of the Country reflects no disgrace since to have
successfully resisted the Conqueror would have been to fight against destiny. The Grand Ball
room is 130 feet long 100 feet high to the dome and 60 feet wide and is built of marble. It is decorated with fine stat-uary among which is the figure of Atlas (a favorite of the Dutch) bearing a beautifully colored globe with
the different continents indicated by lines. The great heights of this apartment which would otherwise be
disproportioned is rendered agreeable by two galleries supported by pillars, the first Ionic the second
Corinthian. From these galleries are displayed flags taken from different nations principally from the
Spaniards.

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The room is lighted by 8 large glass chandelier each containing twenty
four lamps. The hangings of the room are of crimson and damask.
We ascended from this magnificent chamber to the dome which
furnished us a magnificent view of the City and the surrounding
Country, the Y. the Amstel and the Zuyder Zee. The view embraced
the Country around Utrecht the tower at which city was distincly
seen. In the steeple of the Palace are the bells which ring a chime
every quarter of an hour. The stupendous fabric of this palace
was built on 13659 piles driven into the ground each of which
is 100 feet long – and the building of it occupied twenty four years
Let us descend my dearest from this great elevation and parting
at the floor of the palace we will next meet in a place where
a King has dwelt but in apartments much more humble apar-
ments which that monarch condescended to occupy was a long time unknown
and unhonored thereby to establish upon firm foundations the greatest
throne in Modern Europe. My father has entirely recovered from the illness
mentioned in my last letter. My love to all especially my dear little boys
whom Heaven guard! Adieu my dearest!
B. J. S.
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
will read forward –
Geneva 7 August 1833.
Benjamin J. Seward Esq.
146 Nassau Street.
New York.
GENEVA
8 Aout 1833
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SUISSE PAR FERNEY
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Frances Seward

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