Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, October 24, 1859

  • Posted on: 10 December 2021
  • By: admin
Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, October 24, 1859



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, October 24, 1859

action: sent

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

location: Vienna, Austria

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: msf 

revision: zz 2021-02-20


Page 1


Editorial Note

William Henry Seward’s series of travel letters in 1859 are organized and listed by the date of each entry.
Vienna October 24, 1859.
My dear Fanny,
I shall not forget that you will as a
girl and a child be interested more in the manner of my
reception at Court here than in the grave matters of the
dialogues. At 12 Mr Jones
Birth: 1811-10-07 Death: 1878-03-24
the American Ambassador
called for Mr Winthrop
Birth: 1834-12-07 Death: 1905-06-05
and myself in his state car-
riage. We repaired first to Prince Esterhazys
Birth: 1786-03-11 Death: 1866-11-21
, a
magnate of the empire. He is a Gentleman of immense
wealth, a feudal prince. His palace is one
of vast dimensions. We ascended to the third story.
He is old and lives so high so as to see better.
Perhaps he may think being rather deaf that he
heard better there. We found a fine drawing
room elegantly furnished. I was struck with
fine marble busts of Napoleon 1st
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
and Maria
Birth: 1791-12-12 Death: 1847-12-17
, and a fine portrait of Prince Metternich
Birth: 1773-05-15 Death: 1859-06-11

the absolute, of all which persons Prince Esterhazy
was a contemporary. He came to us a spirited
affable loquacious old man. He discussed the
affairs of the empire with us freely frankly
and loquaciously, scarcely allowing us to speak.
It is sad to think that he sees dangers all
Page 2

He betrayed rather than admitted a conviction
that there was a necessity for reform to prevent
revolution. He told us of the advice he gives the
Secretary of State
Birth: 1806-07-17 Death: 1899-02-26
and the Emperor
Birth: 1830-08-18 Death: 1916-11-21
. Would the Emperor
be likely to take it? If he does not he has
a stormy career before him.
From Prince Esterhazys Mr Jones leaving
us Mr Winthrop and I proceeded to the palace.
Sentinels opened for us at the door. Troops
and with martial music were treading the
streets and Court. An officer
showed us up
stairs, where in a large antechamber were
stationed guards. We laid down great coats
and canes entered another antechamber
guards — a third, the great officers of the
body guard — magnificent in their uniforms
and equipments. A chamberlain
asked us who
we were and whom we came to see "The
Emperor by appointment Mr Seward and Mr
Winthrop from the United States. He reported
to an inner chamber. Presently the door opened
There stood we entered. The Chamberlain left
There stood a young man about 28 or 29
Page 3

erect, a military young man most decidedly, dress-
ed in the ^grey^ uniform of some Austrian Corps. He
said in French that he was happy to see us
and welcome us to Vienna, I replied in French
that being travelers in Europe, it was of course
that we must visit the Austrian empire that having
been already kindly received by his distinguished
Secretary of State that it now afforded us a
very great pleasure to pebe permitted to pay
our respects to his Majesty, that an honor of which
we were deeply serville:HYou have traveled
much ^widely^ in Europe" he replied, Ma in a questioning
manner. Mr Winthrop, "Mr Seward my companion
has traveled in the East, I only in Europe
He has well expressed our common feelings
on this occasion. I may perhaps add for
both of us that we have been been deeply
impressed with the interesting objects ^and monuments^ we we
have seen in Austria especially with the
monuments of Maria Theresa
Birth: 1717-05-13 Death: 1780-11-29
whose fame is
known throughout the world —". "Yes, but you
have a great country at home, America is
a very interesting country indeed —"It is a
Page 4

great country I replied, but as yet a new
one. All things here interest by by their antiquity
"You remain some t No, but, America is a very
great country a very beautiful country I
hear. You re Do you remain some time
in Vienna?" No, I am in Congress and must
be at home the first of December. My friend Mr
Winthrop will stay longer —" Mr Winthrop "I am detained
for some time here by the illness of a child
Birth: 1838-05-13 Death: 1921-09-28
." (Emperor)
You are in the Senate also?" No your majesty
It is eight years since I was in Congress — (I) But
he will return to public life" — (Emperor) — Public
affairs are very interesting in the United States.
I hope you will see whatever Vienna affords that
is interesting. (I) I am already quite deeply
interested. I have looked with wonder and
admiration on your great Rail Road — from Vienna
to Trieste. Emperor "Ah you like it." Yes it is
a stupendous work. "I am glad that you like
it. I regret your stay is so short in Vienna. Do you
leave Vienna very very soon?" I leave Vienna
for Trieste tomorrow morning. Will you suffer me
to congratulate your Majesty on the establishment
of Peace?" Oh yes it is very well. Here his
Page 5

Majesty looked as if to inquire whether there was more
to be said. Mr Winthrop begged to express good wishes
for the health and prosperity of the Majesty and the
prosperity of his empire. And thereupon the Emperor again
wishing me a pleasant and safe return and wishing
for Mr Winthrop the steady restoration of his child and
hoping that he might enjoy his visit here — fill bowed
slightly to us — and we of course more profoundly to
him, and we retired to make way for other
audiences of more importance. After leaving the
palace we called on Count Baron Bruck
Birth: 1798-10-18 Death: 1860-04-23

the Minister of Finance and found him cheerful
and buoyant notwithstanding the sad condition of
the finances. I avoided touching at all on
Austrian affairs with in my audience. It was only
on Saturday that the Cabinet had an explosion. One
Birth: 1811-11-26 Death: 1892-07-30
who was very popular resigned, and
Birth: 1808-08-25 Death: 1884-06-15
who was very odious was dismissed.
Austria is full of discontents. Hungary on one
side and Venice on the other are little better than
seditious. I confess that I do not think things
will go on long without a serious disturbance in the
empire. If finance is deranged and taxes oppressive the other
provinces will become disaffected. In short the time has
come when constitutions must be conceded or there will
be revolution. I think the young emperor is brave. He
Page 6

anticipates the use of the sword and to be calculating
to rely on it. I think that it will prove that the
sword cannot extirpate the disease. When Italy
shall next move I look to see her find sympathy
rather than oppression in Germany itself. How strange
how portentous the fact is, that this youthful emper-
or has never been seen in the costume of a civilian;
alw but always in that of a soldier. His army
is faithful to him now, but the empire is being
exhausted in supplying their demands. All is
martial every where. One third or one half of the
passengers on the rail road are officers. They
are consuming the substance of a hardy vigorous
laborious people.