Letter from William Henry Seward to Frederick William Seward, May 4, 1871

  • Posted on: 9 May 2018
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frederick William Seward, May 4, 1871
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:dxt

student editor

Transcriber:spp:crb

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1871-05-04

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frederick William Seward, May 4, 1871

action: sent

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

location:
Unknown

receiver: Frederick Seward
Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25

location: Unknown
Unknown

transcription: dxt 

revision: tap 2018-05-04

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Page 1

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Editorial Note

Written by Olive Risley Seward for William H. Seward
Red Sea May 4 1871
My dear Frederick
Our voyage on the
Indian Ocean or rather across
the Arabian sea was perfectly
smooth and rendered sufficiently
cool by Northern breezes until
we came to anchor in the
little harbor of Aden on the
coast of Arabia. There the heat
became intolerable. The Governor
Birth: 1818 Death: 1885-06-28

a most excellent gentleman
speedily took us off and en-
tertained us at lunch after
which he drove us over every
practicable road on the island
which is nothing more nor
less than an extinct volcano
The hollow basin which must
for ages have held the burning
mineral mass, is now a
bed a mile or two in diameter
Page 2

with a mountain rim six-
teen hundred feet high with
a sharp but irregular crust
Places on the summit of
these hills command the
center of the crater and the
encircling sea equally.
The half savage population
of the town, in the crater,
is thus held in constant
espionage while no foreign
enemy can cross the forti-
fied natural escarpment
so well has Great Britain
secured the key of India
Arden contains forty thousand
people of whom one half
are Arabs and dusky Jews
and the other half jet
black savages from Somalia
on the African coast. Thus
far in our voyage up
the Red Sea we have
seen only Mocha and that
showed us its minarets only
Page 3

through a spy glass. Thus far in
our voyage up the Red We
have passed Djedda and we
have a promise of seeing
this afternoon the mountain
range of which Sinai and
Horeb are the most prominent
peaks. On the African side
only barren sandy plains in
Somalia and the Elba
mountains of Nubia. We quite
dispair of finding any of the
chariot wheels of Pharaohs
hosts since however it may
have been in his time the
channel of the Red Sea
is far from either shore and
unfathomable. We expect
to arrive a[ t ]
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Supplied

Reason: 
Suez tomorrow
and hope to find a train
in the same day for Cairo
The mail which is car-
ried by this boat must
be made up on board today
Page 4

and cannot wait for letters
written at Suez or Cairo
The Pyramids can be seen
from the suburbs of Ghiza
on the left bank of the
Nile opposite Cairo and
can be visited easily in
one day We suppose that
the voyage on the upper Nile
necessary to see Thebes Luxor
and the antiquities will be
impracticable at this season
A week will therefore
sufice us to see the Suez
Canal, Cairo the Pyramids
and Alexandria. Two
weeks will suffice for
Palestine and then we
shall make our way
rapidly to Constantinople
We begin to reckon upon
an end our travels with–
in about three months
We arrive at that result
Page 5

by two very fair processes
of induction. Happening to
inquire our longitude today
I found it 33° East Le.
This added to 57° West from
Greenwich which is the long–
itude of New York. I find
makes only one quarter of the
circumference of the globe
yet remaining for us to tra–
verse as we have made al–
ready the other 270° As 270°
is to 9 months so is 90° to 3
months. Again in nine
months we have actually
traveled twenty seven thou–
sand miles an average of
one hundred miles a day
From Cairo to New York
taking the way of travel
is six thousand five hundred
miles which at the rate
of a hundred miles a day
would require sixty days
Page 6

days leaving twenty five days
margin
Having no destination
in view beyond Constantinople
at present our letters may
be address there until we
give a new direction.
We are all well and
desire to be remembered with
affection
Your affectionate father
William H. Seward
by O. R. S.