Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 1, 1871

  • Posted on: 10 May 2018
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Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 1, 1871
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:obm

student editor

Transcriber:spp:lmd

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1871-08-01

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Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 1, 1871

action: sent

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

location: Rome, Italy

receiver: William Seward
Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29

location: Unknown
Unknown

transcription: obm 

revision: crb 2018-03-28

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Page 1

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Editorial Note

Written by Olive Risley Seward for William H. Seward
Rome, August 1, 1871
My dear William,
Our visit at Venice
was the most satisfactory of all
our achievements of travel. Al-
though we found in the consulate
an incumbent
Birth: 1793
eight years older
than myself, and of course
expected nothing, and expected
little from him. We found the
examination of Venice entirely
practicable within the three
days we alloted to it. It is
well to see Venice for although
Page 2

it is of Italy, it is a specialty
of itself almost as different
from other Italian cities, as the
Italian language, based
upon the original Latin
differs from the Portuguese
Spanish and other dialects,
derived from the same tongue
Venice though near to Greece
and the province of ancient
Rome borrowed no theory from
those states; it was the begining
of modern Italy, finished
through not left obscure
when the rest of Italy
Page 3

revived. Venice though
beautiful and far less dilapidated
than we are accustomed to suppose,
is a silent, and therefore seems
to a stranger a sad city. The
reason is that the people
live and transact business
on the land, while the
visitor in search of monuments
or curiosities always moves
by canal. We left Venice
on Wednesday morning
and spent 3 nights and
2 days at Florence, the most
beautiful and graceful
city in the world, though
Page 4

I suppose Paris before the
great revolution was an
exception. The churches
and galeries afforded
an abundant occupation.
We count it something to have
seen the house and the
grave of Michel Angelo
and the home of Dante.
We found only Mr. Wurtz
Birth: 1843-03-26 Death: 1928-01-25

at Florence, but Mr Eyer
Unknown
,
the American banker,
acting as consul made
our soujurn sufficiently
agreeable to make it a
struggle for us to leave,
Page 5

The Government of Italy
is in a transition state.
It is nominally at Rome
but actually it is on the
road moving between the
old and the new capitals,
The King
Birth: 1820-03-14 Death: 1878-01-09
is at neither place
nor on the road, but is
enjoying the summer
in the country. We came
to Rome on Saturday
night, our labors are
insessant and inexhaustable.
We have done the coleseum
the capital, St. Peters,
Page 6

St. Paul’s, and I know
not how many other
Saint’s churches. The
Vatican
in part, and I
know not how many other
museums. Have seen and
renewed my former acquaintance
with Antonelli
Birth: 1806-04-02 Death: 1876-11-06
, and we
are to present ourselves
to the Pope
Birth: 1792-05-13 Death: 1878-02-07
tomorrow,
while I have already exchanged
visits with the Italian
minister of Foreign Affairs
Birth: 1829-01-20 Death: 1914-11-24
.
We shall expect to leave for
Naples on Sunday next
the 7th of August or on
Page 7

Monday at farthest.
Florence seems to be as
fresh as Venice is fading.
The wonder as to the latter
is that so much magnificence
should ever fade, and as for
the former the wonder is
that so much beauty as the
Medici created can remain
fresh so long. Rome is totally
unlike either Venice or
Florence. It is majestic,
imposing, grave, as becomes
the seat of ancient empire
and the foundation instruction of mankind a new
Page 8

in a new and pure religion.
At the same time it has
gathered and preserved
the relics of ancient art
and the treasures of modern
art, and exhibits a store
of both which is equally
equally wonderful and
inexhaustable. Rome stinted
in her political growth by
the concentrated dogmatism
of the whole Catholic world,
is in po ^a^ political condition
of infancy, yet Rome enjoys
the respect and sympathy
of the whole world.
Page 9

Art has acquired for Rome
the ^moral^ ascendancy which her
compliance with the superstitions
of the church, threaten to deprive
her of. But at all this I can
only hint, we will talk it all
over when we meet, which I
still continue to hope
will be as early as the
equinox.
Affectionately your
father,—
William H. Seward.
by Olive
Birth: 1844-07-15 Death: 1908-11-27

I am feeling some what worn by fatigue
in this climate which would be unendurable
Page 10

except for my recent
ex-
perience in India and on the
Nile. But all the friends
who knew me here in 1859 flatter
me with the assurance that
I have gained in the appearances
which indicate general soundness
of health
William H. Seward.
To
William H. Seward, Jr.