Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 11, 1871

  • Posted on: 10 May 2018
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Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 11, 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:1871-08-11

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Letter from William Henry Seward to William Henry Seward, Jr., August 11, 1871

action: sent

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

location: Naples, 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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Editorial Note

Written by Olive Risley Seward for William H. Seward
Naples, August, 11, 1871
My dear William,
We found it impossible
to tear ourselves away from
Rome until we had given to its
solemn and stately marvels a
nine days admiration, to which
even the commonest object of
curiosity, according to the proverb,
is entitled. We made the journey
from Rome to this place was made
by Rail Road in eight hours.
it brought us through a most
beautiful and interesting region.
Vesuvius is in a declining stage
of eruption, sufficiently won-
derful for my fellow passengers
although less flagrant than
I saw it twelve years ago.
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We are again and for the
last time in what is practically
a tropical climate. Among
palm trees and orange groves.
We are dilligent in seeing
the scenery and ruins by
which Naples is surrounded.
But they are distant and
require long excursions.
On Wednesday we descended
into the excavated cavern
where only by torchlight
is seen all that is in any
way to be seen now of the
ancient city of Herculaneum
covered with lava fifty
feet deep; eighteen hundred
years ago.
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August. 15.
On Thursday we explored Patioli
the place, where Paul landed
on his voyage to Rome, with its
temples and amphitheaters Baiae ,
the Newport of ancient Rome
when it numbered five millions
of people, but now retains of its
ancient magnificence only
the temples of Mercury and
Diana, in which the national
dance was performed for us
by some peasants, and the temple
of Venus, now occupied as a
barn, stable and pigsty
I think however that if New
York
should be suddenly
abandoned, and left to
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fall into desolation the
ruins would exhibit fewer
a more scanty magnificence
than this little seaport now
does.
Olive
Birth: 1844-07-15 Death: 1908-11-27
, younger and stronger
than I, explored the cave
which according to the
ancient poets opens on the
one hand into Elysium and
on the other into Hades. She
found the Styx but the
Charon who conducts the ferry
having lost his boat, now carries
the passengers across the
black miry stream on his
shoulders. On Friday we
studied the monuments
and relics gathered from
Pompeii and Herculaneum
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in the museum Bourbonico
more interesting than any
we have found on our travels
except the Egyptian collection
in Cairo. In the night we
scaled Vesuvius, walking
the side of its rivers, and
crossing its rivulets of burning
lava. I was confirmed in
my conviction that after the
^stars^ ocean and Niagara, Vesuvius
is the great wonder of nature.
On Sunday we rowed around
the bay of Naples visiting Castelmare
the delightful Sorento, and
the beautiful blue grotto of the
island of Capri. On Monday
there being no boat we rested
and recruited in our hotel.
Today at 2 o' clock we embark
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for Leghorn and Genoa
on our direct route to
Paris, shortening the travel
by railway, and so alleviating
fatigue.
We hope to reach Paris
in a week. I have drawn
today for funds, but you
must not infer from this
that I am in want. I
prefer to retain the funds
I have with me, to guard
against any accidental
need on the journey.
On arriving at Paris
I shall be able to designate
the steamer on which
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we shall embark for home
Affectionately your father
William H. Seward.
by Olive
To
William H. Seward Jr.