Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 1833

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 1833



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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 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: Auburn, NY

transcription: kle 

revision: ekk 2015-07-30

Page 1

Geneva Monday, August 12th. My dear! My trunk with all my books and many other valuable effects is still delayed.
Our consequent detention at this place has become most painful to me because because I am very anxious to know though I
fear to anticipate the contents of your letters which await our arrival in Paris. Heaven grant they bring me
no cause for remorse at having left you and the dear boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
for the prospects and pleasures of travelling in foreign lands.
Cologne which is one of the most commercial cities in Germany and has a population of 67,000 inhabitants was originally a Roman camp
established by Marcus Agrippa and called the Oppidum Ubiorum(the Town of the Ubii. The Emperor Claudius to please his wife
Agrippina who took a great interest in the town because it was her birth place sent there a Roman Colony by whom it was con-
siderably delayed. This patroness of the town was born at this place during one of the campaigns of her father Germanicus.
As a compliment to her the name of the city was changed to that of Colonia Agrippina. The firstpart of this name it still
retains under a change of etymology. In the stormy period which succeeded the death of Augustus Cesar Germany was
the scene of the exercise of the power of the army over the civil authority of Rome. It was at Cologne that Vitellius was
proclaimed Emperor. Subsequently Cologne was conquered by the Franks and the city had the honor also to witness
the ascent of Clodwig


to the throne of the Franks. Here also Pepin son of Charles Martel Duke of Cologne was
proclaimed King of the Franks. The town yet contains many relics of its ancient glory. A part of the old Roman
wall is still in existence and upon it is found a monument with the inscription C.C.A.A. which the learned translate
"Colonia Claudia Agrippina Augusta." The foundation yet remains of a stone bridge over the Rhine erected by the Emperor
. In the middle ages Cologne was one of the strongest supporters of the Hanseatic League and during the long reign
of profound Catholic superstition was celebrated for the piety of its citizens. It is said at one time to have contained sixty
nine Convents. Of this prevailing regard to religion there are also many relics. Statues of saints which ludicrous as they
now seem once attracted universal adulation are every where seen in the city and the churches of which I have to speak
boast more magnificence than any in Germany. But Cologne is an old fashioned dirty inconvenient town and unless
the visitor has fortitude to search out its curiosities through filthy streets he will give but a sorry report of a town
so celebrated in history. Another peculiarity in Cologne bears witness of the great love of the Germans of the 12th 14th & 15th
centuries for sculpture. Groupes of domestic animals, cows, oxen, hogs, and sheep are seen carved upon the front
of many of the finest edifices.
Soon after our arrival at our Hotel the sound of the hogs attracted us to the window when we saw a fine Regiment of Prussian
Cavalry. They were well equipped and handsomely dressed but not peculiarly remarkable for the greatness of size which
was so indispensable a qualification for the grenadiers in the army of Frederick William
Birth: 1688-08-14 Death: 1740-05-31
the first King of Prussia.
We followed the Cavalry to the parade ground where we witnessed the closing scene of a review of all the troops
stationed at Cologne. The evolutions and appearance of the troops were such as was to be expected from an ar-
my which is the support of the throne but I confess I reflected with pride upon our own militia army when
I considered how incompatible is the existence of a standing army with the liberty of the People.
Having procured a guide
who spoke French we now directed our attention to the remarkable buildings
and other curiosities of the town. An open Church door invited us to the Church of the Apostle. Here were statues of the
twelve apostles executed after the manner of German sculpture of the past ages. There were also two very fine paintings the
one of the martyrdom of St. Catherine, the other of the Ascension of our Saviour. The windows were painted with exquisite
effect, but what most riveted our attention was a figure of St Anne standing upon a temporary pedestal in the area
of the church dressed tawdrily in white muslin and tinsel. Like a huge doll with reliques of that saint in its bosom.
Certain it is these relics were considered genuine by the worshippers who were saying their prayers before the image.
Here More interesting however was our visit to St Peters Church which stands upon the ruins of an ancient Roman heathen
temple. On entering we discovered a fine painting which stands over the altar and represents the crucifixion of St Peter.
Excellent as this picture is it is nevertheless but a copy of the original. Two guilders to the Sexton caused the splendid
altarpiece to revolve upon its pivots and present us with the original picture which is one of the chief doeuvres
of that great master Rubens
Birth: 1577-06-28 Death: 1640-05-30
. No pen(and certainly not mine) can describe the wonderful power of art displayed in this
picture. Peter you recollect was crucified with his head downwards at his own request because as he said he was
not worthy to suffer martyrdom in the same position with his Divine Master. Imagine the strong muscular frame
the intrepid and hardy countenance which a Painter like Rubens would give to Peter, heightened as the countenance would
be by the consciousness of the exalted merit of martyrdom in such a cause, then conceive how doubly horrible are the agonies
of crucifixion displayed in the pres its effects upon the human person suspended headlong from the cross and you may have
some faint idea of this greatwork. Its merit is established by the fact that Bonaparte
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
caused it to be carried to Paris
where it remained until the reverse of his fortunes restored to the nations of Europe the paintings and other valuable works
of art of which he had desheviled them. This picture was presented by Rubens to this Church and graces the altar
where the painter was baptised. The font is still preserved which was used in that ceremony and the bodies of
the great painters parents rest beneath the altar.
As we passed down the street from St Peters our attention was arrested by an inscription in front of a house declaring that Ru-
bens was born there. The house also bears upon the wall a portrait of the painter and another inscription commem-
orating the fact that Mary de Medicis there closed her mortal career.
The Church of St Mary au Capitol is so called because it stands upon the spot once occupied by the Roman
Capitol of the City. Adjoining to this Church are still the ruins of a Convent which Mary de Medici spent her
unhappy days after her expulsion from France by the intrigues of Cardinal Richelieu. She was the wife of Henry
the 4th
and the mother of Louis the 12th
Birth: 1601-09-27 Death: 1643-05-14
. The monument of Plectrude wife of King Pepin and mother of Charles Martel
still remains to perpetuate the fact that she founded the Convent of which only the ruins now exist.
One of the most beautiful of the Churches is that of St Cunibert a part of which was destroyed by lightning
centuries ago and yet lies in ruins. This Church was despoiled by the French, as was the College of Jesuits which
stands near the Church. But above all in splendor and magnificence is the Cathedral of Cologne. This immense
edifice was begun in 1248 and the building progressed until 1499 when it was left unfinished and yet remains so. In the interior
the Choir and adjoining Chapels are completed and those parts as well as all of the exterior which was completed
exhibits the most exquisite perfection of German Gothic Architecture. In one of the towers of the Cathedral is
a great bell weighing 20,000 pounds and which requires twelve men to put it in motion. The constrast between
ivy crowned ruins of that part of the Cathedral which was left unfinished and the splendid architecture of the
parts which were completed produces a fine effect as the tourist goes about the it peador walls to count the
towers theoreof. The Church is built in the form of a cross. The arches are supported by a quadruple row of
one hundred columns. The four columns in the middle are 100 feet in circumference. The grand altar is covered
with a tablet of black marble 16 feet long and nine feet wide. There are stone statues of the twelve apostles em-
broidered with gold which are considered fine specimens of the art. The painted windows excel any I saw in
England. One of the great curiosities of the Church is the monument of the three Kings who it is said by the tra-
dition of the Romish Church worshipped our savior and whose bones it is believed by the faithful rest
under the monument. It is one of the misfortunes arising from my inability to speak French or German
that I could not learn the particulars of this tradition. I was therefore compelled to be content with
the description of the and view of the monument only. The monument was built by the Elector Maximilian
Joseph. The tomb which forms the most splendid part of it contains three compartments. The lower part con-
tains or is believed to contain the bones of the three Kings which were placed side by side but divided
by compartments. On the lid are inscribed in letters formed of rubies the names of these imaginary monarchs
Caspar Melchior and Balthazar. Their heads or rather the effigies of their heads were originally ornamented
with valuable gold crowns each of which weighed six pounds and was decorated with diamonds and
rubies. In the second ^com^ apartment are said to have been deposited in the remains of the martyrs St Felix and St Nabor and
in the uppermost compartment those of St Gregory


. The chest containing all this valuable dust was ornamented with bas
relief representing arches supported by columns and enamelled. All the inscriptions were made in letters of gold
on a ground of blue enamel. The cornice and borders were decorated with a great number of precious
stones pearls and gems. Such is the description of this splendid monument as it was in 1796. The Grand
Chapter of Cologne is that year fled from the city carrying with them this magnificent Tomb. It was re-
stored in 1804 greatly injured and disheveled of most of its gold and precious stones. Great efforts have been made
made to restore it to its pristine splendor and although it is regarded at Cologne as still inferior to its original
state I cannot imagine here it could have been more magnificent than it now is. Such was the great
Page 2

expense of renovating the monument that the noblest and richest families in Cologne contributed their most valuable
In the Cathedral is also the monument to the memory of Queen Catharine de Medici who is
buried under its walls. A more splendid resting place was bestowed upon St Englebert


than often falls to the lot of
Kings. His remains are preserved in a silver coffin the chasing of which is in the most elegant style of workmanship.
The relics exhibited in the Cathedral would excite laughter if the tout ensemble of the Cathedral did not inspire awe
and solemnity. Among these relics are the silver and glass vessels on view of St Sebastian and the very identi-
cal walking staff of St Peter. I was curious to obtain the particular history of this walking staff since the time
when the Apostle laid it aside for the but I suppose my ignorance of the language prevented my ap-
prehending the details. Vespers were performed in the Cathedral while we were visiting the chapels
and we saw this a fine opportunity to hear the fine organ which is not unworthy its destination.
I have hardly described one half the splendors of this magnificent Church but I fear my dearest that Cathedral
mania is my madness. I will dismiss the subject of the Churches of Cologne after telling you the ludicrous story of our
exit from the Cathedral. When I set out in the morning as was then my custom ^I had^ three books to wit a French dictionary
my guide book and a large travelling map in a portable case, the map cost me almost five dollars in London
and was more valuable for the reason that nowhere short of Paris could an English map of Europe be pro-
cured. When we had well surveyed the wonders of the Cathedral a council was held in our party comprised of
the two Englishmen my father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
and myself as to the douceur we should give the Cicerone. We concluded to
give him two florins equal to about 75 cents. This sum I offered him, he took it but demanded so much
more as would make the douceur amount to two Prussian Dollars, equal to $1.75 in America. The
Council aforesaid declared that this was an extortionate demand and refused to submit to it. While the dispute
was going on we discovered that our Antagonist had the advantage of us inasmuch as the Cathedral was locked and
he had the key. One of the Englishmen (he who carried the purse of and acted for both) told the Cicerone that we would
inquire at hotel whether the demand was the sum sanctioned by custom. The Cicerone proposed to send
a person with us to the Hotel to receive the amount when as he asserted would be case we should find
it correct. To this course I expressed my assent. To my astonishment the Englishman replied to me by saying in English
which the Cicerone of course did not understand that nothing was further from his intentions than paying this exor-
bitant demand in any event and that he had adopted the means of proposing to inquire at the Hotel only as a ruse
de guerre to secure our escape from the Church. From this course I dissented at once and we were discussing some-
what warmly the morality of it when we reached the door and found to our agreeable surprise no further
opposition to our exit. Discovering as we went along upon the escape from such villainous exaction I found
my fine travelling map was not in my pocket. Here was trouble. After much reflection & discussion I took
the guide and began to retrace our steps for the purpose of finding the map setting out first for the
Church of the Apostles and intending to go to every place I had visited during the day. However a rain
storm which now came on quickened my thoughts and it for the first time occurred to me that there
was some connection between the incidents of the loss of my map and our very agreeable deliverance
from the Cathedral. At least thought I it would be prudent to begin the search at the place I left last before discovering
the loss. Behold me entering again the Cathedral, and received at the door in the a manner which indicated
that my return was expected. I advanced to the Cicerone holding two Prussian dollars in my hand and de-
manded if a map had been found. The map was immediately produced, the Cicerone received the two
dollars & returned to me the two florins I had paid him before. So great was my joy at recovering the map
that I bestowed one of the florins on the woman who they said had picked up the book although there was
no doubt of her connivance with the Cicerone to rob me of it unless we submitted to their extortion. I re-
sume only to add that the Englishman refused to audit my account for the two dollars and that we
finally parted without his paying any part of it.
Our dinner at Cologne by the great number of French dishes furnished evidence that we were in a country
where the French customs had prevailed while the cheapness of the Hochheimer wine (costing seventy five cents per
pint) (and which was better than I have heard engross
To make thick • To make larger; to increase in bulk • To take the whole • To purchase with a view to sell again • To copy in a large hand; to write a fair, correct copy • To take or assume in undue quantities or degrees •
the praises of the bon vivants for an hour at Crittendens
in Albany gave assurance that we were approaching the vineyards of the Rhine.
At about four o clock in the afternoon we took our departure from Cologne in a carriage which we hired
to convey us to Bonne located sixteen miles farther up the Rhine. There was nothing peculiarly interesting in
the Country through which we passed. The banks of the Rhine were elevated about twenty feet above
the water, and the were level. A rich harvest crowned the fields and men women and chil-
dren were busily engaged in drying it from the effects of the recent shower. The dwellings of the peasantry
were very mean and the tout ensemble of the Country serves to convince you that the Common People are
ignorant. Cows are everywhere seen yoked and harnessed before the cart and plough doing the labor
of oxen. Women labor at the plough as well as in the harvest field. Accustomed as we have been to see
the abundance of the necessaires of life enjoyed by all classes of People we could not avoid feeling a deep interest in
the success of the gleaners whom we saw in every harvest field we passed in Germany. One morning when we awoke
in the diligence at daydawn I observed a woman and three children already abroad in this honest and
humble employment. It is necessary to visit the Continent to learn how many of the comforts of life
are dispensed with by the Common People as it is necessary to visit England to know how many
of its luxuries are enjoyed by the rich. The night came on two hours before we reached Bonne depri-
ving us of the beautiful prospect of the Valley of the Rhine and the Seven Mountains.
At Bonne we found a party of bonvivants at supper. The wine seemed to be good, the Germans
animated, the hotel clean and pleasant and after a light supper we gave ourselves to sleep.
In the morning the English youths set out at an early hour to visit the Drachenfels one of the Seven
Mountains while owing to my father's inability to climb the mountains we were content with the views
of it from Bonne and the river. Bonne like Cologne is known in history as the scene of more important
events than I have time to relate. Drusus Germanicus built there a castle and a bridge. The forum
was enlarged by the Emperor Julian. The Emperor Charles the 4th was crowned here. In 1689 Rome
was besieged and taken by Frederick the first King of Prussia
Birth: 1657-07-11 Death: 1713-02-25
. Bonne notwithstanding all this historical
importance is a town no larger than Utica. It is however one of the most beautiful towns in Germany
and is especially clean and elegant contrasted with Cologne. On sallying
Wisdom; sageness; knowledge •
forth from our hotel in the mor-
ning we found directly before us a fountain over which is a monument found many years ago in the same place
bearing an Ancient Roman inscription and dedicated to the Goddess of Victory. Our ^first^ walk brought us to
the Meunster a large Church at which we witnessed the performance of Matins early. In this Church are two
fine bas reliefs one of which represents the Annu ^Annunciation^ and the other the baptism of our Savior. Adjacent to the town
are several very extensive and delightful promenades, one of which is the avenue through a grove of Horn Ches-
nuts one and an half mile to the Chateau or Castle of Popplesdorf situated upon an eminence over-
looking the town. In the bosom of another grove is what was formerly the Chateau of the Elector, now
a College. There are many fine public and private gardens and Bonne taken all together is one of the
most pleasant places in Germany. After returning from these promenades there was still an hour before the arrival
Page 3

of the boat. I crossed the public square and entered the Town Hall. Passing through the Great Hall I entered a room where
a kind of Court of Military police was in session. I had in my hand my Dictionary guidebook, my memorandum book and
pencil and placing myself at the window began to make notes of something which I had just then recollected. Imme-
diately I was accosted by an Officer in German with some demand or salutation which I did not understand. I ex-
pressed in French the fact that I was a traveller and had come there to see the Building and Courts or whatever else
might be interesting. The ^officer'^ s reply was unintelligible further than that my notebook and pencil were not agreeable
to the Court. I again apologised saying I was an American and in travelling in Europe made it a custom to
write notes of what I saw which would be interesting to my friends at home - but had no design to intrude or demean
myself improperly towards any person. My words I am American were repeated by the Court with some others which
I could not comprehend but the gestures by which they were accompanied gave me plainly enough to un-
derstand that his Majestys Court could dispense with my attendance as a reporter - and taking this hint
after soliciting a pinch of snuff with the member of the Court nearest to me I relieved these ministers of abso-
lute power from my presence.
At 10 o'clock in the morning we made our exit from Bonne under the gate
on the bank of the river and immediately were once more on board the Steamboat ascending the Rhine. We
now entered upon the enjoyment of the glorious scenery for which this grand river is celebrated. The Rhine
is so wide just above Bonne that it resembles a bay or lake. On its sides are low well cultivated fields
forming a valley clustered with hamlets and villages situate on both sides at the base of lofty mountains.
The Mountains on the East side are covered with scanty and stunted trees while on the other side
from their base to their summits are covered with vineyards, planted in terraces built on their steep de-
clivity. Immediately after leaving Bonne we had a view on the right hand of the mountain Godesberg
which rises above the valley to the height of about 800 or 900 feet. Its rugged declivity is surrounded by
the decaying walls of a very strong ancient Roman castle, which looked down upon the little village of Godes-

with an kind of air of protection. This castle is said to have been built in the time of the Emperor Julian and to
have been rebuilt in 1200 by Theodoric Archbishop of Cologne. It was blown up in 1590 and has never since
been occupied. Advancing along the river we next passed the villages of Romersdorf and Plettersdorf beautifully
located in the valley on the right hand side of the river while on the left we passed the Rodesberg an extinguished
volcano. At Koningwinter we passed the northern extremity of the Seven Mountains which are so called because
the range of Mountains on the East side of the river here present seven distinct lofty summits almost in a cluster.
The highest of them is the Drachenfels (the Dragon's rock) Upon its summit are the views of the ancient castle
of the now extinct family of Drachenfels. The Wolkenburgh another of these mountains has upon it sum-
mit the views of the ancient castle of Wolkenburgh (the Castle of the Clouds.) Upon the Stromberg (called
also Peters Mountain is an unique little Chapel dedicated to St Peter and originally built in the 12th
century by hermits of the order of St Augustin


The four other mountains are the Lowenbergh (1896 feet high
the Medershomburgh, the Oelbergh (1827 feet high and the Hammerich. Upon all these summits may still be
seen the ruins of ancient castles [ bel ]


Reason: wax-seal
onging to noble families now extinct many of them are said to have
been built in the year 368 (by [ the Em ]


Reason: wax-seal
peror Valentinian and to have ^become^ infrequently the property of indi-
viduals. What a melancholy
Not placable; not to be appeased; incapable of being pacified; stubborn or constant in enmity • Incapable of being relieved or quieted; inextinguishable •
[hole] traveller read in the views which crown the hills. Now [hole]
they illustrate the vanity of human [hole] and human power and even the vanity of human ^pleasures and^ suffering. Of [hole]
who struggled and won and lost fo[ rtunes over th ]


Reason: wax-seal
e centuries those castles nothing but the name remains a[ nd ]


Reason: wax-seal

in most instances even the names of the proud and the great are in oblivion. Of all the pain the grief the
disappointment and despair which these mouldering walls must have witnessed not one sigh is heard.
The grave has swallowed all the joys and fears and hopes and sorrows of all the generations who possessed
and coveted to possess these Castles as well as the hundreds of thousands whose happiness was often sacrificed
in the ambitious feuds of the Chiefs of these domains. Well too may the traveller profit by the reflection
that in a few years of farthest not only all those who are now around him contemplating these ruins
but he himself shall be gathered to the same common bower leaving no trace of name or kindred.
Passing up the Rhine we came next to the beautiful island of Rolandswerder lying under the shade of
the lofty mountain called the Rolandsee. Upon this island embowered in groves and gardens is an ancient
and beautiful convent of Nuns, while upon the mountain top are still seen towering the ruins of a Castle
built by Roland nephew of Charlemagne


in order to be near his Mistress
who had taken upon herself
the vows in the Nunnery. The course of the river as it passes the Rolandswerder is very rapid and this
place is called Gotteshilfe (Gods assistance). Villages cluster more closely together as you ascend
the river the rocky face of the mountains on both sides becoming more precipitous going to the East
side an air of barrenness strongly contrasted with the still more extensive and beautiful vine-
yard on the Western expanse. Here we passed Unkel known throughout the world as a mountain of
basalt. Passing Apollonairsbergh where there is a Convent and Rheimagen the Rivermagus of the ancient Romans
we arrived at the base of the Mountain of Odenfels, at the foot of which is a village and upon its summit
the ruins of a Castle of the same name. From these interesting objects you turn your eyes directly to the little
village of with its Castle and Convent upon the East side of the view. In the beautiful plain which now
extended further than below at on both sides of the river we saw on the one side the village of Leubsdorf sur-
mounted by the ancient Castle of the Altenberg situated in the midst of broken blocks of basaltes.
On the right side is the Convent of St Helena and the village of . Upon the summit of a
mountain distant about a mile from the river and more lofty than these I have mentioned is
the imposing Castle of the Rheineck. The Castle was built recently upon the ruins of an old one of the
same name - but the name has survived the family of Rheineck the last of whom died in 1458. I find it
impossible to throw into this narrative of our voyage up the Rhine any portion of the interest with which
for two successive days it absorbed our entire attention. The view every mile was changed. We passed the ruins of
castle after castle convents and chapels and villages and vineyards, at one time having a view
at once of four ancient ruins. The shores of the Rhine ^being^ inferior in sublimity only to the Hudson. But the
names towns villages and castle would not interest you, and woe is me I have no power at description.
I can only say that from rise of sun to close of day the banks of the Rhine presented a constant pro-
cession of beautiful scenes which for me are indescribable. I must content myself with a few more
prominent particulars. Opposite Namedy and situate on an enormous rock are the ruins of the Castle
Hammerstein covered with ivy. At this castle the Emperor Henry the 6th formed an asylum in 1105 after
having in vain attempted to obtain the benefice of a lay brother in the Monastery which his ancestors
had erected. This Castle was by turns taken by the Spaniards the Swedes and the Lorraines. It was
taken by Goshaw
in 1654 and has ever since belonged to the ^Elector of Towns^ . It was pillaged by the French in 1688
Andernach is a town of 2500 inhabitants carrying on a considerable trade in millstones made of the lava
of an extinguished volcano. At Andernach are a gate constructed by the Romans, the ruins of the palace
of the Kings of , Roman baths, the Church where the Emperor Valentinian is buried and the ruins
of the Convent of the Noble Ladies of St Thomas which was burnt in 1796. The Convent was built in the 12th century.
Page 4

Near Neuwied have been discovered the ruins of a Roman town, the name of which is lost. Engers is famous in
history as the point where Cesar effected the passage of the Rhine and the French following the footsteps of
the Conqueror of Germany
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
at the close of the last century in like manner effected three passages at the
same place. On the last occasion they succeeded after a severe combat but with the sacrifice of
the life of General Hoche
Birth: 1768 Death: 1797
the Commander of the Army. A monument has been erected in honor
of the brave men near the spot.
Among the ruins one particularly worthy to be mentioned is that of Friedrichsburgh built in the 11th century.
At shortly before arriving at Coblentz is an island in the river upon which is a Convent
of Nuns which was founded in 1242. The day my dear Frances was consumed in the delightful
Deviating from a stated or settled path • Progression beyond fix limits • Digression; wandering from a subject or main design • An expedition or journey into a distant part •
which brought us to Coblentz. I have suffered sorely the regret of the loss of my trunk
which contains views of the scenery upon the Rhine because in writing this letter I have experienced
how impossible it is to describe it and I cannot be content that you should be utterly unable to
share with me the knowledge of these delightful scenes. We arrived at Coblentz in time to cross the
river by the bridge of boats and ascend the Castle of Ehrenbreisten, recently completely renewed and declared to
be the most perfect and impregnable fortification in Europe. It is built upon a rock overlooking
the town of Coblentz and the mouth of the Moselle River - 635 feet high and inaccessible on every
side except that parallel with the river. Directly in front and upon the steepest face of the declivity
upon which the castle is built are railways for the purpose of drawing up materials with the power of an
immense steam Engine. The ascent between the rails may even be surmounted by 575 stone slabs.
In this single fortifications are 6000 men in the present state of peace a force equal to the whole standing army
of the United States. The most rigid discipline is enforced, we witnessed several drills in different parts
of the Castle and were astonished at the precision of the movement of the troops. Nothing can be more splendid
than the view from the battlements of this castle, the Rhine the Moselle the former with its bridge
of boats, the latter with its bridge built by the Romans. Coblentz with its castle and its gardens
promenades and walls and fortifications upon the hills which surround it at every side
presented a panorama upon which we gazed as long as there was light to enjoy it.
We descended from the castle after having once more bestowed our commendation upon the perfection
with which every part of it is completed and found a fine dinner prepared for us at the
Hotel. While we were eating our dessert, a modest looking German came into the dining room
with a young lady who it was evident from their appearance and conduct was his daughter. Without
speaking to us the German brought in his harp and having placed a chair for his daughter pre-
pared his violin to accompany her while she played upon that instrument, both played with ad-
mirable taste and skill several beautiful pieces of music after which he presented his book
to receive the few coppers with which it is customary to remunerate
Going or moving backwards • In astronomy, apparently moving backward and contrary to the succession of the signs • Declining from a better to a worse state •
the musician. The evening
we spent at Coblentz was delightful. We wandered about the town to view its curiosities, but
that which most interested us was the House at which Napoleon lodged when on his march to Russia.
Upon one of the walls in this house one of Bonapartes Generals wrote, Napoleon rested
here on his memorable march against Russia. It so happened that the General leading the Russian
army occupied the same apartments when pursuing the French in their disastrous retreat from
Russia. Seeing this inscription upon the wall he wrote under it with his signature "seen
and approved" So - Here my dear Frances we will leave the Rhine for the present to speak of matters
of greater present interest. On Monday next the 19th we leave Geneva in a carriage for Paris. The distance
is somewhat more than 300 miles, we travel by daylight only and expect to accomplish it in eight days.
The party will consist of two Swiss Ladies, and a French Gentleman and
Lady with ourselves. The expense somewhat exceeds that of travel-
ling by the Diligence but is vastly preferable. I begin to fear that
I have lost my large trunk containing all my books, plates & all
my flannel and coarser clothing. We left it to be forwarded
from Darmstadt on the 1st of August and it has not yet arrived.
I shall regret its loss very much on many accounts but principally
because it contains books and papers and engravings which
I had purchased principally for you.
Our long stay at Geneva has been very pleasant and has had a
beneficial effect upon my fathers health. I have made an excur-
sion to the foot of Mont Blanc and have wandered over a
part of the surface of the Glacier - of all which I will write in due
season - When we arrive at [ Paris I ]


Reason: wax-seal
shall have your letters - for the present
adieu - P.S. will read [hole]