Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 8, 1859

  • Posted on: 8 December 2021
  • By: admin
Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 8, 1859



student editor


Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's persons.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "pla" point to place elements in the project's places.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's staff.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's bibl.xml authority file. verical-align: super; font-size: 12px; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration: line-through; color: red;

Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 8, 1859

action: sent

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

location: Marseille, France

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: cnk 

revision: amr 2021-02-22


Page 1


Editorial Note

William Henry Seward’s series of travel letters in 1859 are organized and listed by the date of each entry.
Marseilles August 8. evening
I am traveling with Mr Forsyth
Birth: 1817-09-08 Death: 1886-08-10
of Troy , and I have
a courier
or servant who is also an interpreter. Our
journey hither has been rather a mockery of travel
for observation. But the month of August is wearing
away after which it will be unhealthful at Rome
Nevertheless I have seen enough to review many
interesting historical recollections and to make
me think that a judicious and influential book
devoted to the route along the Rhone would
bring that noble river up to equal favor with
the Rhine. From Paris to this seaport is about
six hundred English miles. Thus I have traversed France
from North to South from Lombady ^Normandy^ to Languedoc
and Provence. I found as you know the wheat rye
& oats, the principal products in the North. I have
seen the poppy, the beet, the white and red grapes
the Indian corn, and now at last the Mulberry
and the Olive, Palm trees, the Oleander and
Cypruss abud every where in this region, and occa-
sionally the . If you regard the richness and
rareness of the fruits which cover the earth the
South of France is a scene of ^almost^ tropical luxury. But
grape vines developed and cultivated like beans
which Jack the Giant Killer would have climbed
Page 2

without lifting
his feet off the
ground. Mulberry trees
low round planted in
regular rows, and hereof demanded
to supply the daily food of the silk
worms, the Olive trees old but diminutive
as stunted lilacs, with the Lombardy poplars
standing in straight rows to shade the woods and
water courses without shading the land too much are
far from picturesque. At the same time, the grass is withered
the garden flowers and vegetables parched with a burning
sun which seems to heat the white rocks so as to blind you
as you ride over them. These are far from picturesque. Indeed you
would pronounce against the South of France in August if it were
not redeemed by its glorious Alpine scenery, magnificent in
itself, and magnificent in historical associations. As I think
I have said we reached the summit level of the Southern rural
road 1370 feet above the ocean near Dijon . There the Jura
mountains confront you. Their vallies are rich and luxurious
their tops dry and chalky – the grape climbs and clusters
up to an average thermal line and all is naked above
I had a good view of the Cathedral at Dijon now
some 600 years old, and a less satisfactory one, of the
Palace of the old Dukes of Burgundy, now used
as a Town Hall. It was not without a
sense of excited curiosity mingled
sympathy and content
that at Fromenteau
I found myself
Page 3

on the spot where Napoleon
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
proceeding to save the standard
of resistance once more after the defeat at Waterloo met his
dejected army and learned that Paris had capitulated –
and there returned to Fontainebleau to abdicate France
If you will take down Sterne's
Birth: 1713-11-24 Death: 1768-03-18
Sentimental journey
Author: Laurence Sterne Publisher: John Wyeth? Place of Publication:Harrisburgh Date: 1804-1805

and read for us both the story of "Maria" you shall
enjoy it more than ever since I found the scene
of the narrative at Moulins.
The Cote d'Or may be regarded as
a Westernmost ra and low and last range of
the Jura Alps. They rise to the height of 800 to
1000 feet, and are cultivated to their very tops
with the grape. It divides the Saone from the
Loire. At Chalons we began to make familiar
acquaintance with Roman ruins of many kinds
Towers, pillars, Porches, parts of temples, ^often^ converted
by their successors of the Romans to modern and
civil and ecclesiastical use.
Macon is the seat and contains the
great river estate of La Martine
Birth: 1790-10-21 Death: 1869-03-01
. He was to leave
Paris this morning, but I shall never see him at
home. From Lyons lies contained in a ravine
which opens to receive here the Soane and
the Rhone. It is a town near as large as Boston
Page 4

and climbs
the high banks of
the ravine on either side
It is the ^chief^ seat of the Silk
manufacture – and is evidently
rich and prosperous – I had only time
while threading its streets to there and from the
Rail road to reflect that it was a town where
Julius Caesar conquered what is now France – That it
became an important part in the Roman empire, that you
can find there the very spot on which Caligula was buried
and that scene Lyon was the seat of the according to authentic
history the seat of Ireneaus a Bishop who did disputed
his corruption from the Apostles. The town arena is rich in the
memory of Christians martyred for sake and of Patriots wounded
for Liberty sake in the French Revolution. Equally at Lyons and Mar-
seilles I find that the memory of the activists of that great revolution
has extinguished the respect for it which it justly receives as the great
^though sad^ beginning of a new and better forms of civilization and government.
The two towns once held by Protestants and seats of their
power has relapsed under the unmitigated sway of the
church, and their public places and churches are
adorned with statues to Saints whose
effective invocations have averted
the Cholera. What wonder
that here where there is
genuine history for
the fact that
Page 5

Pilate was banished hither from Rome after
the Crucifixion, the common people point out to
you his apocriphal residence and testify
to the very rock from which he precipitated
himself a remorseful suicide – On the way
from Lyons to Marseilles the Loire Alps dominate over the Rhone and
at one point Mont Blanc presents its, ^icy^ summit glittering in the sun
As true snow out of
the mountains, the waters
of the Rhone are white and
rapid in their flow, rending
navigation difficult and