Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, September 18, 1859

  • Posted on: 10 November 2021
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, September 18, 1859
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:nwh

student editor

Transcriber:spp:cnk

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1859-09-18

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, September 18, 1859

action: sent

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

location:
Unknown

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: smc 

revision: agw 2021-02-04

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Page 1

8
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Editorial Note

William Henry Seward’s series of travel letters in 1859 are organized and listed by the date of each entry.
On Board the Mah Brookah,
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Editorial Note

September 18, 1859 was a Sunday
Sunday 19th September
Light breezes but fair, all night. Stars multiplied, large and more brilliant
than I ever saw. The "milky way" an irregular white fleece stretching quite across
the Heavens. The habitual temper of the East is patience and and indifference
to natural developments. This is the third day ofour voyage, the beginning
of the fourth. "Joppa tomorrow? inquired I of the Captain
Unknown
, an Arabian
Christian. "If Sha Allah," he replied —"If God pleases." We see
no land. These primitive sailors, carry no compass, take no observations
Keep no reckoning, but steer by land marks when the coast is
visible — and by sun moon and stars when out at sea. We
have seen no land since we passed Damietta, but we know
by the rate at which we have sailed that we are still off the
African Coast. If we are fortunate the first land that we shall
look upon will be in Syria, Palestine, the High hills that overlook
Gaza and stretch behind Ashkelon
The sea is astrange reconciler of conflicts. I always thought that
the understanding so early established between St Paul and his
profane companions the crew & passengers of the vessel that was
conveying him a prisoner to Rome was the fruit of the experience of
common fear and dangers. The old man
Unknown
& boy
Unknown
whom I took for Greek
Christians, turn out to be Jews from Algiers going home to the
land of their forefathers to await its promised restoration under a
Messiah yet to come. As this evening draws on, and we are no longer
obliged to seek hiding places from the sun, all the passengers
and crew increasingly gather near the after deck, and there they
hold what seems to us a pleasant conversation forgetting all
their mutual hatreds. Jews, Mussullums, & Greek & Catholic Christians.
All exhibit a degree of reverence for sacred names & things unknown
in our part of the world — and all seem animated by a spirit of genial
Kindness. We reciprocate courtesies with them all. A dreamy life is this
of floating under canvass in Eastern climes. I am becoming quite an Arab.
I eat without a fork with considerable success, and I sleep soundly, whether
stretched on my mat on the deck, with the bright moon and stars watching
over me. Nevertheless, Mah Brookah, Ship of the Blest, I pray thee hastens
to Joppa, the seat of Japhet the son of Noah, for I am weary of the land of Ham.