Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, November 26, 1859

  • Posted on: 16 December 2021
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, November 26, 1859
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:vxa

student editor

Transcriber:spp:cnk

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1859-11-26

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, November 26, 1859

action: sent

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

location: The Hague, South Holland, Netherlands

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: vxa 

revision: zz 2021-02-21

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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.
The Hague November 26. Saturday –
You discern at once in leaving Antwerp that you have entered
the Low Countries. The Lands are all sunken and ^the^ fields divided
not by fences or hedges but by deep ditches. The rail
road cars shake and vibrate a motion due to the in-
stability of the ground. The walls of the farm houses and
barns are low, the roofs steep. Every thing reminds you of
the Mohawk Valley as it was in our earlier days
before innovation had laid its hand too boldly on
the monuments of the Dutch settlers. I left Antwerp
at 12.20 passed several Dutch towns, and entered
political Holland at Rosendahl
x

, the Vale of Roses.
At Moordijck
x

, we dela left the cars and took a little
steamer which conveyed us down the Maas ahead
of the and the Maasto Amst Rotterdam. It was a dark &
cold while I waited two hours in the station house for
the departure of the Rail road train to the Hague.
We passed through the important town of Delft and
arrived at the Oude Doulen, (the old Bull’s eye) on
the great square of the Hague at 1/2 past 7. Lord Na-
pier
Birth: 1819-09-19 Death: 1898-12-19
had left a card for me inviting me to dinner strictly
en famille – and I went immediately to his house – The
two little boys
x Birth: 1850-07-03  Death: 1874-02-21  Birth: 1852-01-21  Death: 1919-08-19 
were at the door and received me – David
Unknown

the faithful showed me up stairs, and Lord Napier
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received me kindly in the Hall. We dined and talked
until half past 12. They are very well. She
Birth: 1823-12-20 Death: 1911-08-24
somewhat
stronger than I ever saw her before. He grows fat and large
which is not pleasant. The children
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grow up but not
stout. They have been unable yet to get a house, and
are living in hired lodgings temporarily. They are even to
live during the winter at a Hotel. There is no business at
the Hague for diplomacy and he has little to do but study
the Dutch language. The two Queens
x Birth: 1818-06-17  Death: 1877-06-03  Birth: 1795-01-18  Death: 1865-03-01 
(Queen Regent and Queen
Mother) are ^yet^ at their Country seats, and so Lady Napier
has not been presented, and she of course does
not go into society until after that ceremony. There
is no life at the Hague now, not much I imagine at
any time. They required me at breakfast, I obeyed.
They gave me a respite for an hour and a half
when we are to ride and I am expected to live with
them except that they cannot lodge me, for which
they express great regret, but I am glad not to be
too much in their way. They have made me tell them
all about you & Fanny’s
Birth: 1844-12-09 Death: 1866-10-29
experiences during the winter, and
they are indeed as affectionate as most intimate friends
could be.
I went with the Napiers this morning to
see the House of Delegates which is in session. You are aware
that Holland is a constitutional monarchy. The
Senate is elected by provinces like Senators by
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States. The Delegates like our representatives, by
the People. The Chamber consists of sixty six members.
There was a great debate involving the stability of the
Ministry. Nevertheless the tone and manner of the
debate was quiet, unimpassioned and calm. I thought
that the speakers must be speaking sensibly for they
spoke with deliberation, and with great distinctness.
But the debates were in Dutch and of course income-
prehensible by me. When the debate closed we
went to visit the Palace in the Wood. It had
impressed me when I saw it a quarter of a cen-
tury ago as a very great affair. I found it
now very cheap and common. It has two wonderful
pieces of fresco so perfect as to produce the
effect of bas reliefs. It is also rich in ornaments
derived from China and Japan. Holland although
now reduced in proportions is still a country
which retains very great Colonial possessions and
I think they are very profitable.