U.S. Ship Wabash -- Funchal, Madeira.
Dec 5. 1871
I wrote to your Mama just before reaching Madeira. and have mailed her letter. though the Steamer Expected from the Cape of Good Hope is not yet in. though due. I therefore have time and inclination to write again. The day has been very beautiful. and we steamed slowly to our anchorage here in front of the Old Portuguese town of Funchal. close by two English Men of War. the Trafalgar & Bellerophon names famous in English Naval History. As we passed there they saluted our Flag. by firing 13 guns. which were answered by a Similar number from Our ship. As soon as we were at Anchor. we in turn Saluted the Portuguese Forth in shore with 21. guns. and the Fort answered according to Established usage. gun for gun. The Captains of the two war Vessels Called in person. but this visit we will return tomorrow -- all these formalities through we all want on Shore. but before telling you of what I saw there. I will first tell you that Madeira is an island 30 miles long. -- about 15 wide. lying East & West -- with high Mountains 6000 feet high in the general form of a ridge. Whose sides slope rapidly to the water -- it was discovered by the Portuguese in 1418. Nearly Eighty years before Columbus ventured to look for America. and has been owned by the Portuguese ever since. There is No good harbor on the Island. but the town of Funchal lies at its South Eastern Corner. with an open roadhead. This island has long been celebrated for its Equal Climate. never cold. and never very hot. And for its grapes which produced the Celebrated Madeira Wine. but some 20 years ago. Some light destroyed the grapes. Since which time its inhabitants have had to Scratch for a living by Supplying Ships with fruit & vegatables. and by raising Sugar -- Now however New Vineyards are beginning to reproduce the Same wine. and the island is regaining some of its lost wealth. The appearance of the island is very beautiful and we saw it this morning to the best advantage as we steamed slowly along its Southern Shore. and from our ship could see Every house, field & garden. Which seemed to Cling to every little ledge along the Steep Mountain Sides. and in the Small vallies that furrow its steep sides. All these were bright and green with patches of sugar Cane which grew like a Close Corn field, only the Color is a brighter green. The town of Funchal is old fashioned Enough but as seen from the ship. it looks like a Close Cluster of White Stone houses. with red tiled roofs. with an old Fort overhanging it. and sundry houses, churches and Convents perched high on the hills behind. -- As before stated about 2 pm. quite a party of us left the ship in the Admirals barge which on arriving near the beach. when the breakers broke we were transfered to the Country boats accustomed to the Surf. In these we landed on a beach. When we were surrounded by hundreds of fellows offering to guide us wherever we wanted to go. to sell fruit, or to hire horses. of which an assortment already saddled were close at hand. But Admiral Alden wishing first to pay a visit to the family of a Mr. Walsh. that he had known in former years. He and I with Capt and Mrs. Temple. got into a vehicle the like of which I am sure has not been used since the time of the flood. It is a kind of carriage body with Curtains on regular Sled runners. And drawn by a pair of small oxen. Mr Irwin has a common ox goad with which he urges on his team, occasionally letting one runner pass over a greased rag. & then the other. The streets of Funchal are narrow. some not over two feet wide. All without side walks. but paved with fine hard cobble stones. which by time and the grease are as Smooth as Marble. So that the ox sleigh clips it along. as fast as the oxen can travel. In this conveyance [illegible] we went to Mr. Walsh's house. Saw him and his English wife and their returned to the Hotel where we had appointed to meet the rest of our party. I found that Fred Grant had already been tempted by the Saddle horses and was off with a parcel of Navy Officers. but Audenried was there and to put in our time till dinner which was ordered at the Hotel. kept by a Schotchman. named Rud. we also took a couple of horses and started for a ride. The horses were quite good. and were attended by their owner on foot. who kept along trotting by our side, or whipping up at bad places. In this Manner, we rode along the New Road. an excellent one for about 4 miles. and then by a Mountain path crossed over to another and came back into town by a third which was paved with hard cobble stones. We found the Country very bright with fields & flowers. and met all sorts of people who though evidently poor were very polite. In time we regained our Hotel & found our party at dinner with our Consul a Mr. Smith. whose wife is the brother of that little boy, Kichover who played the violin So well at the Concert to whom your Mama. once sent a bouquet. of which Mrs Smith had heard by letter. We had a good dinner embracing some fruits of which you know nothing Such as the Custard Apple. and Aligator Pear. By reason of the high mountains they raise on the island apples, pears, cherries etc as well as oranges, bananas -- tropical fruits. Having finished our dinner we started back to our boat. and some took the ox carriage merely for diversion. the rest walking to the boat -- We were got through the Surf in the same manner as we landed. and are now again in our Elegant Cabin as Comfortable as possible. Admiral Aldens purpose is to stay here two more days & then proceed to [?]ibraltor 500 Miles distant. but foul weather from the South would Compel us to leave sooner. but the appearances are of settled weather. There is a ball on shore tonight Fred Grant & some of the younger Naval officers have gone. but Audenried & the older ones remain on board -- We have cut out a full days work for tomorrow. Embracing a visit to the two English Men of War & the town at the letter to ascend the Mountain to a famous convent. from which we descend in sleds guided down by Men behind. This descent is described as Something wonderful. seemingly very dangerous but not at all so. under the skilful management of their Managers. Funchal in its houses, shops, streets & people would interest you very much. but it looks like an Old song to me from its resemblance to the Old towns in Brazil & Mexico, only more old & Moorish in its character. All the houses are of heavy stone walls, plastered & colored yellow, green or blue -- when of two stories, the lower are stores or shops. and the families live up stairs : but the stain of age covers everything. even the bright flowers and fields of nature which surround & envelope it -- I could buy any amount of trifles here but will save all pruchases till I approach the end of my long trip and then will be governed by the state of my funds. I will write to your Mama. Lissie and all in time as I progress. but to keep up the connection my letter must be in common to you all. Though you may be long in hearing of me it seems but yesterday since you & Mama so hastily left our ship in New York
Affectionately your father
Jan 21. 1872 Sunday.
I am now in possession of all letters written from home up to Dec 26 -- of which there are 2 from you. They tell me of the fire in the hall. the intensely cold weather & bursting of the pipes etc. but none of my letters had yet came home. But I feel sure that very soon after, you must have got my letters from Madeira. and after them the others will reach you regularly. for I have written from almost every point of interest. and from here to your Mama. as soon as I arrived -- That was last Wednesday. and ever since I have been busy but have accomplished little except social matters. For Nice is a Small city, and occupies but a small Space on the Shores of the Mediterranean, but is noted for its healthfulness. and adaptation to the ills which afflict sick people -- there are here at this moment some 3000 strangers mostly Americans. and the houses are all hotels, Boarding houses or villas peopled by Strangers. As soon as Spring comes these sic these people scatter, the hotels & boarding houses close, and Nice subsides into a dull quiet time. The shores of the Mediterrianan Sea, are ragged & rocky, full of small cover & basins. Some of which swell occasionally to the proportions of a Harbor. just round the first point East is one of these small snug places called Villa Franca which has been selected by our Government as the Rendevous of our European Fleet to which stores are sent clothing, food, etc for the Sailors. Ropes, Canvas, etc etc for the ships themselves. and here lie at this moment six ships of War constituting the Mediterranean fleet, of which the Wabash is the largest and best but all are full ships with steam.
Admiral Alden has assumed Command and tomorrow has been appointed for him to review them all -- this is mere Naked Ceremony. but I must conform. At 10 oclock, all the ships will steam out from Villa Franca, into the open sea in front of Nice. Where there will be Evolutions something like a Military review. Everybody will be on the Beach as witnesses -- on Wednesday we resume our travels to Genoa & so on to Rome and Naples, Where the Fleet will meet me & we will go on to Egypt & the east -- I have in my possession photographs of Marseilles & have spoken for some of Nice. all of which will be mailed and given to Mr Washburn who will on arrival at Paris send them. I will Enclose these for Lissie. We have been kept in a perfect whirl. This morning I breakfasted with a Gentleman who has taken me a long beautiful ride and at 6 P.M. We are all to dine with Mr & Mrs Ramey William who has a fine cottage on the Sea Beach and I have only about half an hour to finish this. Wm. Stade has just left me. He is a regular gossip. and sent many messages of love to your Mother. I think your arrangements of the Chickens is good. So that as Spring approaches you can keep them all shut up in the pen and in the vines and in the stable. Early in March hire Somebody to trim the grape vines & pear trees before the Sap rises. and in April have the roses, raspberries & blackberries trimmed & the ground cleaned out & spaded Meantime have the Stable boys to spread the manure over the garden. So that the ground will be enriched thereby. by the rains & snows before the time comes for spading it up. My man Henricks can trim the vines and trees. but your Mama dont like him and you may get someone, by writing a note to General Babrock. Tell Minnie that she might ride my horse. & let Lissie, Elly or Rachel use hers. and you could act as Escort for all on yours. or let McCarthy take one of the Carriage horses. I have no doubt Spring will come Early, because the winter has been Early. Col Audenreid and Fred Grant are well & very busy -- as a general thing they go along with me but they also range about on their own hook -- I keep my Book well written up. and you can have it when I get home. but I am kept so busy. that I hardly have time to do the subject justice or to write my letters -- Give my love to all & to Cumpy --
Affectionately, Yr father.
March 1. 1872 --
We are now getting ready to go on board a Steamer which sails for Messina in Sicily at 6 30 PM. and I expect we will be so busy till we reach Alexandria Egypt that we cannot expect to write Much -- so I must conclude my series of letters from Italy to you. I have written to nearly all the family from here. but letters somewhat hasty -- so that I fear I have not done justice to the subject. We came here by rail from Rome on Wednesday of last week. and as this is Friday it makes ten days. We expected our fleet to meet us here & convoy us for the next Month, But I now have a telegram from Admiral Alden at Nice saying he is prevented keeping his appointment by orders from home. I interpret this to mean that in the present aspect of our Foreign Relations the Secretary of the Navy thinks it prudent to keep all the fleet together and not to be too far away. This is a pretty serious disappointment to us. but we can work our way East by Steamers that run from port to port -- Our steamer will take us to Messina Sicily. Another to Malta. another to Alexandria -- Then we will find General Stone who is in favor with the Khedive or Vice Roy. and promises us every facility to see the Suez Canal. the pyramids and all antiquities of Egypt -- These are wonderfully grand. and a Gentleman just from there says in certain excavations are found monuments & statues buried since 4000 year before Christ which carries them back to Adam's time -- Here at Naples are found two buried cities of which there is a perfect history my Pompei & Herculaneum -- the first is situated on the other side of Ve suvius a Volcano still active about 10 miles south of Naples -- & the other on this side & quite near the base. Any of your maps will show the locations of these cities. I have been to both. the one is covered about 20 or 30 feet in ashes and light lava. Easily cleared away. and about one third has been cleared away. showing streets, stores, shops houses, theatres, temples etc. not unlike those of the present day. and the Monuments, pictures on the walls etc. are considered very beautiful showing that Men and women lived in that day nearly as handome as those of the present time. This destruction occured in the year 79 of Our Era. and is best described in a novel by Bulwer called Riensi of on the last days of Pompei -- The other Herculaneum was actually overflowed with hot lava. and all its houses were simply engul[?][?]ed in this liquid Rock. Now hard as granite. The excavation of this is most difficult and only a few of the houses can be visited by descending a stairway about 60 feet underground and there appears a large theatre perfect in all its details save that all the woodwork is burned but Stone seats remain with arches & pillars of brick & mortar. with places for doors & windows. Right over Herculaneun is another town called Risina & one would be surprised that they do not fear thus to live right under Visuvius liable in any moment to overflow with the same hot lava and ashes that destroyed their predicessors.
The ascent of Visuvius is one of the things always done here by strangers -- We left our Hotel at 8 am in a carriage drawn by 3 horses abreast. all bedecked with feathers & bells -- drove about 7 miles along a street lined with houses all the way to Risina then we turned to the left & began gradually to ascend the Mountain between vineyard wheat fields and orchards of fig & almond trees the latter in full bloom like an peach The road is necessarily co???ked but good enough for about 3 miles. when we reach an observatory & Old Hermitage. which are about 2000 feet above the Bay of Naples. a half way to the Summit -- at the observatory the Italian Government keeps a professor with instruments to measure any vibrations of the Earth, supposed to indicate a coming danger of Eruption. At the Hermitage used to be some Monks, but now it is a sort of tavern. & where a host of beggars congregate to torture the visitors and here we can get ponies to ride to the foot of the Cave, still 1[1/4] miles off -- by a road across lava very much like coal & scoria from an iron furnace -- but we did not take ponies but walked -- The day was beautifully bright and we had a Magnificant view of Naples; its famous Bay and the highly cultivated country all about- The ascent from the observatory to the foot of the Cave is easy & gradual. but there the real labor begins. Each person has two guides one ahead has a strap over his shoulder with a loop at the End by which you hold fast -- another follows and pushes you behind. In this way you ascend rough stones as ste? as it is possible for them to lay as rough as broken pieces of glass. After about an hour of as hard work as I ever remember, we began to Come within the influence of the Steam and sulpher which issues from a thousand small po??s -- We first reached a small crater out of which flowed a stream of lava that now black & contorted away down the Mountain & out in the plain. This old Crater is still hot. and red & yellow with sulper. Still it is deemed safe and our guide took us into it. -- but it was so hot we could not stand it long -- From this by a steep ascent of about 200 feet of sand in dry ashes we reached the extreme top. and stood in the midst of steam & falling ashes on the very brink of the chasm. hot & hissing with fires below. -- We gradually worked our way to the left so that the wind w would carry the Steam away. and then struck right across the Old Crater. as it was between several small ones and it looked to me really dangerous. but the guide said no. and we crossed to the opposite side. -- This we not only got to the top of Visuvius but actually crossed the old Crater. These are constantly changing by the action of the fires & gasses from below -- At present the top seems to be about 300 yards across. somewhat irregular with about 5 or 6 distinct Craters. These are Conical, the Sides Made up of Ashes & Sconia & at the bottom fires & steam like iron furnaces -- The Sulphur at times is so strong that we had to cover our faces with handkerchiefs. The men used as guides so constantly make this trip that they dont mind it but to a stranger it looks like a second edition of the bad place -- The descent is of course more rapid -- the guide usually choosing a route where the sind [?] and ashes are so deep that one sinks up to the knees, -- where as in ascending they chose the harder surface of lava. We reached the summit about 12[1/2], were on top half an hour etc, got back to the observatory about 2 and back to our hotel in Naples at 5 pm -- for some days before this one we went up Vesuvius it had rained, and there was quite a white coat of snow on Vesuvius, except near the summit where the heat melted it. The rain had prevented many people, like ourselves from going up, & that being the first clear day there was quite a crowd, Americans, English and Germans, -- but we were the first to reach the summit and the first to go back --
Yesterday I went out in the country, about three miles to what is called Campo Martio drill ground. Where we saw three regts of inf. 1 of cavalry & three Battalions drill & pass in review and today we wind up by an official call on the King of Italy, Victor Emanual. -- He was away from Rome when we were there -- . and also away from home at first but he came back the night before last and appointed next Sunday for us to call. but our Consul Mr Duncan notified his aid de camp of our purpose to depart today so he named ten oclock. He has two palaces here one the Palazzo o Rial -- & the other a short distance out at Capo di Monta. He usually resides at the latter, but the one in town is the official Residence and he received us there We were punctual of course, and drove into the Interior Square and entered a Magnificent Stairway preceded by two servants in bright red livery -- They conducted us up and along a fine gallery to an outer Room. Where was a guard of only 5 soldiers who presented arms. and we passed directly into a Room where the King Stood with a Single Aid de Camp. He was dressed as a Simple Citizen -- his hair combed back, his face full & flushed and his eyes large & rolling giving him a wild look. but not as ugly as I had been led to believe. He shook hands with us, but not the rest. and inquired generally how we had been treated in Italy etc. We stood talking for half an hour, the Consul acting as Interpreter, and then bade goodbye and bowed ourselves out -- Kings now do not surround themselves with the Pomp & Circumstance they used to. This King is somewhat famous for his fondness for hunting and he keeps up a good many places stocked with deer, grouse and birds for his own shooting. Like most men he has some admirers and some who hate him, but all admit that Italy has made good progress in his days, that there is almost as much liberty here as with us. only the Expense of keeping up so many palaces & such grand retinues of servants makes Royalty Expensive. There were some dozen or more kingdoms in Italy twenty years ago, but these are all now donsolidated into one Kingdom.
The numerousrroyal places are gradually being converted into Barracks, colleges & Institutes so that in a few years probably the King will have only a few palaces instead of hundreds as now. At every town we have been to there was one or more royal palaces, with servants & everything ready for the coming of the King, but Victor Emmanual usually stays at Rome, Naples or Florence -- Rome however is the legal Capital. -- Though not as pleasant a place to reside in as Florence or Naples. Rome is declared to be the Capitol of Italy. I suppose on account of the Pope lives there. He was up to a very recent period the Sovereign of a district of country round about Rome but now this country is absorbed in the Kingdom of Italy, and it is a Subject of warm discussion whether the Pope ought to be or not a temporal Sovereign All the people of Italy are Catholic, So this question is one of State policy rather than of Religion, and I have met many ardent Catholics who think the Pope will be more honored & respected, when relieved of the temporal Government of a petty kingdom. He has the full possession of the Vatican Palace with a large guard & retinue of servants, with an ample income, but some contend that the Kingdom of Italy having control of his person may abuse him, & pervert Religion to the use of the Government -- This far nothing of the kind has been attempted, and the question remains for the future to solve. It is now 2 PM -- I must write a few more letters, pack my trunk, and get dinner perparatory for the steamer, which we must get on board of before 6Pm -- She is anchored in the Bay. & there is no such thing as a wharf in Italy. I suppose you begin to feel the effect of Spring & that you must be glad of it. for it is a pretty hard ride of a Cold morning up to Georgetown. -- Give my love to Cumpy and to all the family & believe me affectionately
March 29, 1872
I have received your letter of February 10, and am sorry of course that you cannot keep head of those boys -- but repeat that if you keep a steady sure progress, always learning well what you do study, and not attempt to gloss over anything you will win in the End.
I am not satisfied that Georgetown is a college with Professors skilled in teaching modern sciences that spite of all opposition are remodeling the world, but your Mama thinks Religion so important that everything else, must give place to it, and now that you are big enough to think for yourself, you must direct your mind to the acquisition of one class of knowledge or the other.
Logic, Mathematics & the Natural exact Science embraces knowledge of things and of laws as they actually exist -- the languages & Moral studies contemplate men -- & objects in the artificial situations arrived at by Experience or tradition, and I cannot but give the former a higher place among educational establishments, leaving the moral & religious training to the family, to the house. -- Your religion is good enough and I would not shake your Faith in it so long as you learn to others a free choice according to their moral sense and their means of judgment. It may be that the Creator designed that all people should have the same general Faith, but somehow through his power & goodness are unlimited he has freely left all to choose, and we find sincerity everywhere. Even here in Egypt the intensity of their Faith in Mohamet commands respect. Five times each day every Man woman & child prostrates himself towards Mecca & says his prayers -- and in walking the streets you see people going through their prayers as rigorously and as abstractedly as though no one was near.
The same in the Fields, and even on the boats as you travel -- All taking special pains to turn toward Mecca. the place where Mohamet began his Preaching -- The time was and only ten or twenty years ago that a Jew or Christian dog was hunted and stoned through the streets of Cairo and the pious Mosselman thought they were doing an act that would entitle them to reward in the World to come -- Now however the Christian dogs are tolerated universally because they are skilled as Mechanics and have brought steam engines to help the poor laborers in pumping water for their fields, railroads, that skim over the dry deserts and telegraphs that carry messages from Cairo to Suez in a minute instead of at the Expense of human toil, & fatigue --
The facilities of Modern Science are breaking down the religious prejudices of the Japannese whose intense faith is something entitled to respect, and very soon at this rate all the barriers which have for thousands of years seperated the human family into warlike feuds will be levelled and all people can worship God in the manner that seem to them best.
There is a great deal in Egypt to interest us. -- It is simply the valley of the Nile, which rises in the Mountains under the Equator and flows due North to the Sea. On both sides of this valley, the land is actually barren rock & sand -- but the valley itself is flat, black mould which will grow wheat, barley, rice, sugar cane, beans & vegitation of all sorts. -- but the rains are so seldom & infrequent, that the land must be watered from the Nile itself -- This River annually rises so high in August & September that it flows over its banks, and covers the whole country if not banked or levied off -- and at the time of the freshet the water is Muddy like the Missouri so that by letting it cover the fields, when the water subsides, it leaves a deposit of rich mud which is simply manure. After the water subsides it is kept in the Channel of the Main River and also innumerable Canals out of which it is pumped so as to water the growing crops. -- The Steam Engine is the best means of pumping but it is only the rich who can afford such an Engine, and the necessary fuel which has to be brought from the Coal Mines of England. So that nearly all the fields are watered now just as they were in the Time of Joseph & Moses. as recorded in the bible -- Some simply dip the water up in jars & carry & from it about the roots of growing plants or wheat or vegetables -- others raise the water in a tight basket at the end of a balance pole pour it into a small ditch that conveys it along the furrows in which the plants grow and others have a rotating wheel with buckets that pick up water at the bottom & dumps it at the top into a trough which conveys it to a ditch etc. -- One looking over a field with its Camels, asses, buffalos, & cattle -- all hard at work -- old men & women men boys & girls hoeing spaking, & watering their fields, he is carried back thousands of years, and can appreciate the advantages we enjoy in the United States.
The villages are the most repulsive houses I have ever seen for people to live in. they are of mud a sunburnt brick and clustered so close that they look like wasp nests or an old abandonned brick Kilm, Indded the fertile land is so small that people seem to begrudge the people space enough to sleep on. -- in both sides of the valley, on every edge of the desert on the Grave yards, and among these are pyramids, & tombs, which for size and amount are Grand & sublime Of pyramids there are a great many small ones, but only about a dozen of immense size. Most of the tombs are inside the rock, cut out or excavated with doors, pillars, niches, etc. These have been plundered in succession by Rusians, Greeks, Romans, & Christians in succession, but still enough remains to attest the Magnificent provisions the Ancients made for the dead -- but my thinking is it would have been much better for them to have taken more pains with the living -- Our Negros when slaves had better houses and better food & treatment than the Egyptian peoples, and the gap between the poor & rich was & is greater than between the slave & his master. Women now as then were bought sold -- like animals -- now any man can have as many wives as he can afford to keep, and these are locked up in Harums, & never allowed to go out except under guard. It is even considered inpolite to enquire about a man's wife or children I have been in the palace of a ViceRoy and the houses of many people of distinction but saw neither wife or children. These are locked up, and cannot be seen be strangers -- When they go out on the street, their faces are covered, all except the eyes which simply peep out so as to see their way. This is the case only of the well to do -- the extreme poor are not so careful, but they have to work so hard that it is hard to tell a girl from a boy. They carry dirt & stone & mortar on their heads, for the building of houses, walls and &c. and great gangs of these, chatting &c laughing can be seen in every direction.
Friday here is a Musselman Sunday, but I do not see that it is a day of rest, for work goes on all the time, and I understand that this Religion only requires that they shall pray at their mosque on that day, instead of praying in the street or in the Field.
The most characteristic feature of this country is the palm tree and the camel -- The palm is universal -- makes so little shade that it does not interfere with the cultivation of the land, and it bears several branches of dates, the product of every tree being worth about a dollar, of which ten cents goes to Government as a tax. -- The camel also needs but little water, can travel 25 miles a day, and even 40, for four or five days without food or water. They carry loads of from 400 to 600 pounds, & strings of them come into Cairo from every quarter loaded with all sorts of burdens, Mostly a kind of clover cut daily & fed green to horses, donkey, & cattle. I have seen strings of camels carrying loads of lumber, and even Railroad Iron, usually a man leads or rides the head camel. & the others follow, ten, twenty in a string each camel tied to the tail of the one ahead -- The donkeys too are a feature of this old country. They are not much larger than a goat but are very strong, carrying large loads of hay, grain or merchandise -- also they are used for saddle animals -- I have ridden them several times, & my feet almost reached the ground, but the little beasts paddle along quite smart.
A string of camels, with a few donkies ridden by Arabs with their turbans & long garments would create a sensation in the Avenue, but here along the dusty banks of a Canal with groups of palm trees scattered about they look quite natural and truly oriental.
Tomorrow, Saturday we propose to return to Alexandria by rail, and then will take the first steamer for Constantinople touching at Smyrna, which also is a place of Arabs, Russians & Eastern manners.
After leaving Constantinople we will enter Russia & thenceforth fall within the influence of European Civilization, which will be easier to write about & easier to understand. -- I have written to your Mama -- Minnie & Lissie from here -- I told Minnie that I had met Mrs Parsons (Miss Swayne) here, & that she had sent two Turkish Jackets -- one for Minnie & one for Miss Harris -- to be sent to Mrs. Inez Swayne. I sent their Jackets by a Gentleman named Savage, who promised to deliver them in person -- to Lissie I sent some flowers from Mary's well which is a well where Joseph & Mary with the Infant Christ tarried, when escaping into Egypt from the persecution of Herod -- We have newspapers from home to March 2 but my last letter from your Mama is Feb 4 & from you of Feb. 10 I want all letters hereafter to be mailed to care of B.F. Stevens Esq -- 17 Henrietta Street Convent Garden London. -- I have instructed him to send all letters to Apl 15 to Constantanople and after that date to St. Petersberg. -- It will take us till about June 1 to get to St. Petersburg -- for if possible I will go to Tiflis Astrachan, the Volga, Nishni & Moscow -- a long journey but full of interest. After that we will gradually work toward home, traveling faster or slower according to the News, -- All complain that we do not stay long enough, but as Sam Weller says of his letter, better than to make it too long --
Love to all -- Affectionally yr father
Vienna -- Austria
June 12, 1872
I think I have received all your letters the last of May 12, which came to me here. I learn from your Mama that she intends to spend her summer at Islip on Long Island, and it occurs to me that you might put in your summer by joining me and coming home by the time your school begins in September -- Therefore if you get this by the end of this month, and if your Mama consents, you may come to Paris and find me there in the middle of July, and travel with me the rest of the trip; by this you will see some of France, all of England Scotland & Ireland. & get home by the time your school finally begins. In this event you should take passage alone in a Havre French Steamer the first that sails from New York, after you get this, and after reaching Havre, come to Paris by the Railroad, and at the Depot take a Cab with instructions to go to the American Legation. Where you will find out where I am -- You will need nothing but a small valise or satchel, enough to carry clean clothes. enough for 2 weeks, and the less you have the better, for all such things are much cheaper in Europe than with us. Wm. Scott at New York will see to your passage, and let the captain know who you are, and you will be sure to find friends enough -- The trouble is in making too many acquaintances. It will probably surprise you but you will find traveling in Europe pretty much the same as at home and in Paris the U.S. Minister, Mr. Washburn, or the U.S. Consul would be glad to see you as if you belonged to the family. I expect to make some excursions about Paris that would not interest you, so that if you can reach there by the middle or the Month, and the passage from New York is usually made in 10 or 12 days, The Havre line is very good, and this will be a good chance to study travel by Sea as there is never a storm in July -- and if you get to Paris by the middle of July, I can show you all the city and whatever interests you, before going to England -- after paying your passage you will need a hundred dollars, not more for I will pay all your expenses, and will get you a good outfit in London. I think your Mama will approve, unless she thinks this notice rather short, but I did not think of it till I learned she was going to Istip. Where I think you will find it dull all Summer -- If you come dont concern yourself at all about danger, or trouble. Time enough when they come. You will be in a ship that will land you at Havre, and some of your ship acquaintances will go with you up to Paris in a few hours, where you will meet me. I would ask one of the girls to come but I am pulled & hauled about so that I cannot attend to a lady, but you will not only be able to take care of yourself but of me also --
I am just in from a long ride to the Palace of Schonbrunn and the village outside of Vienna, and must now get ready to go to dinner with the Prince Andrassy -- so that I write as usual hurriedly, but I mean what I say.
In two or three days you could make all the preparations necessary, and by writing to Scott, No 111, Wall Street he could secure you a birth in the next Havre Steamer. Then tell him to telegraph, U.S. Minister Paris Thomas Sherman has sailed in Steamer of such a date, and I would meet you or see that some one did. But there surest way could be to hunt me up -- and you will find plenty of Americans everywhere to tell you where to find me.
Tell your Mama, if she will pay your passage & give you $100 I will pay your expenses, and bring you back in time for your School
I must now dress, & leave the matter to you only saying that this will give you a good exchange for the promised trip to California.
Love to all,
Yr affectionate Father
May 25, 1872 Saturday
At Moscow I received your letter of April 14, and have postponed answering till I could find a leisure hour. Col Anderied and I have just returned from a visit to the Palace of Tsarskoe-Selo, 16 miles out in the Country, and the day being wet and cold, I have concluded but to stay in doors, write up my journal & to you. My journal is written to irregularly and so hurriedly at times, that it will be a cruel torture to impose it on you. I intend it rather to recall to me dates and events, so that in conversation or at liesure I may reconstruct it, but such as it is your may claim it and it may be in its rough shape it may have more originality and value than in a more polished shape. By the way I have bought for the girls, what girls usually value most -- viz jewelry, and for your Mama I have ordered a marble bust of myself, as well as a cameo. -- so that to finish the family I must get something for you & Cumpy -- I thought for you a box of Mathematical instruments of the best quality. Such as are used by Engineers and Architects. I also thought at Geneva or London I would buy for myself a new good plain watch -- and give you or Cumpy my present one which is really a first class gold watch. -- Now if there be anything special you prefer, not too costly, write me, so that I can hear at Paris and I will consult your preference. Articles most useful are found in England -- Italy excels in jewelry & statuary -- Paris is ribons, silk, and ladies dresses, but in articles of real value & use the English surpass all nations. In time we will do as well but as yet labor is too costly in America.
I had reserved for you chiefly the journey from the Caucasus to Moscow, but to do the subject justice I ought to spread before you a Map, such as I have with me, but such as you have not at home, but I think in the large Atlas, in my office of Keith & Thurston, you will find a Map of the Black Sea Region. -- At the extreme South East Corner, there empties a small stream called Rion, at the mouth of which is a small fever and ague town called Poti -- There is no harbor there, so as the wind blew, we came down the Coast to a harbor just inside the Turkey Line, called [illegible]. Where we lay at anchor two days, till the wind subsided, where a small steamer came from Poti & conveyed us inside the River. I found there a young man named Kostronilinoff, son of the Russian Consul at San Francisco, when we lived there. But we staid only a few hours, and took a Railroad up about 70 miles to a town called Kutais -- From Kutais we proceeded to Tifles by carriage and relays of horses about every 12 miles --
Tifles was the old capitol of Georgia but now all of the Caucases embracing Caucassia, Georgia, Immeritia, Mingulia, Gouriel, and the Daghestan are swallowed up by Russia which bear the same relation to the Old World, that the United States does to Mexico, and the truth is that these small states were quarreling & fighting with each other so much that it was a good thing for Russia to absorb them, for now they have good roads, and live in peace instead of eternal war. We found Tifle's quite a lively town, but of a most miscellaneous people. Persians, Arabs & Cincasians, besides some 15 or more other nationalities -- but all these will in a few years assimilate in manner & dress with the Russia --
After four or five days, at Rifles we say that to go round by Artrachan & the Volga we might be delayed an indefinite time, so we concluded to start by Post for the Railroad at Rostow, and Taganrog --
Look on your Map for the Sea of Osoff -- you will notice the River Don empties in at the North East corner. -- Just below the Mouth of the Don is a city of Taganrog. -- and some 17 miles up the Don is the City of Rostow. Both of these places are of note in this country though you may never have heard of them or ever noticed them on the Map. -- well from Tifles to Rostow was 600 miles, or 900 versts which is the measure used in Russia, and its dependant provinces. -- Our party consisted of Mr. Curtin & Son myself Audenreid & Fred Grant and a newspaper Man had got attached to us by some mysterious process, also a very clever Russian Prince Dogorowki. We took two carriages and one wagon for baggage -- Now the Russians do not use stages as we do -- but they provide Posthorses, about every 20 versts, at which the Master is obliged to keep horses to satisfy the orders of the controlling agent -- at Tifles by the payment of about 600 dollars we got an order for 16 horses at Each of the 45 stations between Rifles and Taganrog, and we could travel day and night or stay over as long as we pleased, and the Post Master was bound to supply us the 16 horses, and a proportionate number of drivers at each Station. The usual team is four horses abreast. but when the road is hilly or long they put two leaders ahead with a postillion, and I must confess that these Russians do drive like Jehus, -- but Mr. Bergh might emigrate for New York here, in the interest of poor horses. Usually Mr. Curtin & I rode in One Carriage not unlike my buggy -- only in front was a drivers seat, with room for one to be with him. A Audenreid generally chose that seat. -- the rest followed in a larger but heavier Carriage and the baggage wagon behind. With the Raggog wagons was a kind of conductor who blew his horn most furiously to give dignity to the party. -- We left Tifles one beautiful morning ane rode 115 versts, (1 verst -- [2/3] mile). which brought us to a station on the very summit of the Caucasus Range, close by the Kosbek 15000 feet high -- The Road was a McAcam Military Road and a good one. The Post stations are not provided with beds or anything to eat -- but we had brougy a basket of breat & meat along, and got a tea urn to work which gave us hot tea which the russians drink hot out of tumblers. It was real Cold. Mountains all about were Covered with Snow, and the ground froze hard that night. We managed to start a little fire in a stove and slept that night in straw, brought from the hay pile, -- and that in the land of Cyrus and Camileyses -- The next morning early, we descended the Caucassus range, by a steep valley and about noon it was scorching hot and we met a detachment of Cossacks sent out by the commanding officer of Vladi Kav Kas to meet us & escort us to that celebrated town of which I warrant you never heard before though it has played a part in Ancient & Modern history, more important than Cincinnati or Chicago -- The town stands in a beautiful plain just after the Road emerges from the Mountain pass into the Ganual valley of the Kouban. Here the Kossacks performed their feats of horsemanship that makes them a reputation as the best [illegible] light cavalry in the world -- they fire & load at full run, stoop down & pick up their hat or a whip for the grand Stand on their saddle, fire under the neck of the horse &c &c. They centainly ride well and reminded one of the Commanche Indians or the Californians as they were in 1847 -- We staid at Vladikovkis for five hours during which we had a fine dinner and had some of these Kossacks to sing and dance for us the National Song -- after this we resumed our journey, and the Kossacks escorted us about 15 miles out -- renewing their practice along the road, which was very like the Plains of Kansas -- The second night we slept at a house in Mostok. The next morning we started and made about 100 miles the road being very much like our plains, only more cultivated in wheat fields, but no fences, all the horses and cattle when turned out to graze are guarded by men & boys -- The people are all tartars and live in villages, of kind Mud, or stone houses of one story and straw roofs -- The wheat & hay stalks are made close to the houses and you have to look twice to distinguish the houses from the hay stalks -- Nearly all the heavy labor in the fields is done by the women & girls whose bare legs arms and heads make them very coarse -- We met and passed innumerable wagons or carts, Each drawn by a pair of oxen and they Camp out just like on our plains, and their being no wood, they burn dried dung -- bois-de vaiclo or buffalo chips just as we do in our Plains -- All this country is know as the Steppes, but are as much like our Plains as two countries can be -- The 4th day we passed through a considerable town which you may find called Stavropol, and the night of the 6th day we reached Rostock where we found the Railroad. The weather was good at times quite hot & dusty, but the nights were bright moonlight and we averaged 100 miles a day and had 5 or 6 hours to sleep on straw or hay in the Post Stations, On the whole we enjoyed the variety. -- At Rostok we took the cars for Taganrog where we spent the day pleasantly and cleaned up. It is an old place and has a good deal of business in shipping wheat which is produced in considerable quantities in the Prairie Country through which we passed, and on the River Don. From Tagantog we had rail 800 Miles to Moscow passing several small towns of no importance and reached Moscow in 2 days & 4 hrs. The whole of Russia south of Moscow is very like our plains, but is more thickly populated than Iowa. But there are no farms in one sense. The lands are owned in large tracts & let out to the peasants who live in villages and go to their fields to work. All the cattle, horses &c are kept up, and when let out some one goes along to keep them from the fields. The Rich have good houses, orchards, & gardens but the poor all live in poor villages of mud walls, with thatched roofs. These peasants used to be serfs a kind of slave attached to the soil and who could not leave without the consent of the proprietor: but recently all have been freed, and the Proprietors are required to sell them a piece of land at an appraised value and if they work for him he must pay them just as happened with our slaves. This in time will make a great improvement in the Country and already Russia begins to show the signs of rapid advancement. We find the telegraph everwhere and railroads in process of construction. The larger cities are well paved lighted &c. people are well dressed and the stores well supplied in every respect, Indeed there is much to remind one of our own Country only the language is utterly incomprehensible It resembles Greek. but is Sclavanic, derived from Asia and not from the Romans.
I am now approaching the bottom of the second sheet and cannot afford another. So this must suffice.
Grand Hotel, Paris
Sunday, July 7, 1872
I only arrived here last night and found a dispatch from your Mama-dated New York, July 4, saying that you had sailed July 3 in the Russia-
Now I believe the Russia is a Cunard Steamer of the First Class. But she will land you at Liverpool about next Saturday. I expected you to come in a Havre Steamer, in which event I would have met you, but now I have written to our Consul, whose name even I cannot recall, to have some one to meet you on arrival, and to see that you have everything necessary to reach me in safety and comfort. It may test your smartness, but I have no doubt you will be able to come straight to Paris with ease. And if you can telegraph me by what train you come I will meet you at the Depot-
If you have a trunk try to have it ticketed all the way to Paris, for here it will have to be opened & examined by some Custom House Rascal, to see that you are not smuggling. Dont object to anything but watch the way things are done. Only hold on to your baggage ticket till you get your baggage-
About the Depot you will find some one who speaks English, as you can understand some French, and if I am not at the Depot, take a cab, and hand the driver the card I enclose in this - and he will drive you straight to where I am, or where you will recognize my trunk &c- I am now at the Grand Hotel, close to the New Opera House - but tomorrow I remove to handsome rooms, No 6 Rue de Presburg, close by the Arc de l'Etoile, or Arc de Triomphe. The Rooms are on the 3rd floor, & belong to a Mr & Mrs Pinchot of New York - who are friends of mine., who have wanted me to share their ample quarters; and which I have agreed to do, as the situation is good, and from there I can circulate generally to see the thousand and one things for which Paris is famous. By the time you get here I will know enough of Paris to show you all that should most interest you.
Fred Grant has gone to Liverpool to embark for home. Col Audenreid is at Cologne visiting some friend, but ought to arrive today. He also will be with me when you come. And I have just been up to Mrs Pinchot, who showed me the room reserved for me, which embraced one for Fred Grant, which will now be given you. Once here, all else can be arranged.
Tell the consul exactly what money you have, and let him get your railroad tickets, and if you need more money he will give it you. Should you be delayed at London go to see Benj Moreau U.S. Secretary of Legation, also Genl Schenck our Minister, and tell them who you are, and they will take good care of you; but your best plan is to come straight to Paris, & find me. We will have plenty of time to arrange your visit afterwards. - Telegraph me if possible at London, When you will leave, by which train &c. and I will try to meet you at the Depot-
Affectionately yr Father
On reaching Geneva, go to the Hotel "Beau Rivage"- hand my card to the Clerk, & get a room - - - look over the names at the hotel, and if you find the name of Crocker, of California, see him & tell him I directed you to speak to him -
Also enquire for General Caleb Cushing - see him & give him my letter- also ask for Mr. Wm. M Evarts, & give Mrs Evarts my letter- also if you have time drive out to Mr Francis Adams, & present my card.
On Monday take a boat, of which they are many, down the lake Vevay, and at the Hotel (Grand) enquire for Mrs. General Stewart- pr Mrs. Terry, & Mrs. Cooper. - or any person of the U.S. Navy, who will tell you where to find them.-Present my letter to them, and you will find them good friends, who will ride with you down to Castle Chillon made famous by Lord Byron.- It is probable however they have gone to England, to be near Lieutenant Cooper of the Navy.- If you hear of a Miss Miller-niece of Capt Shenfelt see her also - She came over in the Wabash with us,- From Vevay take a carriage & drive down the lake to Castle Chillon, & back. - As you pass through Montreux, if convenient tell the driver to stop at the Pensions Vaultier near Hotel de l'Union Montreux where Mrs General Stone, with her daughter & chidren will be very glad to see you, and will make you feel at home- You can go to Geneva, by boat or cars as you please -
If you prefer it stay at Geneva- so as to reach Paris Thursday, but if you see all you visit then & prefer to have the day in Paris, come back Wednesday,- We will probably be in Paris till Saturday. If we make any change in Paris I will telegraph you at the Hotel Beau Rivage, - and on Wednesday telegraph me no 6, Rue de Presburg, where I should expect you.
Pick up all the French you can- be polite but not confidential to strangers- and only make yourself known to people such as I have named.
Observe the country, as you pass along, and if you think preferable vary your route as you please- W.T. Sherman