Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 July 1841

  • Source Note
Page 571
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continued he, “almost continually.” I told him that I had written an address to the Hebrews, and was about procuring its publication in his own language; (dutch) and when completed, I would leave him a copy. He thanked me for this token of respect, and I bade him adieu. I soon obtained the publication of five hundred copies of the address, and left one at the house of the Rabbi—he being absent from home, I did not see him.
After remaining here about one week, I took the coach for Amsterdam, distance 7 hours, or about 30 English miles. Rotterdam is a fine town of about 80 thousand inhabitants. The cleanliness of its streets, the antique order of its architecture, the extreme height of its buildings, the numerous shade trees with which it is beautified, and the great number of canals through almost every part of the town filled with ships of various sizes from different parts of the world; all these, with many other things not mentioned contributed to give this place a peculiararity resembled no where else in the course of my travels, except in Amsterdam. Most of the business men here speak a little English—some speak it very well. In ascending the waters of the Rhine from the sea to Rotterdam, the numerous Wind-mills which I beheld in constant operation, led me to think, almost, that all Europe came here for their grinding. But I ascertained that they were grinding for distilleries, where the floods of gin are made, which, not only. deluge our beloved country with fatal consequences, but many others. Gin is one of the principal articles of exportation from this country. In going to Amsterdam, I passed through a very beautiful town called “the Hague,” the residence of the King of Holland. I saw his palace which was guarded by soldiers, both horse and foot. For grandeur it bore but a faint resemblance to Buckingham Palace in London: But the beautiful parks and picturesque scenery in and about the Hague, I have never seen equaled in any country. I remained in Amsterdam only one night, and a part of two days—I called on the President Rabbi here, but he was gone from home. I left at his house a large number of the addresses for himself and his peolpe, and took coach for Arnheim on the Rhine. Took boat the same evening for Mazenty. Travelling by coach and steam is rather cheaper in this country than in the . We were three days in going up the Rhine to Mazenty. Holland and the lower part of Prus[s]ia are very low flat countries. The French and German language are spoken all along the Rhine; but little or no English. The Rhine is about like the Ohio for size, near its mouth where it empties into the . Its waters resemble the waters, dark and muddy. The scenery and landscapes along this river have been endowed with art and nature’s choicest gifts. I have been made acquainted with Europe, in , by books, to a certain extent; yet now my eyes behold!! It is impossible for a written description of a stranger’s beauty, to leave the same impression upon the mind, as is made by an ocular view of the lovely object. This is the difference between reading of and seeing the countries of Europe.
From Mazenty I came to Frankfort on the Main, by railroad—distance 7 hours. From Frankfort, I came to this place—distance about 30 hours, where Napoleon gained a celebrated victory over the Prusians and Austrians. The very ground on which I now write this letter, was covered by about 60 thousand slain in that battle. It is called the battle of Ackynaeal.
It was my intention to have gone directly down the Danube to Constantinople; but having neglected to get my passport vezayed by the Austrian Embassador at Frankfort, I had to forward it to the Austrain Embassador at Munich and procure his permission, signature, and seal, before I could enter the Austrian dominions. This detained me five days, during which time I conceived the idea of sitting down and learning the German language scientifically. I became acquainted with a lady here who speaks French and German to admiration, and she was very anxious to speak the English—she proposed giving me instruction in the German if I would instruct her in English. I accepted her proposal. I have been engaged eight days in this task. I have read one book through and part of another, and translated and written con[s]iderable. I can speak and write the German considerable already, and the lady tells me that I make astonishing progress. From the past experience, I know that the keen edge of any work translated by a stranger in whose heart the spir [p. 571]
continued he, “almost continually.” I told him that I had written an address to the Hebrews, and was about procuring its publication in his own language; (dutch) and when completed, I would leave him a copy. He thanked me for this token of respect, and I bade him adieu. I soon obtained the publication of five hundred copies of the address, and left one at the house of the Rabbi—he being absent from home, I did not see him.
After remaining here about one week, I took the coach for Amsterdam, distance 7 hours, or about 30 English miles. Rotterdam is a fine town of about 80 thousand inhabitants. The cleanliness of its streets, the antique order of its architecture, the extreme height of its buildings, the numerous shade trees with which it is beautified, and the great number of canals through almost every part of the town filled with ships of various sizes from different parts of the world; all these, with many other things not mentioned contributed to give this place a peculiararity resembled no where else in the course of my travels, except in Amsterdam. Most of the business men here speak a little English—some speak it very well. In ascending the waters of the Rhine from the sea to Rotterdam, the numerous Wind-mills which I beheld in constant operation, led me to think, almost, that all Europe came here for their grinding. But I ascertained that they were grinding for distilleries, where the floods of gin are made, which, not only. deluge our beloved country with fatal consequences, but many others. Gin is one of the principal articles of exportation from this country. In going to Amsterdam, I passed through a very beautiful town called “the Hague,” the residence of the King of Holland. I saw his palace which was guarded by soldiers, both horse and foot. For grandeur it bore but a faint resemblance to Buckingham Palace in London: But the beautiful parks and picturesque scenery in and about the Hague, I have never seen equaled in any country. I remained in Amsterdam only one night, and a part of two days—I called on the President Rabbi here, but he was gone from home. I left at his house a large number of the addresses for himself and his peolpe, and took coach for Arnheim on the Rhine. Took boat the same evening for Mazenty. Travelling by coach and steam is rather cheaper in this country than in the . We were three days in going up the Rhine to Mazenty. Holland and the lower part of Prussia are very low flat countries. The French and German language are spoken all along the Rhine; but little or no English. The Rhine is about like the Ohio for size, near its mouth where it empties into the . Its waters resemble the waters, dark and muddy. The scenery and landscapes along this river have been endowed with art and nature’s choicest gifts. I have been made acquainted with Europe, in , by books, to a certain extent; yet now my eyes behold!! It is impossible for a written description of a stranger’s beauty, to leave the same impression upon the mind, as is made by an ocular view of the lovely object. This is the difference between reading of and seeing the countries of Europe.
From Mazenty I came to Frankfort on the Main, by railroad—distance 7 hours. From Frankfort, I came to this place—distance about 30 hours, where Napoleon gained a celebrated victory over the Prusians and Austrians. The very ground on which I now write this letter, was covered by about 60 thousand slain in that battle. It is called the battle of Ackynaeal.
It was my intention to have gone directly down the Danube to Constantinople; but having neglected to get my passport vezayed by the Austrian Embassador at Frankfort, I had to forward it to the Austrain Embassador at Munich and procure his permission, signature, and seal, before I could enter the Austrian dominions. This detained me five days, during which time I conceived the idea of sitting down and learning the German language scientifically. I became acquainted with a lady here who speaks French and German to admiration, and she was very anxious to speak the English—she proposed giving me instruction in the German if I would instruct her in English. I accepted her proposal. I have been engaged eight days in this task. I have read one book through and part of another, and translated and written considerable. I can speak and write the German considerable already, and the lady tells me that I make astonishing progress. From the past experience, I know that the keen edge of any work translated by a stranger in whose heart the spir [p. 571]
Page 571