Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 July 1841

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. Rot terdam is a fine town of about 80 thou sand inhabitants. The cleanliness of its  streets, the antique order of its architec ture, the extreme height of its buildings,  the numerous shade trees with which it is  beautified, and the great number of ca nals 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 peculiar arity resembled no where else in the  course of my travels, except in Amster dam. 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 Amster dam, 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 call ed on the President Rabbi here, but he  was gone from home. I left at his house  a large number of the addresses for him self and his people, 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 U[nited] States. 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 Eng lish. The Rhine is about like the Ohio  for size, near its mouth where it empties  into the Mississippi. Its waters resemble  the Missouri 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 America, by  books, to a certain extent; yet now my  eyes behold!! It is impossible for a writ ten description of a stranger’s beauty, to  leave the same impression upon the mind,  as is made by an ocular view of the love ly 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 Napol eon 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 di rectly down the Danube to Constantino ple; but having neglected to get my pass port vezayed by the Austrian Embassa dor 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 ac quainted with a lady here who speaks  French and German to admiration, and  she was very anxious to speak the Eng lish—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 la dy tells me that I make astonishing pro gress. From the past experience, I know  that the keen edge of any work transla ted by a stranger in whose heart the spir [p. 571]
Orson Hyde, Letter, Ratisbon, Bavaria, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 17 July 1841; in Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:570–573.