N. (Nehemiah) Matson.

Beyond the Atlantic; or, Eleven months' tour in Europe, Egypt and Palestine, with illustrations online

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Online LibraryN. (Nehemiah) MatsonBeyond the Atlantic; or, Eleven months' tour in Europe, Egypt and Palestine, with illustrations → online text (page 1 of 18)
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I Doaler in


Wnll Paper, Winrlow Phnrlps
I &c., &e., &c.

62 Main St., Princeton. 111.













Entered according to an act of Congress, in the year 1870, by


In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, in and for
the Northern District of Illinois.


Of late, books of travel have been increasing at a
rapid rate, and the public taste for that kind of reading
has proportionately increased. Each succeeding traveler
views things in a different light, being inspired with
new ideas, thereby furnishing the reader with some
important facts which have been overlooked by his

These pages were written from notes taken among
the scenes which they describe, and only treat of objects
coming under the writer's own observation. It will be
found to consist principally of short descriptions of
places; and fticts alone are given, without the opinions
or impressions of the writer, leaving the readers to draw
their own conclusions. This work will be found to
differ from other books of travel, inasmuch as it is
composed of sketches, under separate heads. Each


article is conclusive in itself, and can be read without
doing injustice to other parts of the chapter. At the
same time, each connects with the others, so as to form
a continuous chain.

These sketches embrace the observations made during
an eleven months tour, and over a distance of more than
twenty-five thousand miles ; consequently the description
of places and things, must necessarily be brief This
could not be otherwise, without extending these pages
far beyond their present limits, thereby making the
enterprise pecuniarily a hazardous one.

The public will bear in mind, that this work makes
no claim as a literary production, and is simply
designed to give a plain statement of facts. It is hoped
that the reader will view it from this standpoint,
without taking exceptions to the plainness of the
style in which these facts are presented.


Princeton, February 1st, 1870.



Along the Clyde, - - - - - 14

Antwerp, - - - 47

Amsterdam, - - - - - 54

Arab Marriage Customs, - - - 238

" Life in the Country, - - - 233

Alexandria, City of, - - - 202

" Curiosities of, - - - 204

Belgium, Account of, - - - - 42

Brussels, - - - - - 44

Berlin, - - - 70

Baden Baden, - - - - - 83

" " Surroundings of, - - 86

Bruning Pass, - - - - - 98

Barnese Oberlands, - - - 108

Berne, City of, .... 109

" to Geneva, - - - - 110

Bethlehem, 287

" Road to, ... 285

" Surroundings, of, - - - 289


COPEVHAGEN, - - - 64

Chamouni, Valley and Village of, - - 123

Col. De Balme - - - - 126

Crossing the Appennines, - - - 141

Church of St. Peter, Rome, - - ' 158

Catania, - - - - - 192

Cairo Grand, City of, - - - 210

*' " Sights in, - - - 113

" " Road to, - - - 206

" Old, and Island of Roda, - - 230

Cheops, Ascent of, _ . _ 223

Crossing the Atlantic, - - - 306

Denmark, Tour through, - - - 61

Dresden, City of, - - - - 71

Donkeys, and Donkey Boys, - - 217

Dance on the Mountain, . _ _ io4

England, Tour through, - - - 25

Egyptian Customs, - - - - 236

Edinburgh, - - - - - 17

Excursion to Jericho and Dead Sea, - - 280


Florence, City of, - - - - 144

View of, - - - 146

Forcloz Pass, - - - - - 122

Fiesole, Ruins of, - - - - 149

France, Tour through, - - - 301

Glasgow, - - - - - 15

Germany, Brief account of, - - - 73

" Tour through, - - - 75

Glaciers, Tour among, - - - - lOl


Grindelwold, Glaciers, and Village of, - 106

Geneva, City of, - - - - 1 1 1

" Lake of, and surroundings, - 113

Gorge of Trient, - - - - 117

General Remarks on Europe, - - 200

Gibeon, Ai, and Gilbah, Ruins of, - - 294

Holland, Brief account of - - - 49

Hague, - - - - - 53

Hamburg, City of, - - - -56

Hanover, Tour through, - - - 57

Homburg, - - - - - ^ '

Herculaneum, Ruins of, - - - 180

Howling Dervishes, - - - 215

Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, - - 227

Heidelburg, City and Castle, - - 81

Hospice at St Bernard, View of, - - 120

Homeward Bound, - - - 303

Ireland, Tour through, - - - - 21

Italy, Southern, - - - - 187

JoppA, Landing at, - - - - 246

« City of, - - - 247

Jerusalem, City of, - - - - 255

" Road to, - - - 251

« Sights of, - - - - 261

" Traditionary places, - - 263

" Surroundings of, - - - 272

" View of, - - - 259

London, An account of, - - - - 26

a ct t< " . - - 804

" Tower of, ... - 31

Leaving for the Continent, - - 34

Lubeek, City of, - - - - 59

Lucerne, Lake of, - - - - 93

City of, - - - - 97

Loreto, - - - - - - 142

Leper's Quarters, . . . - 262

Lombardy, Plains of, - - - - 134

Mistaken Identity, - - - 66

Maurice St., - - - - - 115

Martigny, - - - - 118

Milan, - - - - - 123

Murderer, The, - - . - 194

Malta, Island of, - - - - 197

Memphis, Noph of Scripture, - - 229

Mount Moriah, - - - - 266

Mosque of Omar, View of, - - 2

N'lLE Valley, - - - - - 208

" View of, - - - 232

Naples, - - - - - 167

Neby Mt., Visit to, . . . 292

Paris, Brief account of, - - - - 36

Prussia, . . - - . 68

Perils at Sea, - - - - - 199

Pyramids, and Sphinx, - - - 222

Going to, - - - - 219

Petrified Forest, Visit to, ' - - 226

Pompeii, Ruins of, - - - - 182

Palestine as it now appears, - - 277

Rotterdam, - - - - - 52

Rhine Valley, - - - - 79


Rome, City of, - - - - 152

" Ruins of, - - - - 161

Red Sea, - - - . . 242

Return to Europe, - - - 297

Scotland, Southern, _ _ _ _ 16

Switzerland, Tour through, _ _ 91

Strasburg, _ . . _ _ 90

Simplon Pass, _ _ _ _ 127

Sicily, _ _ _ _ _ 191

Suez, City of, _ _ . _ 240

" Isthmus of, _ . _ _ 248

Sweden, - _ _ _ _ 68

Sharon, Plains of, _ _ _ _ 249

Waterloo, Battlefield, - _ _ 46

Venice, City of, - . _ _ 137

Vesuvius Mt., Visit to, . _ _ 173


On the tburth day of March, 1868, 1 left New York
on the steamship Caledonia, bound for Glasgow,
Scotland. The passage, although a rough one, was void
of any incident worthy of note until the twelfth day,
when we came in sight of the mountains which adorn
the north-west coast of Ireland Off the port of Lon-
donderry we were met by a steamtug, and passengers
and mail for Ireland were taken off! Again we put to
sea, and 180 miles further, including a sail up the
Clyde, brought us to Glasgow. As soon as the ship
reached the wharf, a revenue officer came aboard,
followed by a man with a bucket of paste. The
officer examined our baggage and finding it all right,
the pasteman would stick on a card so that it could be
taken ashore. The only articles looked for were liquor,
tobacco, and American reprints of English copyrighted
books. The latter article they regard as a kind of
literary piracy which they will not tolerate, and if any
such works are found they are committed to the flames.

At a proper time my turn came, and the officer with
much politeness looked over my traps, but finding none


of these contraband articles in my valise it received a
card of approval, when I was allowed to go ashore.


For thirty miles below Glasgow along the river Clyde,
there are fine cultivated farms presenting a beauty of
landscape scenery seldom met with in any other part of
the world. The land rises gradually from the river
back to the highlands, and this slope is covered with
fine farms and farm houses, including many beautiful
palaces occupied by Scottish nobility. Here can be
seen feeding on these green slopes the best breeds of
horses, cattle and sheep met with in any part of Europe.
And here, also, are seen sporting in these fields, the
large English rabbit, of various colors, from coal black,
to those of snowy whiteness.

Along the Clyde, there is almost one continuous vil-
lage, wath here and there a large town or city ; all of
which are largely engaged in ship building. These
ships are all built of iron, and on every sea, and in every
port, the Clyde vessels are seen. On the right bank of
the river twenty miles below Glasgow, is the city of
Greenock, containing 50,000 inhabitants, and much
celebrated for its iron factories and ship yards. On the
opposite side of the river, eight miles above Greenock,
stands Dunbartin Castle, a place famous in Scottish
history. It was taken from the English by Wallace,
and its capture is regarded as the greatest exploit in the
career of that noted warrior. The castle is built on a


rock which stands out in the river, and is now occupied
by a small garrison.

The river from this point is narrow, with shallow
water, and can only be navigated by vessels of heavy
tonage at high tide. Dredging machines are all the
while employed deepening the channel, and the dirt is
taken to fill up bayous, and make land along its banks.


Next to London, this is the largest city on the British
Isles, and contains nearly half a million inhabitants.
The city is well built, with wide streets, and contains
many fine squares and parks. Its houses are mostly
high, built of brown stone, and much blackened by coal
smoke which gives to the city a dark and gloomy
appearance. Glasgow is largely engaged in manufac-
turing iron ware, and ship building, and is the most
commercial place in Scotland. It contains but few
attractions for strangers. Although its history dates
back to the sixth century, there is but one building of
note which makes any claim to antiquity, and that is the
Glasgow Cathedral. This is a fine, massive structure,
and by the date on its walls shows that the first church
on its site was dedicated in the sixth century.

On a high and beautiful knoll, east of the Cathedral,
is located the old cemetery containing many monuments
of distinguished men who lived in past ages ; the highest
and most conspicuous of which, is that of John Knox,
the ffreat reformer.



A person traveling through this country will be
surprised to find so much good land, and under so high
a state of cultivation, being equal to the best gardens
in the United States. Some idea of the product of a
farm may be formed, when we consider the average
rental of land is about nine dollars per acre. And with
these high rents, the tenant's lease, which in most cases
is perpetual, will sell for more than farms in Illinois.
But few farmers own the land which they occupy, as it
mostly belongs to noblemen whose ancestors obtained
it centuries ago through the old feudal rights. This
country is neither level nor hilly, but undulating and is
well adapted for farming purposes. All of the public
roads are narrow, not exceeding twenty feet, and are
macadamized with limestone. There is but little timber
in the country ; more or less young trees are seen on
every farm, but they are more for ornament than use,
and the only native forest trees are seen in the parks of
noblemen. The fencing is composed of either stone
or hedge, the buildings are constructed mostly of
stone, and wooden buildings are not seen in this country.

Almost every part of southern Scotland is identified
with the history of past ages, and in traveling through
it a person will see many places where great events
have occurred. A short distance from Glasgow is
located the old Douglas Castle, a place famous in
Scottish history, now occupied by a descendant of
the great Douglases of former times, known as


Duke of Hamilton. Here is a large park of native
forest trees, containing fountains, artificial lakes, and
flower gardens. And in this park can be seen the
different kinds of deer, as well as a large herd of native
wild cattle, with their long black horns and shaggy
hair. Close by this castle was fought the great battle
of Bothwell Bridge.

Twenty-six miles west of Edinburgh we came to the
old city of Falkirk, which is of great historical celebrity.
One-half mile west of the town in the beautiful fields
now covered with grain, is where Wallace fought his
last battle, and by the treachery of one of his men was
defeated, captured, carried to London, and executed on
Tower Hill. On the east side of the city the place was,
pointed out where Charles III. Avas defeated in the last
battle fought by the Stuarts, for the crown of England.

Thirteen miles east of Falkirk, is still to be seen the
Palace and Abbey of Linlithgrow, the birthplace of
Queen Mary. These buildings stand on high ground
by the side of a small lake, and are now in a state of
ruins. The massive walls are still standing, which show
them to have been fine specimens of architectural skill.


The city of Edinburgh is very remarkable in its loca-
tion, its limits extending over hill, valley and plain.

Adjoining it, on two sides are fine cultivated farms,
while on the others rest Col ton Hill, and Saulsbury
crags ; with the city of Leith extending to the bay, two


miles distant. It has a population of 205,000, and con-
tains many fine colleges and seminaries. For the British
Isles it is considered the seat of learning, as well as the
cradle of fine arts. The city consists of two parts — the
old and new town — divided by a deep valley. This
valley at one time contained an artificial lake, which
was used for sailing pleasure boats ; but a large part of
it is now used as a railroad station; the road passing
from it through tunnels under the city. This plan of
railroads passing under a city instead of through it, is
very common in this country. From the station the
street is reached by ascending long flights of stone
steps, and in places streets pass over this valley by
means of stone bridges, on which houses are built.

South of this valley lies the old town, built on a hill-
side, one street rising above another, giving to it a l)old
and imposing appearance. The houses are built with
brown stone, many of which arc eight, and some ten
stories high. At the upper end of the old town, and on
a high cliff of rocks three hundred and eighty feet above
the bay, overlooking the city and surrounding country,
stands Edinburgh Castle, a fortification famous in history.

There is but one entrance to this castle, which is across
a moat by a drawbridge. At all other places it is guarded
by a high wall, built on cliffs of rocks, and is now
occupied by a regiment of soldiers. In this castle is to
l>e seen the mammoth gun, called Mons Meg^ famous in
history. It is of great length, twenty-four inches in the
bore, and is made of thick bars of iron hooped together.
Tlie inscription on its carriage, says it was made at


Brittainy, in the year 1476, and employed at the seige
of Naham Castle in 1513. In 1682 it burst while firing
a salute in honor of a visit from the Duke of York.

On the east side of the castle is the crown-room
containing the insignia of Scottish royalty, among w^hich
is a crown, a sceptre, a sw^ord of state, and the Loi-d
Treasurer's rod of office, all of which are made of gold.

This regalia has been worn at the time of crowning
every king of Scotland, from David I. to James VI.

On the ground floor of this wing of the castle, is
Queen Mary's room, w^here the unfortunate Queen was
kept while a prisoner in the castle, and in this room, she
gave birth to James YL, in whom the crown of England
and Scotland were united. On the east side of this room
is the w^indow from which the young prince was let
down in a basket suspended by a rope, and was received
by friends below^, who conveyed him to Stirling Castle,
where he was baptized in the Catholic faith. When
this window^ was opened, I looked down from the giddy
hight of two hundred and forty-two feet, and thought
hoAV few^ mothers there were, who would risk their
infants but eight days old, in such a place.

From the castle we went down High street, our guide
pointing out buildings on most every block, associated
with Scottish history. Among other places were St.
Giles church and the old parliment house. On this
street is the Knox house, w^here lived and died the great
reformer of whom Queen Mary once said : she feared
his face more than all the armies of England. This
house, according to the date on its walls, w-as built in


1490. The lower part of it is now used as a grocery,
while the upper part is exhibited to the public, and con-
tains the furniture of its former occupant. Fronting
the door of the second story is a stone platform, surrounded
by an iron railing, from which it is said, Knox frequently
preached to the people in the street. Xearly opposite
the Knox house is the Tweeddale Court, where once
lived the Marquis of Tweeddale ; and it was at the
entrance of this mansion, that the misterious murder of
Bigbie occurred.

At the east side of the city, and on Hat land, which is
almost on a level with the bay is situated the palace of
Holyrood, the former residence of Scottish royalty. The
grounds around this palace are very beautiful, being
ornamented with shade trees and ilower gardens, and
enclosed by an iron fence twelve feet high. This palace
is built of brown stone, very large, and contains an open
court in the center, ninety feet square. The east wing
is not open to visitors, being fitted uj) for loyal guests,
and is the home of Queen Victoria, when she visits
Edinburgh. The picture gallery is the 1 argest apartment
in the palace, and on its walls are suspended the portraits
of one hundred and six kings of Scotland, from Furgus
I. who reigned (B. C. 330), to James VI.

Queen Marj'^'s apartments are the most interesting of
the palace, and remain the same as when last occupied
by the unfortunate Queen. After passing through tht-
audience- room we entered the Queen's bedchamber,
which contains lier bed, as well as various articles of
her furniture, all of which have an ancient appearance.


On one side of this room is the door through which
the conspirators entered, and on the opposite side is
the cabinet where they found their victim Riccio.
Regardless of the tears and entreaties of the Q.ueen,
the unfortunate secretary was dragged into the au-
dience room, and there dispatched with daggers. The
exact spot where this occurred is pointed out by the
keeper of these rooms, and he never forgets to show the
visitors the stains of blood, still on the floor, where
Riccio fell.

Adjoining the palace is the oldHolyrood Abbey, built
in 1128, but now in a state of ruin. The walls alone
are still standing, and within its walls are the tombs of
many of the kings of Scotland, as well as other distin-
guished men of past ages.


Having sailed over one hundred miles, along the
northern coast of Ireland, I had a fine view of the Giants
Causeway, and Port Rush, which is the entrance to Lon-
donderry, as well as many other places of interest. The
scenery along this coast is very picturesque with cliftsof
rocks in many places rising perpendicularly from the wa-
ters edge, and back of which, are rocky, barren mountains,
without a tree or shrub, and in some places without a
single habitation. But it is very different in the interior
of the country where the land is mostly level, and under
a high state of cultivation. In some places are seen
tine farm buildings surrounded by parks or fruit trees,


which belong to, and are occupied by wealthy Irish
gentlemen. But the larger portion of the land belongs
to noblemen who live in England, and Avho exact every
farthing they can get from the poor tenants, leaving
them scarcely enough to live on. If the tenant plants
a tree he dare not cut it down, and if he keeps a dog he
has to tie him up so the rabbits (which are claimed by
the landlord) will not be molested. The fencing here
consists of hedge, and the tenant houses are mostly mud
hovels covered with thatch.

I visited the city of Belfast, which city is situated at
the head of the bay, ten miles from the Irish sea, and is
built on flat land which rises only a few feet above tide
water. On the east side of the city are mountains which
are without trees, or vegetation of any kind, while on the
west side are fine, cultivated farms. Belfast contains
120,000 inhabitants, and is the greatest linen manufac-
turing city in the world. Linen Hall occupies a large
square, and through it most of the wholesale linen trade
is carried on. I went through one appartment of this
hall, which is three hundred feet in length, and where
linen thread was piled up on either side almost to the

The railroad running south from Belfast, passes through
a very rich country where there are many fine towns and
cities. On tliis road we passed the battle field of Boyne,
where James II. met William III., and on this field was
decided, and sealed the fate of the Stuart family to the
throne of England. A monument is here erected to
commemorate that event.


Dublin, the Irish capital, contains a population of
250.000, and is well built, with wide streets, and
high houses, many of which are coated with marble ;
and the general appearance of the city is pleasing and
attractive. The city contains great wealth, and along
its principal streets, are seen crowds of well dressed
men and women, whose manners and personal appearance
show a high state of refinement, unsurpassed by any
other city in Europe. Probably there is no city on the
British Isles, where the English language is so correctly
spoken as here. The broad Irish brogue can scarcely
be noticed among the better classes Here in Dublin,
as well as other cities of Ireland, the Irish jilting carts
are in common use, and have almost taken the place of
the cab.

The Prince of Wales, was on a visit to Dublin
during the time I was there, and the streets, and
public buildings were decorated with flags in honor
of his visit. I saw the Prince pass through the
street in an open car riage, drawn by six horses,
with a groom riding each horse. Other carriages
containing noblemen followed, and preceding the
procession, was a company of dragoons, and all went
on a gallop.

While I was in Dublin, George F. Train, of Fenian
notoriety was arrested, and thrown in prison for a debt
contracted some time before, on a purchase of railroad
iron. One of Train's creditors who had just returned
from holding a conference with him, said to me, that
Train acknowledged that the claim, both principal


and interest, was just, but said it was contrary to his
principle, to pay interest, and contrary to his interest
to pay principal; consequently he could not liquidate
the debt without injuring both his conscience and



After spending a few days in Dublin, we took passage
for Liverpool, and had a pleasant sail across the Irish Sea.
The steamer on which we were passengers had on board
some three hundred Irish laborers, on their way to Eng-
land, These people were poorly clad, and their baggage
consisted of small packages tied up in bandana hand-
kerchiefs, which they carried under their arms. Not-
withstanding their poverty, I never met with a more
jolly set of fellows, and their merry songs and witty
jokes, kept the cabin passengers all the while in a roar
of laughter. On the deck of the ship, they had an Irish
dance, and having crowded on one side, caused the vessel
to keel over so as to take in water. The officers tried
in vain to disburse them, but the noise of the fiddle and
bagpipe, together with the rattling of the feet of the
dancers, drowned all other noise. At this crisis the
captain threw from the hurricane deck a peice of old
carpet down on the heads of the musicians, which broke


up the dance, and caused the crowd to separate. As we
sailed up the Mersey, we had a fine view of Liverpool with
its harbor and docks, presenting a forest of masts probably
unequalled in any other city in the world, excepting New
York. Liverpool has a black, smoky appearance,* being
asreatmanufacturin<2^, as well as a commercial city; but
contains very few attractions for a stranger. After re-
maining one day here, we took the cars for London, two
hundred and two miles distant. The country between
these points, is very fine, being a continuation of well

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Online LibraryN. (Nehemiah) MatsonBeyond the Atlantic; or, Eleven months' tour in Europe, Egypt and Palestine, with illustrations → online text (page 1 of 18)