F.A. Hihn's European Trip, 1893


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Prepared 5/19/03 by Stanley D. Stevens, Hihn-Younger Collections, Library, UCSC

F.A. Hihn's European Trip, 1893
"Trip through England, France, Switzerland and Italy."
Landed at Liverpool June 21, 1893....

Source: Gift to the Hihn Archive from Jane Younger McKenzie 3/5/93
Undated, Typescript, with "F.A.HIHN." on last page.
5 leaves, 33 cm x 20.6 cm, typewritten, double spaced.
2 copies (1 black carbon, 1 blue carbon)

[see also, associated photograph in: JMc Box 9 for photograph # 110: group photo
“En souvenir de la promenade Monnelier (Salive) Geneve le le 8 Juin 1893” [by] Mr. de Hiller
F. A. Hihn is among the group]

"Trip through England, France, Switzerland and Italy."

Landed at Liverpool June 21, 1893 near midnight. Saw the great docks, very interesting. Electric-elevated Railroad; many streets, very narrow. Hotel Adelphi.

  • June 22nd-- Went by Midland Railroad to London--beautiful scenery, English country life-- a fine panorama.
  • June 22nd-- London--Hotel Metropole. Visited Art Galleries, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Bank of England, London Tower, the Queen’s Mews, traversed the streets in many directions on the second story of buses and in hacks; drove through Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and visited St. James and other Parks, also visited Billingsgate. Rode on the Thames from the lower bridge to the western outskirts and Battersea. Visited three theaters and supped, not with, but in the same room with a party of Noblemen and ladies, who were guests of the Queen at a State Ball.
  • June 27-- Went to Paris, via Dover and Calais; closely observed English and French country life in passing along; stopped at Hotel D’Albe on Champs Elysee. The cabbies on a strike, but managed to get along with them; saw all the points of importance so far as I know--Louvre, Luxemburg, the Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, a grand fete on the Boulevard beyond the Arc de Triomphe, where there were hundreds of Merry-go-rounds and lots of other amusements; the Bois de Boulogne, St, Cloud, Versailles, Trocadero, Notre Dame, Palais Royale, American Ambassador, a night at the Grand Opera House and a great many other places--not omitting a visit to one of the beautiful illuminated gardens on the Boulevards, where everybody is supposed to go, but where decent people ought not to go. The Catacombs were not open, nor did I witness the riots and barricading of streets by the students of the Latin quarter, where were followed by grave disorders, in which the worst element of Paris participated, as I had left Paris the morning previous.
  • July 3rd-- Went to Geneva. A very interesting voyage; it afforded a good study of French scenery and country life. Old cities, towns and hamlets, chateaux and castles, modern and ancient fortifications, vineyards, olive orchards, grain fields and garden truck, also considerable fine natural scenery, particularly on the Rhine as we neared Switzerland. The hay and grain harvest was in full progress.
  • July 3rd-- Geneva. Hotel Metropole; fine views of the Lake and public Park.
  • July 4th-- Trip on Lake; expected to attend an open air concert in Park as a celebration of the American Holiday, but a heavy thunder storm put out the lights, the lightning furnished a beautiful illumination and heaven’s artillery played a lively tune.
    Trip to Mount Salive on a cog-gear electric Railroad on a grade as steep as 20%. Beautiful scenery. Mt. Blanc and other mountains.
  • July 6th-- Voyage to Turin, via Mt. Cenis Tunnel, 8 miles long; beautiful wild scenery; we pass Ais Les Bains; many tunnels; Italian country life, harvest going on.
  • July 6th-- Arrived in Turin--Grand Hotel d’Europe. Visit to the Palace Chatedral--drove through the principal streets and boulevards, viewing many fine monuments and Italian mode of life.
  • July 7th-- Went to Genoa-- Hotel du Pari. Here I took a bath in the Mediterranean, the first sea-bath in my life; had not swam for 43 years, but found I could do so quite comfortably. Fine statue of Columbus, Victor Emmanuel and others. Main street very narrow, about 26 feet wide, fine Palaces on each side, many small lanes coming in from both sides, from six to eight feet wide. The place is very old, probably in existence before Rome. Visited the private Park at Palo Vieiux, near Pezli; very fine, imitation caves, underground navigation, fine temples and grottoes, a great variety of trees and shrubs. The gallery in the Campo Sruto (burial ground), a great collection of very fine statuary. Drove through upper part of City, very interesting, good view of sea and City.
    July 10th-- To Pisa--Hotel Victoria. The Cathedral, Duomo and Leaning Tower, very interesting, also the Campo Sruto with its gallery full of statuary and painting.
  • July 11th-- We start for Florence, where we arrive on same day and stop at Hotel and Pension Chapman, an American Hotel run by an Italian. Florence is beautiful. Visited the Art galleries, drove through the fine Parks, attended the performance of an Italian Operetta in the Alhambra Gardens. Commence to understand considerable Italian.
  • July 15th-- We arrive at beautiful Venice-- Grand Hotel on the Grand Canal. No horses, carts or wagons. City built on a large number of small Islands connected by stone bridges (one iron bridge). Along the Grand Canal a succession of palaces and other fine buildings, most somewhat rather worn. From this main canal a great many small canals extend all over the city; the streets between these canals being paved for the use of pedestrians, the width varying from five to fifteen feet. The principal place is the Piazza San Marco, three sides of which is enclosed by Palaces, which are used in part for Government use, but the lower stories in the whole front are used for shops. The fourth side is occupied by the Cathedral, in front of which is a high clock tower and next that is the Piazzenta, which extends to the Grand Canal and on which fronts the Palace of the Doges, which contains a fine art collection, and also the old prison with its dungeons, Bridge of Sighs, guillotine, implements of torture, etc. The front of the Cathedral is very highly finished and so is the interior. The canals, though, with its gondolas and gondoliers are the chief feature. Visited glass, silk and lace factories, also the watering-place Lido, with its bathing establishment on the Adriatic. The bathing is better here than at Genoa, but it does not begin to compare with the fine beaches and surf at Santa Cruz and Capitola. In fact, I have so far seen none at all equal to them. An illuminated barge with a fine band of music was a great enjoyment on the evening of a featst day. Concerts at Piazzo San Marco nearly every evening.
    From Venice to Milan on July 19th-- Hotel de la Ville. We passed through a very fine farming country and also saw a number of strong fortifications at and in the neighborhood of Verona. From Verona to Milan the country is very picturesque. We pass along the south side of Lake Gardo, one of, if not, the largest Lakes in Italy. At Milan we saw its greatest wonders, the great Cathedral and the wasting art treasure of Leonardo di Venci-- the Last Supper, in which the Savior’s face is indescribably heavenly-- Also admired the ARc of Triomphe in honor of Napoleon I and Victor Emmanuel and Napoleon III. A fine public Park.
  • July 21 -- We start for Bellagia situated at the junction of Lakes Como and Lecro--Grand Hotel Bellagia. We fairly revelled in the beauties of nature here.
  • July 24 -- We are off for Palanza, crossing Lake Como, then by a little railroad to Lake Lugano:, thence another steamer ride on and along the latter Lake; thence on another little railroad to Lake Maggiore and thence across the latter to Palanza. This was by far the most pleasant trip on our whole voyage, the weather was perfect and the scenery and air sublime.
  • July 24 -- Arrived this evening at Palanza--Hotel Palanza, the most picturesquely located Hotel we have seen so far. This morning we went across the Lake to Villa Prola Bella, where the Count of that name lives with his family. The art collections are fine; the grottoes under the Villa and the terraced gardens are very fine.

Tomorrow morning we go up the Lake Maggiore to Lucurno and then by rail to Lucerne.

When it is considered that it took only thirty days, not counting Sundays to make this trip and that only the most important sights seen have been named, and that I spent considerable time in shopping and am studying the Italian language and acting as escort of my lady companions, you may judge that I have not lost much time.

manuscript letter addressed “Dear August” /s/ “Yours affectionately F A Hihn”

Source: Gift to the Hihn Archive from Jane Younger McKenzie 3/5/93

1 leaf, 22.2 cm x 28.5 cm folded to 22.2 cm x 14.2 cm, written on four pages;
and 1 leaf, 21.8 cm x 14.2 cm, written both pages.

in an envelope, 11.4 cm x 26.4 cm., with typewritten address:
“Miss Jane Younger” [lined out with pencil, no mailing address] and marked in handwritten pencil above: “Agnes H Younger”

also accompanied by 4 leaves, 33.1 cm x 20.4 cm, typewritten, double spaced 1 blue carbon. Note: Typescript omits the first and last paragraphs of the letter to August, which are provided below:
[parts in brackets are supplied from manuscript letter after comparing manuscript letter to the typescript]

“Berlin Aug 28 1893”

[First paragraph of letter, not included in typescript]

Dear August

Yours of 30th July arrived to day I heard from Hattie that Mr Cooper finally succumbed to the dread disease of which he was suffering. Poor man it was a blessing to be relieved from his sufferings. To Grace and to her mother and brother I tender my condolence.”

[Last sentence of letter, not included in typescript]

“I will send you a copy of A. With love to all our folks and greetings to all my friends I remain “Yours affectionately

F A Hihn”

In my last account of travels I stopped at Bellagio on Lake Como; from there I went

  • July 24-- Crossing the Lake to Menaggio; thence by rail to Porlizzi, thence along Lake Lugano to Trese, thence by rail to Lucerne [Luino?], thence crossing Lake Maggiore to Palanza.
  • July 25-- Crossing Lake Maggiore to Ysabel Bella and back to Palanza.
  • July 26-- Along the same Lake to Lucarno [Locarno?] and thence via St. Gothard [St. Gotthard] tunnel to Fluden,
  • July 27-- To Zurich [Zürich], where I met my sister Emma at the Depot. We had not met for over 44 years. I thought I recognized the family features [, but] and advanced towards her, but as she retreated, I thought I must be mistaken. After that she passed me and after she had passed I spoke her name and she turned around and we rushed into one another’s arms.

    My Brother Hugo was absent, but I met him late that evening. [,]
    Sister Charlotte was also absent under the care of a doctor at Stein [Stein-am-Rhein?]. I went there July 30th and returned [on the] to Zurich on the 31st [,] taking in the Rhine [Rhein] falls near Shaffhausen and going up the Rhine [Rhein] from the latter place to Stein [Stein-am-Rhein?], [We] where [we] I arrived late during a rain, but nevertheless went to see my old sister. It was indeed a joyful meeting. I stayed with her until noon the next day, when I returned to Zurich - [Miss La Montes and her party (except Agnes who had gone several days before) arriving in Zurich on the 25th of July.]]

  • August 2-- [rejoined Miss La Montes’ party which I had left at Lucerne] I returned to Lucerne [and started for Munchen. We], crossed Lake Constance [Constanz] and entered Germany and arrived at Munchen [München/Munich] the same evening.
  • August 6-- [Started] Went through Bavaria, then entered Saxony, passed through Plowen [Plauen,] Chemnitz [Karl Marx-Stadt,] Freiburg [Freiberg] and arrived at Dresden, where I stayed until August 11th, when I went to Berlin, where I am yet. [August 28th] I enjoyed the Italian Lakes very much.[; of] Of Switzerland I saw but little on account of the almost continuous rains.[;] I think, though, it is very much over-rated, should certainly prefer the Santa Cruz mountain scenery, will arrest my judgment, however, until I have seen more. Was also disappointed in finding the land in Bavaria so poor; it seems to be nothing but coarse gravel, with a very thin strata [stratum] of soil on top, but the villages and farm houses are neat and quite an improvement on the French, Italian and Swiss peasant houses. In Saxony the soil changed to a rich loam. I saw fields big enough for a reaper to reap the grain and I found a steam thresher at work. As we passed through Chemnitz [Karl Marx-Stadt,] and Freiburg [Freiberg] and were nearing Dresden the [fields grain fields] land kept improving in quality and a great many smoke-stacks lifted their heads way up into the air, giving indications, or rather assurances of great manufacturing activity.

    Munchen [München/Munich] is certainly a very pleasant place and although we stayed there four days [,] I found the time far too short to see all that was to be seen, and I had to tear myself away from the beautiful drives, promenades, parks, beergardens and music and from Gambrinius’ choicest nectar.

    I was, however, entirely captured by Dresden the first night I arrived there. It was Sunday and after having taken a light supper on the Veranda [Verandah] overlooking the Elbe River.[,] I strolled along to the bridge across that River. Fatigued from a long day’s travel and being alone, having left the balance of the party at Munchen [München/Munich], I felt a little out of sorts, but seeing the mass of people coming and going across the bridge [,] afoot, on horseback, on horse cars, and on all other kinds of vehicles, rich, poor and middle classes, of all ages, men, women and children, many families with from two to six [2 to 6] children, all being on their way home from a day’s enjoyment, many carrying empty lunch-baskets, no sign of intoxication, but everybody feeling and acting very happy, I too became happy and stayed for more than an hour in one spot seeing the great throng of good people pass by. As they were getting off the cars or separating from the crowd, one would hear such expressions as: “ Hun Alte, haben wir nicht einen angenehmen Tag gehabt” [Hey girl, haven’t we had a nice day?] or “ War das nicht ein schöner Tag, nun können wir es wieder aus halten fur eine Zeit lang,” [Wasn’t that a beautiful day, next time we’ll make it a longer time.] and when on the next morning I passed through the streets[,] the whole people seemed to be pervaded by a happy feeling, even the women, hitched up in carts with dogs[,] carrying off the street sweepings, seemed to labor with a good-will, thinking perhaps of the good times they had had or [which they] expected to have. I was then and there ready to award to Dresden the prize for being inhabited by the happiest people of the world, but when I reached Berlin, with its beautiful (comparatively) wide streets and boulevards, and had passed through the Thier and Zoological gardens and heard the fine music and attended the Opera, Krolls’ garden where Emma Nevada played and sang in the Barber of Seville and Romeo and Juliet, and saw the beautiful illuminated gardens, all full of people and so many other things[,] which the Capital of Germany offers to her people to see, hear, eat and drink, I concluded I was not quite ready to make the award, and although three cases of Cholera had developed in the outskirts of the City, I decided to stay here for a while and rest from my travels. The Cholera is not feared here near so much as one would suppose, the people seem to have an idea that the authorities know what is to be done and are doing it. Since I have been here there have been six cases so far as I know, three in the eastern part, two in the northern and one in the Southwestern part of the City. The morning papers speak of it, but I hear very little of it on the streets or in the hotel [in the hotel or in the streets]; the people seem to be going along and acting in their usual way and the places of amusement near where the people were found sick[,] are just as much crowded as they used to be.

    I will have to close, but will add that I hope Congress will [give us] adopt without delay a good sound financial policy and a stable measure of values, so that a [D]dollar is a [D]dollar and always will be a [D]dollar, and that it gives us as many of them as the business of the country requires. I have become so impressed with the serious aspect of the financial situation that I have taken it upon myself to write out my views on the question and have sent the article to our representatives in Congress. California is less affected than others by these financial troubles, but it cannot help to suffer more or less. [I will send you a copy of it. With love to all our folks and greetings to all my friends I remain

    Yours affectionately
    F A Hihn.

Source: Santa Cruz Daily Sentinel: Monday Morning November 06, 1893 1:3


Returns After Five Months
of Foreign Travel.
Of the Silver Purchase Act—Finds

Business Bad in the East—Be-
lieves the Midwinter

After an absence of more than forty years during which time he had amassed a fortune in California and won a wide repuattion [sic] as a financier Mr. F. A. Hihn started earley [sic] in June for a trip abroad which should include a visit to the World’s Fair, the Atlantic cities, his boyhood home and relatives in Switzerland and Germany and a run through Europe.

All this he has safely accomplished without accident or mishap and arrived home again at noon yesterday bearing no visible marks of fatigue but on the contrary the bloom of health and vigor indicating the capacity and inclination to engage in active pursuits and new enterprises.

In answer to inquiry Mr. Hihn confessed to good health, an enjoyable journey and gratification at being home again. Especially does he rejoice over the final passage of the Repeal bill. He says this overshadowed all other causes for congratulation. [see historical notes below by the compiler]

The panic broke soon after his departure and he says he gave the greater part of his leisure and opportunities for observation and inquiry abroad to the consideration of financial matters, and he had become satisfied that nothing but blank ruin awaited the country unless the Sherman act was repealed.

He believes that if Congress had adjourned without the passage of the Repeal bill, or if any compromise looking to an extension of time had been adopted that American securities held abroad would have been thrown upon the market until the gold would have been practically drained from the country and values and prices have consequently depreciated to the point of absolute ruin.

In Germany, in Austria, in Italy, in England, everywhere the cry is for gold, gold, gold, money [is] scarce, and the bankers [are] trying to coax money from the people by offers of interest.

Mr. Hihn was in Washington two weeks ago, and Senator Perkins then told him that a compromise was likely to be effected. He thought the prospect black for the country, and so wrote home, but the next morning he read in the papers that the President would not listen to compromise, and he left Washington with a hopeful heart. His admiration for the President’s course was expressed in most forcible language, and he regards the action of Pacific Coast Congressmen with very little favor.

While the passage of Repeal has saved the country from financial ruin, in his opinion, yet the situation remains serious. American securities are out of favor in Europe, and he thinks the Government ought to extend credit on products at a low rate of interest, say two per cent, to enable the productive interests of the people to recuperate.

Mr. Hihn says the happy people he found everywhere were the busy people, and he hopes for the inauguration in the near future of enterprises in Santa Cruz to give employment to more people.

He thinks California will derive great benefits from the exhibit at the World’s Fair and that the Midwinter Fair may be the means of enlarging our markets both for sale and purchase and bring investments when the money matters are finally settled.

Additional Notes

Compiler’s Notes:

According to the 1974 edtion of World Book Encyclopedia pp. 512-517, Grover Cleveland (a Democrat) was elected to the Presidency on two separate occasions, 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 (separated by the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison). “The Currency and the Tariff were the most important issues facing Cleveland during his first term. Dissention was growing between the bankers and industrialists of the East, and the farmers of the South and West. The industrialists wanted a high tariff to protect high prices. They also wanted what they called a ‘sound’ money system, based on gold. Farmers wanted a low tariff so they would not have to pay high prices for imported manufactured goods. They had heavy debts, and wanted money to be ‘cheap’ in comparison with goods. That is, the farmers wanted inflation, so they could pay their debts with less farm produce.

The Currency of the United States at this time was based on gold. But limited amounts of silver could be sold at the Treasury for gold at the fixed proportion of 16 to 1, or 16 ounces of silver for 1 ounce of gold. The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 required the Treasury to purchase and coin a minimum of $2,000,000 worth of silver a month. Meanwhile, new silver mines had been discovered, and the world price of silver fell. People could buy silver on the open market and make a profit by selling it to the government for gold. As a result, gold was rapidly drained from the Treasury.
Cleveland believed in a gold standard. He asked Congress to repeal the Bland-Allison Act, but it refused. The government then issued bonds and sold them to banks for gold. But this helped matters for only a short time, because the drain on the Treasury’s gold continued.

Second Administration (1893-1897):
Cleveland enjoyed greater popularity at the beginning of his second term than at any other time during his presidency. He had made no promises to anyone in order to become President again. He was free to handle the country’s problems as he saw fit, with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. [The campaign had centered mainly on the issue of a sound currency.] But a severe financial panic swept the country only two months after he took office. Its causes included a farm depression, a business slump abroad, and the drain on the Treasury’s gold reserve.

Saving the Gold Standard. A severe financial panic in 1893 caused 15,000 business failures and threw 4,000,000 persons out of work. Cleveland felt that a basic cause of the panic was the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of [President] Harrison’s administration. In June, 1893, he called a special session of Congress to repeal the act. Congress did so, but the nation’s gold reserves had dwindled alarmingly.

Stanley D. Stevens