Illustration of Cairo from Seward’s Travels (1873)

William H. Seward, the American Secretary of State who is forever linked with the “folly” of acquiring Alaska from the Russians, spent a year traveling around the world near the end of his life. In two previous posts I posted the comments he and his daughter made about India and Aden, but their trip continued up the Red Sea to Egypt. While in Cairo, Mr. Seward received the esteemed protocol of a traveling diplomat, but in Cairo there came a most civil surprise:

The Americans in Egypt are a mixed though interesting family. The Khédive is reorganizing his army on the Western system of evolution and tactics. For this purpose he has taken the loyal General Stone as chief-of-staff, and the loyal General Mott as aide-de-camp, and with these some eight or ten military men who distinguished themselves in the Confederate army. All of these Americans visited Mr. Seward to-day. While he expressed pride and satisfaction in finding his countrymen thus honorably trusted and employed in a foreign service, he nevertheless remarked, with characteristic tenacity, that he disapproved and lamented a proscriptive policy at home, which exiled even former rebels to foreign lands; but it was due to the American people to confess that, in no other civil war, had the victorious party practiced so great magnanimity as the party of the Union had done.

Excerpts from Olive Risley Seward, editor, William H. Seward’s Travels around the World (New York: Appleton and Company, 1873), pp. 504-505)