Reflections on entering a foreign Country — North of England — Embarkation at Hull —German Ocean—Entrance of the Elbe — Newark — Cuxhaven — Glückstadt — Stade — Blankanese — Altona — Disembarkation at Hamburg

Hamburg, 21st June 1820
MY DEAR J****,
HAVE at length set my foot upon German ground, and am undergoing the usual noviciate of the traveller — wondering at things not wonderful; and pleased with matters in themselves indirFerent, and indebted to their novelty alone for all their attraction. It is only by actual participation that the feeling can be understood, with which one for the first time enters a foreign country; and, more especially, a great and populous city such as this. For my part, I have my mind continually upon the stretch; and so distracted amid the multitude of objects which surround me, that I shall not attempt to furnish you with anything like a detailed account of Hamburg, until I shall have returned from the excursions which I propose making into the interior. I shall then be more collected, — and better able to extricate myself from the attentions of those kind friends, whose claims upon me you will allow to be (for the present at least,) paramount even to your own.

The Waterloo packet deposited us at Liverpool, about twenty-three hours after we parted from you in Dublin. Here we remained two days. It Would be completely a work of supererogation to occupy my sheet with any observations on a town so universally known. Nor shall I trouble you with much remark on our journey across the north of England. An invalid traveller, immured within the four walls of a mail-coach, is not in the best possible condition for collecting notices of scenery; and it was only by virtue of a few rapid glances — directed alternately through each of the windows upon traversing any interesting part of the route—that I became at all acquainted with the character of the landscape, which is in general picturesque and beautiful. Having been detained at the ancient and handsome town of Beverley, by an accident which happened to the coach, we did not reach Hull (the place of pro posed embarkation,) until a late hour on the second evening after our departure from Liverpool. In this town (for an account of which I again refer you to your gazetteer,) we were detained five days, at the expiration of which we were summoned aboard. On the 16th of June we accordingly set sail in the Packet, Captain Roach. We dropped down the Humber, passed the town of Grimsby, and launched into the German Ocean.

Our voyage was rather favourable than otherwise, and I was sufficiently sick for the benefit of my health. There were but two other passengers — an elderly German gentleman, and an English mechanic who was travelling to Saxony. From the extreme civility of the captain, owner, and mate, and the excellent accommodation, I passed my time very agreeably. Last Monday evening, however, I had strong yearnings for firm ground. We had just passed Heligoland, and were about to encounter the sand-banks at the entrance of the Elbe in very unpromising weather, — while some of the ship's company dropped from time to time dark hints, which rather tended to the disquieting of a fresh-water man. The night closed gloomily in—but a few hours brought about feelings of a very different nature. Between three and four in the morning, I heard the cheering news that there was a Cuxhaven pilot aboard, and that land would shortly be in view. I flung myself out of my birth, and could not resist the temptation of running up on deck, — although prudence and my cough ought to have prevented me from exposing myself to the air at so early an hour. The sun was shining upon the sea with almost meridian intensity, — while the hope of land, and the anticipation of novelty, heightened the enjoyment which the glorious prospect around was calculated to produce. A fleet of Blankenese fishing-boats of a very picturesque appearance, to the number of forty or fifty, shot close by us; and on the right the two Newark light-houses, hewn out of the solid rock on an islet near Cuxhaven, were discernible. This islet — formerly called the “Neue Auge”, or “New Eye”— was fortified by the Hamburgers about the beginning of the fourteenth century, and provided with a tower to serve as a landmark for shipping: and in 1290 — in consequence of a solemn application made to Pope Boniface VIII. by the city of Hamburg — a priest was appointed to reside on the islet for the performance of divine service.

About six we came within sight of the coast of Hanover, which is visible sooner than that of Holstein. The town of Cuxhaven, on the Hanoverian side of the river — near which we passed — is inconsiderable, but of a pleasing appearance. The light-house, consisting of a round tower of red brick, is the most striking object. Some of the houses, having gables of pea-green edged with white, and red roofs, were very grotesque.

The beams of the declining and departing sun shone no less beautifully upon the Elbe than those of the morning; and exhibited the town of Gliickstadt, on the Danish side, to much advantage. At Stade, which we passed at an early hour, a British vessel of war is constantly stationed, for the purpose of examining ships’ papers.

But the most beautiful object which greeted us on our passage up the Elbe was Blankenese; which, although chiefly inhabited by fishermen, is still not only free from all the disgusting appurtenances which characterise a mere fishing village, but strikingly picturesque. It is built on a cluster of sand-hills, at different distances from the bank, which are highly cultivated — constituting in some parts as it were piles of terraces, on which the cottages are disposed at different elevations, with their red-tiled roofs overtopping the foliage which surrounds them.

The splendid gardens of Mr. Bauer, an opulent merchant, completed the picture.
Altona and Hamburg being much nearer to one another than I had expected, and the line of shipping uninterrupted, I was much surprised when the captain signified that it was time to go ashore,—as I thought that we were still lying off Altona. We took a boat, and had the satisfaction of passing the custom-house without undergoing a search,—as the officer only inquired what our trunks contained, and was content with the answer of the boatman— “Kleidung” [“Clothing”]. We have taken up our abode at the hotel “Die Sonne” [“the Sun”], where you will allow me to repose after penning a letter, which — whatever may be your opinion — my waning paper informs me is of inordinate length.
Yours, &c. &c.