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Of those German troops which England hired for the purpose of conquering her revolted colonies, General Riedesel commanded the Brunswickers.* In the year 1776, he departed at the head of those troops, leaving his wife with the wish that she, together with their children, should follow him to that portion of the globe. This she did, and thus created the occasion for the letters which the reader will find in this little volume. The authoress wrote them to her mother, the widow of the minister of state, his excellency Herr von Massow, and a few intimate friends while upon her dangerous voyage and during her sojourn in America.

A few years subsequently, this correspondence came into the hands of her son-in-law, Count Henry Reuss the XLIV, grand-marshal and chamberlain to the court of Berlin.

The count took advantage of the leisure of one summer, which he spent with his parents-in-law at their country-seat, to arrange the letters in order, and, on account of the great interest which they excited among all the relatives, he had them, the following winter, printed as manuscript for the family, though only a very small number of copies were printed.

General Riedesel, however, did not live to see them in print. He died on the sixth of January of the same year, while holding the

* Early in the year 1776, England entered into treaties with the smaller German states to take into her service 20,000 German troops. The exact number of those hired was 16,900. of these more than 4,000 were Brunswickers. These latter, as stated in the text, were placed under the command of General Riedesel. They consisted, according to Max Von Eelking, the learned and industrious German histo. rian, of the following troops : 1st, a regiment of (dismounted) Dragoons, under Lieut. Col. Baum. 20, Prince Frederick's regiment of Infantry; Lieut. Col. Pratorius. 3d, Rhet's regiment of Infantry; Lieut. Col. von Ehrenkrook. 4th, Riedesel's former regiment of Infantry; Lieut. Col. von Specht. 6th, Grenadiers; Lieut. Col. Breyman. 7th, Rifle Battalion (Jagers): Lieut. Col. Barner.



position of lieutenant-general, and commandant of the city of Brunswick.

Even without this history of the appearance of these letters, one can easily see from the letters themselves, that they were not designed for publication; still as it is not every thing intended for publication which is, for that reason, deserving of being printed, so there is certainly much that is withheld from the public, which is worthy of being brought to its notice. Especially, did this seem to me to be the case with these letters; and, accordingly, when one of these copies was presented me by the right honorable editor, I entreated him to allow me to prepare an edition for the public. The count granted the request, with the remark, “ Yes, certainly, if you think good can be accomplished by it.” I am most assuredly of that opinion. If examples are more heeded than mere precepts; if fervid attachment in conjugal life; if religious observance of the duties of a mother; if it is true that in all circumstances and situations of life, nothing affords so much satisfaction as the consciousness of having acted according to the dictates of duty; if sacrifices and self-denials of all kinds do not impair the efforts toward fulfilling that duty; if a determined resignation to unalterable circumstances; if all this is worthy of imitation, and so much the more estimable as it is perhaps rarely to be found, especially among the higher classes; then the publication of a book which exhibits the actual practice of all these virtues, certainly cannot be without profit. In so far as truth is of more value than fiction, the greater will be the interest with which these letters will be read, because they rest upon facts, while in reading even the best of romances, the conviction that all was invented for the purposes of instruction, must, after all, lessen the affectionate sympathy and weaken the moral effect that had been intended.

With the approbation of the highly respected and honorable editor, I have altered the title of this little work for the present edition. In the one designed only for the family it runs thus :

“Extracts from the letters and papers of General, Baron de Riede"sel and his wife nec Massow, concerning their common voyage to “ America and their sojourn in that country, compiled and arranged

by their son-in-law, Count Reuss. Printed as manuscript for the family.

The great number of books, which are now published, make it particularly desirable, if not for the general reader, at least for the trade, that books of similar contents should be distinguished as much as possible by the title, especially when they relate to journeys. If,

therefore, a title is much better if it is characteristic, I need make no apology for calling this “The Voyage of Duty to America." especially as Mrs. General Riedesel does not come under the category of those whom Yorick classes as travelers. Proofs of the correctness of this discriminating title, the reader will find upon every page of the book, if indeed it is not literally justified on pages 36, 38, and 209.* That the title does not mention the letters of General Riedesel, and the fragment of his journal which relates to the military operations of the English General Burgoyne, must be excused by the fact that these letters are, in this connection, nothing but a part of a drama ; and the military report must be considered merely as an episode.

A few typographical errors, which I shall not allow to remain standing in a revised edition, the reader, I hope, will excuse -especially as they consist, for the most part, of omissions of types which can be set right without difficulty.

The vignette of the title page represents a prominent cape in the St. Lawrence river (cape Diamond), which is a thousand feet above the level of the water, is the highest and most fortified point of Quebec, and, in fact, may be regarded as the citadel of the city.

In addition, also, to the fact that this promontory presents a most picturesque appearance, it is particularly deserving of being here given as an embellishment, since it was the much longed for goal of the tedious voyage of the authoress, as well as the signal of its termination. I have borrowed this suitable little ornament from Weld's Journey to North America, a work that was issued from my publishing house at the same time with the letters of Mrs. General Riedesel ; and the reading of which I can confidently recommend as very interesting to all those who wish to get a true and comprehensive idea of the recent condition of the free states of North America and the Canadas.t

CARL SPENER. Berlin, May 8th, 1800.

* These designated pages will be found, in this translation, in the twenty-first letter, in the first portion of "The account of Mrs. General Riedesel's journey from Wolfenbüttel to Bristol," and in her remarks just previous to her departure from Cambridge to Virginia.

+ Weld sojourned in North America from the end of the year 1795 to the beginning of the year 1797.


Frederika von Massow, afterwards Baroness Riedesel, was born in 1746. Her father, Lord von Massow who was commissioned by Frederick II, a governing president of the allied army, acted as commissary in chief, and as such was entrusted with the general management of affairs. He was a man of sterling worth, and in every respect deserving of the trust reposed in him by that monarch. Being obliged to remain a long time at the theatre of war, and not wishing to be separated from his family, they were domiciliated near him.

Herr von Massow seems to have been a genial gentleman, and his house was open to many officers, who either were quartered in the same place with him, or resided in the vicinity. He had also a son in the allied army, and he, too, often brought his friends to the parental roof. Mrs. Massow, we are informed, was an extremely amiable lady, who understood well how to do the honors of her house, at the same time that her husband kept an excellent table. But that which more than all drew the young officers to this hospitable house, were the beautiful and lovely daughters of the commissary, who by their grace and unaffected manners bewitched not only the younger officers, but the older and more experienced generals.

Riedesel had been in official correspondence with Herr von Massow for sometime previous to his becoming personally acquainted with him or his family. He was, therefore, on his first appearance at head-quarters, received like an old acquaintance, and as such intro*duced to the members of the household; where, standing high, as he did, in favor with the duke Ferdinand, he was received with all the more distinction.

Frederika (called by her own family Fritschen) made a deep impression upon the heart of the young cavalry captain, and an alliance would have been proposed in the winter of 1759–60, but for various adverse circumstances arising from the war. In his absence



however, he had a friend at court, in the person of the eccentric Günther, who afterwards became a distinguished officer; from whose correspondence we gather an amusing episode of the young lady. It seems that he did not particularly enjoy her favor, and gives vent to his grief in a letter to Riedesel dated at Minden, the 22 December, as follows:

She is truly worthy of the affection of such a deserving and distinguished man as yourself. You must not regard what I write you on this subject as flattery, which I detest.

But, my friend, I must ask a favor of you. Frederika is very much prejudiced against me, and treats me like a coach horse, capriciously, and seems determined to discern only my bad qualities. You know me, however, and I can at least flatter myself of having this piece of good fortune. Represent my character to her in another and a better light. I should feel very much grieved if a lady of so noble a character, and so many accomplishments as Frederika, should have such a bad opinion of me. I know that it is possible for you to convince her of the purity of my sentiments. She has confessed to Madam Hthat she loves you most tenderly. I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart, and hope that an early peace will aid you in attaining to the possession of so many charms. Now dear Riedesel, adieu. Think occasionally, in the intoxication of your joy, of poor Günther, who, shut off from all human intercourse, has no other pleasure, at present, than of knowing of your happiness, and of remaining to the last moment of his life,

Yours truly and sincerely,

GUNTHER.” His colonel, Jeannert, who also frequently visited the Massow family, and knew the state of affairs between the parties, often in his dry manner, expatiated at length upon the beauty and loveliness of the jungfrau, and prophesied an early peace. This friendship and interest often found expression in his official letters upon patrols and foraging, and was mingled in them with denunciations of his hard life and miserable quarters.

Toward the end of the year 1762, Riedesel ventured to follow the dictates of his heart, and inform the duke of the state of his feelings in respect to Miss Massow, at the same time asking, with all due form, his permission to the union. The duke, who had known for a long time how matters stood, cheerfully consented, and congratulated him most graciously. Neither Riedesel's parents nor those of Miss Massow had as yet given their formal consent to this union. The duke, there

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