January 25, 1878
Ulysses S. Grant on Egypt: Fascinated by its Antiquity, He Finds it More Interesting Than Any Other Place He Has Visited
After eight years in the White House the Grants, having no place to go and nothing to do, set out around the world. Eight months into the adventure, they arrived in Egypt which, Grant says here, has interested him more than any other portion of his travels:
We have just left Ancient Thebes, where we have spent two days in viewing ruins that have been standing-- as ruins-- some of them, for many ages before the beginning of the Christian era. We must stay one day here yet -- on our return-- to visit the tombs of the Kings... Egypt has interested me more than any other portion of my travels, though I have enjoyed it all. One sees well preserved ruins here which took thousands of years to build filled with inscriptions which can be read now by the Egyptologist--- We have a great one with us, and it adds a thousand fold to the interest of the occasion.
Grant adds, teasingly, that his wife, Nellie, has become “quite an expert” at riding sidesaddle on a donkey:
It is true she keeps an Arab on each side of her to hold her on, and one to lead the donkey. But with that assistance, she comes up at all points on time.
Other family news concerns the Grant’s youngest son, nineteen year-old Jesse, referred to here by his father as “The Infant.” Said lad, he reports, “is beginning to appreciate his travels. It is about time to stop them and have him begin to learn how to make a living. He must commence next fall whether we get home or not.” In closing, Grant sends Buck this fatherly benediction: “I am glad to hear that you are getting something to do on your own account,” he says. “Stick to it and you will do well in the end. Perseverance is the only thing that succeeds in this world, added to thorough integrity.”
The Grants spent two years abroad.
Autograph Letter Signed (“U.S. Grant”), 4 pages, recto and verso, octavo, On the Niles Above Thebes [Egypt], January 25, 1878. To His son, U.S. “Buck” Grant, Jr.