Ruf aus der Wüste 5.5: Hyde’s police report

Orson Hyde might be protesting too much here. At the end of the (unnumbered) fifth chapter containing his collected thoughts, Hyde reproduces his consular letter of recommendation. I’m not highly familiar with nineteenth-century diplomatic conventions, but my suspicion is that these documents only attest that the person wasn’t a wanted criminal. What concern was Hyde hoping to allay by printing it?

* * *

It will perhaps not be disagreeable to the reader of this little work if I should enclose a copy of the certificate that I received from the hand of the American consul in Rotterdam. When I arrived there from London, I had the opportunity to present him with my passports and other papers so that he could see for himself whether everything was in proper order.


of the

United States in Rotterdam.

I, J. Wambersie, consul of the United States of America for the port of Rotterdam, testify that I have read through the letters of credence and recommendation of Reverend Orson Hyde, preacher of the gospel and citizen of the United States of America, and found them to be positive and of undoubted source.(1)

The governor of Illinois (one of the united North American states) as well as several high-ranking persons have spoken in the most respectful terms about Mr. Hyde, who has been provided with suitable passports by the Secretary of State of the United States of America as well as by the minister of the previously mentioned state at the Court of St. James.(2)

As a testimony of this, I have signed my name here and affixed the seal of the consulate of the United States in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam, 24 June 1841

(L. S.) (3)

J. Wambersie (4) (5)

* * *

(1) There’s no doubt about the title. The German text uses the English abbreviation Revd. I wonder if the consul simply took Hyde’s word for it, or if he asked Hyde for any kind of ministerial credential.

(2) The court of St. James? What does Illinois’s representative in London have to do with the kingdom of Bavaria? Or the Dutch city of Rotterdam, for that matter?

(3) I think this is an abbreviation for locus sigilli to mark where the seal was placed in the original.

(4) The printer uses the same majuscule for I and J, and I haven’t confirmed that this is a John or a James Wambersie rather than an Ian or Ivan Wambersie.

(5) We’re not quite done yet. After this, Hyde adds an appendix.