Letter from William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, August 12, 1823

  • Posted on: 29 March 2016
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, August 12, 1823



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, August 12, 1823

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: Auburn, NY

receiver: Samuel Seward
Birth: 1768-12-05  Death: 1849-08-24

location: Florida, NY

transcription: keh 

revision: ekk 2016-03-17

Page 1

Auburn August 12th, 1823
Dear Father –
I regret that you should have misunderstood an expression in
my last letter – an expression intended only to speak my satisfaction
at the freedom which our correspondence has lately assumed and
my regret that it had not assumed that freedom long before.
Viewed in this light I cannot think there is anything in it that
should give offence to your feelings or call for apology from
me. I trust that among all your Children
x Birth: 1805  Death: 1839-01-04  Birth: 1808-08-26  Death: 1888-12-07  Birth: 1799  Death: 1872-04-23  Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24 
I have a heart as
grateful as any and that I have ever in my honest feelings
done justice to your feelings and your conduct toward me
The first subject which claims my attention in your let-
ter is that of my matrimonial expectations. These are at
length settled in a manner which will I hope receive
your approbation. If I have ever acted deliberately or thought
seriously it has been upon this subject. I have studied charact-
ter and consulted circumstances. My first principle was that
I would never unite my fortune with anothers unless there
was a strong and devoted attachment mutually existing between
us. My next principle was that I would not write my-
self to one who did not possess a strong mind together
with a proper respect for me. And lastly I was resolved
that I would not unite myself to any person where pover-
ty would be the result of my union. I grant you in
view of all these circumstances that Mr K
Birth: 1780-04-19 Death: 1836-05-04
~ is rich and
if he lives long will die very rich. But he has seven
Children and may have a family increasing in the same
proportion with his wealth – that his business is good
and a connection in business with him might be most
advantageous to me. But his property was obtained
by extortion and oppression. And he has no friend who
will attempt to defend him. There are men base enough
to take away the bread even from their Children's mouths
and me once in his power who shall assure me safety
from his insatiable desire for lucre? I grant you that
it might be the means of an introduction of hA
Birth: 1803-07-03 Death: 1871-10-30Certainty: Possible
– to my
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
. That however will take place – and the result of that
would so long remain in uncertainty and could so illy be
Page 2

calculated upon that if there be any strong reasons upon the opposite
side that this would lose its force. Now such strong reasons there
are. In the first place the dowry of Miss M
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
– cannot be much
inferior if any to that of Miss K
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
. He has no host of children – to
pamper all the rest at the expense of one. His honesty and his
magnanimity are unsuspected. And if I should become his
Son in Law he could not have any inducements to persecute me
These are arguments to the head. There are others of the heart.
Frances M. is a girl of strong mind and of an undissembling heart
She says she returns my affection and I know she does. She respects
me as the Man to whom above all others she would commit her
destinies for life. Miss K– has pretended to love me when I know
she did not, not to love me when I know she did and then again
after wounding my pride appeals again to a passion which
long since expired upon the altar of my own self respect.
I therefore think that if there be any one person to whom on
acquaintance you would be willing to join your errant son
it is she to whom I have pledged my troth and she who in
return has declared to me what she will one day say before the
world that she takes me to be her lawful wedded husband
to love honor and obey for better for worse – for richer for
poorer till death us do part. I was to propose the
matter to Judge Miller
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
of whose assent I have the vanity to
think there can be little doubt. I have taken Frances to
her Cousins
x Birth: 1768-05-30  Death: 1870-02-16 Certainty: Probable Birth: 1774  Death: 1850-01-31 Certainty: Probable
at Ludlowville that she might not be at home
when the hard tale was told to her Father. I shall write to
you the result next week. In the meantime although
you have in your last letter bid adieu to your pen I trust
that you will recal it and give me once more an expression
of your feelings upon this subject the most interesting to me
upon which I ever addressed you. My little girl when I
told her of the communication I was to make to you upon the
subject dropped a curtesy to her distant Father and Mother
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11

and said she remembered reading the Bible with the rest of
your Children before breakfast one Sunday morning
Will you make my Mother acquainted with the facts
above set forth. I know of no reason why my confidence
is not due to her – and I could not withhold it from her
Page 3

Politics here are at a dead stand. We expect our ruling
Bucktails to come out for Crawford
Birth: 1772-02-24 Death: 1834-09-15
. But I think Van Bur-
Birth: 1782-12-05 Death: 1862-07-24
is hazarding a game which will make his political
fortunes bankrupt. Adams
Birth: 1767-07-11 Death: 1848-02-23
Birth: 1777-04-12 Death: 1852-06-29
Birth: 1782-03-18 Death: 1850-03-31
or Jackson
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08

either of them say the People here anybody but Crawford
"By Heavens Syphax thou must be cautious" that the
County of Orange does not become disgraced by an adhe-
sion to Crawford.
I congratulate you upon your safe gathering
in of the harvest – and the new acquisitions to your Society
I hope they render Florida a little more gay


Excited with merriment or delight • Having many or showy colors • An ornament •
than it was
in days lang syne
I feel an equal degree of solicitude
about George. He possesses mind enough and aptness enough
to make a man but now if ever his disposition to
Inactive; idle • Free from pain •
must be successfully counteracted.
Wont you send him to Col. Falls
Birth: 1768-11-03 Death: 1854-11-24Certainty: Possible
at New Burgh. He
ought to be in an active place. I have a Brother of
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
's in my office and he would I have no doubt
be glad to return the favor – and it would be a fine
situation for a boy to receive the first rudiments of [ the ]


Reason: wax-seal

mystery of a merchant. Why not let me teach [ him ]


Reason: wax-seal

Latin and Greek and then put him into the office to
study physic. He can never make a farmer – and if
I may advise I should suppose that every hour devoted
to it is a loss to him. I shall write as soon
and often as I can to Polidore.
What time may we expect
you at Auburn. Cornelias Sisters declare she shall
remain with them this winter – to which it will be una-
vailing in you to object. I suppose you will bring Moth-
er of course.
Excuse the manner in which this is written
I have written till my patience is exhausted. I shall
expect you to write next week and confirm the
hopes of
Yours affectionately
W. H. Seward
Sam. S. Seward Esq
Page 4

"Worden & Wiltse" send you their respects
Hon. Samuel S. Seward P. M~
Orange County
N. York