Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 20, 1831

  • Posted on: 28 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 20, 1831



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, February 20, 1831

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

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


transcription: djg 

revision: dxt 2015-09-25

Page 1

Sunday Morning _ 20th
My Dear Henry, I about half concluded to go to church to day but it has
commenced snowing again and the prospect is forbidding I believe I shall
wait for fairer skies, may be they will come next June. I sat up last night
until 12 oclock to finish reading the “Water Witch”
Author: James Fenimore Cooper Publisher: Carey & Lea Place of Publication:Philadelphia Date: 1831
this morning I am more
blind. My dreams were about the burning ship and the devoted Eudora, and
“thine and thine only” was constantly singing in my ears. Except the two
or three last chapters I think the book very uninteresting. Many parts very
improbable. The only characters that at all interested me were the “Skimmer”
and “Eudora”. Alida is as insipid
One of the fraternity of masons •
as Coopers
Birth: 1789-09-15 Death: 1851-09-14
heroines usually are. I cannot
imagine the necessity for Eudora’s appearing in the character of Sea Drift[ . ]



Friday morning I sent my last letter. in the afternoon Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went with George
Birth: 1805-10-07 Death: 1844-02

and Debby Wood


out to Cayuga to bring Maria
out. Mrs Hill
spent most
of the afternoon here. Underwood
Birth: 1791-12-22 Death: 1846-06-23Certainty: Probable
called to tea Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
who continues unwell yet
said he dined with you on Wednesday. Miss Miller
called for Clary to
accompany her to Serenes
Birth: 1805 Death: 1884-01-19
. Mrs Horner
Birth: 1780 Death: 1856-12-09Certainty: Possible
dear good woman spent the evening
here I was very glad on Pa’s account he was very sociable. Mrs Horner said
Birth: 1804 Death: 1874-06-12
had called to see you two or three times but you was always absent
he has gone on to Ohio. About nine Edward
brought me your letter of Teusdsay
The Govenors
Birth: 1784-08-21 Death: 1874-11-01
dinner reminds me of a party of his lady’s
Birth: 1795-08-07 Death: 1834-06-29
that I attended once
when a great variety of things were sent round and nothing that could be
eaten, the blancmange tasted more of the colouring than any of the other
ingredients and the ice cream was as salt as sea water. Mrs Throop of
course has nothing to do with preparing the entertainment but I think if
she knew good from evil she might dismiss a poor cook and employ a good
one. After reading your letter twice and hearing Clary read a few chapters in
the Water Witch I went to bed and dreamed all night about you and Mr
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
Mrs Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
. Yesterday Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
was honored by a visit from Master Thomas
Webb Hills
Birth: 1825 Death: 1831-12-01
who is rather a boisterous little gentleman, he tore up my patterns
broke Fred’s
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
rattle box, pulled the hairs out of Hobbys [ ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: 
and tail and
teased me for ‘more nuts’ more apples &c. Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
waxed exceedingly wroth
Page 2

because they left the door open upon her so often, remonstrated
Unwilling to go, or only running back • Unyielding • Stubborn horse •
against having
such company again with such a shrill voice, and finally adjourned
down into the kitchen to es escape further annoyance. She was soon followed
by the two urchins who commenced operations down in the dining room whence
she was glad once more to retreat up stairs. Pa had f very fortunately gone to
the office. Clary said Thomas looked so much like Eleaser
that she could
not endure him. Sarah thought his eyes were too round. Fred and myself
were the only two who were suited. I could not help feeling kindly towards the
little fellow because he was a little boy and Fred would laugh outright when
the the little monkeys came rushing into the room to give “Freddy a kiss”
it was the height of his ambition to sit between them on the settee and listen
to their boisterous mirth. Augustus said he wished Thomas could live
here always. Clary went up to see Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
in the afternoon. Worden had
just had a bruse about going to the ball. Lazette wants to go and he
will neither take her himself or let her go with any one else. To make my–
self understood I must go back and tell you that at the time Hugh McLallen
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16

and Clary went to Jordan they went up to get Lazette to go with them. She knew
she could not go without giving great offence so she staid at home. Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
very angry when he heard of it and has been constantly wrangling about Hugh
ever since. When she proposed going to the ball he said she wanted to go
to see Hugh Mclallen that she always was addicted to low company
no decent people had any respect for her and a thousand of the same
ridiculous things he has said so often, finally concluded by saying he
intended to send word to Pa to keep Hugh away from there, poor
Hugh he never was guilty of the crime of going there but once and
for Pa he does not even know that Clary went to ride with him.
I do think Worden is the most absurd, inconsistent, tyrannical, unfeeling
monster I ever met with and ‘if there is any body I do hate” &c.
The military ball is to be on the 22d I know but three or four of the
managers out of ten our twelve. Peter has a ticket and I believe I should
not go as I am afraid he will expect me to dance with him. I suppose
Page 3

there will be a great crowd there, had the managers of the cotillion parties
been civil enough to allow me a choice I should have attended some
of those parties, but it is no great disappointment as I never enjoyed
dancing much. Clary has gone to church this afternoon says I must tell you
she feels very mean about keeping such low company. Pa has given up all inten–
tion of going to Albany indeed I do not think it would be prudent for
him in the present state of his health, he does not go out of the house more
than once during the day and sometimes not at all. Augustus gets the little
letter you wrote him and reads it every Sunday. I have just been reading
for him the words that he has not learned to spell yet.
It appears pretty generally believed that Jane Dill
Birth: 1810 Death: 1877-01-07Certainty: Probable
is going to marry John Hulbert
Birth: 1802-12-28 Death: 1865-11-19Certainty: Probable

I have heard confidentially a long story about this but Clary says I may tell
you. You know it has always been understood here that Jane was engaged to
James Horner, he never offered himself to her until this fall by way of letters.
She returned for answer that she could not accept his proposal without the con–
sent of some of her friends, (meaning it is supposed J. Hulbert ), a second letter was
answ[ ered by desiring ]


Reason: wax-seal
to be excused, and a third in which James desired an ex-
plana[ tion was answ ]


Reason: wax-seal
erd by, “I cannot and shall not give any.” So much of [ the ]



story was told M. Harris
by E. Horner
Birth: 1807 Death: 1876-10-31
, the remainder comes from Debby to Maria.
Jane had been staying a few days with Debby during which time she was very melancholy.
one might after they had retired to bed Jane (sleeping with Mrs Nealy
her aunt)
supposing her Aunt was asleep got up went to a drawer and took out a letter which
she read with many sighs and tears, returned it to the drawer and retired.
The next day Jane being absent Mrs Nealy presuming on her right as an aunt and probably never
being troubled with a very delicate sense of honor, after communicating her intentions
to Debby went from the drawer took out the letter and made herself acquainted with the contents
The letter was from John Hulbert containing many protestations of love communicating his happi–
ness in the assurance of her love and concluding with, “though you acknowledge you love
me you say you can never become my wife. Could your dear sister Caroline
look down from Heaven I am confident nothing would make her more happy than to see you fill her place
to see you the mother of her child.” The hypocrite! he who has murdered his wife by
unkindness and this very sister who has thus acknowledged her love was the first to
tell to strangers the wretchedness of that sisters life. I think were I single my marrying
Worden would be something like a parable case. But I am digressing. After reading the
letter and after Debby had told George who advised secresy and an unmediated restora
tion of the letter it was returned to the drawer, but Debby could not keep the secret
although it implicated so deeply her own sister. They will undoubtedly be married
by the time one year ‘one little year’ has passed since the death of this much loved
sister. This is a strange incomprehensible world. James Horner did not of course call on
Miss Jane when he passed through and the rest of the family are at deadly feud with
her ladyship. She goes but seldom to Debby’s, and spends weeks with the Hulberts. so ends my
story. It is now Sunday night Clary and Caroline Miller
Birth: 1774 Death: 1810
have just gone to Serenes
and I have come up stairs to say good night to you and then to bed your
own Frances.
Page 4

William H. Seward
Auburn NY Feb 22


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Frances A Seward
20 Feb 1831