Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 13, 1831

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 13, 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, April 13, 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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: mhr 2015-06-01

revision: dxt 2015-10-22

Page 1

Wednesday night
My Dear Henry. I have not written one word to you since Sunday. I suppose
Mr. Wallace
and that letter have arrived before this time. Sunday evening
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went to Church, heard Cumming's
Birth: 1776-07-15 Death: 1863-01-09
preach. Monday it rained and was unplea-
sant all day did not see any one but our own family. Yesterday employed
all day with John Richardson
Birth: 1780-12-19 Death: 1849-04-14
who was putting down the carpet in the hall
finished that thought it looked pretty nice, concluded it would be a fine place
for a bed under the stairs. Saw Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
going past called her in, staid a few
minutes, about tea time Mrs Hamilton
Birth: 1784-10-01 Death: 1856-04-13Certainty: Probable
sent over to see if we would not go
to hear Finney
Birth: 1792-08-29 Death: 1875-08-16
preach, concluded I would go once to gratify my curiosity
Clary said she would go too. Frank Hamilton
Birth: 1813-09-10 Death: 1886-08-11
called before we had finished our tea
we told him we would come with Edward
finished our tea and started, every
body appeared to be going as well as ourselves as it had been announced that this was
the last night of his preaching. we sat in Mr Hamiltons
Birth: 1780-02-05 Death: 1864-07-11Certainty: Possible
pew. A Mr Pomeroy

from Cayuga made the first prayer which was a proper prelude to Finney’s
discourse, he talked a great deal about our hating our Maker. I never was
so much disgusted with any thing in my life as I was with Finney,
what shall I call it I am sure it was not a sermon, his performance.
(by the way I think he would make a good, low, comick actor) the text was “What
shall we do to be saved”. He then told us what repentance did not consist in
and secondly what it did consist in, much less explicit however in the
latter head, he told I should think a dozen stories by way of illustration.
some of them were told in so ludicrous a manner I could not refrain from
laughter, notwithstanding there was a degree of irreverence in his expressions
which was extremely repelling revolting to my feelings. His theory appears
to me absurd and contradictory, he repeated often that sinners should not
pray for new hearts, that it was asking God to do their work for them, that
they should make for themselves new hearts. these are his own words and
so perfectly inconsistent with every thing that I have ever learned before
that I am inclined to think the man deranged. I shall remember much of
Page 2

this sermon to tell you when you come home & having satisfied my curiosity
at the expense of some better feelings I think I shall not again make one
of his congregation. I was so vexed by the time he concluded his discourse
that I did not hear one word of his prayer which quite short, those
who made their choice to serve God were requested to remain and
the rest dismissed. We came home of course, the house was full but
I should think not more than 30 came away at that time, some
remained to be prayed for, some from curiosity and I should think
all of the members and new converts to participate in the good work
Frances Dibble
Birth: 1808-09-10
requested me to remain but I refused. it was half past
nine when we came home. I talked an hour with Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
and then came
up to bed feeling too much fatigued to write any that night. The
excitement I think is rather increasing than diminishing, nothing else is
thought of or talked of. The Baptists are now holding another four days
meeting and the Presbyterians had another three or four days meeting
appointed that evening for the ensuing week. Cooley
, Bates
, & Pancost

are among our acquaintances of the new converts. I am going one evening this
week to hear Elder Blain
Birth: 1795 Death: 1879-12-26Certainty: Possible
I hope he will not tell me that sinners must not
pray. Mary Ann Compston
Birth: 1800 Death: 1851-06-04
is going to join the second Church. This afternoon
we went out to the stores, up to Lazettes, called at Muirs
Birth: 1790 Death: 1868-02-17
, Mrs Homers
George Woods
Birth: 1799 Death: 1870-08-24
, the walking quite tolerable. Did not see any one at Muirs.
Maria Bennet
and Mary Pitney
Birth: 1813-02-16 Death: 1893-10-14
have been examined preparatory to uniting with
the church. After tea this evening Maria and Debby


came along for us to go
to Compstons. Clary went but I am almost sick with a cold and sore throat
Apropos. Eliza Ann Nicholson
has got the scarlet fever. Dr Bradford
here and spent the evening with Grandma and myself, made himself un-
commonly agreeable & found favour in the eyes of the old lady, talking
about boundary lines, Antimasonry and the French revolution, said Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12

was a very clever man and so was his brother
Birth: 1786-12-25 Death: 1876-12-22
of Batavia, nice discrimination.
While we were out to day old Mrs Hamilton called here I expect she thinks Finney
has converted me. I was heartily glad I was not at home as I do not feel
any disposition to injure her feelings, she says now that all her own family have been
Page 3

brought to see the error of their ways, that you and Lazette are the subjects
of her prayers. I have not yet said that your letter of Friday came on Teusday
evening just as I was going to meeting I had only time to glance over the contents
and as that was uppermost in my mind I did forget once or twice that the
“great man” was holding forth, after I returned and freed my mind to
Grandma (that was indispensible), my next employment was to reperuse the letter
at least three times. Your remarks and reply to Benton
were not in the journal
so I am glad you wrote it to me, but Peter
Birth: 1811-01 Death: 1888-02
had been all the afternoon
trying in his lucid manner to make me understand how much the antima
sons were gratified by your reply to Throop
Birth: 1784-08-21 Death: 1874-11-01
on the Salt question. I had read
it in the paper or I should not have had the most distant idea what he was talking
about, you would have laughed to have heard his version of the transaction. I do wish
you would say something about the town meeting. Peter torments me to death to know
what you think about it. About the bonnets I am very sure I shall be pleased
with any thing that you and Mrs Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
select. I would prefer the durable kind
as I have so many dress hats or the remains of so many on hand that it is
discouraging to behold them. May I expect you home by the 29th?
Thursday night. Debby and George and Maria and old Mrs Nealy
have all been
here this afternoon to tea. The Wallaces and Sarah Hulbert
Birth: 1808 Death: 1866-04-16
called. The Wallaces
are keeping house on the hill. I do not like them much,will tell you all
the reasons when you come home. Lazette and Emily
came down this
afternoon to go to the house and get Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
hat, which was left there
I went over and we were there about the house and grounds until our company came.
The garden is suffering and I am going to send again for Nathan
Birth: 1791
to night. All
wrote right in the house. Your enquiry about Mrs Eleazer
makes me think of an
anecdote Lazette told me about her the other day. They were talking about folding doors
and Lazette said she thought it impossible to have a fire in two rooms so situated
without smoke and mentioned the circumstance of its smoking the evening I had com-
pany, it appeared to give he[ r ]


ladyship new life. “Did it really smoke that evening?
I have heard so much of that party as being the most elegant, and all that that
we have been told so often. “Did it actually smoke”? in a very triumphant voice
I expect this will be of more use to her than Halsteads
remedy for the Dispepsia. Now
I have not told her any thing about the garden and moreover I never do tell this kind
of people such things because it always gives them more pleasure than pain. Finney
is going to remain here three months longer so you will have an opportunity of
hearing him at home if you wish it. Lundy
talked half an hour to Debby and Maria this
afternoon on religion, & Mary Pitney says she is praying for them all more particularly George.
your own Frances
Page 4

William H Seward
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10

Frances A Seward
15 April 1831
APR. 15


Type: postmark