Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 17, 1831

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 17, 1831



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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, April 17, 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: ekk 2015-10-23

revision: rew 

Page 1

Sunday night
My own Dear Henry, Such a scene as I have just passed through I hope I shall
never be placed in a similar situation. Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
has turned me out of the house
and abused me in every possible way and then says that my own Henry (who
I know does love me) will and does approve of his conduct. I did not
weep then but now I am home again and contrast my happy lot with
the misery of my poor injured sister
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
I cannot dry my tears, can hardly
compose my nerves sufficiently to tell you who are always so kind and
considerate all my trouble. I must try and make myself a little
more intelligible or you will never understand me. I believe, Henry,
that he He has given me strength to night woh whose assistance is never
refused to those who ask it in sincerity am I wrong in thinking
he would listen to one so unworthy?
I am endeavouring to gain some composure before I proceeded any
further with my letter, but the more I think the more cause I feel
for sorrow. I am afraid you never will come home again. I
know that I do not deserve so many blessings – how hard it is to write
what it would be so easy to communicate to you were you here.
This morning, thinking it too unpleasant to go to church I had just arranged
every thing comfortably for passing the Sunday with my little boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
Birth: 1807 Death: 1888-08-20
came with a note from Lazette saying Warren
Birth: 1806-07 Death: 1891
had been there
and used the most insulting language to her that Worden came home
and when she told him, he said that Warren had done perfectly
right and if she told him any more such stuff he would kick
her out of the house. All this where it was heard by Emily
Birth: 1810 Death: 1895
and Warren.
I wrote to her to come here if she could, that I did not know what
to do. She came down as soon as Harriet returned and repeated the
history of wrongs she had suffered, which would hardly be credited
by any one who did not know as we do the brute she lives with.

[left Margin] Nathan
Birth: 1825 Death: 1856-03-14Certainty: Possible
not come. Peter
and I have been
over to our
garden to day
uncovered the
grape vines
and asparagus
bed and set out
some of the
bushes Hudson

had so wantonly
dug up. I
am sure the
man could
not have had
his senses. I
hope Nathan
will come
your own
Harriet has just
been here with a
note from
Lazette she
says I must
tell you that
she attempted
to write to you
last night
but failed.

Page 2

I went home with her as she desired it – found them all gone to church.
Nothing passed between us until after tea, after they came home
then Warren came & came into the room where we were sitting, talked
a while to Worden, came up where Lazette and I were, I know
not for what purpose as I did not look at him, but I thought
he was staring at us. He then withdrew. I could not refrain from
some observation on his impudence and added that I wished he had
a man to deal with him. I believe I was imprudent in saying
this. Probably a moments reflection would have prevented it but my
sisters wrongs were all present to my imagination and I hardly knew
what I did say. As soon as Warren and Emily were out of the house
Worden commenced abusing me. I cannot tell you half he said.
I would not write the horrid oaths he uttered – he concluded by
saing if I did not go out of the house he would put me out
"neck and heels." I made but one reply which was in the comme-
ncemet and that was to say I felt I presume quite as much at
home there as he did. He told Harriet to go and get my hat and
cloak and said he should be obliged to put me out of the house.
Lazette had told me before that she did not believe he would dare
touch me and I had made up my mind when I went to bear all
manner of abuse in words. I discovered that I was only adding fuel
to the flame by making any reply – so I took up a book and commenced
reading. This only increased his rage. He came up to me and with a
most dreadful oath snatched the book from my hands and threw
it across the room. I can hardly account for it but my composure
increased with his violence. I said very little more notwithstanding
he constantly showered upon me the most abusive epithets – he said unless
you was very deceitful, you approved of his measures that you ^& he^ were on
the most friendly terms and that you had often apologized to him for my
conduct – he accused me of having said as outrageous things even as he does
himself – and called me a liar if I contradicted them. This phrenzy continued
Page 3

I should think nearly half an hour - all the time he held Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
firmly in his arms
while she was struggling and screaming to get to her mother, telling her
all the time between his fits of raving at me that her mother did not care
any thing about her. Lazette was crying – but I did not shed a tear &
indeed did not at all until I came home – which I did as soon
as he released Frances and had stayed long enough to convince him
that his threats did not intimidate me. You know my dear Henry with
what an aching heart I then left my sister. She says it does seem impossible
for her any longer to endure such treatment that she would willingly cross
the ocean go into a strange land and toil for subsistence if she could
but take with her her child – of course, we have concluded to leave it all to
you what must be done! I know it is a hard question. Men have framed
laws I believe to uphold themselves in their wickedness. What right can a father
have in case of a separation to take the children? Did they endure any of
the agony of a mother in bringing them into existence? Can they feel that
tenderness which is so intimately woven with every fibre of a Mothers heart?
I believe he has made up his mind that he will no longer maintain Lazette
and he sa[ ys ]


Reason: wax-seal
repeat[ edly ]


Reason: wax-seal
that he f would turn her out of the house if
she persisted staying there. But he said she never should have the care
of Frances. In the next breath he accused me of turning Lazette out
doors when we broke up house keeping – said I was the most abandoned &
depraved of mortals and concluded all by saying that your opinion
was the same as his with regard to his conduct. I am going to bed my
head aches so that I cannot write any more to night – so good night,
dearest – this would be a sorry world for me were it not for you & the
twids. Monday night. I am very glad I did not send this letter this morning
because I am in better spirits than I was last night and I would not make you
unhappy. This afternoon Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
has been to Lazette's and they have been out. Warren
was there when she went. She did not see Worden while there and heard nothing of the
last nights storm, at least she told me nothing. I have been in to see Mrs Hills
Birth: 1796 Death: 1863-04-22

whom I sincerely pity. I believe she mourns her brothers

loss in sincerity of heart.
No display of sentiment and I never felt so much respect for the woman. She
looks ill and her eyes were red with weeping. It appears that her brother has left his pecu-
niary affairs in a very deranged state and the property is to be sold at Auction in
which case the children will have nothing saved for them. Mr Hills
Birth: 1785-11-04 Death: 1856-09-25
is going down
on Wednesday to Albany to make application to the Legislature to have the property
disposed of at private sale for the relief of the heirs. Mrs Hills wished me to men-
tion this to you when I wrote of course you are to use your influence. I do not
know as I have made myself intelligible. I understand so little about these things
that I do not know how to express myself properly. Clary saw the Wallaces
x Birth: 1815-02-02  Death: 1890-10-24 Certainty: Probable Birth:   Death: 1879-04-11 Certainty: Probable
to day, they
Page 4

said that Miss Andrews
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-04-14
was on her way to Albany to see return with her husband
Birth: 1796-10-16 Death: 1863-06-11

but I suppose she will arrive before this letter. If I write again I shall send my letter by Mr Hills. I would
learn something more about Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
's illness, though I saw he was in the Senate the day the Bank question
was decided. I think I shall have another letter tomorrow.
Auburn N-Y
APR 19


Type: postmark

William H. Seward.
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Frances A. Seward
19 April 1831