Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 4, 1833

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 4, 1833



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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 4, 1833

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: New York, NY

transcription: rew 

revision: ekk 2015-07-16

Page 1

Teusday May 4th
My Dear Henry, Only one week has passed since you left us but to me it
seems a much longer time. I have waited until my heart is sick with
hope deferred, for some intelligence from you but as yet have heard
nothing. I think you must have written before leaving New York. I can
hardly tell what I have been doing this long week. I only know that the
time has dragged wearily along. some of our friends have called to
condole with me but there are so few that understand my feelings
that these visits afford me very little satisfaction. I hope I appreciate
the kindness of their motives, all of course regretted that they did not
see you once more before you left. Mrs Horner
Birth: 1780 Death: 1856-12-09
said she intended
to have come down expressly for that purpose but was prevented by company.
All ask why did not you go along. Mrs Hamilton
Birth: 1805 Death: 1889
actually persuaded
herself that I had gone and came down to condole with Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
She said seeing I had not gone I had undoubtedly given you my
measure for a dress to be made in Paris. I thought could she
have imagined how trifling every consideration appeared to me compared
with the all engrossing wish for your safe return, she would not have asked
the question. Saturday the day I suppose you sailed seemed almost
interminable to me, by way of diverting my thoughts and feelings
as though I should be quite insensible to bodily pain I sent
for Ball
and had the tooth extracted. You will allow that this
is a singular and novel mode of driving away care. I found
it of very little efficacy
Power to produce effects •
in this respect but it answered a better at
least a less selfish purpose, by inspiring my little boy
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
with sufficient
courage to submit quickly to the same operation. The tooth
which came in the place of the one you pulled for him was
growing very much out of place in consequence of being crowded
by the tooth next it. This, Ball extracted but not without giving him
considerable pain as it had a long root and was quite firm. The
dear boy bore it with his usual patience and consented to have another
which had become loose taken out at the same time. All this was
of course done without the knowledge of any of the family or I should
have had an insurrection in the house, as it was I considered
Page 2

one of the most unfeeling of mothers. Sunday it rained all day I did not go out
to church. Maria Harris
 Death: 1835-12-05
spent the day with us. Monday morning Jane Dill
Birth: 1810 Death: 1877-01-07

was married. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
, Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
, and myself were invited to attend the ceremony which
took place at ten oclock. We all went, there were about fifty particular friends
assembled. The bride of course looked extremely beautiful and interesting,
the groom felt awkward because he had on a new coat and thought every
body was looking at him, the usual quantity of tears were shed, the usual
quantity of wine drank, the brides ornaments were the newest pattern and
the cake Leonards
best. All went off well, no expense was spared to make
the entertainment agreeable and I believe it was so, all appeared happy.
The day was extremely cold for June and the heavens were overcast, this last circum-
stance which is considered ominous of evil cast a shadow over the fair brow
of the bride, but I told her the sun did not condescend to grace our
nuptials with his presence but if she was half as happy in her choice
as I had been she would have no cause for sorw sorrow. Seriously
Jane did look uncommonly pretty and did the attractions of her mind equal
those of her person she would be a paragon. The bridal party started for
Ithica at half past eleven and the guests went to their respective homes. Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
who has been at Dills the greater part of the last week (they think it impossible
to have weddings or funerals without her assistance) remained until night
with Amanda
who did not accompany the party. She came over here during
the afternoon, is well and in rather better spirits than she has been of late.
Teusday afternoon. I have this moment recieved the unfinished letter you left in New York which
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
was so kind as to finish and send me. I did hope to hear more fully from
you before you left the country and not until this moment have I fully realized that you
have actually gone so far away. I will not distress you by endeavouring to describe
what I felt on reading Jennings letter when I discovered I had actually cherished the very selfish wish that something might yet occur to prevent your leaving us, when I felt
that this last dim ray of hope was extinguished, but it was an unworthy feeling and
I will not dwell upon it, regret is now idle. I will trust in Him whose way is in
the deep, whose faith is in the great waters. His hand is strong and His arm mighty to
save. He alone can protect and preserve you. I was very happy to hear that
your fathers
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
health was improving and his spirits good. I hope he will return to us
with a renovated constitution. I am already beginning to calculate the earliest
possible time for me to hear from you it unnecessary to say how much comfort I
anticipate from your letters. Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
is quite well, speaks often of you. Augustus
still employs all his leisure hours in riding. I went with him the other day
on the sorrel horse, it is eight years since I have attempted to ride and I
found that disuse had lessened my courage very considerably. Augustus was
much the least timid of the two. On Thursday a letter came to you from Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
I shall copy on the other page. I know it will give you pleasure and I think will convince you what I never doubted, that he loves you much and is deeply interest in your happiness
Page 3

Buffalo May 26th
My Dear Seward, I am not in usual health to day and if I were should not think of obtruding a
a long letter which if it reach you at all must at a moment when your head and heart are both occupied
with thoughts and feelings too solemn and interesting to afford space for new sensations. But still I
cannot bear to have you depart without receiving my cordial and affectionate farewell, & without
your being reassured of the deep and lasting interest I feel in your prosperity and happiness.
It was not dear Seward till I received your yesterday that I realised our long and distant separation, for you know I have all along been incredulous of your fathers inflexibility, and now
the solemn certaintyly of the event comes upon me with power and fills my heart with solicitude and
pain. It is not until we are about to part with friends for a long time or forever that we can fully appreciate ^the nature^ or extent of our attachment to them. If the experience of our maturer years
forces us to abate much of the demands which sanguine
Destitute of blood; pale •
youth would make upon friendship, so
that we cannot live with those we love without some measure of disappointment it yet enables
us more justly to appreciate the value of those cardinal virtues which they which they posess
even though shaded with foibles and an approaching separation recalls them to our thoughts with
a strength and vividness which we are then ashamed should have ever been weakened or obscured.
It was Cicero I believe in some of his worldly minded maxims that suggested the wisdom
of living with our friends as though they may one day become our enimies. But it is Byron
Birth: 1788-01-22 Death: 1824-04-19
I am
sure who, strange as it may seem suggests a much wiser and better rule. It is to live with our
friends as though [hole] one day lose them. This maxim strictly followed will not only render
our lives happier [hole] but will save the survivor of the bitter pangs which memo[ ry
con ]


Reason: wax-seal
jures up of slights and unkindnesses to them we have lost when too late for atonement. You[ r also ]


Reason: wax-seal

the apprehension that I may never see you again brings these thoughts forcibly to my heart, for
I feel that I have not always sufficiently estimated you affectionate kindness for me. I some-
times asked more than I had a right to look for, fifty times more than my demerits entitled me
to claim. I would have received more than I had to bestow and because my rapaciousness was not gratified I have felt disappointment possibly vexation. I am now conscious of my un-
reasonableness and wish you to be of my sincere contrition. But I have dwelt too long on this
for I am sure you love me and if you have observed any thing of what I have mentioned your
kind letter convinces me it has passed from your mind. You know that I rejoice with you in your mothers
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
recovery and sympathize in your apprehensions for the well being of your
dear family during your absence. I feel how painful it is for you to separate from them & know
that this moment you would most gladly forgo the dim perspective pleasure of travelling Eu-

for the clear existing happiness of being with them. But such feelings it is now useless &
worse than usiless to indulge. It is better to feel that a higher duty calls you from them and
in the discharge of this duty to endeavour to derive every pleasure & improvement in your power.
I am glad you gave me the name of the ship in which you are about to embark for I shall
watch for its arrival with diligince. If I had a spice of poetry about me which I have not
I should endeavour to propitiate its faithful discharge ^of the^ interesting trust confided to it in the spirit
of Horace’s beautiful ode to the ship carrying Virgil to Athens. (Here follows a latin quotation which
I omit, being unacquainted with the language I should not copy it correctly.) But this is rather far-
fetched pedantry for an intended valedictory of a few hasty lines. I shall bear in mind continually
your promise to write me from Europe as much and as often as a hurried journey will permit.
Page 4

Dear Fanny
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
also must write to me occasionally during the summer especially when she receives any thing
from you. And now Dear Seward I bid you God speed and may he who spreadeth out the Heavens and
rulest the raging of the seas, in whose hand are the issues of life and death, preserve and keep you
through all your journeyings & permit that you be returned safely and happily to your family & friends
very affectionately
Albert H. Tracy
Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
He mentions in a postscript that you had better purchase in New York "Leighs road Book
Author: Samuel Leigh Publisher: Printed for M.A. Leigh Place of Publication:London Date: 1833
" also
that John Cox Morris
Birth: 1781-08-27 Death: 1849-02-08
was to sail for Liverpool about the middle of this month.
Friday 7th. Dearest Henry, I yesterday received your last letter written on the Europe. I cannot
expect to hear again until you write from England it seems a very long time but I will endea-
vour to wait patiently. I cannot realise while writing this latter that it will be so long a
time and at so great a distance from me before you read it. I shall write longer
in future and send a letter every fortnight. I shall be comparatively happy when I
once hear of your safe arrival. But affection like ours dearest can bid defiance to distance
Time cannot not change or absence abate it. "In thy heart
I know myself secure, as thou in mine
We were and are. I am even as thou art
Beings who near each other can resign,
It is the same together or apart." your own Frances
I wish I had room in this letter to copy
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
's notice of your departure but
I will reserve it for the next

[right Margin] All send abundance of love and well good wishes. My love to your Father
once more again. Dieu vous garde .