Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 13, 1833

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 13, 1833



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Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, June 13, 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


transcription: keh 

revision: ekk 2015-07-23

Page 1

Thursday June 13th
My Dear Henry, The weather has been so cold for the last week that I have been unable
to stay in my own room consequently could not write every day as I had intended.
I have done little but sit by the fire and endeavour to keep warm. Have been out
of the house but twice since I wrote last. One afternoon I spent with Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03

my brother in law
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
and I on the best terms imaginable. I have just finished reading
Mrs. Trollope
Birth: 1779-03-10 Death: 1863-10-06
by course and think her description of American society much
more correct than at first I was willing to allow had she confined herself strict-
ly to the truth I should ^not^ be nlittlely disposed to cavil at a picture in which there
is so little that is flattering to our national pride. The woman herself notwith-
standing all her literary pretensions is neither very amiable
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
or very refined -
her images are many of them gross - her expressions and phrases low and coarse -
still there are some parts very prettily written and had she met with a more
kindly reception at Cincinnati and succeeded in settling her son to her mind
I am inclined to think her impression of the country would not have been quite
so unfavorable. She would not have been quite so bitter in the expression of her sen-
timents — but enough of her — I will copy for you Weeds
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
notice of your departure
which has since found its way into many other papers — "The Europe a splendid
new Packet Ship of the old line, under the command of Captain Maxwell , sailed
from New York for Liverpool on Saturday. Among the passengers were Doct Samuel
S Seward
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
, of Florida, Orange County and his son the Hon. William H. Seward of
Auburn, Cayuga County. Doct Seward having devoted more than forty years to active
and extensive Professional, mercantile and judicial duties, found himself in need
of relaxation, and visits Europe with the hope of improving his health. His son influ-
enced by those pure affections which endear him not only to his own family, but to a
numerous circle of friends, promptly accepted the paternal invitation to accompany
his father. Mr Seward hopes to return in season to take his seat in the Senate at the
commencement of the session of the Legislature. Most ardently
Hot or burning; causing a sensation of burning • Having the appearance or quality of fire; fierce • Warm; much engaged; passionate •
do we wish the
Travellers prosperous gales, genial climes, and a safe return" — Avery
Birth: 1799-12-18 Death: 1869-10-23
an almost interminable trial was acquitted and returned to his family.
Birth: 1804-11-24 Death: 1833-07-26
is sentenced to be hung on the 26th of July. I have no doubt
of Avery's innocence but Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
and Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
think he should have been
condemned. No one doubts the guilt of Clough. He has made no
confession yet. Daniel Webster
Birth: 1782-01-18 Death: 1852-10-24
was recieved at Buffalo with great eclat
invited to appoint a day for a publick dinner which he declined. A new
boat was launched at Black Rock

and christened by his name. He
went from Buffalo to the Rock in a steam boat accompanied by a
numerous assemblage of ladies and gentlemen. Here he was addressed by
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
in behalf of the proprietors of the boat, and returned a very suitable
reply. All these things I suppose are gratifying to a man who desires
Page 2

popularity and celebrity. To me they seem "stale flat and unprofitable" — .
A steam boat on her passage from New Orleans to Natchitoches took fire and was entirely
consumed. 15 or 16 lives were lost and as many more wounded among the killed
was Hon Josiah S. Johnston
Birth: 1784-11-24 Death: 1833-05-19
of Louisana U. S. Senator - his son was badly wounded
also Hon Edward D. White
Birth: 1845-11-03 Death: 1921-05-19
of Louisana. I mention these names because Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
to recognise them - probably you will also — I believe I have communicated all
the newspaper intelligence that I think will interest you. I do not know
how much of it you may have heard or what are your facilities for getting in-
formation of this kind on the other side of the Atlantic. You must write me all
about it and I will govern myself accordingly. The President
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08
has commenced
his contemplated tour - was in Baltimore by the last advice — Friday morning —
The weather having become more mild I can once more write pleasantly in my own
room. I have been reading the shipping intelligence which has of late assumed for
me a thrilling kind of interest. The last accounts are disastrous. Two vessels
have been lost in their passage from Ireland to Quebec one The Albion from Cork
15 lives lost. The other the Lady of the Lake from Belfast sunk at sea and upwards
of 200 passengers said to have gone down with her. I suppose these are chiefly
emigrants. I will not distress you dearest by detailing the unpleasant feelings
which were excited by reading these melancholy
Depressed in spirits; dejected; gloomy; dismal • Producing great evil and grief; causing dejection; calamitous; afflictive • Grave looking; somber •
notices because if you rece-
ive this letter the danger which I so constantly apprehend will for the
present be past and I do not wish to mar the pleasure you may other-
wise enjoy by making you feel that I am always unhappy. I am
not so, and the gloomy feelings which now so frequently predominate will then
give place to bright hopes when I once hear of your safe arrival.
All goes on at home much as usual. Clary sees Hugh
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
occasionally but says she
does not intend to marry him. Grandma forebodes all manner of evil and
thinks that I neglect the children unmercifully. Pa rides in the waggonon
and Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
rides on horseback behind him. Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
goes when they will
let him and when they will not consoles himself with the anticipation
or riding with Ma
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
in her wagon. Peter neglects the garden and all
manner of work. Sarah has numerous beaux and offers of marriage.
who I think will make a very useful servant continues to
find no favour in the eyes of Grandma and is blamed for all the
evil doings of the children, but she knows that I do her justice and ap-
pears tolerably well satisfied. In the way of furniture Pa has introduced
into the south room a Lilliputan sideboard (which would grace the dining room
of a playhouse) with which he and Grandma are marvelously pleased. I
have made up my mind not to allow trifles to disturb my equanimity for the
future and I think have borne this vexation with considerable philosophy.
Birth: 1782-09-25 Death: 1859-12-30
and Mrs Perry
Birth: 1788-10-12 Death: 1859-02-08
are to return next week and take posession of their establishment
This arrangement is not very satisfactory to Mrs Dill
Birth: 1809-01-19 Death: 1886-04-24
. The original design was
Page 3

for Captain Worden
Birth: 1781-02-26 Death: 1854-10-31Certainty: Probable
and his family to leave the house they now occupy for Dill
Birth: 1804 Death: 1866
and Mary ann
but Mary ann was so dissatisfied with this arrangement that they are now to remain
with Jane
Birth: 1804-09-05 Death: 1875-09-05
or board elsewhere until Dill can build a stone house on the farm.
I shall be sorry to lose Mary ann for a neighbour particularly as her place is to
be supplied by one for whom I have so little respect or esteem. Jane has all the
mischevious qualities of Debby


combined with a much greater portion of duplicity
Debby has called here and persists in being on very intimate
Inmost; inward • Near; close • Close in friendship or acquaintance • One to whom the thoughts of another are shared without reserve • To share together • To hint; to suggest obscurely; to give slight notice of •
terms with us.
Mrs Hall says she has announced to her that she is coming soon to clean up
all difficulties by imputing
To charge; to attribute; to ascribe • To charge to one as the author or originator of; generally in a bad sense • To set to the account of another as the ground of judicial procedure • To take account of; to reckon •
the whole blame to Maria Harris
 Death: 1835-12-05
. Maria has
returned to Seneca Falls. I am inclined to think if I can get notice of the
time set apart for this visitation I shall make it convenient to be 'not at home'.
I have very little inclination to make up a quarrel at the expense of a third
person or as Pope
Birth: 1688-05-10 Death: 1744-05-30
says to "sacrifice a victim on the occasion". Mrs Porter
Birth: 1803-03-30 Death: 1866-03-02
her husband
Birth: 1793-01-06 Death: 1862-11-11
have gone to Massachusetts for her health. Mrs Hills
Birth: 1796 Death: 1863-04-22
is awaiting warm
weather to commence her annual jaunt. I have seen neither of them
since you left. I called at Mrs Porters the day after she had left. I have
avoided Mrs Hills knowing I should be overwhelmed with sympathy.
Mrs Judge Dill
Birth: 1781-09-17 Death: 1862-06-21
is here with both of her children
x Birth: 1824-09-23  Death:   Birth: 1822-02-01  Death: 1877-11-26 
- we all visited Lazette yesterday
Sunday morning — The little boys have both gone to meeting with Sarah and I am quite
alone. I go this afternoon to hear a clergyman who is here upon trial, from
New York. I received a letter from George
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
on Friday he says that Ma
Birth: 1784-06 Death: 1811-02-22

has not yet gone to New York and the physician does not think it advisabl
for her to go this two or three weeks. She is regaining her health slowly - she
has rode af as far as Polydores
Birth: 1799 Death: 1872-04-23
. Tempe
Birth: 1812-09-30 Death: 1848-10-18
has a daughter and was very comfortable
the little girls name is Mary Cornelia
Birth: 1833-06-08 Death: 1891-06-12
. George says nothing in particular
about Cornelia
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
I suppose she did not return to Florida after your depar
ture. Ma has not decided at what time she will make her visit here
we are impatient to see her. George appears very happy and invites me to
come down and bring the little boys — Afternoon— I have just returned from
Church and from hearing our new clergyman Mr Brittin
. He is an Englishman
has been in this country but a few years - was formely a Congregationalist -
he preaches without notes that is he writes his sermons and commits them
I do not much like him though the matter of his sermon was good -
no way extraordinary - his voice is bad - his manner theatrical and his
sermons intolerably long. This last is a sad defect even were there no
others. I doubt much whether he continues here. He is to preach one
more Sunday upon trial. I do no know how he is generally esteemed.
Mrs Rudd
Birth: 1785
is about getting up another fair previous to the consecration
of the Church the proceeds of which are to be applied to the purchase
of pulpit ornaments. I do not know how she will succeed. All
Page 4

manner of evil stories are in circulation about the Dr
Birth: 1779-05-24 Death: 1848-04-15
- he who can relate the
greatest greivance I believe is considered the best churchman. It makes me think
of some little gold fishes Mrs Dunham
Birth: 1774-05-15 Death: 1857-05-30
once had in a glass globe. These little
fishes were all on the best terms imaginable so long as they all continued
well - but one was so unfortunate as to be ill - lost his appetite and his playfulness
immediately the other little fishes beset the sick one and each nipped off a mouthful
of their former playmate until they succeeded in destroying him entirely.
Although I was a child at the time the wickedness of the little fishes made a strong
impression on my mind. How many times since have I seen their conduct
exemplified in the world - the Dr; former friends are not satisfied with deserting
him but each appears eager to excel his neighbour in detraction. I do not think
I will go to Church again until the removal it was so crowded so warm and so
filthy there to day that I was discouraged from making another attempt. I
like Mr Peck
Birth: 1790-01-12 Death: 1836-04-29Certainty: Probable
much better than any other clergyman in town and shall go to hear
him when I am disposed to go out. Augustus went this morning to the 2d Church
all alone which has increased his feelings of independence very considerably
he went with me this afternoon but was unable to keep awake through the long
sermon. Fred was naughty and made Sarah bring him home soon after the
commencement of the exercises. I cannot learn him to whisper he insists
upon benefitting the world with his remarks. I have been trying to trace your
progress by the 'Notes of a traveller' but find on the 16th day of his voyage a
dead calm had arrested their progress. I hope you are not so unfortunate and
also hope that more than one half of your voyage is accomplished which it
appears his was not. I saw by the papers that there were a number of ladies among
the passengers - how much I wish to hear all about all the passengers - you must
become something like the members of one family being so constantly thrown togeth
er and so little to divert your attention from each other. I hope your father has
not suffered much from sea sickness I have fewer fears for you as you have
once before made the experiment and escaped with very little affliction of that
kind. I know that you write to me every day and cannot not describe to
you how impatiently I await the expiration of the long weeks that must
elapse before I receive your journal - but the happiness that I shall feel in
being assured of your saftey safety and once more seing a letter in your own
dear hand will be more than a compensation for all. Lazette was here to day
she says the next time I write she ^will^ send a letter also. Steele
has returned with
his wife
. I met them last evening at Mrs Dills - you know she was Miss Perry
the sister
of his former wife likewise a sister of Mrs Marvin
Birth: 1810-07-08 Death: 1888-05-06Certainty: Probable
. She is not pretty
but sprightly
A spirit; a shade; a soul; an incorporeal agent • A walking spirit; an apparition • Power which gives cheerfulness or courage • An arrow • To haunt •
and apparently not more than 18 or 19. I must call on them
all next week. I like Marvin
Birth: 1802-03-17 Death: 1877-03-26
's appearance very much but am not so well pleased
with his wife. She may become more interesting upon acquaintance.
Page 5

Major Wallace
has just been here to invite us all to go to church and hear Mr Brittin preach
another long sermon. I think one will suffice for me. Clary is about going to Mr Fields
Birth: 1753-07-07 Death: 1839-08-06
to see Mrs. Dill. I called with Lazette to see Mrs Hills yesterday fortunately she had so many
enquiries to make about Albany that I was spared some portion of the commiseration
I anticipated. She did not introduce the subject I so much dreaded until we rose
to depart. I then told her I did not like to talk long about it. She said she had
passed two sleepless nights on my account. Mrs Beach
Birth: 1785 Death: 1839-08-08
came in, and we took
leave. I am thankful that is over. Mrs Hills is going to Saratoga to spend the Summer
as soon as the weather becomes sufficiently mild — Teusday morning — Yesterday I
called to see Mrs Rudd. She and the Dr both appeared in low spirits. The Dr
I understand has been told much of the slander that is in circulation
concerning him. I feel very sorry for them. Mrs Rudd said they thought
of moving into Mr Curtis
' house on William street as it was very uncer-
tain how much longer they would be permitted to continue where they
are at present. The Sherburnes

have commenced house keeping in the the house
formely owned by Meritt
. Called at Mr Fields and finally as usual concluded
by going to Lazette's. I went to Ivison's for the purpose of getting "the Conversations
of an Ambitious Student
 Publisher: J & J Harper Place of Publication:New York Date: 1832
" but they had not a copy left. I do hope you
will see Bulwer
Birth: 1803-05-25 Death: 1873-01-18
if he does live "in the most patrician part of the West End."
There is not a man in England that interests me half so much. I am
reading for the third time the "Disowned
Author: Edward Bulwer Lytton Publisher: J. & J. Harper Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1829
" and constantly discovering new
beauties. It contains more philosophy than any other novel I ever read and all
the sentiments so happily expressed that him that he ^has^ given philosophy a chance
and an interest with which it was never before invested in my estimation.
The reading of such intellectual fictions has certainly been attended with one
good effect in my case I have lost all relish for inferior productions and
no longer feel any inclination to waste my time on the ephemeral productions
of the day. Once more do see Bulwer if you can and remember you
cannot be to minute in your description of him and all that relates to him
A report is in circulation that Dick Smith
has run away but is is not
to be relied on I presume - all that is positively known is that he has been
gone two weeks - report says that he insulted a married woman somewhere
in Scipio and fled from prosecution. Mrs Smith
and Caroline
Birth: 1807Certainty: Probable
were in
church on Sunday - appeared as usual - Mr Brittin is staying at Muir
Birth: 1790 Death: 1868-02-17
Thursday 20th Dear Henry I have been engaged the last two days with a mantaumaker and it
is now time to despatch this letter another two weeks having expired. I yesterday received a letter
from Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
saying that Marcia
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
and Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
had been to Florida and Ma had returned with
them to New York - was comfortable gaining strength and bore the journey well. He does not
say when we may expect her. The dear woman will be very welcome when she comes. We are
all well. Grandma thinks you are by this time safe across the Atlantic. I wish I could feel
assured of it. All send abundance of love. Remember me affectionately to your Father.
Jennings says nothing of having received or sent to you my first letter I trust it is safe
this is the 2d — &much more dearest good bye may God bless you — your own Frances
Page 6

Mess. Hottinguer &Cie
For William H. Seward
Care Baring Brothers & Co