Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 21, 1833

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 21, 1833



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 21, 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: Unknown

transcription: gew 

revision: ekk 2015-06-19

Page 1

Tuesday August 21st
My Dear Henry, I sent my last letter on Sunday evening. Yesterday I had the sick head
ache and did not write any, in the evening we went up to see Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
. She is
certainly going to Aurora, Henry and what will become of me! I shall be so deserted.
It does seem almost impossible for me to part with my sister for an indefinite
time, we have never before been so separated, henceforth our intercourse will consist
of transient v visits and long separations. She was for years all in all to me my
fond sister, my dearest friend, we wept and laughed together, she was my nurse
my comforter my adviser, and I felt for her more than a sisters love, it is indeed
a great grief to me and now you are so far away I have no one to sooth and cheer
me. Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
went yesterday morning, left Lazette to put up the things and is com-
ing for her on Saturday. Her cough is better but not well. Aurora is so lonely
a place I fear she will be more unhappy than she is here, and the society consist
entirely of Wood
x Birth:   Death:   Birth: 1799  Death: 1870-08-24 
, cold, heartless calculating mortals how little are they able
to appreciate the warmth and generosity of a nature like my sisters. But I will
write no more on a subject that occupies all my thoughts at this time.
I am going this afternoon over to Skaneateles with Beardsley
Birth: 1807-05-30 Death: 1894-01-15
, he and Goodwin
Birth: 1805 Death: 1885-10-29

have both invited me to go but Goodwin wishes to delay his visit until the

return from New York. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
wishes me to mention to you that she has
daily confirmation of the opinion she once advanced vis, that married ladies
received as much attention as single ones. I finished reading your letters
the second time yesterday and then took them up to Lazette. I need not say
how thrillingly interesting is every thing you write. Those ruins, and Eaton Hall

I have dreamed of them ever since. Poor Ireland her situation is indeed
deplorable. You have no doubt been in London some time these letters were
so long coming over I shall expect more before this is finished. I am glad
your fathers
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
health is sufficiently restored for him to enjoy the tour.
The prison affairs still continue to agitate the public mind. Goodwin came home
with me last evening he feels disposed to talk about Porter
Birth: 1790-10-24 Death: 1874-02-03
constantly and the
day we visited Mrs Porter
Birth: 1800-04-12 Death: 1886-03-29
she and John talked about George Throop
Birth: 1793-04-12 Death: 1854-02-23
as much.
I make very little reply to all of this discourse having no disposition to interfere
in family quarrels. Goodwin refuses to publish any more of Porters productions
because they implicate G. Throop and Porter has consequently sent his last to
Onondaga to be published. Then there are numerous minor bickerings and heart-
burnings which they have not the good sense to disguise or not to indulge. Throop
does not speak to Mrs Porter and Mrs Lewis
 Death: 1863-07-26Certainty: Probable
looks sour at Johnny, all these
things are made the topicks of discourse to me whom they at least consider neu-
tral. You do not know dearest how proudly I contrast the nobleness of your
conduct on similar occasions with the ebll ebullitions of wrath, envy, hatred
malice and all uncharitableness which I constantly witness. The Auburn Journal
publishes both sides of the debate, the last weeks paper contains the reply of Lewis
Birth: 1791 Death: 1860-09-05
the inspectors
x Birth: 1798-12-28  Death: 1836-05-06  Birth: 1790-10-24  Death: 1874-02-03  Birth: 1787-10-31  Death: 1873-09-18 
, it is a very long article in which he refutes all their charges and concludes
Page 2

thus, “I now feel constrained to give the public abroad the causes which I believe have induced
the majority ^of the inspectors^ to remove me from the agency of the prison, which are perfectly well understood
here, They are briefly that I would not enter with Mr Porter and Mr Hills into a personal
quarrel with the Commissioners of the Cayuga County Bank, for not giving them more
of the Bank stock, and with the Board and of Directors of that Bank for not appointing
Mr Porter, Bank Attorney. So far as Mr Porter is concerned, I gathered his reasons from
a conversation I had with him after the said stock was distributed. He asked me why
he and Mr Hills did not get more stock? I told him I did not know; and after
I had given him to understand that I should not take part with him in his personal quarrel
he replied to me, Mr Lewis if that is your course you will be sorry for this before two
years come around, or words to that effect. I had thought it my duty on one or two occasions
to talk very plainly with Dr Morgan, Mr Hills’ brother-in-law and the physician to the Prison
about some experimental surgical operations in the prison, which had been attended with
very unfortunate results, and from these conversations I have noted much hostility in
that quarter. These I believe to be the true causes, and that the avowed causes have
been made up to cover the personal ones and private motives of their conduct.”
That these are the true causes I have no manner of doubt, but how far good policy
will justify this plain exposure of them I am of course incompetent to judge.
Porters last production has not yet made its appearance in our papers. Porter
said the other day that he was very much mistaken if Throop was I cashier
of the bank more than two months. Wednesday morning. I went yesterday
afternoon with Beardsley to Skaneateles, took little Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
who made himself very
agreeable to Miss Converse
Birth: 1827-07-03 Death: 1899-10-07
. Found Maryann
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
her mother
Birth: 1786-03-22
and Grandma Hyde
Birth: 1742-11-14 Death: 1839-02-08
at home. The Miss Waites
that Maryann brought with her is a very pleasant
girl, not young or pretty, but has more mind and more heart than all
the Kelloggs combined. Augustus
Birth: 1803-07-03 Death: 1871-10-30
was not at home. Mr Kellogg
Birth: 1780-04-19 Death: 1836-05-04
the girls
x Birth:   Death:   Birth: 1814-07-27  Death: 1862-10-03 
have not returned from Troy. Mary ann in mind and feeling
or rather in want of feeling is just what she was 10 years ago, her ex-
treme coldness her utter insensibility, her entire want of every quality calcu-
lated to touch the feelings must always make her uninteresting to
any one who is not like herself wholly influenced by factitious advan-
tages. I recalled to her mind a thousand events which interested us together
in by gone days, she could recollect them it is true (she has an excellent
memory and would commit whole pages of Kaimes
Author: Henry Home, Lord Kames Publisher: Collins & Hannay, Collins & co., and G. & C. Carvill,  Place of Publication:New York Date: 1829
without understanding
one word) but the recollection gave her no pleasure old associations had
for her no charms excited no warmth. I came away not precisely
disappointed for I was aware of this all before but more than ever convinced
that we had no feelings in common. Beardsley was polite and attentive
to me and very sociable, but he too is heartless, cold calculating avaricious
he is just the man to connect himself with the Kellogg family. He talked
of his engagement with Maria
very much as he would talk of purchasing a
house, prides himself on his indifference and thinks his singular manner
of wooing must create much speculation. The most satisfactory part of
my visit was in Grandma Hyde’s room, we talked about you and Lazette
themes to me of never failing interest, then she loves Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
and affection
Page 3

which is disinterested is charming, though cob somewhat chilled by the winds
of 80 winters. I found Baldwin
Birth: 1797-02-04 Death: 1863-08-22
here on my return, he wished me to go over
to the American with him and call on Mrs Isaiah Townsend
Birth: 1784-08-11 Death: 1854-10-31
, so I went
with an aching head and tired limbs, found Mrs Isaiah Townsend as sociable
as ever, she had just returned from Owasco, been to call on Mrs Throop
Birth: 1806-02-11 Death: 1872-06-17

they are going on to Canandagua to day, will probably call this morning
Mrs T. regretted that she did not see you at the time you called as
she was desirous of sending letters to Paris. She said I must tell you that
she was out of town at the time you called. Thursday morning. To day we
expect our dear mother
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
, the weather has been fine since Monday. Yesterday
morning Mrs Townsend and Baldwin called. Morrell
Birth: 1804 Death: 1877Certainty: Probable
took dinner with us,
in the afternoon Lazette came and after tea we went to call at Meritt

’s. Wallaces
x Birth: 1775-02-01  Death: 1849-02-20  Birth: 1782-12-29  Death: 1866-07-06 

and Fitches
x Birth: 1802  Death: 1866-07-16  Birth: 1799-01-06  Death: 1883-01-30 
. Lazette has put up the greater part of her things. I witness the
preparations for her departure with a heavy heart, if you were only home,
but it is useless to desire impossibilities. Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
is having the wood work on the out-
side of the house repainted and we have for the last two weeks been deluged
with oil and tobacco spittle. Poor Jones
. Yesterday morning he took through mis-
take a quantity of corrosive sublimate thinking it was [ priary ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: primary
(I don’t know how
to spell it). He was not expected to live through the day yesterday. I have not
heard this morning. I am very sorry he was so pleasant and accommodating
that we all liked him much. Friday morning. Ma did not come yesterday
as we expected, perhaps she did not leave on Monday as they anticipated.
Jones is better an hopes are entertained of his recovery. I staid at home all
day expecting Ma and did not see Lazette only a few moments in the
morning she came down and took little Fred home with her. The little picture-
es which were cut all came home in our frame yesterday. I put them up in our
room and the little boys are now both in bed amusing themselves with making observations upon them. I do wish dear Henry that you would not forget your
promise to sit for a miniature for me while you are gone. I am afraid you will.
Saturday morning. Ma does not come yet. I spent the day yesterday with Lazette
she has every thing in readiness to leave the house when Worden returns, we took
up some of her plants and transplanted them into the hard clay of our yard, it will
be almost a miracle if they live. Poor Jones was worse again yesterday I am afraid
he will not recover, a child
of Spencers
Birth: 1774-09-06 Death: 1846-06-27
’ had his arm broken yesterday was run over
by a horse. Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
frightened me by going away and remaining until after
dark without permission, messengers were despatched in every direction. Peter
finally found him a the American Hotel where he had gone to see the troop who had
been out to. I think I convinced him of the impropriety of his conduct so that he
will not do give me so much uneasiness again. Sunday afternoon. Yesterday
about noon just as we were thinking that Ma must be sick, she made her appear-
ance in the canal stage, accompanied by Mary
, Cousin Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
did not come.
A son
of Enoch Jacksons
Birth: 1754-08-04 Death: 1834-02-11
came with Ma from Albany to Jordan I believe
Page 4

somewhere at the west, A his coming superseded the necessity of cousin Augustus doing
so. I was sorry for I like him extremely and wished very much to see him. Ma
says he has the promise of coming up when she returns. I was astonished to
see Ma looking so well, she is not more thin or pale than she was the last
time I saw her, she is still feeble but not so much so as I anticipated, her
mouth is much less troublesome than it has been. I could not prevail upon
her to lie down after her arrival. This morning she has been to church with
me and goes again with Clary this afternoon, upon the whole I think we may
considered her as pretty much recovered though I doubt whether she even regains
the strength of constitution she once possessed, this was hardly to be expected.
I hope her benevolent heart and kind looks will make us all happy many years
yet. Ma had been here but a few hours when your Fathers last letter came
dated 7th of July. New Castle-on-Tyne, we were very happy to hear of his
improving health, you make very rapid progress in travelling I expect you
will visit Siberia

before you return at this rate. I was disappointed in
not receiving letters from you at the same time, think you must have
sent your letters from Edinburgh and they have found a slower sailer
for their conveyance that the good ship “Europe” which brought Ma’s last
letter, she was five weeks on her passage. So I am to day reading over
again the old letters which I shall continue to do until more arrive hoping
and believing, yea, through faith knowing that you have not failed to write.
I saw Lazette a few moments yesterday, she was in readiness to leave the house.
Worden had returned from Aurora, much pleased with his new location. Lazette
will remain a few days at Mrs Chase
Birth: 1791 Death: 1862-10-14
’s and then goes to Aurora, they are to
board at the new Hotel. Worden is a partner of Isaac A Woods
. I have no idea
he will continue there a year, he says his next move will be to Michigan.
Monday morning. Lazette staid with me last night of course we talked pretty
much all night, my eyes are very troublesome this morning. I am so unhappy
about losing my sister that I have no spirits for any thing. She goes in the
stage tomorrow morning, they leave most of their furniture here, have taken
it all out of the house and put it in the upperor part of Ethan Wordens

store, this is the 8th time Lazette has moved since her marriage is it at
all astonishing that she should feel discouraged? She is quite as cheerful as I ex-
pected to see her more so than I could be under similar circumstances. We talked
much about you and Lazette says that one great source of regret is that she
will not be able to read with me your letters. I shall of course send them to her.
Edward Delevan
Birth: 1793 Death: 1866-08-13
is here on business. Clary talks some of returning with him.
Teusday morning. Yesterday afternoon Mary ann Converse and Miss Waites came
over and took tea with us. I continue to be pleased with Miss Waites.
Mary ann is much improved certainly but cold as marble. Pa made
himself uncommonly agreeable and Grandma actually came into the
front room and submitted to the dreadful operation of having tea served
While we were at tea Mr Gowans
came from Romulus, as is usual on all such
occasions. After tea and when the company had departed Clary and I went
over to Mrs Chase’s to see Lazette, found they had concluded to remain
another day. Lazette came home with us and staid all night, took
little Fred away with her this morning. Clary has actually gone home
with Edward, we all persuaded
To influence by argument, advice, or intreaty • To convince by arguments, or reasons offered •
her to go the opportunity was so good, she
did not like to lose so much of Ma’s visit, returns in a fortnight. In the
mean time I shall enjoy to the full extent all the joys of housekeeping
without servants. I have for the the first time this morning found time to sit
Page 5

down long enough to write it is now nearly one oclock, and I must go and
see how Sarah manages the dinner. Wednesday morning. Lazette has gone
and I feel forsaken indeed, she has just been here to say good bye. I hope
I shall feel more reconciled in a few days to this separation now it appears
very grievous to me, my little boys are now my only comforters. We have
news from Europe until the 31st of July but not a word from you
since the 31st of June excepting your fathers letter from New Castle, the 7th
I find that I am too desponding
Tasteless; destitute of taste; wanting the qualities which affect the organs of taste • Wanting spirit, life, or animation; wanting pathos, or the power of exciting emotions • Wanting power to gratify desire •
to day to write any thing that can make
you happy and will therefore put away this letter for the present.
Thursday morning. All seems cold and dreary to me this morning the loss
of one warm heart from the village renders it to me as much a desert one is if
it was entirely depopulated, it does not seem to me that I shall ever
have the least inclination to go out again, now Lazette is gone, thanks to the
mutability of all human feelings this will not continue forever. I have wept
until my eyes are nearly blinded. To day I must endeavor to have more
composure and try to fix my mind upon some less distressing subjects, but
Worden was so harsh and ill natured yesterday morning and my dear sister so
sorrowful, yet generously forgetful of her own grief to sooth mine, this this
is constantly recurring to my memory and I strive in vain to be cheerful.
On Teusday Ma and I visited Mrs Burt
Birth: 1776-07-25 Death: 1859-12-02
, we met there Mr
and Mrs Richardson

Miss Nicholson and Mr Lucus
Birth: 1799 Death: 1839-08-25
our new clergyman. I was rather pleased
with the appearance of the latter person. He has preached here two Sundays but
I have not heard him, is from Connecticut I think Hartford, originally from
Ireland has a wife and two children, is said to be a man of fine talents, has
accepted the invitation to become our Pastor, his family are still at the east,
yesterday he called here. I continue favorably impressed with his appearance
and next Sunday I think shall he able to tell you what I think of his preaching.
I received a letter from Cornelia
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
a few days ago, all well, George
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
was then at
Bargaintown. Porter has published a communication for the benefit of the Republicans
in this county by means of the Onondaga press, the same I before mentioned, which
Goodwin refused to publish on account of its personality as it regarded Throop.
Porter commences by relating his unsuccessful attempt to get this production inserted
in the patriot or to have it permited in the form of a handbill both being refused him
he applied to the press of a “foreign republican paper as the only means left of making the
communication.” He complains of the treatment of the Argus in denouncing him and
vindicating Lewis. This communication is addressed to the editor of the Patriot, attempts
to disprove all the charges brought against him by Col Lewis, says they are false and without
foundation, with regard to his hostility to Throop he observes, “It will be naturally asked, has nothing
passed from which this story could be manufactured? In candour, I must say yes. But circum-
stances have occurred which disqualify Col Lewis from drawing distinctions which are necessary for
truths sake. He accuses me of hostility to the commissioners of the bank, which I absolutely deny.
But, still, I have a disagreement with Mr Throop, in respect to his conduct as bank Commissioner.
I have said that all his plans were selfish and that nothing would satisfy him short of absolute
control. And because I have thus accused Mr Throop, I am accused of quarreling with the
Commissioners as though Mr Throop represented the whole body. It is on the same grounds I suppose
that I am so flippantly accused by the Editor of the Patriot of treason to the republican party. Mr
Throop fancies that he represents the party & what displeases him displeases them of course. My
whole offence has been that I have called in question the liberality, candour, and honest sincerity
of Mr Throop. His plans have succeeded in part, at least; & he f is now to display his financial
talent for $2,000 a year. If his ambition takes that turn, if, after having run so brilliant a
career at the bar, & in the Senate, he is desirous of adding to his fame by a further display
of his versatile powers and craves the honor “of writing his name” cash’r surely I have not a
word to say, except as a stockholder; but when he chooses to fight his battles behind Mr Lewis
and make through such instruments his secret thrusts at me, he must expect to have some
Page 6

truths told that are not so pt palatable.” Goodwin has taken no notice whatever of this
communication. I have understood it is not his intention to do so. Friday morning,
it is now the 30th of August we are freezing over a fire and Ma is devising
ways and means to keep warm this winter. Ma’s health continues to improve
she now having got over the fatigue of the journey looks nearly as well as ever.
No letters yet, we are expecting them every mail. I shall not close this until
tomorrow hoping some may arrive in the interim. I must write to day to
Cornelia tomorrow to Lazette and the next day to Clary, my whole time
will be taken up with writing if the number of my correspondents increases
at this rate, but you dearest will not be neglected.
Saturday morning. No letter yet but you must not think I am in
a state of despair. I have learned to live a long time on hope.
Ma had a letter from Cornelia yesterday, all well E Wallace
Birth: 1810-01-15 Death: 1888-10-19
her beau Mr Minard
Birth: 1806-04-20 Death: 1888-03-13
called last evening, of course made numerous
enquiries about you. It is understood that they are to be married this fall.
I had yesterday afternoon a long talk with Mr Manchester
Birth: 1758-08-15 Death: 1846-03-14
who called he said
expressly to see me and make enquiries about “his friend Mr Seward.” His wife
Birth: 1783-10-20 Death: 1841-04-10

[ is so ]


Reason: hole
much better that he proposes bringing her home in October. She does not

William H Seward
Care of B.J. Seward
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24

146 Nassau Street
New York

[right Margin]
yet quite forgive you the part you took in cheating her into the Asylum.
your own Frances.