Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 14, 1834

  • Posted on: 25 July 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 14, 1834



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 14, 1834

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21


receiver: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: New York, NY

transcription: msr 

revision: obm 2017-03-08


Page 1

Auburn Sunday Dec 14
My ever dear Henry, I have two of the kindest
letters imaginable before me unanswered. Don’t
you think Peter carried one of them the one
you sent on Monday ^in his cap two days.^ I considered it a mercy
that it was not lost as he had the whole time
been intoxicated and a visitor of Groceries & c.
I have requested Beardsley
Birth: 1807-05-30 Death: 1894-01-15
not to entrust any
more letters to his care. My last letter must
have reached Albany the day after you left-this
I will direct to New York-your Thursday’s letter
came this morning. The abundance of your affection
makes me feel my own demerits more sensibly.
I will endeavor to make myself worthy such
love in the mean time you must not say any
thing more of the errors of my Henry who has always
been more kind to me than I deserved and I do
not like to hear him reproached. I have intended
Dear Henry to write always as often as once in
three days and should not fail to do so now
could I write in the evening but the time
of daylight is very short and night comes
before I am prepared to meet it. I have had
a girl
here sewing the last four days which
has prevented my writing. I have been waiting for
the quietness of a Sunday alone-it finds
me indebted to you for two long kind letters
which I do not hope to answer as they
deserve. I know how uneasy I feel when
your letters do not come at the appointed
time-this feeling has increased since I have
found a treasure I believed lost to me and
I am now constantly apprehensive lest something
should occur to mar the brightness of my
anticipations. But I d have no reason to distrust
the goodness of a Father who if he allowed
Page 2

a shadow to rest upon my path for a season, allowed
it in mercy as the means of bringing me to the true
fountain of light and happiness.

Editorial Note

Could also be Almira Hills
Birth: 1790-10-15 Death: 1857-10-25
Mrs Hills
Birth: 1796 Death: 1863-04-22
spent the evening with me last evening
we talked no gossip so the

Editorial Note

Could also be Eliza Porter
Birth: 1803-03-30 Death: 1866-03-02
Mrs Porter
Birth: 1800-04-12 Death: 1886-03-29
was not introduced. I have not seen John
Birth: 1780-12-19 Death: 1849-04-14
yet to give him directions about
the table- the other affairs do not seem
to proceed with much more rapidity-no
day is appointed but it is understood that
the consummation will take place very soon
after New Years-Hugh
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
was here last
night as he is ever Saturday evening.
Birth: 1791-04-30 Death: 1853-04-03
and Martha
Birth: 1792-05-02 Death: 1866-01-14
come every Sunday night.
The protracted meeting commenced on Friday
in the first Presbyterian Church-it seems
to be conducted with more than usual
quietness—we hear none of the proceedings
The Pease’s
x Birth: 1784-05-14  Death: 1861-12-20  Birth: 1785-05-30  Death: 1857-08-24 
have shut up their shop-their failure
seems to excite general sympathy.
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
has not complained of his hand until
last night in a fortnight. I discontinued the
use of Iodine when you first wrote but will
follow Dr Williams
Birth: 1812-05-12 Death: 1882
directions should the disordeease
return-the pain last night was very slight.
Dr Humphreys
Birth: 1785-05-17 Death: 1848-03-09
has always seemed positive that
it was not Rheumatism. I hardly know how
to apply the Iodine externally-it is very powerful
I should suppose would require diluting.
I am so glad you seem decided about
getting the miniature. I think I would prefer
an open circular frame. I have seen some
set in that way and thought them very pretty
but I shall be better satisfied with your
taste than my own—if you meet Freeman
Birth: 1808-01-01 Death: 1884-11-21

anywhere in your travels I hope you will
scold him for not coming to paint my sweet
little boy. I am afraid if he is spared
to us that he will grow coarse and large.
I wish to preserve a likeness of him as he is now
this vanity is pardonable in a mother is it not?
Page 3

I thought of purchasing a dress here for Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
doubt whether I shall be able to do any shopping
in some weeks-if you think best please to get it
for me-something not very light either silk
or chally-Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
is reading for me the last days
of Pompeii
Author: Edward Bulwer-Lytton Publisher: R. Bentley Place of Publication:London Date: 1834
. I find it interesting as I have always
found the works of Bulwer
Birth: 1803-05-25 Death: 1873-01-18
but I much doubt
the propriety of writing books of this description.
With most people I think thier moral tendency
will be bad-the fascination of his style only
increases the evil-he makes vice too alluring
and combines in the same character so much of
good and evil that you hardly know whether
to condemn or admire-few people possess his
own delicacy in metaphysical reasoning
and very few can understand or appreciate it.
You say my dear Henry you doubt whether you can
become a christian in such a world as this-We can
be Christians anywhere provided God is with us-his
Grace is suffic[ ien ]


Reason: hole
t to strengthen us in all seasons
of trial-and this is but a world of probation-
You say you desire that the change should be wrought
in your heart by reason and reflection-reason &
reflection alone can produce no such change.
does reason and reflection make us love our earthly
friends? that would be a cold kind of love which did
not permit the heart to have any influence. I too wish
your understanding to be convinced but I wish also to have
your heart converted-this must be ^done^ by the influence
of God’s spirit. Who can so well enlighten the mind as
he who formed it-who so well purify the heart
as he who knows all our infirmities. God will not fail to
impart his light to those who seek it. ‘Ask and it shall be given you”
You cannot love a being whom you do not know-seek an
acquaintance with him-the knowledge and the love can come
but from one source and that is a source which is never
closed to those who pray sincerely, perseveringly. I do not
forget you in my prayers, my own Henry, but you have a
far better intercessor a mor able guide in our blessed
redeemer-he who has borne our nature and is "touched with
the feeling our infirmities”—I feel myself too unworthy sometimes
to ask for anything and hope even here to be much better than I
am at present-how can you think my love for you grown cold
Page 4

where would be the resting place for my affections here-but you
do not often think so I know, dearest, and I who have had
so many doubts have no reason to wonder at yours
as ever your own

William H. Seward
care of B.J. Seward
205 Broadway
New York—
Dec 15


Type: postmark
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Frances A Seward

[bottom Margin] Please to remember me affectionately to our Brother
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
and kiss the boys
x Birth: 1828-10-07  Death: 1897-07-24  Birth: 1820-05-18  Death: 1889-05-08 
for Aunt Frances—tell Jennings
the little book he gave me was not thrown away and
I have often blessed the day which led me to “The test of Truth
Author: Mary Jane Graham Publisher: Whetham Place of Publication:Philadelphia Date: 1834

I intend writing to Marcia when I get a little more strength.