Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 28, 1836

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 28, 1836



student editor


Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's persons.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "pla" point to place elements in the project's places.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's staff.xml authority file. In the context of this project, private URIs with the prefix "psn" point to person elements in the project's bibl.xml authority file. verical-align: super; font-size: 12px; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration: line-through; color: red;

Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, December 28, 1836

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: Westfield, NY

transcription: alc 

revision: ekk 2015-06-02

Page 1

Auburn Dec 28th 1836
My dearest Henry
I am very unhappy this morning
and though you are a great way off I feel that it is
a blessed thing to have one in the world who can
sympathize in our troubles. Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
has gone to
Canandaigua and gone during this severe weather
with a cold which I fear will bring her to her
grave. I wrote to you on Sunday that they were still
undecided. Monday Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
came and said they
were going the next day. Dr Humphreys
Birth: 1785-05-17 Death: 1848-03-09
called here
during the day. I asked him if he had been to see
Lazette, he said he was just going there, that he
saw Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
the day before and told him he thought
then the weather would admit of their going but
that they must go immediately before there was any
change, he said Lazette’s room was cold & uncom-
fortable, that she would not be much better off
at Kimberlee
Birth: 1794-03-25 Death: 1873-01-30
’s, that she wanted care and nursing.
All this was said in answer to observations of mine
not a word was said by either about her coming
here, he went immediately over and told Worden
that it was very plain we did not want Lazette
here, this I supposed determined them to go, but of
this I knew nothing until yesterday when Lazette
came over. Monday evening Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went over, said
Lazette was better but she did not think they would
go. Yesterday morning I sent Maria
over she
returned with the intelligence that they would set
off in an hour. Lazette was here about half an hour
the carriage came to the door while I was preparing
something for her to eat, all was hurry & confusion
& it was not until they were actually gone that
I realized the danger attending such an exposure.
Page 2

They had all told me that Lazette was better. she
had written to me that she was herself and I was
totally unprepared to see her pale thin & scarcely
able to bear her own weight withal so dreadfully hoarse
as to be scarcely able to speak. I have not had a
moment of quiet since. I reproach myself every way
for not urging her stay from the first, for not
going over to see how she was and for not endeavoring
to prevail on her to stay at the last moment[ . ]



I wrote by Clary Monday evening that I did not think
it prudent for her to go and that we would make
her as comfortable here as we could, but it availed
nothing. I doubt not she feels that she has been neg-
lected and with good reason. Should her present
illness prove fatal the remainder of my life I should
would be embittered by self reproach. This morning
the thermometer is 3 deg. below zero, what weather for
an invalid to be exposed with an affection of the lungs.
They purposed going to Geneva last night, it was
after 11 when they left here and I fear they did
not reach there before night. Worden has as
usual enlisted the feelings of the publick by
telling all who would hear him that we never
wanted Lazette unless we were some of us
sick and could make her useful that now
when we ought to take her and take care of her
our door was closed against her. All this
passes by me ‘as the idle wind.’ I endeavored
to do what was right thinking that I had given
all circumstances their due weight but I did
not know how totally unfit Lazette was for the
journey. Clara thinks now that I did right
and she would not consent to my exposing my health
by going over there but I am very very unhappy
about it & am afraid my conduct has not evinced
To show in a clear manner; to prove beyond any reasonable doubt • to conquer •
affection for Lazette which I am sure I feel.
Page 3

I received your letter written on that cold
Wednesday it was a very bad day here the
wind blew violently all day and all night[ . ]



I am thankful that I did not known that Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

was sleeping alone in a cold room without a night
gown (I suppose) that bitter cold night I think my
slumber would have been more unquiet that it was
rendered by the wind and the thought of the sufferings
of the poor, however it all just as well if he took
no cold. McLallen
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
received your letter the
same day (Monday). Rutherford
Birth: 1816-11-16 Death: 1892-05-30
has not returned
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
says he does not think he will go to Chautauqua
at all. Our fire goes in the hall again. Pa
consulted me about putting a stove in the South room
for what purpose I can hardly tell now we have
one in the north room but I believe he has given
it up, he thought we could make a fire after
company came which is not very practicable
for a fashionable visit of five minutes. I told him
I must have a steady fire somewhere and I thought
it much less troublesome in the hall than elsewhere
The evening of his chowder supper the south room
was rendered very comfortable by an extra scuttle
of coal. He seems rather to avoid the North room
I suppose I can divine the reason and hope I do
am not wanting in respect for the effect though the
same cause operates so differently upon myself. I
never could endure the idea of keeping a room in
gloomy solitude which had once been occupied
by one dearly loved, but people feel differently
on this as on all subjects & feeling of any sort is
preferable to cold indifference. Freddy
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
is writing
a letter to Augustus with red ink on bright
yellow paper a contrast which he admires exceeding-
ly. I will send it in company with this, I begin to
count the weeks between this and the time of your return
though I cannot calculate with any certainty your own
Page 4

18 3/
Dec. 29


Type: postmark

William H. Seward
Chatauque county
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
F A Seward
Dec 23. 1836