Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 14, 1838

  • Posted on: 4 October 2017
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Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 14, 1838



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Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 14, 1838

action: sent

sender: Alvah Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06  Death: 1856-02-16

location: Canandaigua, NY

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: lmd 

revision: crb 2017-03-13

Page 1

June 14 1838
My Dear Seward
I have not had time to write to Weed
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
, and I think it is
not necessary: If I had written to him perhaps I might have much sug-
gestions which would not be useful — My fears are that the indiscretions
of our New York friends will injure us, and that advantages may be
taken of them to your prejudice — In the first place they are as
arrogant a set of blockheads as ever dabbled in politics, and in
assuming as much as they do they create disgust — this is so
I received a letter last night from Gilbert
of Rochester: who is as I
think the emisary I spoke of in one of my letters: he has
professed to me that he was friendly to you: and I do not
know as there is reason to doubt his sincerity: he says: he says
“Sewards friends have done much mischief” now whether
this remark is made in a friendly spirit or not it should never-
theless be heeded — how can your friends do mischief? — Let us see
how Mr Clay
Birth: 1777-04-12 Death: 1852-06-29
s friends have done so? — by prematurely agitating the
question of ^the^ Presidency and calling upon the people to pledge
themselves or to take ground in ^his^ favor before they were ready
As a matter of policy we may be finally induced to go for Mr
Clay but the people desire to take their own time for it — I can
give you a sample of the feelings which ^prevail in^ agitate this portion of
the community: Some two months ago, an old and substan-
tial quaker of the town of Farmington got involved in trouble
by endorsing and a convocation of “friends” was had at his
house to ascertain the length and breadth of his difficulties
and I was called upon as legal advice to meet with them
after coursing over his affairs. We talked politics: of course the
Page 2

whole lot were abolitionists: and there were among them many
of great intelligence and political information — In speaking
of Mr Clay, and of the feelings which as abolitionists they
entertained towards him they used language to this import
“Mr Clays position prevents him from entertaining the same
feelings on the question of slavery that we do yet we have
a good opinion of his character as a benevolent man &
a confidence to believe that his good sense will lead him to
eventually to a proper conclusion on this question: at all
events if we are forced to choose between Mr Clay & Mr
Birth: 1782-12-05 Death: 1862-07-24
we cannot hesitate” — now to what purpose can Mr
C s friends hope to use these premature urging of his claims
with such men — it arrests the current of their friendly feelings
and causes them to pause and bring to recollection many
facts and circumstances connected with their peculiar views
which they are striving to forget and over come — A New Yorker
would laugh at this instance as being the sentiments of a few
straight waisted quakers in the town of Farmington — but they
dont know that 7/8 of the Voters in Ontario Wayne Livingston
Monroe & I doubt not in the average over 1/2 of all the Voters
West of Cayuga Lake are in sentiment abolitionists — and feel
a fixed and determined hostility to slavery — that these
men who they feel act on that subject as well as in politics
from principle: and that they will not forgo one jot


A small particle; a minute part; an iota; a tittle •
or tittle
of principle for politics — the New Yorkers forget this: they oppos[ e ]



the administration on the ground that cha ^in^ measures of the
administration are against their interest — These men oppo[ se ]



Page 3

on principle: and unless they can without violence to their
principles go for Mr Clay: no considerations of interest will force
them to do so: again the New Yorkers, do not reflect that there is
yet a strong feeling of Anti Masonry among the Whig Voters of the
Western part of New York to which violence cannot be done
without great danger: and yet they do violence to this feeling
by overlooking those men who have always been prominent in the
Anti Masonic party and endeavor to bring forth in all political
movements the Old Clay men who are in some degree obnoxious to the
mass of Whig Voters — Again they seem to forget that the West
is the strong hold of oposition to the present administration
And that it looks to its former Votes and majorities of 12 & 15000
as giving it in point of political position the preference over the
East and particularly the city of New York, and it will not consent
that the New Yorkers assume the leading of the party — Now in
all these respects the city of New York have done violence to the
“great West” — and were the question to be taken this day by the
People the rank and file the men who go for principle — Mr
Clay would not get the Vote of the West and you may rest
assured that unless the arrogant assumptions of the New
Yorkers cease you will find a rising among the Western people
which will put Mr C “dehors” the combat — Now on this subject
I speak with the best feelings towards Mr Clay and the sincer-
est desire to promote his interest, but it will be a vain attempt
to sustain him for the presidency unless the New Yorkers are
willing to fall into their true position and take their proper
station in pursuit of dedication and influence
Page 4

And what is all this to me? you will say — perhaps it may not effect
you personally: yet in the first place are not the considerations grow-
ing out of these matters such that regard from a feeling of justice
towards those affected by them, they should receive weight — old and
tried friends cannot be shaken off and men who have struggled
for principle ought not wh in a political point of view to be shaken
off to make place for those who may be called brimming politi-
cians, setting their sails to every popular breeze — In this view of
the case look at the men who took a leading part in the Clay
Mutiny: for years we have been opposing those men — We can have
no confidence in their political integrity: and less in their political
Applied to animals - quickness or acuteness of scent • Quickness or acuteness of discernment or penetration; readiness of apprehension; the faculty of readily discerning and distingusihing ideas, and of separating truth from falsehood •
they are like that class always hanging round an army
every ready for the pillage never for the fight — and whoever gains
the victory they are sure to be on the winning side: now are we
to be led by such men: I answer No: the prominent actors in
the New York Clay Mutiny cannot make lead on the few bold
Whigs of this State to Victory — they will not fight under such
leaders, and they must retire from the field altogether, or fight
the battle alone — that they should understand this early
is for the interest of all — Now it is enough that such men express
their partialities for this or that candidate to set the whole
mass of the Whig party against him — and that the New York
Clay leaders in the recent movement are understood to be for you
is to your prejudice — I speak this in all sincerity, and If I
am not mistaken in Weeds sagacity he will say amen to it —
I have watched the ^operation of the^ political machinery for years and I
do believe we shall never succeed untill we take a bold stand on
this matter, and in the language of a present M C “hang some
dozen of the New York Editors — I give my sentiments freely
Page 5

to you on these subjects and for your consideration
alone I know them to be the sentiments of the leading men
among the "rank and file" of the Whig party and in my
humble opinion unless they are regarded in the main we
get into difficulty upon the full Election — these feelings
have taken deeper root than you are aware of and in
your present position you can not perhaps discover them
I state them strongly that you may direct your attention
to them and if there is any danger to be apprehended
from the state of things to which I allude that you
may guard against it
Yours Truly
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
left here this morning all well
Page 6

Hon William H Seward
JUN 15


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
Alvah Worden
June 14, 1838.