Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 20, 1838

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 20, 1838



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Letter from Alvah H. Worden to William Henry Seward, June 20, 1838

action: sent

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


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

location: Unknown

transcription: mah 

revision: ekk 2016-02-10

Page 1

Wednesday evening June 21 21

Editorial Note

June 21 was a Thursday
Dear Seward
Yours of this ^morning^ is recd and as you are off on fFriday I hasten to say a few words, and I
intend to follow up the hint which I have endeavored to convey in my last, and to impress upon
you my views of the particular perils, as I view them which now beset you. In the first place
I take you at your word when you say “I love to enjoy the goodwill of friends, and the
kind feelings of all classes of people. Yet this desire does not proceed from an expecta-
tion of advancement or unpatience for applause”. I assume this to be true from ^to^ the
very letter, and now allow me to add, what your modesty should not have prevented
you from having done. that you are very indulgent to others, and too apt to suffer your
own opinions to yield to those who claim to be your friends, and who doubtless are
now from these characteristics I have apprehended danger to you in your present
position, fearing that you might yield your own views to those of others who were
zealously and in all sincerity disposed to advance your own interests. I have
not been without satisfactory assurances that the public mind was fast fixing
itself on you as the next candidate for G.- and that this sentiment was ripening
as fast as it was profitable for you or your friends. I saw also that this conviction
was coming over the friends of the other Candidates. I thought I discovered the same
State of feeling pervading the public mind in reference to Mr Clay
Birth: 1777-04-12 Death: 1852-06-29
. This being so you were
in a great measure identified in the minds of the members of the party, and of course
any false step on the part of Mr Clays friends would in a measure operate to your preju-
dice. Now owing to what I supposed to be a trait in your character. ^I feared^ you might not
sufficiently discriminate between the professions of zealous and designing men and
whose apparent zeal might result from interested views, and the honest opinions of
those acting from less interested motives, and that you might yield your assent to meas-
ures which were prompted only from a desire to give you evidence of great Zeal, and
which in the end would operate greatly to your prejudice. I became more appre-
hensive on this head when I discovered an attempt to ^cause^ render the Clay meeting in
N York ^to^ tend particularly to your prejudice, and I need not conceal from you that
something has been made out of it in this way, but I think the capitol is all
used up, and that nothing serious will come out of it. Now I cant charge upon G_r
Birth: 1792-12-01 Death: 1868-08-31

or anyone else in this section anything unfair or dishonorable in this business, and
I think I have watched the whole maneauver in this quarter and understand its
extent. I have been obliged to say and do some things in reference to it, and the most I
have presumed to say was that for myself I knew that you was taking no part in these
matters and using no influence whatever to divert the public mind in favor of this or that
Candidate for the presidency. I think I know something of the feelings of G_rs partic-
ular friends in this county, and as for the men themselves they are good & true. I
have endeavored that you should not loose in their good opinion, and have only
done what I conceived most effectual to attain that object. It cannot be otherwise
than that G should stand first in the affections of the leading politicians of the
county. I have never endeavored to deprive him of that position and I felt assured
that you would not desire that any such effort should be made: I have en-
deavored, and I trust not without success to retain for you the second place &
keep alive that kind feeling with which you have always been regarded here
Page 2

I could do little else, and ^all^ I could do to this end has been done: and I trust I have not
been indiscreet. You need not suppose you are without friends in Ontario who
take great interest in your welfare, and many of them are among the most
prominent men in the county, and I doubt not you may count upon a dele-
gation in convention from this county which will entertain no feelings towards
you but those of hearty goodwill and friendship
Now one word as to G__r. I don’t think G_ has done any-
thing unfair or dishonorable towards you, and I hope no ill blood is between
you. G undoubtedly thinks he is of right entitled to the nomination and
that it would be an unkind cut to overlook him, he has his enemies here, and
some of them are bitter; On the whole I would not be glad to see any act
on the part of our friends which shewed a disposition to lay him on the shelf.
His position is a peculiar one: he is fond of public life: he begins in his aspira-
tions at the Vice Presidency and ends with member of Congress. And all along
down he seems to be playing the loosing game and he is without doubt sensi-
ble of it, now under such circumstances he ought to be leniently judged & if
he is a little sore and grouty, why it is natural,
In all this “turmoil” for the last month I have endeavored to say
and do as little as possible which would evince
To show in a clear manner; to prove beyond any reasonable doubt • to conquer •
a particular interest in
the result: I have had abundant opportunity to do converse on the sub-
ject, and if I have alluded to you it was to convey the idea that you had
far less solicitude the in reference to the result than many might expect. My position here has thrown me considerably more than I disired
into political associations with the ^leading^ men throughout the county. G.[ , ]


Birth: 1796-11-06 Death: 1852-09-08
[ , ]



Birth: 1796-02-02 Death: 1888-12-17
& all the prominent men being absent I have been talked to about
matters and things in general more than I had reason to expect, and
I flatter myself that I have in some degree gained the goodwill of
the prominent men in this section of the county. I have endeavored to
be frank and candid with all: and whenever you was the subject of
remark always to have it understood how my personal feelings &
wishes were, and to convey the idea that it might seem improper in
me in this county to endeavor to be guided by them: by this course I
believe I have maintained my position, and have done nothing which
could seem like an unwarranted influence in your behalf or of which
anyone could complain to your prejudice: It would not do for me or you
to be overzealous as any indiscretions (which are the result of great zeal) would
operate highly to your prejudice.
Is there any danger to be apprehended from the hypotheca-
tion of your bonds and mortgages? I have heard this among other things
spoken of:
Your Truly
A Worden
P.S. Have you written Sibley lately? he feels
right on this subject.
Page 3

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
A Worden
June 28. 1838