Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 1840

  • Posted on: 5 October 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 1840



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 Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 12, 1840

action: sent

sender: Benjamin Seward
Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24

location: Cincinnati, OH

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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: csh 

revision: crb 2017-06-30

Page 1

On Board the "Agnes" off Blannerhassetts Island
Ohio river August 12. 1840
My dear, only, sister
Having read, till I am more thorougly, con-
vinced than ever, that my eyes grow dim with age – &
having taken a turn of conversation, with each of the pas-
sengers as were of leisure – & exhausted my other resour-
ces, I find it a sweet relief to sit down a while with
my dear sister. We have a pretty, little steamer – a pleas-
ant company of about thirty– fine weather and a foot
& a half of water under us – and altogether we consider
ourselves very fortunate & very happy. How thankful I
ought to be for the comforts and protection I am enjoying!
Two day since, while riding in safety in a stage coach
I sa y w a neat little barouche & horse, frightened from the
road and precipitated down an awful steep, rolling over
and over & breaking every thing to pieces – & yet falling
at first, so by piece meal that a gentleman’s wife

& infant child
held were all enabled to escape without
injury. It chills me, now, almost, to think of it!
But I must go back a little. Most unexpectedly, to me
I was informed last Thursday, that it was necessary for me
to repair to Cinncinnati – and in an hour, I was off. You will
querie, perhaps what it is that takes me ^away^ but I cannot
spare the necessary room in this sheet to tell you. A mo-
ments reflection of where I started from & the circumstan-
ces and the Times will give you such a clue to it, that
with your Knowledge of man and things, I do not doubt
you will guess it but exactly.
Being stranded for four hours below my starting place
I missed the morning train in my route & found myself
with two or three hours on hand, till the next stage: and
this ^time^ I contrived to fill up to the brim, by taking hack
& riding from friend to friend, making each a short call.
Mrs. Thompson
Birth: 1797 Death: 1871-05-06Certainty: Possible
looks very well & seems contented – Miss Denton
Birth: 1810-07-11

[left Margin] I have just been retracing the road that dear Marcia
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
& I travelled soon
after our marriage & have been greatly delighted with the improvements, I
have witnessed,
Then all was an
almost unbroken
wilderness over these
mountains – now
may be seen
farms and buil-
dings and spires and
frequently villages
up and down
The valleys
"on the
to be

Page 2

has entered upon her second term with better prospects– the

are all well & daughters

appears to be beloved
among them as well as ever. Several families of our
friendship were out of town- but others gave me the full-
lest evidence of unaffected love for the memory of my
sainted, lost one & of their sympathy for me. There I
ran from house to house, greeting & being greeted –
smiling & weeping – mourning & rejoicing. These were
my first calls, since my dear wifes death & they were
happy calls!
I took a seat in the mail line & all went well – till
I came to the mountains – where I was shifted without
my knowledge till it was too late, from a fast to a slow
line – by which I am some 36 or 48 hours behind my
time. You may depend, I was vexed! Time has
been where I would have walked for miles on my
hands & knees to punish such a fraud – but age and
better reflection has moderated my temper & from the
calmness which I have brought myself into on the
foremost occasion, I feel that I am becoming quite a
philosopher. I hope to be in C– on Thursday.
What a political world this is. Several Thugs,
as I entered Pennsylvania gave me fears: but as I
progressed, I enquired of intelligent gentlemen, after chan-
ges in his own county & counties adjoining and par-
ticularity of loco foco's as often as I could & my
correspondence continually rose as I progressed – so that I
left the state fully satisfied that Penn. is as safe for
Birth: 1773-02-09 Death: 1841-04-04
as New York is, Please say as much for me
if you please to your honored father
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
. Every thing
lightens as I go west!
I am thinking it is very likely you are now with
Aunty Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
– and perhaps my letter may follow you
there. If so please present my very kind regards to
her. I think a great deal about her. Maria Louisa
Birth: 1791-12-12 Death: 1847-12-17

was chosen, but Josephine
Birth: 1763-06-23 Death: 1814-05-29
was after all the beloved of
the people. Even Napoleon
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
was pleased to have dis-
tinguished strangers go to mailmason

to see the ex-em
press: and every one loved to go. I cannot tell why
Page 3

but I have an impression of mind, that Lazette is the
Josephine of Canandaigua – and if I could find time it
would be a pleasure to me to visit this modern mail-
mason! I would love to see Mrs W, & have a laugh
with her about the slaughter among the young ladies
commetere by her Sam
Birth: 1820-03-09 Death: 1893-07-07
. I have heard repeat-
edly about it – and am at a loss to determine whether
Mrs W has most reputation as a manager or her word
as a beau. Poor Miss Williams
It happened singularly! I had the happiness to
fall in with an intelligent old lady
Birth: 1766 Death: 1861
as I was coming
on, who seemed to be, from her interest in matters of
religion, to be a ministers wife, although she favorably
impressed me, I did not learn her name
& she I believe found out nothing of me.
Being invited to the house of the congressman
Birth: 1798 Death: 1841-05-10
, the minister & carpet man, who should
I find at the tea table but this dear old lady
the mother of Mr. Ogle. This gentleman is
also an interesting person. My interview
with him was most pleasing & to me in-
structive – not likely, I think, to be forgotten by
either of us. He knows H.
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
– was in the Baltimore
convention ^with him^ years ago. I am delighted with him. He
tells me too (may I write of politicks as much) that
Mrs Eaton
Birth: 1799-12-03 Death: 1879-11-08
, whose return you have noticed, is entirely
anti Van B.–
Birth: 1782-12-05 Death: 1862-07-24
says she knows enough against the
little magician to condemn him – regrets that she
was not here to prevent Genl. Jackson
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08
from writing
that letter against Genl. H
Birth: 1773-02-09 Death: 1841-04-04
– is determined to pro-
ceed immediately to the Hermitage to destroy Van B.
in the affections of the old chief! Oh what a set!!
By the way Mr Ogle says there is ^yet^ to be printed a con-
gressional report, about Van B. expenses, charged to the
government, vastly more fundamental to his reputation
than, than the charge of money, breeches was to him!
I regret that my paper is running out, it is such
a pleasure to me to sit and spend the time with you.
I see you hugging little Willy
Birth: 1839-06-18 Death: 1920-04-29
to your bosom – turning
Page 4

a fond maternal ear to the whisper of little Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
– and I
love to sit and think of you. You do right my dear
dear, sister, to devote yourself to the training of your chil-
dren in the ways of Knowledge & virtue. What a gift
to the world, is the gift of a cultured, good man,
what a gift did the mother
Birth: 1707 Death: 1789-08-26
of Washington
Birth: 1732-02-22 Death: 1799-12-14
make, in
improving that great man for – and Washington
was, what mother Washington made him. Go on
my dear sister in your purpose – teach your children
the fear of God & the practice of virtue. Forget not
that your example is salutary all around you & I am
apt to think, vastly more potent than you immagine.
and may the blessing of Heaven rest upon your house
and direct the wide spread influences connected
with it to the peace & happiness of you all & the
prosperity of the commonwealth in which we dwell.
Mrs. Wm. H. Seward
New York


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Jennings Aug 14