Letter from William Henry Seward to Mahlon Dickerson Canfield, October 14, 1849

  • Posted on: 5 December 2018
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Mahlon Dickerson Canfield, October 14, 1849
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:sts

student editor

Transcriber:spp:csh

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1849-10-14

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Mahlon Dickerson Canfield, October 14, 1849

action: sent

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

location: Auburn, NY

receiver: Mahlon Canfield
Birth: 1798-11-26  Death: 1865-01-05

location: Succasunna, NJ

transcription: sts 

revision: tap 2018-11-05

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Page 1

Auburn October 14th 1849.
My dear Sir,
On Monday last we closed the paternal mansion at
Florida; and the deep interest I felt in your daughter
Birth: 1834-07-25 Death: 1922-02-28
, my niece,
Caroline induced me to bring her here and place her at once
under the care of the mother
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
of my own children
x Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29  Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29  Birth: 1828-10-07  Death: 1897-07-24  Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25 
instead of
leaving her in the care of even our excellent cousins
Unknown
at Goshen
as I believe had been proposed before you left Florida for a tem-
porary arrangement, your letter of the 4th finds me here where
I am staying to make arrangements for the winter before returning
to Orange County to resume my duties there.
Caroline’s moral culture has suffered the neglect consequent
upon orphanage, and it has seemed to me that it was my especial
duty to see that the misfortune should be corrected as early and
as completely as possible, by giving her the discipline and society
of Mrs Seward her aunt. This we have cheerfully prepared to extend
to her for her own sake and still even in as a duty to her
mother
Birth: 1805-10-29 Death: 1839-01-04
my dearly beloved and deeply lamented sister. But it has
not been thought of in opposition to your moral and natural right as
the surviving parent of our ward. To your authority and your wisdom
we yield our unqualified deference, and absolute submission.
It is manifest from your letter that your opinion in regard to what
Page 2

will best develop the virtue and intelligence of the child differs essen-
tially from our own. We think that she can in no way be so
well situated as to her be home at Washington with us and
receive her intellectual cultivation in the school at Georgetown well
which we are well acquainted and with its success in securing
female virtue & cultivating moral principles without bringing the religious
into sectarianism, an evil which we do not fear when
we consider the results of education there as well as the advan-
tages of our own influence in contesting it if necessary. On the
other hand, we think that we could not do any more with
a child of our own than to place her in any the best school
in the City of New York – Nor would it be possible for Mrs
Seward now in effect the mother of more than twelve children
x Birth: 1845-08-22  Death: 1925-10-01  Birth: 1844-01-19  Death: 1894-03-04  Birth: 1842  Death: 1908  Birth: 1832-02-20  Death: 1876-01-14  Birth: 1829-12-04  Death: 1867-10-25  Birth: 1828-10-07  Death: 1897-07-24  Birth: 1820-05-18  Death: 1889-05-08 

who have no other mother to watch over Caroline in the
City of New York a place which she never visits and which
our own children are instructed to avoid.
Of all our children and wards we think however that
Caroline is the one who would be most exposed to the unfavorable
influences of a New York education – You will thus perceive at
once there is a conflict of opinion between yourself and us which
must prove very injurious to the peace and welfare of your child
if she shall be subjected to the opposing influences of both parties.
It only remains therefore for you to assume the entire responsibility and
the control of the education of your child, you will please therefore come
up and receive her into your own care and dispense of her as you
shall think best. This will not interfere with my guardianship of
Page 3

her financial interests, I will cheerfully pay the bills for her
maintenance and instruction which you shall authorize –
It will be desirable that Caroline be removed as soon as
conveniently may be, for her own improvement, as well as for our own
convenience. We are in the midst of preparations for leaving our residence
to Washington and our cares are multiplied and rendered com-
plex in the last degree by the guardianship of the children
of my brothers.
I am very truly your friend
William H. Seward
Dr Mahlon D. Canfield
Succasunny.