Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 25, 1857

  • Posted on: 29 July 2022
  • By: admin
Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 25, 1857



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 William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 25, 1857

action: sent

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

location: Thousand Islands

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: msf 

revision: jxw 2022-01-28


Page 1

Thousand Islands, July 25th 1857,
My Dear Daughter, If you will turn to the map you will see that the
great river which has its source in Lake Superior after contracting itself and
leaping over rumbling rocks at St Marys, making itself into saddlebags
under the names of Michigan and Huron and hanging itself over the
back of Michilimackinac, spreading its waters over a bed of sands
to mock the voyager in Lake St Clair, changing its name and
sweeping in a hard and deep channel through the hills at
Detroit, gathering itself again into a wide and long sea in the
basin of Erie, capriciously leaving the bed of that sea and rolling
off under the new name of Niagara, and first awing the spect [hole]
with its feats of ground trembling and then performing the a majestic
& grand summit at the Cataract, then once more calling [hole]
its accumulated fluid into repose and reenacting the charact[ er ]


Reason: hole

of a Mediterranean under the name of Ontario, at length t [hole]
that repose when it arrives at Kingston and prepares to delight [hole]
observer with all entirely new entertainment. It spreads its flow
here over a plain twenty miles wide, and breaking then up into
rivers some running East and some West some North and some south
and some towards all the inte[ r ]


Reason: hole
vening points of the compass
Page 2

[ div ]


Reason: hole
ides the plain into innumerable islands, some of which are [hole]
[hole] and stretch away before you ten to twenty miles, others may be
circumnavigated in a day, others in an hour, and some only large
enough for a rabbit to house upon or a squirrel to fortify, and
all scattered about in a confusion that baffles the pilot who has
to conduct you through the labyrinth. It is at just this point that
we have arrived in our travels, and here we are trying to hold
the Proteus river fast, for a day or two before it escapes under
its yet further alias of St Lawrence to enact new and
yet unconceived wonders on its further way to the ocean.
I have risen with the Sun and borrowing his early and mildest
rays to write this letter to you reporting our progress before
we take our boats and go out to tempt the pickerel and
[ mu ]


Reason: hole

Editorial Note

Alternative spelling, muskellunge
in their rushy beds. We came here last night
[hole] Toronto. It is a wild and therefore charming place. The great
layers of limestone which form the basis of the soil of Western
New York have been displaced here by a volcanic eruption
which has brought the granite and gneiss to the top in massive
[hole] dies painted in rich hues of yellow and red. On the slope of
vast rock of this sort our little hotel is fastened and its basement
[hole] off Southward upon the land while its elevation of a single
[hole] delights i you with beautiful views of the Islands, with this
Page 3

[hole] of buoys and light houses. All things are in keeping
Here is a large Newfoundland dog
ready to draw you out of the
water, two puppies
of baser degree that are already jealous
of the water dogs
advances in my affection, and sad to say
there is a young but full fledged and winged eagle
, that was
found struggling with the perils of drowning in the river and rescued,
and then subjected to captivity by his deliverers. He is bound by the
leg with a loose but tenacious cord to a crate which is held
down by a weight of stone. His eye is clear bright and defiant,
his head and neck ruffled. He has not as yet made any
friends, but sits solitary and alone muttering his hatred against
all who come within the verge of his royal presence —. I wonder whether
it would be wicked to cut the cord and let him escape into
native skies.
I suppose you read or heard my first letter which was
written to your mother
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
when I was on the eve of depart[ ure ]


Reason: hole
Niagara. Our journey that day brought us to Hamilton

a very
fine and rich town situated on Burlington Bay in Canada at
head of Lake Ontario. There is a high and rocky eminence
there which overlooks the bay, for a great distance. This hill is [hole]
with sheets, and upon these sheets the merchants of Hamilton
have built villas surpassing in number and beauty those whi[ ch ]


Reason: hole

Page 4

[hole] u find in Albany and Washington. The seen [hole]
[hole] land & water and is surpassingly beautiful. We [hole]
Hamilton and the next day Thursday we proceeded by rail
road to Toronto a large and prosperous town at present
the capital of Canada. We The town is situated in a low
and level plain and is unattractive. But the visit
was made agreeable by courtesies of its citizens upon
whom the efforts our friends had made for human rights
seemed to have made a favorable impression. We visited the
Parliament House, the Normal School, the University and the
Asylum for the Insane. If I had time I should like to
tell you of the things and scenes we saw there, but I must defer
it till we reach home. We left Toronto yesterday morning
and came by railway along the entire Northern shore of Lake
Ontario to Kingston, which is a fine old town of two hundred
years standing originally founded by the French – at Kingston
we passed from the rail road to the steamboat which was an
agreeable change and descended thus through the Thousand
Islands – The breakfast bell rings, so good bye – Tell mother
that Frederick
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
has gained five pounds in weight.
Your affectionate Father
William H Seward
Fanny A Seward