Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 9, 1857

  • Posted on: 29 June 2020
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 9, 1857
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:jaa

student editor

Transcriber:spp:tap

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1857-08-09

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 9, 1857

action: sent

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

location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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

location: Unknown
Unknown

transcription: jaa 

revision: fdc 2019-11-19

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Page 1

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Editorial Note

This letter was originally included in a letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Miller Seward, written August 7, 1857.
Sunday morning August 9, 1857,
The events recorded in this log are not great or brilliant. They determine neither
the fate of States nor the character of Heroes. But they are nevertheless dramatic
in one respect, they are various and sudden in transition. Yesterday at noon we
were humbly a Yankee fisherman
Unknown
with our silver in hand for a few mackerels.
At tea we were called off by the Pilot
Unknown
to attend to our lines. I drew up
from a depth of 100 feet a huge cod. Hardly had we disengaged him
from the hook when Fredrick
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
drew up two at once – and then even Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02

brought up one large enough for an Alderman's feast from his watery home.
We continued enjoying this sport for two hours when we relinquished it simply
because it was inhuman and a waste of time to add to our stores at
present. In a bay upstate we saw another Yankee
Unknown
return with barrels
and salt full of mackerel. But we flourished our hands and said
that now we had fish to sell.
As night drew on we had rounded Point De Monte and entered
Trinity Bay where we cast anchor for the night. The LightHouse which
sends down its illumination from a distance of 100 feet above the sea
lights up the Bay in which lay a wrecked , a boat full
of Pilots and a schooner the two last like ourselves at anchor.
On the shore bleak and dreary was a solitary home and store an
agency of the Hudson Bay Company. The pilots came aboard and enter-
tained us with fragments of sea news until nine o'clock.
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It was fortunate that we anchored for a stray Northeaster arose in
the night, that seemed as if it would sweep not only us but the
waters themselves from the Bay. At five o'clock the Captain took
in fresh water from a small river that put into the sea at that
point. We hoisted anchor and bore away almost dead due North
against the strong wind ^of the night^ that had not yet gone down. At this
point the Coast line runs almost due North rapidly advancing to the
32d parallel of North latitude – The bay or gulf of Newfoundland
widens to the breadth of 90 miles – We are now leaving behind us
and receding out of view the Mountains of Gaspe– We hug the
Coast on the North which can come of with consists altogether of rugged
rocks near sometimes rising into mountains and always more or less covered
with evergreens– From this Coast far away to Hudsons Bay & for aught I
Know to the Pole beyond it there are no habitations of Civilized men
except where here and there a solitary agent of the Hudsons Bay Company
has fortified himself behind a stockade and brought in a supply of goods
wherewith to furnish the Indian hunters for their long tramps in pursuit
of furs in the very recesses of the Continent– If the wind continues and
shall become a little more favourable we hope to reach the Seven Islands
and so look off upon Labrador tomorrow evening. You see this I set
down names here as familiarly as if the coast was lined with
cities towns and villages. But the truth of the case is that sea faring
Page 3

men have delineated every foot of all this coast on charts duteously
as our scientific men are marking the Coast of our own country. To
every headland bay a promontory a name has long since been given
and we have only to look at any moment upon the chart and
ascertain where and in what latitude and longitude we are–
If I remember rightly we are now in the sear of the dog days, it
is 11 o'clock AM, and the sun is shining bright, and yet we are
unable with all our accumulation of coats and shawls to
keep warm on the deck– Deliver us from the Hyperborean
Region after this– Just as we are leaving the Southern Coast
we see a large range of mountains. Our seamen tell us that they are
covered with perpetual snow. I hardly believe this because I
do not remember such a geographical fact. Our boatmen nevertheless
are modest truthful men, not at all accustomed to exaggerate–