Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 13, 1857

  • Posted on: 30 June 2020
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 13, 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:1857-08-13

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 13, 1857

action: sent

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

location: Mingan, Quebec, Canada

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: jaa 

revision: fdc 2019-12-13

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Editorial Note

This letter was originally enclosed in a letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Miller Seward, written August 10, 1857.
Mignan Thursday August 13
If when you come to read this log, it shall seem that we are loitering here just let
it be understood once for all that we are detained by contrary winds, and are only
waiting a fair wind to depart.
We dont look back to read the log of the previous dates and therefore may
fall with some apparent inconsistencies but so near as we can recollect
we left off yesterday in the midst of a cold North Easterly storm. Well then to
start from that front, it cleared away about 11 oclock. During the rain we had
visits from the Captains
Unknown
of the two vessels in port and from Mr. Henderson
Birth: 1811 Death: 1859
the
agent of the H.B. Company. After we had succeeded in drying garments and boots
we returned their visits and about 3 o’clock with a party from the whalers we
took batteaux (Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
& I) and rowed up the Mignan River three miles to the
Falls, which is attractive because of the Cascades that still more because it is in
its eddies that we find the salmon and trout. The excursion showed that the
substration of the thin soil here is sand and gravel & the whole coast though I
presume is a recent marine formation. We had
Unknown for oarsmen and they
pointed out the tracks of the reindeer and the bears and actually started out
from their holes a family of huge owls – Of course the whole course of the river is
through the native wilderness. The stream about like ^in demensions about equal to^ the with a cascade
similar to the one on that river. We found one salmon, with a nice lot of
trout and returned at 8 o'clock. At the agency the Captains were being entertained
by Mr Henderson the Agent with Jamaican Rum hot and Jamaican rum cold. They
all were somewhat excited and made it a point to attend us to the
beach when we came aboard. The night was a brilliant one in Mignan.
It opened with a brilliant and very varied display of the Northern Lights and
it closed with a dance at the agency with the music of a violin and without
females. We went to sleep in the midst of the noise of that revelry to wake
this morning to a dull day in Mignan. At six the Harbor was
clear the mackerel fishing schooner and the whaler both had slipped
out with a little change of the wind and our masts represented by themselves
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alone the commerce of the world in that the capitol seaport of Labrador.
At 10 this morning Fred Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
and myself alone rowed up the Mignan river to
the Falls, And we are just now returned from fishing there. Our luck has
been indifferent. Not but this we could take trout enough but they perversely
got away from us after they had been fairly caught. We attribute their mis-
conduct in this matter to their fear of a red flannel Labrador dress which
Anna purchased yesterday at the agency. We have however come back to see a
new and wonderful change that came over Mignan in our absence. Heretofore
the ^two^ representatives of other states here like ourselves proacted great modesty and
so there was not a flag seen in Mignan. Having left the port empty empty except
or our own craft ^of canvass and vessels^ judge our surprise on finding five great standards waving ^there^ in this
wicked head wind. 1st. There was the Hudson Bay Companys signal hoisted
at the agency out of compliment to one of their vessels that had come in
since morning. Then the said vessel had raised H.B. Majestys flag in celebra-
tion to the Agency. Then the mackerel fisher has hoisted Her .B. Majesty's
cross to 1/2 mast and elected a Free Mariner signal on the topmost
peak. And finally our own good schooner the Eminence to contribute so
much as lies in her power to the general enthusiasm of the occasion had
raised the British standard to its proper pinnacle – and now we are sitting
down to dine on pea soup and pork cloyed satiated with all the treasures luxuries of
the rivers and of the sea.
I stop before putting away my sheet to record that the Hudson Bay
Company agent has shown us his pets, namely a flock of doves, a young
puffin or paraquet a waterfowl celebrated in these parts, and two wild
foxes – But all of these together interested us much less than a poor lonely
dog that lives on the anterior of the agencys lands and resorts to the river for
drink, without coming into the settlement, so constant is he in his attachment
to the Indian
Unknown
who is his master and who left him behind a week or
two ago when setting out on his annual Chase with his whole family
Unknown

If we could entice that dog I am not sure that there would not be an
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addition to the canine family already so disproportionate to the other races in our
home at Auburn.