Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 16, 1857

  • Posted on: 30 June 2020
  • By: admin
xml: 
Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, August 16, 1857
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:sts

student editor

Transcriber:spp:cnk

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1857-08-12

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 Miller Seward, August 16, 1857

action: sent

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

location: Mingan Island

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: sts 

revision: fdc 2019-12-17

<>

Page 1

x

Editorial Note

This letter was originally enclosed in a letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Miller Seward, written August 14, 1857.
Sunday August 16th. Mignan
Here is a pretty business. I closed my entrees in the log yesterday at near
noon when we were 60 miles Westward on our homebound way but encountering
an annoying head on South West Wind. Even so early as that the
pilot had proposed to me to put back into a harbor here or off the
coast of Anticosti. But I had silenced these murmurings. From that hour the
wind increased until it blew a gale too strong for our little craft to
battle with, Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
was very sick. Frederick
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
not much better, The Captain
Unknown

and the pilot
Unknown
began to way earnest and I finally consented at two o’
clock to turn the heel before the wind. What depths of the sea we
sounded, what mountains of the ocean we rode over in the long voyage of
sixty miles in six hours which brought us safely into this port again I cannot
describe, nor can I part to you the heavens which raged and thundered
wild denunciations at us as we crossed the sea and rode carefully
to our secure anchorage – As little can I part to you the desolation of
our home in this miserable cabin, the wind and the rain making it cold
and cheerless and the sickness of the sea disabling us as well as
its roughness did the captain and crew for doing aught but to guide
the stout little ship so that she should not founder in the waters
then other vessels came in for refuge during the night and they represent
the gale as the stiffest and the sea the roughest that has been
known in these stormy waters in the summer season for two years,
When we arrived this morning, we found the Hudson Bay Companys
flag cheering us from the shores Two messengers
Unknown
came aboard each
with a huge loaf of bread. The Captain and pilot had returned after
the fatigues and watchings of yesterday and left the deck in the care
of “that man” our only seaman
Unknown
. He sent up the Dutch flag to the
masthead to reciprocate the courtesy shown us, when instantly a
boat from a schooner near by came along side and asked what dis-
aster had occurred on board. I announced none, whereupon he asked
Page 2

why there was a flag reversed. The stupid sailor soon put the ^Royal^ Union upper
mast.
Five bark huts or wigwams were seen on the shore. At 1/2 past seven
a little bell tinkled on the same plain. Our crew said it was the
bell for mass. Immediately the Indians men women and children thirty in
number perhaps swarmed out of their frail habitations and entered the
church. There was no priest, so they said prayers for themselves, and
spite of all I could do I could not get dressed & breakfast
soon enough to join them.
At nine we went ashore and invited the Indians. They are of
the tribe or race known as the [ Montainas ]
x

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: Montagnais
Indians. A long way in
connection with the French Canadians they are Catholics, always trading with
the agents of the Hudson Bay Company they speak some English. They are
harmless and contented. The poor creatures had come all this way
for distant islands and coasts to bury in the grave yard here an Indian
woman
Unknown
who had died of old age. Next on the coast below there and East
of the Aborigines are the Esquimaux.
After our visit to the Indians we three strolled across the
ancient island of Mingan lying in its native present state and containing in
its center a pretty little fresh water lake) to the Southern shore – and then
we have gathered with our own hands some curious and pretty shells which
we hope to carry safely home to serve as family memorials of our
visit to Labrador.
And now we are resting idly, waiting for the troubled sea that rages
outside of the harbor, to subside and fr to the kind providence that
adopts the times and seasons not to the exclusive benefit of any but us for
as possible for the best and equal good of all ^we look^ to send us another
fair breeze with which to renew our effort to reach homes and
friends