Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 10, 1859

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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 10, 1859



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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Adeline Seward, July 10, 1859

action: sent

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

location: Manchester, England, UK

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: lmd 

revision: amc 2020-12-03


Page 1

Manchester July 10th 1859
My dear Fanny,
You see in the dates of my letters
that I have at last become inconsistent and even
erratic. I wrote last from the shades of the
Laird of Kier
Birth: 1818-03-08 Death: 1878-01-15
. Now I bring up my diary in the
villa of a retired merchant
Birth: 1800 Death: 1863-03-28
in this the capital
of the manufacturing district of England. On Wed-
nesday I went to Edinburgh with Mr Stirling
We rode all about the town, which is very
substantial, and very much enlarged since I
saw it twenty and more years ago. I visited
the Courts of law in what was once the Parlia-
ment House of Scotland. But Scotland is now
merged in the realm of Great Britain, and
the old Parliament house like the castle and
the numerous royal residences now desolate is
only a monument of her ancient independence.
The Judges and lawyers wear wigs and gowns,
but beneath these coverings adopted to impress
the vulgar I found them essentially like my
brethren of the bar at home. The monument to Walter
Birth: 1771-08-15 Death: 1832-09-21
is a miniature Gothic Temple open on all
sides with a statue of the idol of Scotland in a
Page 2

sitting pos-
ture in the
center of the
floor at the base. It
is the only public monument
I ever saw that I thought perfectly
proper and appropriate. Burns

is a copy of a Grecian temple– but looks
like a summer house in a country garden–
Dugald Stewart
Birth: 1753-11-22 Death: 1828-06-11
, and Professor Playfairs
Birth: 1748-03-10 Death: 1819-07-20
and Nelsons
Birth: 1758-09-29 Death: 1805-10-21

are equally stupid– We passed through the Canongate
and by St Ronan’s Well and across Calton Hill and around
Arthurs seat the most beautiful drive in the world I think. The
city crowned with its castle on our side, and the ocean stretching
far away out of sight on the other. There was a dinner party at
the Club where I met Lord Napier
Birth: 1819-09-19 Death: 1898-12-19
just then fresh from his home
at Thirlestane, his brother ^cousin^ Mark Napier
Birth: 1798-07-24 Death: 1879-11-23
, Lord Mansfield
Birth: 1806-02-21 Death: 1898-08-01
Lord Chief Justice
Birth: 1815 Death: 1872
and the Lord Advocate of Scotland
Birth: 1811-11-29 Death: 1895-04-07
. The
themes of conversation. Lawyers their wit, their spirit and their
triumphs. The next day I visited the Tolbooth from the
the associations of which I must refer you to
Scotts annals– and Holyrood – where I
toured the Great Hall made memo-
rable by the fatuities of the
Prince Charles Edward
 Death: 1788-01-31

the Pretender
just before his
Page 3

and irretrievable overthrow in 1745 and the
apartments rendered the most interesting in Europe
by their connection with Mary Queen of Scots
in her joyous welcome after her education marriage
and bereavement in France. her troubled alterca-
tions with the bold defiant, infeeling Knox
dealing out woes and imprecations against the
regiment of women, the entrapment into an ill
starred union with her subject Darnley, his
conspiring and assassination of Rizzio
 Death: 1566-03-09
in the
night at her supper table and while clinging
to her garments for safety, her mingled life of
romance and devotion, her interrupted by the
treason ^of Bothwell ^ which sent Darnleys soul unprepared
and unwelcomed into another world, her capture
by Bothwell and imprisonment and ending in
her marriage with the murderer of her
husband strangest act of ^in^ a whole of inconsisten-
cy and eccentricity; and her final flight, wars
captivity and execution a victim of the jealousy
of Elizabeth. Thence to the Chapel, now unroofed
and ivy covered, and desolate, but nevertheless
Page 4

beautiful, reaching
back in its walls
and flying buttresses and
even its monuments to the period
when the Church dominated over
the world– and worthily expressive of its
artistic and devotional development. Leaving
Edinburgh at two I stopped on my return to Kier
at Linlithgow and spent two full hours in the Ruins
of the Royal palace there beautifully built on the shore of
a pretty little lake. Although the main buildings are
unroofed, and the floors covered with earth and stones
and their defects overgrown with grass and weeds yet
the towers and the stair cases in them are perfect
and the apartments floorless are distinctly marked
and seem as if only yesterday abandoned. There was
the chapel a beautiful specimen of medieval architecture
the room in which the unfortunate Mary was born
heir to a falling Kingdom and to the disappointment of a
mad father who saw how helpless an orphan
girl would be in the struggle to maintain a throne
against the designs of England and in the midst
of civil wars originating in the strife be-
tween Superstition and fanaticism.
I reached Kier late and
fatigued, and dreamed
of companions
and blood.
Page 5

Lady Napier
Birth: 1823-12-20 Death: 1911-08-24
had only just got
home, I know her home was disordered and
her grounds neglected and how much she would
strive to grace my welcome there, and at what
cost. I passed by at a distance on the rail
road – leaving even Melrose unseen – rather
than seem indifferent to her comfort under
such circumstances. My return from Scotland was
down the East Coast, where I saw and medi-
tated on the ruins of Dunbar Castle, the prison
to which Mary was conveyed by Bothwell and
where she compromised with him by giving him
her affection in return for the deeper wrongs
which no right minded woman could ever
have forgiven. Alnwick Castle is so distant
from the rail road that I did not see it, but
I did not care, insomuch as I remembered
it well. I saw only in passing the towers
and arches and buttresses of Yorkminster
and after seeing the villas of Noblemen on all
sides in a long but rapid journey I reached
Leeds at midnight.
Page 6

On Friday
morning I went to
look at objects very
different from those which had
occupied me in Scotland. The
monuments of not of decaying thrones and
aristocracies, but rising masses of men of low estate.
Then ^at the Gott’s
x Birth: 1797  Death: 1863  Birth: 1791  Death: 1867 
I saw the flax just as it is stripped from its pithy
stalk stretched out by machines until a single pound makes
a thread 180,000 yards long, and these threads then woven
into the linen and lawn which only luxury can command. Then
I passed into the factory where Mr Walker
employs three thousand
human pairs of hands in merely regulating the machinery two thousand times
twenty times greater in force in making woolen threads yarn, and fabrics which
clothe whole Kingdoms. Leeds has many and various other manufactures
and within a single lifetime has risen from ten thousand to a population of
two hundred thousand. Best of all I find the manufacturers studying
how to improve and educate and train to independence and virtue
the laborers to whom England owes her renovation in this century.
The children are not allowed to be employed if their physical
constitution cannot endure the toil and confinement, and
every employer is obliged to see that each child
is at school half of his time, working only
the other half. Here in one establishment
I found a thousand children
at school. Mr Walker
took me home with
him for the
Page 7

He has a villa eight hundred years old ten miles
from the city. We talked late, building up strong
mutual sympathies. After I had retired I was
disturbed by the rattling of wheels and roused
myself to hear that a messenger had arrived
bringing bad news from yourself on some other
of my dearly loved friends or relatives. In the
morning I found that the young lady wife
of a
of Mr Walker who had presided at
dinner the day before had brought joy into the
house by giving birth to an heir of a well
gotten estate.
Leaving Leeds at ten oclock ^yesterday^ I
came ten miles to Bradford when I stopped
to examine Crossleys Carpet works. Two young
x Birth:   Death:   Birth: 1772  Death: 1837-01-17  Birth: 1817-10-26  Death: 1872-01-05 
of low and humble life have built up a
manufactory in which they are making three
hundred pieces of or 150,000 yards of costly
carpeting a day and employing besides vast
engines and various machines four thousand persons.
And these too enterprising men too are humanita-
rians. How distinctly I see the transition of society
indicated in the massive modern industrial
structures towering over the dilapidated walls of
Page 8

baronial castles.
It will not be long,
It cannot be long before
the struggle in this Country
between an ancient class struggling
to keep up without labor, and a
modern community seeking to rise by it will
seriously change the political Constitution, which
all affect at least to venerate alike.
At Bradford I was already, although at a
distance of twenty five miles within the suburbs of Manchester.
The rail road keeps along in a ravine, the hill sides seem
thinly covered with soil, and the country indifferently rugged
But iron and coal crop out every where, and the whole distance
is marked by ^the^ towering chimneys of the forges furnaces and other
factories. I needed to be told when I was arrived. I went
to make calls and deliver letters when I recalled the
fact that I was engaged to stay with Mr Stell at his
own home. Mr Wilder
a banker dined me (the second
dinner and at eleven my baggage having been duly
delivered here I went to sleep in the generous
lodgings which had awaited my arrival for
two weeks–