Letter from David Berdan to William Henry Seward, September 16, 1823

  • Posted on: 13 December 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from David Berdan to William Henry Seward, September 16, 1823



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 David Berdan to William Henry Seward, September 16, 1823

action: sent

sender: David  Berdan
Birth: 1803  Death: 1827-07-20

location: New York, NY

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: emf 

revision: emf 2017-11-29

Page 1

New York, Wednesday September 4th 1823
Dear Harry –
I have been in town more than a week and yet have delayed until this moment
to tell you how much pleasure I received from the perusal of your two last letters and how strongly I envied you the possession
of such pure happiness as the last five letters you have written prove you to enjoy – But when I tell you that I found my brother
Birth: 1798-12-16 Death: 1841-10-11

awaiting my arrival and that his claims upon me engrossed a great portion of my time you will be disposed to regard
my silence in a more charitable light and to believe that at no very distant period I may rival the renowned Captain
 Publisher: Pub. for the Proprietors, by W. Simpkin, and R. Marshall  Place of Publication:London, England Date: 1822
in dispatch – It shall certainly be my constant case to convince you that I am warmly interested in our
correspondence and I hope that my letters will always prove what value I place upon the sentiments of regard you have
expressed in my favor – I feel that even my intercourse with absent relatives is cold when compared with that I
maintain with you and I should be humbled at such a conviction if I ranked friendship as low as many with whom I
associate – Do you recollect the assertion of the author


of Adam Blair
Author: J. G. Lockhart Publisher: Wells and Lilly Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1822
that absence invariably weakened the attachment previously
existing between friends? Is he correct where that absence is supplied by a minutely confidential correspondence?
Soon after I had last written to you Ogden
Birth: 1793-05-03 Death: 1856-05-01
made his appearance at my boarding house and told me that
he had come up for the sole purpose of persuading me to make with him a pedestrian excursion to the
Highlands and from there to the Catskill Mountains

– as I did not calculate upon my brother’s arrival under
a fortnight and was already wearied with the complete inaction to which I had resigned myself since Howe
left me I did not require much persuasion and we set off the next morning after his arrival
Tuesday morning September 16th
Dear Harry
This sheet has remained folded in a law book since the first
evening I spread it before me and I determined to send it in its present state without
waiting until I shall be able to write a long letter – Since the above date I have
not had a single evening to myself and it has been impossible for me to write to you
in the office – My eldest brother
Birth: 1797
has called regularly every evening and carried me
round among our relations many of whom I had not seen since I was fourteen years
old – We have not paid visits to all of them yet and I am engaged for the three succeeding
evenings to go with him and eat pound cake and drink gooseberry wine among a
set of clever hum-drum people whom we have the honour to be connected with –
Knowing my disposition as well as you do you will not be surprised at finding that
a complete dissipation of thought has been the consequence of my past habits –
I have not had spirits sufficient to hold the pen after separation from such agreable
company as I have lately visited and I have looked at this sheet often and often
with a stupid helplessness and a pleasing contempt at my superior energy
Forgive me Harry for neglecting you as I have done – You must be certain
that your interest in my affections is as strong as when you were in New York– I feel
that absence has not lessened your hold upon me and I am ashamed that I
should by the infrequency of my letters be compelled to make protestations which
would not be made had I long since written – Do not believe that I am
indifferent to your present happiness because I do not hasten to congratulate you
I have found an excuse for my remissness in reflecting that you were so
happy that there was not the same necessity for regularity and that love engrossed
you so completely as perhaps to render you less anxious respecting letters –
Page 2

This shallow pretence could not however satisfy my conscience – Your two last letters are
convincing proofs that in the midst of love you have remembered friendship – I assure
you that I have been more pleased with the perusal of those letters than any you
have ever written and from the certainty that your present attachment has not
abated your friendship I have derived a permanent satisfaction – Henceforth,
I shall show as far as letters will prove it to you that I am not insensible to
your warmth and that I shall not omit every opportunity of returning it –
I swear to you that I will write a long letter before the week closes although
I should be compelled to pay obsequious court to my worthy relatives – I
have a full and particular account to give you of Major Andrè
Birth: 1750-05-02 Death: 1780-10-02
I am glad that I am able to enter into the spirit of your last communication
on that subject –
The Counsellor calls me Yours in haste –
David Berdan
I will not ask you to write until I have sent you
what is worthy of being termed a letter – Be assured
of my writing before the week closes –
Page 3

William H. Seward Esq
New York



[right Margin]
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
D. Berdan
Sept 4, 1823