Letter from William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, May 11, 1825

  • Posted on: 7 July 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, May 11, 1825



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 William Henry Seward to Samuel Sweezey Seward, May 11, 1825

action: sent

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

location: Auburn, NY

receiver: Samuel Seward
Birth: 1768-12-05  Death: 1849-08-24

location: Florida, NY

transcription: crb 

revision: crb 2017-01-10

Page 1

Auburn May 11th. 1825
My Dear Father
According to the rules of the Worlds philosophy I have first considered
Mr Hoffmans
Birth: 1766-04-14 Death: 1837-01-24
generous proposition in a pecuniary
Relating to money • Consisting of money •
light and have endeavored to as-
certain which residence will enable to me separate from the common mass of the root of
all evil the greatest proportion for myself. I have made the following estimate
Mr Hoffman says from May 1st. 1824 to May 1st 1825 he has had in the Common Pleas
the number of thirty suits. 30
In Supreme Court 17
In Chancery since he commenced has ^till^ now 6 causes say for 1 year 3
Let us add for his Dis. Atty. business -& his other business not enumerated by him
In Common Please let us average his suits (allowing for discontinuous disburse-
ments bad debt &c at $13 each $390
In Supreme Court let us average his suits at $25 425
In Chancery 2 Causes average $100 (a high estimate) 300
Insolvent applications may be set down at 75
District Attorneys business at 300
Counsel fees at the Circuits & Com. Please 150
Add Mortgage Sales 100
In the Whole $1740
Now let us look into Miller
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
& Sewards Register. I have made an abstract from May
1st. 1824 to May 1st. 1825 which presents the following exhibit
In Common Please 10 causes which will not average more than $10 $100
In Supreme Court 77 causes which will not be higher average more than $18 1380
In Chancery 12 causes at $88 1056
Mortgage sales & Insolvencies for the last year were in fact 270
Counsel fees (very low in value in this county) say 110
Conveyancing 100
this I know is an extravagant estimate I have made my averages much
less than I set down Mr Hoffmans and I should calculate to strike off $250
from the above- leaving it about $2750
which I regard as a fair estimate
Of this business as of course I expected Mr Miller allows me One half. Any this back-
wards from the commencement of our business & forwards while we continue together
So much for pecuniary calculation. Now as to the support of my family Mr Miller says that
Page 2

our living shall cost us nothing. To this I object and say that we shall not be supported
by any body and I insist on paying him $200 for our Board Lodging &c. This I cheerfully pay out
of my pettifogging
To do small business, as a lawyer (has a vulgar meaning) •
business which is exclusively mine.
Now I can hardly estimate the expence of housekeeping in Goshen. Rent $70. firewood
$50. a servant she boards $100. would eat up all our savings in a short time
As to prospective business. I have no doubt and I do most heartily rejoice in the
belief that Ogden Hoffman
Birth: 1793-05-03 Death: 1856-05-01
must and will rise to the first distinction in Orange County
and will command the best business in the County. and if consistent I should be
most pleased to prove myself a deserver and a sharer of his business. But I may not
believe that my business is stationary. The first year that I was in the office we en-
tered in our Register 70 suits, the next year 120 and for the current year we have
entered in the full proportion of 160. I am as yet a novice in practice and am
unknown as a Nisi prius lawyer - yet I begin to perceive my advice listened to and
confided in and my suggestions treated with respect while my industry is becoming
a matter of some observations. I can hardly tell how it is but so it is that the business of
the office annually receives one fourth owing to my connection with it and this I re-
gard as no equivocal indication of its increase for time to come. We have just had an
Insurance Company located here of which Judge Miller is to be President and to have
the full control. of this we shall be Attorney and I may safely calculate on
an increase to our business from that source of $1000 - making our business in two
years from this time unless providentially disappointed $4000.
You requested that I would consider this subject carefully and deliberately &
I have attempted to do so - and I hope the above exhibit will show that I
have examined it in the proper light and will satisfy you that it is wiser for me
to remain here than to subject myself to the expense of breaking off here and commencing
anew in Goshen.
As to my feelings I need not say how gratifying it would be to me
to be once more a frequent visitor under my paternal roof. Dearer is it to me with
its thousand little associations than are all my inbuilt speculations of wealth and
honor. Dear to me is every green sod I have pressed with the lazy foot of indulent
youth, and dear to me is every scene on which hours of unsophisticated childhood
I loved to gaze nor till now knew that I saw not half its beauties. Dear to me
is my father for unnumbered acts of kindness and affection nor least of all for his
lively interest in my correct decision upon the present question nor shall this cease to
be remembered by me. Dear to me is my mother
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
for all the tenderness and all the
affection which now ever and anew comes over my recollection like a drowning
overwhelming flood. Dear are my brothers
x Birth: 1808-08-26  Death: 1888-12-07  Birth: 1799  Death: 1872-04-23  Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24 
and my sisters
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
, any dearer I believe than are
the ordinary ties of the Worlds affection. But I can no longer be the arbiter of my
destiny. I am a subject of the stern King necessity and must so fashion my walk
and direct my course as may meet his approbation. Happy if I do not lie and
become the subject of the Worlds greatest loathing and the proud man's contumely
Rudeness or reproach compounded of haughtiness and contempt; insolence; contemptuous language •
"a poor man"
Page 3

The time was when I would have hailed Mr Hoffmans offer & accepted it too. I can
now only say that I thank him for it and decline it. And there is one conside-
ration which prevails with me to make me satisfied. I have a loathing towards
that same Goshen, a disgust which is too violent to be suppressed. A low mean
and graveling race are most of its inhabitants - and it is questionable which
is most to be desired their love or hate. It is not so here - for here I have
friends who wish me well, and I have no enemies who can injure me
I am removed above the scandal of the day and the peace of mind of my
wife cannot be destroyed by the gossip of the village.
Let us hope then that we are not asporated but for a time and that a few
circling years will enable me by industry & economy to be neighbors to
you without being ashamed of any poverty.
I am solicitous that the determination at
which I have arrived should meet your sanction and I hope that I shall soon hear from
you on the subject and that you will endeavor to convince Mr Hoffman of the sin-
cerity with which I esteem and am grateful for his friendship for me. I have been
less punctual in writing lately because the young man
in the office has left me
at a busy time and all the writing & much of the advising part of the business
has fallen on me at once. But I shall write by the same mail to Mr Hoffman
and although I should hardly deem it proper to descend into the same minutiae
of calculation as in this letter I shall endeavor myself to place the matter
in such a light as consistent with the truth may preserve
his respect & confidence.
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
health gradually improves. She is still a great sufferer from
the [ Dippepsia ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: dyspepsia
which it seems is almost impossible to cure. But I hope from exer-
cise and a little traveling that she will improve. My love & [ bes ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: best
to all the
Yours very affectionately
William H. Seward
S.S. Seward Esq.
Page 4

Hon Samuel S. Seward
Orange Co
MAY 13


Type: postmark