Letter from David Berdan to William Henry Seward, March 12, 1826

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Letter from David Berdan to William Henry Seward, March 12, 1826



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Letter from David Berdan to William Henry Seward, March 12, 1826

action: sent

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

location: Seville, Spain

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: emf 

revision: emf 2017-12-06


Page 1

Seville March 12th 1826
Your letter of the 5th of December arrived a week ago. It lay
nearly a month in New York as there was no vessel ready for Gibraltar until some time in January –
 Death: 1832-10-05
received a package of letters at the same time and if you could have seen our shining coun-
tenances when we bore off these treasures you would have thought had you been a stranger that
we held in our hands the Sybilline Leaves
 Publisher: Rest Fenner Place of Publication:London, England Date: 1817
or at least the manuscript of Herculaneum
Author: Sarah Atkins Publisher: W. B. Gilley Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1826

Had you seen us when we perused them your opinion of their being oracles or long-lost classics
would have been confirmed for we unrolled them most carefully and pored over their contents
with an antiquarian earnestness – we did not go with them to the room lest we might be intru-
ded upon while perusing them but hastened out of the gates of the city to a favorite spot of
ours, on the banks of the river where we were sure of being undisturbed – what a delightful
morning we spent. What a “season of deep engagedness” as the Methodists say. What a
happy indifference to our future fate so absorbed were we in the past and present – I felt as
if it was good to ramble in a foreign land were it only to realize how strongly you cling when
absent to the memory of the friends you have left behind and with what eagerness you
receive their assurances of affection – Before I say any thing more of ourselves or of the
country in which we now are I must spread your letter before me and talk with you
about its contents – I wish to heaven you had not burned the two sheets you had
written two months before the last letter but sent them to me. At this distance from you
the fact of their having been written several months ago would not prevent me from
reading them with as much freshness of feeling as if they had been dated the day before
the vessel sailed in which they were to be forwarded – Do not burn any thing you
write but send me every scrap – you have no idea how often we read our letters over and
how much we talk about the intelligence they contain. Since the arrival of our respective
packages we have spent nearly all our time in conversation ^about them^ and the theme is not yet
exhausted – I cannot find the least fault with you for having delayed so long in
writing – the letter before me is a full atonement – I am sorry I have not written
oftener to you since we left Gibraltar - Half a dozen lines from Cadiz and a long
letter written a month ago may induce you to think I have retaliated upon you but
I swear by the love I feel for my native land that I shall be henceforth a most
frequent correspondent – I needed such a letter as the one before me to make me
oftener relinquish the books I am reading and devote more time to the task of giving
you details of what we see from day to day – The time passes so swiftly that the
interval of a month between a first and second letter appears a very short one. We waste
also a great deal of time in conversation with the family and visitors who come to the
house from our eagerness to speak the language with tolerable fluency before we leave
the country so that we have not in fact all our time at our disposal – Almost every
evening we spend in the opposite apartment where we have seen a tolerable variety of
characters on which to speculate hereafter when we have left Seville far behind. We have
become completely domesticated in the family with whom we are residing and we have
long since ceased to be strangers to their relatives and friends but of our new inti-
macies I will talk hereafter – I am delighted to read in your letter that your wife
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21

is almost entirely restored to health – In my last I expressed my fears lest the delicate
state of her health might have been the cause of your not having written and I men-
tioned, I believe that I did not know what strain to adopt in writing that would
accord best with your present feelings – Now however, I can write without any
fear of my letter finding you in too melancholy a mood to read with interest the
descriptions I intend to give as we progress in our tour and I intend to write you
such long letters that you will shortly be ashamed to send me a single sheet –
what a happy man you must be! I envy you from the bottom of my heart – were
I situated as you are Auburn would be dearer to me than this glorious Andalusian
paradise. Notwithstanding your compliments upon my taste and the gratification, I
would enjoy from the sight of ancient memorials of a world gone by – your belief in
my possessing an enthusiasm that would make me despise perils and privations
in the pursuit of my favorite scheme and your assertion that you were not calcu-
lated for such an enterprise, I felt as if you spoke ironically when I came to

[top Margin]
Pierre and I are even as brothers which is saying every thing – I hope to receive another letter from
you before we leave Seville Harry
Page 2

that part of your letter in which you mentioned the recovery of your wife and the
happiness you enjoy in her society – You are indeed a hundred times happier than I am
although I am realizing in some degree the visions of former years – when I talk of
regarding as ironical the manner in which you speak of my present pursuit in comparison
with your own do not imagine for a moment that I suspect the sincerity of what
you write – I speak only of the conviction my own feelings give me of the vast superi-
ority of your situation over mine – Are you inclined to believe from what I have
written that I have experienced some disappointment already in my expectations?
You are mistaken if you have formed such an opinion – I revel in the separation
I have made between me and a thousand persons whose very countenances
inflicted pain upon me as associated with so many galling recollections – I no
longer take that depressing view of my own character and of my former conduct
which made me at the time curse my very existence – A magic power produced
by the distance to which I am removed from the scenes of former follies and
weaknesses has quieted the tumult of irritations that used to crowd so
thickly upon me – Here is one grand result already derived from the step I
have taken and in my estimation it is the greatest that can be drawn from it –
If there is any thing in which I have been disappointed, it is in finding that I have
not always philosophy enough to be contented with a very light purse. I
detect myself often wishing like Ortugrul that I might be quickly rich and
I often in walking the floor indulge sundry brilliant visions which a man
in his dreams would blush to entertain – I believe this state of feeling is
owing in a great degree to the gentlemanly lives we now lead without our
finances warranting it – As soon as we get located in some great city
where we can keep house without the intervention of women and carry into
effect our plan of having a sanctum sanctorum into which not one of the
children of Adam beside ourselves will be permitted to enter we shall become
perfect philosophers on the subject of wealth. Nothing irritates us more than to find that
the state of the country prevents us from rambling through it on foot – Such an unlucky
obstacle to our plans makes us curse our poverty – We are determined, however to see
more of Spain before we leave it and in order to do this and to have a long foot excur-
sion we have determined to go from here to Paris and remain there a year before
we proceed to Italy – The middle of next month we set out for Madrid in a kind of
Ohio wagon called a galera drawn by mules which travel at the rate of twenty or
twenty five miles a day – The slowness with which we shall perform the journey is
no objection to men who wish to view the country and the villages leisurely and as
we go with a great number of persons the expedition will be a lively one – The
people here who want to go to Madrid as cheap as possible generally hire these
galeras and wait until a number are ready to set out that they may have no
apprehensions of robbery on the road – The expence of the journey in this way is
from twenty to twenty five dollars – in the diligence it is from sixty to seventy although
the distance is only two hundred and fifty or sixty miles – An old gentleman who
has been very kind to us here accompanies us to Madrid and he is to show us every
thing worth seeing in the capital during our stay there – As he is a native of the city
he will be a valuable guide – we shall not remain more than a fortnight in
Madrid. From thence we go to Barcelona and from there to Perpignan in France
but what route we shall take from thence to Paris I cannot tell until we have
seen a map of France – In Madrid we shall sell off or throw or give away every
thing we own except the contents of a well-filled knapsack and the moment we
cross the Pyrenees

we shall mount these our trusty companions of old and take the
most interesting route to the great metropolis – when we leave Paris we re-mount our
knapsacks – and cross the Alps on foot – Pierre and I are firmly persuaded that the
happiest moments we spend are when we are trudging along the road and enjoying the
scenery of the country and we long to be again traversing hills and dales and losing
Page 3

in bodily fatigue the mental lassitude with which we are still at times affected –
The delightful feeling of novelty we wish again to experience and we look forward
with impatience for the arrival of the period when new scenes and new objects will
again give an [ etherial ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: ethereal
glow to our minds and realize the visions we indulged
before our departure from America. The day we came within sight of the coast
of Portugal – the morning we sailed up the straits of Gibraltar – our landing on the
following day and the evening we entered Cadiz will always be recollected with
delightful interest by us – we hope to have many more recollections like these
hereafter –
March 21st A continuation of rainy unpleasant weather has made me defer contin-
uing this letter for several days although my conscience goaded me for my neglect – I have been
shivering under the influence of a north-wind and longing for a fire-place whose cheerful light
and heat might dispel the gloom which clouded skies and narrow streets throw over our
apartment – wrapped up in my cloak and lying on the bed I have spent a whole week
perusing some forty volumes of Spanish newspapers commencing with the year 1808 – the
period of the French invasion and with an excellent map of the country I have followed
the marches of the different armies and marked the spots celebrated as the theatre of
battles fought or sieges endured – I found these gazettes in a circulating library and I was
glad to seize upon them as it is impossible to procure any books that treat of the recent revolutions
that have taken place – notwithstanding the prejudices and falsehoods of these gazettes I have
been enabled to obtain part of the information I needed and with their help and that of a few
volumes of the Decrees of the Cortes which I have been fortunate enough to peruse I have formed
some idea of the state of the country during the last eighteen years and of the character of
the grand National assembly with whom the Constitution originated – I hope a short
sketch of the Constitution from its first proclamation to its second downfal will not be
uninteresting to you – At the time the French prepared to enter Spain Charles IV
Birth: 1748-11-11 Death: 1819-01-20
the father
of Ferdinand
Birth: 1784-10-14 Death: 1833-09-29
, the present monarch, was on the throne – a weak monarch who was swayed by his
Birth: 1751-12-09 Death: 1819-01-02
and who loaded the man
Birth: 1769-08-15 Death: 1821-05-05
who made him a cuckold with all the honours he could
bestow – He must have acceded to Bonaparte’s wishes in every respect as a large army
was allowed to enter the Kingdom – quarter in the capital and spread itself over the coun-
try without opposition – During this crisis Charles resigned the crown in favor of his sons
He declared afterwards the resignation was forced. Ferdinand however made no
opposition to the progress of the French – Napoleon arrived at Bayonne and under the
pretense of doing him honour all the royal family went there to agree to a general
resignation in favour of the Emperor. As I know nothing of the secret articles of this
agreement or whether it was compulsory or not I say nothing about it. Charles and
his wife and the king and his brothers
Birth: 1794-03-10 Death: 1865-08-13
were carried as prisoners into the interior of France
and remained in captivity until the entrance of the Allies into Paris in 1814 – At
the same time that their abdication in favour of Napoleon was announced to the
nation, he published his bestowal of the crown on his brother Joseph
Birth: 1768-01-07 Death: 1844-07-28
and also a
Constitution which was to be the rule of his government in Spain – you of course
are well informed of the rising en masse of the nation against the new government
and their loud cries for the restoration of their captive monarch – Ferdinand VII became
at once the object of their warmest love – His youth and their ignorance of his evil
qualities made them imagine him to be “full of promise” and with chivalrous
loyalty they prepared to preserve for him a kingdom which he and his family had
so weakly abandoned – They are now completely undeceived with regard to his
character and many believe that the dominion of the French is far preferable to
that of their present monarch – When the Spaniards first commenced their resistance
a Regency was established which acted in the name of the king – The cry of liberty
and independence which was echoed through the nation soon began to make people
think about the actual state of the government and speculate upon the propriety and
possibility of effecting a change in its formation – In Cadiz (to which place the govern-
ment had been driven by the progress of the French arms) the first Cortes were as-
sembled in 1810. The Constitution was not promulgated until 1812 – I have seen a copy
of the Constitution – It was grounded on the broad principle that the sovereignty is in the
Page 4

nation and that it alone possesses the right of establishing its fundamental laws – The
government is declared a limited hereditary monarchy and the nobility form no
distinct class to assist in the councils of the nation as in England – They are not even men-
tioned in the Code – The Catholic religion is pronounced the only true one and every
other excluded – To form the Cortes one Deputy for every seventy thousand was elected
in both hemispheres and no one could be elected who was not in possession of
sufficient wealth to enable him to support the dignity of the office – ^The term of their election runs two years^

Foreigners who had resided a certain time in the country and married a native
were allowed the privileges of citizens and a degree of consequence was attached to the
possession of citizenship from its being lost or suspended in a variety of instances
specified in the Constitution – The Cortes of course could not effect much during the
two years preceding the King’s return owing to the occupation of the greater part of the
country by the French – They appointed a Regency to act instead of the King during his
absence and with all due formality elected Santa Teresa of Jesus the patroness of
Spain and her provinces. This ridiculous election was grounded on the fact of the
Cortes of 1617 and 1626 electing this saint patroness and advocate of Spain and her de-
pendencies – What was done two hundred years ago was considered a precedent to be
acted upon at the present day – There might have been however a motive of policy
in this election. They were aware of the prejudices the people have tutelary
saints and perhaps wished to propitiate the ignorant and bigoted in favor of the
new system – In less than a year after their formation they abolished the Inquisition
and declared its property national – They established, however tribunals to protect
the faith, resembling in some degree the ecclesiastical courts – As I have only
seen one volume of the Decrees promulgated by the Cortes of that era I cannot say
what reforms they made in the government – When Ferdinand returned, he did
not proceed directly to the capital, but waited until he had suppressed the
Constitution before he made his entry into Madrid – The generals of the Constitu-
tional armies tendered him their allegiance and assured him of their devotion to
his wishes and sixty or seventy Deputies of the Cortes base traitors to the people’s
rights and the trust reposed in them addressed a supplication to him affirming
the incapacity of the existing government and entreating him to resume the
rights his predecessors possessed - The people were so rejoiced to have got rid of the
French and so delighted to recover their lawful sovereign that they attempted no
opposition to this despotic triumph over their rights and the old system resumed its
authority with the same abuses that marked its former existence – It is amusing to
note the government gazette of that period and mark the decrees which it contains
every reform the Cortes attempted is pronounced detrimental to the nation and the
old abuse is restored – The clergy from the highest to the lowest are directed
to preach against the dangerous novelties that have been introduced and
to teach to their flocks the doctrine of passive obedience to their political head.
The Inquisition is re-established at the solicitation of the priests and from a
correction of its benefits and a knowledge of the evils that have resulted
from its suppression. The amnesty published by the Cortes in favour of those who
were employed under the government of Joseph is changed into persecution and
every thing has done that could discountenance and bring into contempt the sys-
stem followed during the King’s captivity – A re-action however soon began
and in 1820 when a number of troops was on the eve of embarking near Cadiz for
South America Riego Guiroga
Birth: 1784-04-09 Death: 1823-11-07
and some other generals calculating on the discontent
the soldiers manifested at their destination and their willingness to take any step
that would free them from embarking raised the cry of liberty and were followed
by the troops under their command – The shout was echoed with electric quickness
Page 5

throughout the nation and the king was obliged to yield to the headlong current and
issue a decree for the assembling of a new Cortes – This decree was issued on the 22d March
1820 and on the 9th July he swore to maintain the Constitution he had before suppressed –
The old Constitution was re-adopted without alteration and the former Decrees resumed
their force – among the first decrees of the new Cortes was one declaring traitors the vile
deputies of the former congress whom I have mentioned and banishing them from the
kingdom as well as confiscating their estates – The decrees of 1820 and 1821 are the only
ones I have been able to procure but those two volumes are filled with judicious reforms
that prove the rottenness of the nation before they commenced the work of purification – Three
months after they had assembled they issued a decree abolishing suppressing all the monasteries –
and nearly all the convents throughout the kingdom. Some nunneries and ^a few^ buildings remar-
kable for their antiquity and beauty were left untouched but as the profession of novices
was strictly forbidden among the monks and nuns allowed to remain within the convents
not suppressed, the buildings would become tenantless at the death of the present occupants
and of course revert to the nation – All the property of the suppressed orders was sold
and the proceeds were appropriated to the payment of the debts contracted during the
former reigns – Pensions were assigned to the monks ejected from their buildings and
every facility afforded to all who wished to become secularized – Their attention was
next directed to the establishment of the freedom of the press which was put on as liberal a
footing as was compatible with the preservation of the Catholic religion and the principles
of the Constitution. Every one was allowed to publish whatever he pleased without previous
revision but he was liable to prosecution if the doctrines he published militated against
church or state – The manner in which the press was fettered before and is now shows the
despotism of the government – If a person wishes to publish a work in any part of the
kingdom he must go before a Judge announcing his intention. The judge issues an order
that the work (in manuscript) pass to the censor. This censor is generally a clergyman
who strikes out whatever words and phrases he thinks proper and the author must
publish it as the censor leaves it or not at all – From the censor it finally goes to
a third office called the Fiscal who issues the order for its publication – And this
routine every one has to pursue who presents anything to the public. A player who publishes
a puff for his benefit fares as badly as a poet or a political economist –
At the time of the declaration of the Constitution the farmers were burdened with taxes in the
shape of tythes, first fruits and what was termed the vow of Santiago – all for the benefits
of the clergy – All these were reduced one-half. This vow of Santiago was a tax imposed
in the year 844 for the benefit of a convent in Galicia

where the body of this Santiago (the
apostle James) was preserved – He appeared in a vision to the King that year when he was
in despair at the triumph of the Moors and promised him a glorious victory over them the
following day – The King boldly attacked the infidels and the saint was seen charging them
on horseback and mowing them down before him. The victory was complete – and the
Saint was proclaimed patron of Spain and corn wine and oil have ever since been
lavished upon the convent devoted to his worship – How the body of the apostle James
came to Spain is not mentioned by the Spanish historians – a similar miracle was
performed with his body I suppose as with that ^the house^ of our Lady of Loretto which (I have read
somewhere) came through the air from Jerusalem to Italy – The most comprehensive
decree contained in the two volumes I have read was one relative to public educa-
tion. As they weighed to remove the gross ignorance in which the great body of the people
were plunged they established common schools at the public expense throughout the king-
dom and in order to infuse the doctrines of the Constitution into the minds of the
people from their childhood they ordered a catechism to be taught in every school -
explaining the rights of citizens and the duties they owe to the state – They also established
provincial universities resembling our colleges and ^also^ institutions liberally endowed
for the study of the different professions – Besides these they established a grand nation-
al university in which every science and study were to be taught and pursued.
These are the most important decrees among those I have read but there are many
minor ones which were calculated to renovate the rotten system whose diseases had been
so long disregarded – Sufficient salaries were appointed to all the Judges and they were

[left Margin]
By my former letter you know of course that I have your letters with me – I shall be compelled to
burn them all when I reach Madrid so you will be put at ease about their contents – I am sorry to part with
them but their memory will remain to cheer me hereafter
Page 6

made strictly responsible for the injustice of their decisions or for any delay in the
administration of justice – Formerly and now (as every thing has been restored to its former
state) the Judges purchased their posts and a very trifling salary was attached to the
offices – The consequences were that bribery and extortion were frequent – It is almost
impossible to credit what has been told us of the length of law-suits here formerly
Many causes that were decided during the Constitution had been handed down from
father to son for God knows how long – One person was mentioned to us as living
in Seville who gained by an the decision of an old law-suit in his favor during
the Constitutional government, a possession worth from two to three thousand dollars
a year – His ancestors commenced the suit and the family had become so reduced
before he gained his cause – In all our conversations with the persons we know
here we receive daily testimonies of the benefits the former system produced – The
beggars who thronged the streets at its commencement all disappeared – To those who
were willing to turn labourers in the country portion of land were given and
assistance afforded them if they were industrious – Work houses were provided
for the old and infirm – Even the abolishment of the barbarous system mode of
executing criminals by placing the executioner on the neck of the culprit when he
swung off the ladder is traced to the time of the Constitution – Now public criminals
are seated in a chair on a scaffold and have their necks broken in an instant
by an instrument contrived for the purpose – This improvement and the suppes-
sions of the Inquisition are almost the only landmarks left of the existence of the
Constitution – They tell us here that the King is willing to revive the Inquisition and
thus comply with the petitions of the priests who are anxious to have it restored but
that the French insist upon its non-revival from the fears they entertain of its driving
the Constitutionalists to desperation – They know by experience what the Spanish people
are when goaded on to resistance and wish to avoid such a conflict –
The little I know of the entrances of the French and the downfall of the Consti-
tution I reserve for my next – As I shall write to you again very soon I
think it will be better for me to defer dosing you to death with politics which
I should do were I to treat of the late invasion – Did I not believe you will
be interested in reading whatever I can collect of the political events of the
country I certainly should not enter into any particulars for I find the
occupation exceeding dull – I intended to go through the detail when I com-
menced but I had no idea of occupying so much paper with the account –
To experience a bright relief I turn to your letter and to the discussion
of the astounding news you have given me about Miss H.
and Miss Schuyler
Birth: 1800-07-27 Death: 1855-12-04
If this be not too late in the day to offer warm congratulations to you upon your
fortunate escape from the former I present mine to you with all the fervour which
a recent perusal of your letters ought to inspire – I have read of several instances
where a lover got his mistress with child, when her family refused their consent
to the marriage in order to compel them to acquiesce in the union but I doubt
whether the “man of God” Augustus Converse
Birth: 1798-11-21 Death: 1860-03-21
was actuated by that motive – He
called the death of Yvonnet
 Death: 1824-09-20
a “mysterious providence”- perhaps he dignifies his
a riotous appetite with the same solemn, silly epithet – Do not let his name
sleep entirely hereafter – Tell me how his wife
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
endures the public gaze – Perhaps
I ought to congratulate you also with regard to Miss. S. as you were once her slave –
I have the utmost contempt for her marriage with John Vredenburgh. He was in
the class below me and I did not have any intercourse with him but I recollect well his
countenance and the characters he bore of being a shallow fellow – That she should pretend
she was engaged while he was in college is doubtless false – he certainly knew nothing of
her or at least made no pretensions to it when I was there and Bob Morris
who was
such an admirer of hers never mentioned him among the list of pretenders to her favour.
Bob always affirmed that he himself could have married her had he chosen and perhaps you
will now give some credit to his assertion – She certainly coquetted with Ed. Curtis
Birth: 1801-10-25 Death: 1856-08-02
at one
Page 7

time – what a curse experience brings with it in opening our eyes to the actual worth of
those we worship in our youth – “charm by charm unwinds
that robed our idols” –
and the delusions of former years make
us dissatisfied with the realities of after years life – you are happily saved from the melancholy
that such bad results as these produce and need only smile at the recollection of the
tricks your imagination has played with your judgment. I have such a dreary
perspective presented in the future that I still cling with obstinacy to the memory of
my collegiate days and I joy to think that Jane Kane
may still be enshrined
within my heart. Do you know any thing of her that can make me doubt her being
a divinity? Until you do I will make her my idol and in defiance of reason and
common sense invest her with all the attributes that every Catholic imagined a saint
to possess – You say that you have no lingering romantic ideas of Schenectady and
that you will never linger there when you pass by. I cannot say the same. The
place will always have a charm to me from being the ground on which I walked,
when a delightful ignorance of the world inspired a thousand glowing visions and
chill reality I had not yet come to efface the picture I drew of life. The experience of
my visit ^last May^ to the spot I had frequented while at Union convinced me that I should
always feel a thrill of pleasure when treading that ground though fits of the
deepest depression came over me before I had departed. The deaths of Yvonnet
and Craig
came with new force upon me during my walks around the colleges – I
could not then realize that they were dead and I cannot now – It seems a dream and
whenever I find myself writing about them I look at the words in which I mention
their death with almost a feeling of disbelief –
I have a hundred particulars to tell you of the buildings of Seville – the
Moorish remains and Roman antiquities – our visits to some churches and convents –
an account of a glimpse we got of some nuns and divers ceremonies we
have witnessed during the Holy Week – All these detach I mean to give you
in my next which will be forth coming very soon. I wish to hold out some
promise of an interesting letter for I am aware this is a very dull one –
Had I no one else to write to I would venture a third sheet but I must
write two or three letters to the family in answer to those I have received and one
also to our friend
He who has sent me the latest New York news – He wrote that
he has been twice to the Opera with the Miss Purdys
to the elder of whom I believe
he is attached – I am glad that I have still some room left for I intend to take
up your letter again – I almost feel as if I was talking with you when I am
answering it – I am delighted to hear that your business is increasing and that
you “bear your blushing honours thick about you”. You yield the sword as well as
the pen and I suppose on parade days you “witch the world with horsemanship”
when mounted on Judge Miller’s
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
charger. Should you become a general I suppose
you will prefer being addressed by that title. Tell me hereafter by what title I
shall direct the back of my letters for I wish to do you honour – You say the buck-
tails triumphed in the last election – you was a bucktail as well as myself when
Birth: 1774-06-21 Death: 1825-06-11
honoured Schenectady with a visit. Are you not one now? – If so I take
it for granted you look forward to a seat in the State Legislature and then
what aspiring views you can cherish- “Be still my throbbing heart.” Tell me
all your schemes for I begin to have great attachment to politics – Newspapers
from our country are prohibited so we never see any – We saw an article the other
day in the Madrid Gazette which pretended to be an accurate account of the state
of our country – It made us laugh. According to that we were on the brink of ruin
from the mal-administration of justice. De Sha’s
Birth: 1802-01-01 Death: 1828-08-13
case was brought as a proof –
murders were said to be frequent and no efficient measures were taken to apprehend
the assassins – All the young men students in colleges stabbed each other whenever
they chose with dirks which were manufactured in our country and a hundred other
ridiculous assertions. I must not forget to men[ tion ]



Page 8

common for boys and negroes to shoot birds with muskets in the streets of Washington and
finally that the preservation of the lives of the citizens appeared to form no part of the
policy of the government – I was surprised to learn that Gov. Troup
Birth: 1780-09-08 Death: 1856-04-26
had been re-
elected – it gives me a high idea of the state of Georgia – He is a crazy fool –
The Consul of Cadiz sent us some time ago Adams’
Birth: 1767-07-11 Death: 1848-02-23
message. Pierre and I laughed
at the attention with which we read it and I believe it is the first I ever read –
I am delighted to think he was elected instead of Washington Jackson
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08
(N. B. I have
been so bewildered by a loud quarrel in the adjoining room between the lady of the
house and her god father that I made the above slip of the pen) The plans Adams
recommends for the consideration of Congress have they been or will they be carried into
effect? In Paris we shall be able to read American newspapers I hope for I long to see
one – never be unwilling to treat of politics for I shall read all you write with
great interest – Be assured that I shall write again before we leave Seville so that
you will hear from me again in a fortnight or three weeks – I calculate upon your
writing to me regularly now that I know your domestic felicity is permanent –
I hope every letter you write will continue to inform me of your health and that of your
wife and of the happiness you both enjoy in the apartment you have fitted up. You
speak of having the Waverly
 Publisher: A.L. Burt Place of Publication:New York Date: 18?
novels – Do not laugh at me telling you to ask your
wife if she does not think the Bride of Lammermoor
 Publisher: T.B. Peterson  Place of Publication:Philadelphia, PA Date: 1800
the most exquisite story she
ever read – I wish I could fancy myself for a moment a visitor of yours and
discussing those same Waverly novels in the Judge’s parlour. I am frightened at the
very indignation upon second thought – A curse upon my sheepish habits – I am glad
to hear of L. M.’s
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
marriage. I have no doubt Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
is a fine fellow- Did you not

Editorial Note

line cut out of page
– Yours until death David Berdan
William H. Seward Esq.
State of New York.


Type: postmark

[right Margin]
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
D. Berdan
Sept 12. 1826