Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, May 27, 1828

  • Posted on: 9 March 2016
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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, May 27, 1828



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, May 27, 1828

action: sent

sender: Benjamin Seward
Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24

location: New York, NY

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: aew 

revision: ekk 2015-12-16

Page 1

New York 27. May. 1828
Dear Henry I have cal-
led three times since, would you believe it and
left word with ^for^ Hoffman
Birth: 1766-04-14 Death: 1837-01-24
to prepare the memo-
randum for Chancellor Jones
Birth: 1769-05-26 Death: 1853-08-09
, & as yet I cannot
obtain it- I shall endeavor to send up by Muir
Birth: 1790 Death: 1868-02-17

He is a slovenly fellow - and though the “tide” which
sometimes occurs “in the affairs of men” is now
setting strong in his favour, since the conspira-
cy cases, still I predict that he will never
amount to much. Of course I have learned
nothing further from him in relation to the sit-
uation of Slossons
Birth: 1779-05-25 Death: 1832-04-21
I believe I stated to you last autumn the sit
uation of affairs between Canfield Canfield
Birth: 1798-11-26 Death: 1865-01-05
& myself
when I saw you in Albany—On arriving at home
I wrote the Doctr
a letter in which I admitted
that on enquiry of you I had learned that my
language to you had been stronger than I had
recollected & perhaps than was necessary and proper—
& therefore his coolness to me had more justifi-
cation than I had supposed. Offered him any
reparation if I had injured him in your esteem
(except to you, I never gave an opinion of him)
and tendered the hand of amity and friendship.
I had not written the Dr for a long time previous
& he took a long time to reply. Subsequently I learned
that reports were very extensively circulated that Marcia
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25

& yourself & myself had added ourselves to the number of
the persecutors of our sister
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
—that we had insulted
Page 2

her—broken open her billetdoux—ridiculed & exposed them
(do you remember the ring & couplet) - moreover that we
of the city had declined to ask Cornelia to take off
her hat, when she came up from Absecon to see us and
that her arrival being at the hour of tea with us
she was not asked to eat or stop with us & was con-
sequently forced to seek shelter at night in a boarding
house. These reports were for a while disregarded - but
they thickened upon us to such a degree & we were every-
where asked “did C. stay with you when in the City”
that at last I was foolish enough to become provoked
about it. Her opinions also expressed to our friends
that they would learn that we were hypocrites - and
that she had a good husband notwithstanding the
contempts of her her brothers, probably aided in my
irritation. I wrote to Mr Cummins
Birth: 1814-03-28 Death: 1885-03-24
to put a mitten
upon his wifes tongue (not in such language) who
had been during the summer to see C. & entered largely
into her quarrel. The Parson
flounced a little & half
denied - when I proposed to drop the matter as being
neither worth his further notice nor mine. About this
time Canfield answered my letter - & only addmitted
its reception offering friendship & reconciliation. To
which I replyed that he must first contradict
the evil reports in circulation by his agency or
consent, take back what he had said against
me and mine, & then we could be friends. To
which he replied in his last letter in a such another
tirade of abuse and epithet, as you would not think
the stupid dolt could be sufficiently spirited for.-
Accused me endeavors to make mischief between
Page 3

the members of our family—of violating the sacredness
of confidence & the rites of hospitality—of attempts to
prevent Cornelia’s being reconciled to her friends & her
friends to her—of treating her shamefully when here
& neglectfully when about &c &c – To all which
I replyed at length, that what I had done I had
done openly & to them—not secretly with a view to
injure them behind their backs—expressed my surprise
that he should entertain so strong a desire ^as he expressed^ to be on
terms with one he was seeking every means to injure
in the esteem of his friends & that while he enter-
tained such opinions of me, any intercourse between
us could afford me no pleasure & probably would con-
duce to no good end. I promised him that while
life remained I would studiously
seek by following peace with
all men to contradict, seeing
he would not, the foul reports
which till now I could never change to him & if pos-
sible to live down their influence & closed my letter
as tho' I never more expected to correspond with them,
Yes Father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
and Mother
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
were here and made us a visit of
three or four days—Father was sick all the while with
a cold– & mother was tired off her running about
to call on friends & to purchase little articles— The visit
was a pleasant one I believe on all sides. Father enjoys
his triumph over Stephen Jackson
Birth: 1778 Death: 1843-03-15
&c & talks much about it.
He says he shall visit Auburn this summer–pass on
somewhere in a little town, perhaps to Canada‑ and about
half invited me to go along. It is probable however
that he will ^not^ again think of it.— Washington
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
takes hold
pretty well— but he spent a deal of money getting home
& left some bills unpaid for which his father was dunned
as he came down, very much to his mortification.
Page 4

Marcia sends love to Frances
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
& a kiss to Grandmas pet
Desires also to be affectionately remembered to Aunt Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
for whom
she conceived you know a great partiality- Yours B.J.S.
Bank 206CK — I have been
again this moment to Hoffman—
He is not in — I shall soon be as
unwelcome a guest there as at Fannings
Col. Wm H. Seward
New York


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
B.J. Seward
May 27