Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, January 27, 1831

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, January 27, 1831



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, January 27, 1831

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Auburn, NY

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

location: Albany, NY

transcription: alc 

revision: dxt 2015-09-09

Page 1

Thursday evening
My Dear Henry, I have just sent one letter to the office. Peter said they
were opening the eastern mail but he did not wait to get my letter
which I know came to night so I must wait until morning.
came back again to day and brought Sarah Lewis with
him. Sarah appears to be quite happy to be here again, said Laurinda

was not willing to have her come I think it is her intention to go to
live at Jerry’s
but as she does not hold any communi-
cation on the subject it is all a matter of speculation. They
have had very merry times there since the wedding by Sarah’s
account. I sent up this afternoon to see what Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
was doing
found she had been sick a week with a very bad cold and
the canker sore throat, she sit up to day and is much better.
She said I must tell you she would have written before this time had
she been well Friday night. That letter of yours did not come last
night I got up this morning looked on the table in the
dining room where Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
always deposits them but there was no
letter, concluded you did not send it until Wednesday and it will
come to night. Pa went to Syracuse this morning with Mr Watson
Birth: 1778-03-29 Death: 1840-12-22Certainty: Possible

returns tomorrow. I intended to have gone to Lazettes but did not
feel well enough. Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
has a dreadful cold but it does not yet
appear to affect his lungs. I keep a vial of antimonial
A brittle white metal used in some alloys and medical preparations •
in readiness on the mantlepiece in case of the croup. This
evening Serene
Birth: 1805 Death: 1884-01-19
and Blanchard
Birth: 1809 Death: 1887-09-11
called on their way to Hulberts
Birth: 1770-06-01 Death: 1831-10-19

where they had been invited to spend the evening. Serene is almost
dead taking care of people with the scarlet fever. She says they
made three shrouds there one week, one for Mrs. Gunn
Birth: 1801 Death: 1849Certainty: Possible
one for Ambrose
Birth: 1779-08-13 Death: 1850-02-02
one for Daniel Cock’s
Birth: 1806-11-11 Death: 1850-10-28
Birth: 1829-12-17 Death: 1831-01-17
. Mr Hagerman
has two children sick with the fever
getting better. A. Cock has another little boy
. sick with it, he was blind the

[left Margin]
You see how Augustus has disfigured my letter, he first emptied the
contents of the suffers upon it and now has blotted it so I fear
it is hardly legible, he stands by looking very sorry and says he did not mean
to make me so much trouble, it looks very bad notwithstanding
I shall not close this letter until tomorrow morning that
I may tell you Fred is quite well which I hope he will be by that time.

[top Margin]
I am half inclined to laugh at you for proposing to me to come down with Pa only think how we would
get along with two babies, you know how happy I should be to be with you but it
cannot be. I must content myself to remain a widow this winter.
Page 2

last we heard. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went to Compstons
x Birth: 1800  Death: 1851-06-04  Birth: 1790  Death: 1850-04-03 
this evening. Eliza Horner
Birth: 1807 Death: 1876-10-31
called on Mrs
Birth: 1797-12-04 Death: 1862-05-06
the other evening found Pa there drinking tea. I suppose the Dr
Birth: 1786-11-18 Death: 1853-04-20
commenced shewing people how to live. I believe I shall go to bed with
my twigs. Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
went to bed last night with Sarah in the trundle bed
but got up in the night and and crawled in behind me because Sarah snored.
has been here to night relating his grievances, he has been sick at
Birth: 1786 Death: 1860
and very ill treated by his account., left there, came here to sleep
with Peter, good night dearest. Saturday night. I have oceans of news
to night but I must commence systematically, your letter came
this morning as I anticipated. I shall answer that tomorrow when I
shall have more time. This morning Hugh McLallen
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
called to ask Clary to go
and take a sleigh ride. I told her he was going to offer himself when she
said they were going all alone in a double sleigh, she laughed as usual. Hugh
the two horse sleigh and driver arrived at 2 oclock precisely. They went to
Jordan and have just come home. Clary is so queer I do not know what to
make of her, ever, by what I can discover Hugh has offered himself and she
says she intends to marry him to get away from here. You know I am opposed
to marrying in general so I have been trying to persuade
To influence by argument, advice, or intreaty • To convince by arguments, or reasons offered •
her that she will
not better her condition, she says he is a fool and she does not care any thing
about him but intends to have him notwithstanding. You are acquainted with
him does he know any thing? Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
did not like it because she went to ride
with him says he is a poor creature that cannot maintain himself and
withal all the family are ^all^ crazy but him. Clary says they are about even
on that score as Patty
and Pa are crazy. I never saw him but twice and
know nothing about him only that he is given to boasting about his great
acquaintances and that he took Sarah Southerland
out to ride once.
This he explains by saying she was very obliging while he was a boarder at the Exchange

rather a flimsy excuse. There does not appear to be any thing decided upon I cannot
ascertain that Clary did any thing but laugh at him, as she did at Garry
Birth: 1790-08-09 Death: 1865-06-02
Birth: 1791 Death: 1868-10-28
, any Jenny bail . William torments us almost to death he appears
determined to put up here, he took if off a volume of Pa’ life of Bonaparte
Author: J. G. Lockhart Publisher: J. & J. Harper Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1830

to day without asking permission of any one. I think this will make some trouble
Page 3

when it is discovered among the higher powers. Withal I believe he is very intemperate
I rather think has been dismissed from Noyes’ on that account, at all counts
they say there that he was drunk half of his time. I think this will account
for some of his strange actions while he was with us. But I am so stupid
it never occurred to me until I heard he was suspected. Peter who always
knows every thing as soon as it is discovered by others says he has always known
him to be a drunkard. I lay awake most of the night last night thinking
what phisician I should employ, Fred coughed so hoarse and was so restless
I thought I must consult some one to day, the day dawned and found me
A public auction •
between Pitney and Humphrey
Birth: 1785-05-17 Death: 1848-03-09Certainty: Probable
. It makes me almost wild sometimes
when I think how far you are away and that four days would be the shortest
time that you could attend any summons, four days, how wretched four days might
make me, but I will not think about it. Frederic was so much better through
the day that we did not think it necessary to emply any one, to night the
unfavourable symptoms return. This afternoon I got myself all ready to
go and see Lazette. Peter went out but could not succeed in getting a sleigh,
or horse rather, the day was so fine they were all engaged, so I was obliged to stay
at home and wish I could be as highly favoured as Mr Withy
every winter. I sent
Peter up this evening he says Lazette is almost well. I am about half sick with a cold
myself so is every one of the family but Pa I have not heard him complain any yet. He
came home from Syracuse this evening, said he went to Sacketts and found Betsy
house for him again. I should not think it advisable for her to take unto herself another
husband she has two living now & I believe is such an unhappy temper she cannot live with
either, stranger then that she can tolerate her Uncle
I think she must have made up
her min[ d to p ]


Reason: wax-seal
ractice more forebearance towards him than she does to any one else
Sunday [ morning ]


Reason: wax-seal
Frederick slept very well last night and appears [ spri ]


Reason: wax-seal
ghtly this morning
I think he [ will get ]


Reason: wax-seal
along with his cold. Clary says she still continues of the same
opinion with regard to Hugh. Grandma does too I believe as Clary does not appear to find
much favour in her eyes. Hugh says he pays for the board of two of his sisters
and five
workmen which is rather a drawback, he has taken Hannah
to see some of her cousins
I cannot tell where, he told Clary all about it.
I do hope dearest that you will never be a “political great man” I believe they are all heartless
and selfish nay avaracious sometimes it appears but I never suspected that. It is the
ambition I so much dread, the ambition to be great that chills all the
kindlier affections of the heart and throws its blighting influence on domestic
happiness. But you say Granger
Birth: 1792-12-01 Death: 1868-08-31
is not heartless, he is ambitious and vain
vain of his person a most unpardonable kind of vanity in a man. I could never
respect him. Clinton
Birth: 1769-03-02 Death: 1828-02-11
was vain of his talents this is more tolerable but still it
a is disgusting. I am grieved that my surmises
A person who follows an army and sells to the troops provisions and liquors •
are true about Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
. I felt inclined
to admire him, did and do yet admire him but admiration does not satisfy my
heart. I think it true because were it not, I know my own Henry you have been
long enough acquainted with him to be quite positive to the contrary. Do
you believe that any person of ordinary discernment any person who had the least
kindred feeling, could be in doubt after an acquaintance of one months duration
about your having a heart. You say there is no other reason why Mr and Mrs Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876

should esteem you only your manifesting some degree of feeling. I think differently
I know there are a thousand other reasons but I have no disposition to flatter you
had I the capacity to draw your character, making due allowances for my
partiality I know many reasons why you would be entitled to respect and admiration
had you no heart. Do you or does Weed
Birth: 1797-11-15 Death: 1882-11-22
I should say think Tracy hypocritical?
are sincerity and heartlessness compatible? If you draw me any more characters
I shall be obliged to commence the study of metaphysics although you once laughed
at me for proposing to do so. Your characters interest me extremely every thing interests
me that you write you never need have any misgivings on that subject.
Page 4
Monday morning. There is no material alteration in
Fred he coughed considerably in the night. You must
not think because I have written so much about him that
he is very sick, he is not only has a bad cold but I have
told you all about it so should it run into any thing
serious you might be enabled to guess something by the symptoms
I think I shall go to Lazettes to day. Your own Frances
William H. Seward.