Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, January 29, 1831

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, January 29, 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 William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, January 29, 1831

action: sent

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

location: Albany, NY

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: gew 

revision: dxt 2015-09-09

Page 1

January 29th
I took a walk with Mr Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12
to return
Judge Conkling’s
Birth: 1789-10-12 Death: 1874-02-05
call. He lives in Lydius
It about a mile from the compact part
of the town, and in a place in some respects
resembling that part of Auburn in which
we live.
It had by this time reached half past
four. I sallied
Wisdom; sageness; knowledge •
forth to find Mr Mancius
Birth: 1779-12 Death: 1833-11-07

house in Montgomery Street. When I saw
Page 2

him before, he met me just as I was
going out. Both were muffled in cloaks
and I knew I should not recognise him.
I rang the bell, a servant
appeared. I asked
and was answered that Mr Mancius was
at home. The girl went to the door at
the farther end of the hall, and as she
opened it disclosed a table, two gentlemen


seated there, with bottles and glasses.
“A gentleman wants to see me, where is he, in
the hall did you say”? and forth comes a
Birth: 1773-01-29 Death: 1847-12-16
, with a kind of bewildered air and
manner, which showed that I was no more
known to him than a visitor would have
been from Kamschatka

.Presuming this to
be my host I offered extended my hand and
received his which was reluctantly extended held out
to me. “My name is Seward, Sir,” said I.
“Seward, Seward, yes Sir, Seward did you
say? Walk in, Mr Seward.” Then he
glanced at me again and opened a
door which displayed a bevy of young

and I thought I was going to be
ushered into the midst of them, when my
host bestowed a bewildered look on my
person as I divested myself of my cloak and
hat and then hastily, as if something were
wrong, pulled to the door of the parlor and
led me in the dining-room. “Major Schuyler,
Page 3

Mr Seward, I think you said your name
was Seward. Take a chair Mr Seward,”
and so I was seated. I was perfectly
satisfied that my name was Seward,
and as to who I was, but my host had
no distinct idea on either of these points,
and I on my part was bewildered to know
if he was Mr Mancius or his brother
A third glass was filled for me. I soon
discovered that Major Schuyler was indignant
at my intrusion. So in order to disarm him
I observed, “We have a prospect of more
comfortable weather, Sir.” “Perhaps so,” said
he gruffly. Mine host asked me to
drink but with an air which seemed
to say “I wonder what the devil sent you
here”? Determined to know whether that
was actually the man I came to see
I said, “I precieve you do not recognize me
Mr Mancius, my name is Seward. I saw
you at the Eagle Tavern.” “Seward, Eagle
Tavern, yes Sir, please to take another
glass.” And still it was evident he had
no recollection even of my name. “You know
Sir that you spoke to me about a suit
that I was to defend, and I was to call
upon you for some papers to send to
Judge Miller
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
.” “Oh! Yes! now I know, now
I recollect you. You are Judge Miller’s
Page 4

son in law. Oh! yes, yes, do take another
glass of wine. I beg your pardon for not
remembering you, especially as I invited
you to call. How are you getting on in
the Legislature, Mr Seward?” “Why, very
well Sir, we are disposing of the business
as well as is usual.” Then Major Schuyler
relaxed his knitted brow, and said
“Are you in the legislature Sir?” “Yes Sir”
said I very meekly. “Well Sir, I have
a petition before your Honorable body,
and shall be obliged to you if on
examining it, you give it such support
as you consistently can.” “Oh, Oh thinks I
the weather is becoming more comfortable
after all. He went on to state the
object of his petition. I assured him
I should be happy to give it a favorable
consideration and added that I had
not before heard of it. “Yes Sir” said
he, “you must have heard of it, it
has been reported in the Assembly.”
“Ah,” said I, “that is the reason I have
not seen it.” “Why Sir, that is the reason
you must have seen it,” said he, “you
are in the Assembly I presume Sir?”
“No Sir,” said I, “I am in the other house.”
“Now Sir,” said he, “I beg to ask you in
God’s name how old you call yourself?”
Page 5

“Twenty nine years,” said I very meekly.
“Well! I swear I never would vote for you
for a Senator from your looks.”
“Ah!” said Mr Mancius, “that explains
why I did not know Mr Seward, he
was so young! I thought it was some
young gentlemen who had called to
see my daughters
x Birth: 1814  Death: 1882  Birth: 1811-08-18  Death: 1893-07-09 
.” I need not protract
this little story longer than to add
that we after this got to be on excellent
terms, and I departed questioning with
myself whether I had not better get a
I called in the evening at James Porters
Birth: 1793-01-06 Death: 1862-11-11
found him, his wife
Birth: 1803-03-30 Death: 1866-03-02
, his daughter
and a
young daughter
Looked at one of Mrs Lancaster Lipton’s
of Governor Throop
Birth: 1784-08-21 Death: 1874-11-01
. I must not forget to tell
you that I found on the table a book entitled
as follows “The fulfillment of a promise to her
pupils to publish her fugitive Poems”
Author: Emma Willard Publisher: White, Gallaher & White,  Place of Publication:New York Date: 1831
by Mrs
Emma Willard
Birth: 1787-02-23 Death: 1870-04-15
, Principal of the Troy Female
Seminary. Glancing over a few pages, I saw two
lines in it as follows.
“And in like spirit of a freeman.
Great De Witt Clinton
Birth: 1769-03-02 Death: 1828-02-11
broke his kneepan.”
I shall buy this book and send it to you as soon
as I can find it.
Page 6

^tr. is
7 pages

I am becoming immersed in a swamp
of letters for laws, for canals, banks insurance,
companies, and for appointments. I found
twelve lying on my table tonight. Your
little letter last night was worth the
whole dozen.