Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, March 1, 1831

  • Posted on: 8 April 2016
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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, March 1, 1831



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, March 1, 1831

action: sent

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

location: Hillsboro, IL

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: cef 

revision: ekk 2015-09-16

Page 1

Hillsborough 1 March 1831
Dear Henry
I am amazed to find, on
rousing myself up to the inquiry, that
nearly five months have elapsed since
I left our native state and during all
that time I have not addressed you a
single letter. I do not wish to free
myself from censure, it is wrong to do so,
nor do I know how to account for it
to myself. On my arrival in the country
I presented myself to my old attorney Mr
, who was just that moment get-
ting into the stage for Washington City to
attend with Luke Lawless
Birth: 1781 Death: 1846
, Soulards
Birth: 1766-11-16 Death: 1825-03-11
as witnesses in the case of Judge Peck
Birth: 1790-01-12 Death: 1836-04-29
nothing therefore could be learned for the
present, in relation, to my old affairs, had
this been otherwise, I should certainly have
written you. Subsequently I have been
much engaged in making arrangements for
a great summers work for myself & a
corps of Sunday School agents and the time
has imperciptebly (and shamefully to me)
slipped away in which I ought to have
written you two or three letters.
The Autumn you remember was fine and
the roads being in good order, we had a

[left Margin] Can't you send me an Anti Paper.
Page 2

delightful ride to the country, without accident
and almost without fatigue. Our first stop
was for a day or two with Mr. H Brown
Certainty: Probable
in Van-
. With himself & wife
we were better pleas-
ed and more interested than we expected. He,
I had ^seen^ very little of, and she was but a girl
when we knew her, and so it is our more ex-
tended acquaintance with them is very pleasing
to us. They are looking for the "Squire" & his
good lady
the coming summer.
Here we found Uncle John
Birth: 1765-06-10 Death: 1847-04
and all well,
three familes beside the old people and their
houses literally filled with children. Israel
Birth: 1795-09-03 Death: 1869

is the same good natured, honorable, industrious
man, and is, like the rest of them in this
particular, very comfortably situated.
During three months of the sitting of the
Legislature we spent the time at the seat of
Government. The object of my visit to the
country led me to wish to become acquanted
with the members & others attending their sittings
and that of the supreme court. Politicians here
"ride the circuit" as it is called, visit their
districts extensively with a view ^of^ holding forth
from ox carts & stumps to a populace wholy
unaccustomed if not unable to read. From
these men, thus intimate
Inmost; inward • Near; close • Close in friendship or acquaintance • One to whom the thoughts of another are shared without reserve • To share together • To hint; to suggest obscurely; to give slight notice of •
with their constituents
all the circumstances of the people, may be
learned. To these I resorted to learn the
number of ^com.^ schools & thier size, the examination
proves that there are but 531 schools in the
state & there will average no more than 22
children each and are open ^one with another^ but for four months
Page 3

of the year. Comparing then the number of
children in school, with the number (as we have
it in the Census just taken,) that are not in school
and we find the appalling fact that for every
child in school there are thirteen not in school
throughout the state of Illinois. If no effort
be made to improve the intellectual condition of
the people, what must 20 years bring around!
Indeed we need not go beyond the present generation
for derelictions among public functionaries which
shocks every sentiment of decency & honor. If
Dick Johnson
Birth: 1780-10-17 Death: 1850-11-19Certainty: Probable
be nominated any where ^for the Presidency^ by any
any p[ er ]


Reason: wax-seal
sons, I think this state will go for him.
Antimasonry ^has^ begun to make its way
among the people. Many Eastern
imigrants are warm on the subject
but there has been too few lodges
& too little among masons theretofore
for the disclosure of these flummeries to attract
general notice. Brown appears perfectly in-
different, & says nothing, he sends the Cayuga Pa-
pers (out here to Israel). Uncle John scolds wretch-
edly, and Israel keeps his mouth hir shut. Doct
Ross, obtains & reads every thing he can get his
hands on. Lockwood
Birth: 1789-08-02 Death: 1874-04-23
, I do believe, is regardless
whether the handmaiden lives or dies, but he does
not see the good reason of attacking her politically
& runnning off with part of the frends of Henry Clay
Birth: 1777-04-12 Death: 1852-06-29
and he is so deeply solicitous to bring down
the soaring VanBeuren
Birth: 1782-12-05 Death: 1862-07-24
, that he frets beyond meas-
ure, to see a scism which affords the the little Ma-
gician ^opportunity^ to continue on the wing.
Will you not forgive me for my negligence &
write me some account of the prospects of the "little
"spartan Band", the health of yourself & family and
Page 4

all the news. Give our best loves to your dear
lady, sister Frances
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
, & a kiss a person for each of
the little boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
, & our Respects to the Judge
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
& all freinds,
and all this as soon as , if this should not meet
you at home.
Col Wm H Seward
New York
Hillsboro Ill
March 5th
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
B.J. Seward
March 1