Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, July 28, 1831

  • Posted on: 8 April 2016
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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, July 28, 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 Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, July 28, 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 2015-09-17

Page 1

Hillsborough 28 July 1831
My Good Brother Henry
I know of no good
reason why our correspondence should drag and
we so seldom hear from each other: nor is it now
worth while to waste my paper in conjectures why I
have recieved but one letter from you; or in apologies for
not having written you more than twice. By the
public papers, I now and then hear about you, & from
those with whom you correspond, I get something a little
more direct. But I would be glad to see the
scrape of your own pen, a little oftener.
Well Squire Brown
Certainty: Probable
has returned and you have
probably seen him ere


Before; sooner than •
this reaches you. What
account does he give you of our state? It would
have been highly gratifying to me to have seen him
in this country, indeed I scarcely know how to put
up with it that I failed. I have heard sr ^such^ good
r report of him from all antimasons and ladies
wherever he traveled about the state, & heard so
many gentlemen speak in such high terms of Mrs
, that it has greatly increased my regret
at not meeting them. Col Mather
Birth: 1795 Death: 1845
of Kaskas-
, (our - came - near - being - U.S. - Senator,) was on
board the steam boat that brought them down from
St Louis, and I was at his house when he
arrived at home. He too was very much pleased
with them. But what most of all occasioned me
regret at not seeing them was, that I failed to ob-
tain the news about Antimasonry, about you, and sister
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
and little Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
& littler Frederick
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
& aunt
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
& all the family, which such an opportunity
seemed so well calculated to afford: You see what is
uppermost in my mind, among the terms I have enumerated,
yes I have by no means lost my attachment for the

[left Margin] Last summer, two Jackson men were run for Governer, the real Simon Pure
failed to be elected. Our thorough bred U.S. was elected in the winter. Kane
Birth: 1794-06-07 Death: 1835-12-12

& another
anti proscri-
ber was
also elected.

Page 2

good cause of antimasonry. Every word I hear, and it is too
seldom that I do hear, strikes me forcibly. Can you not
write and tell me what are the prospects. I see the
"spartan band" obtain a little royal notice. Has it
indeed found its way into high places, tell me
if you can who will be nominated for President? - how
strong will the party stand in the next canvass? - will
Birth: 1792-12-01 Death: 1868-08-31
be your next Governor? We have many lookers
on here, but I do believe those having the greatest
anxiety and the closest observers are the masons.
A state convention has been called, I observe by
the Vandalia paper and delegates will be chosen
to meet you in Baltimore: will you be there.
Col Eli B Clemson
Birth: 1776 Death: 1846-06-25
, an old army officer, once a
man of some force, now broken down but by no
means disgraced, the second to Lucas
Birth: 1781-04-01 Death: 1853-02-07Certainty: Probable
in the meeting
with Benton
Birth: 1782-03-14 Death: 1858-04-10
, this man will be chosen a delegate
and attend. By a letter written after further
return from his abandoned journey to Illinois, (with
a trembling hand he wrote it & spoke of great fee-
bleness and enervation) I observe that anti-masonry
has gotten prety firm hold of him. He speaks
boldly of the weakness of the "handmaid" & says she
is the mother of harlots & is now about to suffer
for her abominations. Not long since I was
a short time at Col Posts
Birth: 1780-11-18 Death: 1846-03-14
, when it so happened
that I had a fresh copy of Whittleseys
Birth: 1799-06-12 Death: 1851-09-19Certainty: Probable
report before the
Phil. convention, which I took out and cut the leaves
of and commenced reading aloud as if to gratify others
as well as myself. The Col having long felt a con-
tempt for noodleism, had heard very little attention to
the progress of anti masonry
A man whose occupation is to lay bricks and stones • A member of the fraternity of the free masons •
& really knew not in the
verity of the matter, what had been done to Morgan
Birth: 1774 Death: 1826Certainty: Probable

or wherefore so much noise had been raised. This
interview settled the question. His thorough contempt
for Jackson as a weak & wicked old man, his settled
dislike to Van Beuren
Birth: 1782-12-05 Death: 1862-07-24
as a disorganizing Jackabrinede
intriguer, his admiration of the American system, all fit
him for being a thorough going Anti Mason. But the

[left Margin] The present season, there are 6 candidates for Congress. 3 that are principal,
of these 3, two are old Adams
Birth: 1767-07-11 Death: 1848-02-23
men, one Jackson man, and all considered

Page 3

bringing him out must be a work of a little time.
By the way I must not omit to say that I had a
long confab with the Col about old times , which re-
sulted in putting matters upon a favourable footing
between us, so far as to settle upon principles of future
change in our relations, should that be deemed advisable.
Subsequently I saw another gentleman with whom I had
also business, of whom you will remember to have heard
me say that I expected to meet with difficulty, but our
interview was rather satisfactory to me, and it remains
that I see another person, before I can determine wheth-
er it will be of any avail that I have seen either,
toward effecting measures with him I have taken
one step, when I take another you shall hear.
Some one has told me that you have sold
your house! somehow, I cannot but regret it, it
was a beautiful place, is it really gone?
Your old friend Capon
Birth: 1802Certainty: Probable
is in
St Louis, with a son
of his
building a steam saw mill.
His head, as usual is aloft
in the air, so for that he can
take no concern in walking, what becomes of his
feet, and the consequence is that his pantaloons
are all wet & mud, up to nearly to his knees.
He says he considers masonry
A man whose occupation is to lay bricks and stones • A member of the fraternity of the free masons •
down, but he does
not wish to be kicked after he is down, still
he sees the "Order" parading on St Johns day in
St Louis, and every body knows, that it was a show
of great men and power, with a view to overawe
those who would favour anti masonry, of whom there are
not a few in that town. Capon will not admit
there is a spark of honor or honesty in the foundations
of the party, but speaks largely & proudly of you and
the support he has heretofore given you.
I have, as I percieve used all my paper up & have
not half asked questions about the health of Judge
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
& Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
& Mrs Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
, the wee ones & all,
nor have I told you one word about S. Schools
and the noise I am making there, but if you

[left Margin] to be cool, if not hostile to the "greatest & best", so that I think
there is but little doubt but this state will follow the rest of the

Page 4

will guess at all I wish to know about the news from
your dear family & will wait a little until I can
send you a flaming long Report of our doings, per-
haps it will be as well. Be pleased to remember both
Mrs Seward
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
& myself, suitably & affectionatily to your good
Frances and all our other friends near you.
Do let us hear from you oftener & direct to
Jacksonville Morgan Co. Ill. Your Brother
B J Seward
Col. Wm Henry Seward
New York
Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
B.J. Seward
28 July 1831