Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, July 8, 1833

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, July 8, 1833



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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, July 8, 1833

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: London, England, UK

transcription: gew 

revision: ekk 2015-07-23

Page 1

Monday July 8th. July 8, 1833
My Dear Henry, To day is our little Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
’s birth day, he is three years old and
a merry little fellow he is, with very trifling exceptions he has for the last two
years enjoyed almost uninterrupted health. This is one of many blessings of which
I hope I am not unmindful. To day it is six weeks since I took my parting kiss.
I felt it was the parting kiss at the time although you endeavoured to cheat me
with a contrary belief, you must never do so naughty a thing again for there is
always great consolation to me in thinking when you are gone of the last kiss
and the last word, now as I am as much opposed as yourself to scenes on such
occasions and always do these things composedly I can see no good reason why
I may not be indulged if it is a foolish fancy, which I readily grant. To day
also (you perceive it is an epocha) it is six weeks since Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
commenced going
to school for the summer, he is already calculating the time for the expiration of
the term when he has the promise of two weeks vacation, then poor pony must not
expect much rest for the sole of his foot. Yesterday was warm and rainy I did not
go out to Church. On Saturday I spent the afternoon at Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
’s, she was suffer-
ing indisposition in consequence of eating some pineapple the evening previous at a
party at Cheadell
x Birth: 1807-10-03  Death: 1874-03-11  Birth: 1806-04-24  Death: 1875-06-19 
’s. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
also went, very pleasant, I had never called of
course received no invitation. Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
still continues to talk as though he actually
intended to go to Aurora, but Lazette considers it uncertain. I do not dare to think,
how lonely I shall be if [ thy ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: they
should go. Is it not strange Jackson
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08
has gone
back to Washington after having proceeded no farther on his tour than
Concord New Hampshire. The ostensible reason is his ill heath but
Birth: 1805
says the Boston Paper hints at some disagreement. I have seen
no notice of this singular retreat except in the Spectator. Stone says
he wishes the President “a safe return to the Capital and finally to the
Hermitage.” I could not but feel a little malicious pleasure in reflecting
upon the disappointment of the Albany Regency. Thursday morning, we have
been in hourly expectation of Abijah
Birth: 1779-02-14 Death: 1834-07-11
and Maria Miller
Birth: 1785-04-24 Death: 1870-04-17
for the last two or three
days having heard that they were on the homeward road, but they come not.
Eliza has been sewing for me, and Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
has been engaged in the arduous
High or lofty in a literal sense • Attended with great labor; difficult •
-taking of putting up a Street door bell. I wish you could see it now it
is done. I saw the man first and thought I had arranged matters
nicely by directing that the wire should run down into the basement throu
through the dining room or cellar into the kitchen. But no this did not
meet Pa’s views on the subject, the wire must run through the south
room and hall and terminate in the little entry between the rooms not
for the benefit of the servants but for his own, and thus it is, a great,
black bell wire and all the odious appurtenances of staples, rings, and pullies
decorate the wall of the hall and south room mid way between the floor and
Page 2

ceiling, this is another trial for my philosophy, but I have he stood the test so well
that Clary thinks I do not not take any interest in any thing and even my sis
thinks sometimes that I am growing insensible, but I know of one who will never
doubt that I do feel and will love me the better for endeavouring not to be “easily pro-
voked.” Then we have had the lamp rehung so that we can reach it without climbing
into a chair or on a table, this arrangement I liked much. Yesterday afternoon
I took tea with Mrs Horner
Birth: 1780 Death: 1856-12-09
, Mrs Burt
Birth: 1776-07-25 Death: 1859-12-02
and Elizabeth
Birth: 1815-09-03 Death: 1838-10-05
, Debby


and George
Birth: 1805-10-07 Death: 1844-02
and Alida
were there, had I not had a violent headache I should have enjoyed
my visit extremely for verily Mrs Horner is one of the best of women. Debby and
George were all politeness and kindness to me said they intended calling soon
to take me to ride with them. I have not been there yet but think I must
go it is so unpleasant to be constantly thrown in company with those we do
not visit. Friday morning. Abijah and Maria do not come yet, it rained
wearily all day yesterday. Clary was up to Lazette’s last evening, she has a bad
cough and is very hoarse. I hope it is no more than an ordinary cold. Worden
had just received a letter from Uncle Lewis Miller
Birth: 1787-06-11 Death: 1857-02-14
in answer to me he had
written making enquiries about Michigan. Uncle Lewis advises him to come there
and settle immediately, his family were all well, he is now at Clinton but is
going thirty miles further west to settle permanently. Worden still persists in his
determination to go to Aurora. Mr
Birth: 1782-09-25 Death: 1859-12-30
and Mrs Perry
Birth: 1788-10-12 Death: 1859-02-08
arrived last evening there
was great joy at Dills
x Birth: 1809-01-19  Death: 1886-04-24  Birth: 1804  Death: 1866 
if a great noise is any proof of joy. I never considered it
in that light. This is a fine morning the sun is shining brightly and the birds
are singing merrily, my head is free from pain and could some fairy give me
the comforting assurance of your safety I should be quite happy, tomorrow will
be six weeks since your ship sailed, if your voyage was prosperous you have
been in England nearly three weeks. I shall begin to expect a letter in about
ten days more but as that will be the shortest possible time shall not be uneasy
if I do not receive one so soon. Saturday morning. I am obliged to write
in the morning on account of my eyes which are so weak that I am unable
to do any thing in the evening so I get up an hour earlier than I used to - it
is the first time for many years that I have been able to do so without being
sick in consequence until breakfast. Yesterday afternoon Charlotte Kay
and Amelia
Birth: 1816-09-19 Death: 1880-05-20
visited us. Clary about an hour before they came had an attack of
Cholera morbus which kept her in bed most of the afternoon, this is the second
turn of this kind she has had within a week, the last time it was much less
even than before. I told fortunes and played graces with the girls until I was
sick and weary. Casey
Birth: 1807-03-06 Death: 1890-11-05
came in the evening and Clary dressed herself and went
down after tea so I was relieved and was very glad to be allowed the privilege of
putting my little boys to bed. Pa went over to Kelloggs
Birth: 1780-04-19 Death: 1836-05-04
on Friday. Mary ann
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
is at
home and brought with her from the south a niece
of Governor Hayne
Birth: 1791-11-10 Death: 1839-09-24
’s - I did not
enquire how long they were to stay but I presume until after the wedding.
Page 3

Monday morning. Yesterday was excessively warm I did little but lie upon the bed
and read the heat having completely exhausted me. It rained hard all the afternoon,
no going to Church, we have no preaching in our Church at present, they have
(after making a number of fruitless attempts to get a clergy man) applied to
the Bishop. The Baptist now occupy the Court House as a place of worship.
On Saturday a letter came for you from Fuller
Birth: 1787-08-14 Death: 1855-08-16
who was not aware it seems that
you were absent, the business part of the letter will undoubtedly be attended to at the
office, he says he has not heard a word from a political man since the days
of Antimasonry, and adds “which, but for honest John L.
(whose efforts are much like those
of Gray Otis
Birth: 1765 Death: 1848-10-28
when he undertook 4 or 5 years ago to prove the Hartford Convention to have
been just the thing) would be numbered with those that went before the flood. I think
you were all wrong last winter, in not recommending a state Convention: but there may
have been many considerations which have not occurred to me. I take it one po-
sition may be set down as incontestable. That you cannot in the State of New York
maintain a party that is not well paid. Are you on the Auburn Committee to wait
on the President. Brother George
will doubtless make a speech. Every body seems
to be Jackson, and unless the old gentleman actually lays his shelalah over our
heads, or goes to some chapter, we shall all unite in inflating the balloon.”
It was my intention to have copied the whole of this letter but it was so
much in the strain in which Fuller talks that I could give you but a faint
idea of the contents without doing so, beside it seems to me me sometimes that
any thing I can write is more interesting than the monotonous journal of
trifling events which make up my days. I have not heard a word from Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12

yet I think it singular and am apprehensive he is ill. I intend to renew my
invitation to Mrs Tracy
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
to spend the time of the session of the Court of Errors
with me but with very little expectation that she will accept it. I have
not now the most distant idea when the Court sits, you see how far I am
behind the intelligence of the age about every thing since you have left me.
Lazette was down a few moments on Saturday her cough and hoarseness continue.
I shall fell feel alarmed about her if she does not get better soon. We have
fairly escaped a visit from Abijah and Maria, they passed through here on
their way home on Thursday, we knew nothing of it until yesterday, they
did not even call at Isaack
’s. Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
thinks they are surely affronted about
something. Clary says it is altogether more probable that they wished to avoid
going to Isaack’s being fearful their visit would be returned by Martha
and the
children which are to them a great sourse of annoyance. I have little doubt
that they still intend coming this summer but Maria felt too much fatigued
at present with her journey to make a display of the newest fashions and after
going home and getting refreshed will come out expressly for that purpose. Be
the cause what it may I am perfectly satisfied with the result. Maria is so
supremely selfish that I have lost all the respect and affection I had for her when a child.
Page 4

Tuesday morning - Last evening Clary and I went down to Isaack’s they have moved
to their new house - I told Martha I was sorry for her, I could see no end to work
for her in a house with 15 rooms in it exclusive of halls piazza’s and entries. This
is a little worse than ours we have but 14 rooms and it is much more than Clary and
I can both do to live as nice [ a ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: as
we would wish, if I were obliged to choose between
such a house and one with two rooms I should prefer the latter, a large house
without servants is in my estimation a thing to be deprecated, it certainly [ make ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: makes
slave of the mistress, in this glorious republick there is no such thing as servants.
I get so provoked sometimes that I think all almost any other form of government
would be preferable, but I supposed they all have their evils, but these observations are
further malapropos at this time, for if visiting foreign countries has the same effect
upon you that it has upon other travelling Americans your are doubtless at
this time more a republican than ever. Thursday morning. I did not write
any yesterday on account of a multitude of company. Tuesday evening Ezra
Birth: 1806-05-23 Death: 1850-05-23
, wife
Birth: 1809-04-10 Death: 1879-08-19
and Adeline
Birth: 1809
came to visit us, yesterday Ezra and
his family went to visit a sister
of hi Nancy’s in Jordan. Adeline remained
with us. Lazette came down and spent part of the afternoon and Mrs Fosgate
 Death: 1848-03-10

came to tea. She leaves this morning for Salem. We all even Grandma receive
invitations to a bridal party at George Woods in the morning, every body declined
going but myself. I knew it would gratify them to have me come and I had
before discovered that it was almost impossible to break off with people who
are determined to vest visit us, so I went to the party alone, there were about
sixty people there all that usually attend parties and some who do not, the
rooms were both full, and warm of course, although the evening was unusually
cool for July. Every one in the rooms asked me at least once, and some of them oftener
when there was a peculiar dearth of conversation, when I had heard from you. “I
suppose you have had two or three letters from Mr Seward” “When did you hear from
Mr Seward last” “How long does he stay” “Dont you feel very anxious about
him.” I have schooled my feelings until I can answer all these questions
with becoming composure, and already begin to understand how it was possible
for poor John Birdsale
to speak with so much seeming indifference of the
state of his wife
’s health, but there is still this difference between myself and
John, I cannot avoid manifesting some degree of feeling when I am talking
to any one whom I am sure can understand me. You know dearest how often
the consciousness of feeling every thing too deeply makes me assume a reserve
and indifference far from my heart. I do some times get almost out of patience
when they ask me such absurd questions, as if one could cross the th ocean in a
week, but then they have not counted the weeks and days as I have. I never
or very seldom enjoy parties, much less now you are away, but I believe
it was very pleasant for those who do, and the conviction of having given pleasure
Page 5

to others by going, answered the purpose of enjoyment for me. Minard
Birth: 1806-04-20 Death: 1888-03-13
of New York
said to be Eliza Wallace
Birth: 1810-01-15 Death: 1888-10-19
’s accepted admirer, was of the party, he is rather well
looking and agreeable not remarkable for strength of intellect. Eliza appeared
to be rather more attentive to him than he to her, felt inclined to talk about
or to him constantly, she said I have made a conquest he having mistaken me for
a young lady. Helen
kept his arm constantly rather to his annoyance I thought.
the last edition of the most current report is that Gear
was preferred by all the
family on account of his wealth but he came out while Minard was here was
less attentive than usual and finally went home without calling in his costomary
manner to any goodbye. This induced them to believe that he was a recreant knight
and Eliza soon after his departure accepted the proposals which Minard had
previously made, the very next day a letter came from Gear containing an offer
of his hand. This created a wonderful sensation in the family but it was thought
too late to retract and Eliza looked sober and old Mrs Wallace
Birth: 1782-12-29 Death: 1866-07-06
was sick and
went to bed. It never has been precisely ascertained which suitor was preferred by
Eliza but is supposed that interest and affection are at variance, the former being
in favor of Gear the latter of Minard (as they pronounce it, Lazette says
it reminded her of old deacon Barnards
). You must not consider me
responsible for an i iota of this gossip. Lazette Clary and Adeline went to Methodist
meeting and were edified by brother Peck
Birth: 1797-08-08 Death: 1876-05-20
. To night is the fair we all intend going.
Friday morning. Yesterday afternoon we went to Lazettes and in the evening
to the fair, the fair was held in the Court House, the room was crowded
and the heat oppressive we stayed but a very short time, I made no pur-
chases having no beau I did not like to ask any one to bid for me. You
cannot imagine how much I who am so dependent a being feel your absence
even in these trifles. They appeared to have as many articles as before but I could
not well see across the room. I must go round to day and make some purchases
of the things were n not all sold or they will think I am ^not^ very zealous in the
cause of the Church. Saturday July 20th. Our cousins left us yesterday
morning. Pa went to Cato to be gone all night and Lazette came down
and spent the day with us. In the evening Lockhart
invited us all to attend
the Theatre. Clary and Lazette went but n I did not feel in spirits to go
any where. I believe it is quite sure that Lazette will go to Aurora
if she does I shall be indeed deserted. I cannot think of it with any composure.
There has been schism in the republican party. Levi Lewis
Birth: 1791 Death: 1860-09-05
is deprived of
his office and Sam Dunham
Birth: 1792 Death: 1860-04-12
appointed in his place. This is said to be in
consequence of a rebellion against their leader George Throop
Birth: 1793-04-12 Death: 1854-02-23
who is friendly to Lewis.
John Porter
the principal conspirator. I cannot tell you as much about it as I
wish I could as I have had no opportunity of enquiring of any one whom I [ though ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: thought

understood it, will write more on the subject when I obtain more information.
It is seven weeks to day since you sailed in one more week I shall venture to expect a letter
good bye dearest your own Frances.
Page 6

William H. Seward
Care of Benjamin J. Seward
^Care of Baring Brothers & Co.^
H.G. Nassau Street
^ London ^
New York AUBURN N.Y. JUL. 8


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