Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, July 22, 1833

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, July 22, 1833



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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, July 22, 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 2015-07-30

Page 1

Monday July 22d
My Dear Henry, This is one of the warmest of all warm mornings. Yesterday I went
to Church in the morning but was so faint from the excesive heat that I found it
difficult to remain until the termination of the services. Mr Peck
Birth: 1797-08-08 Death: 1876-05-20
preached an
excellent sermon. Garret G. Lansing
Birth: 1804 Death: 1888-11-23
who has been in the village nearly a week,
spent the afternoon with Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
and I was entertained with their discourse it being
too warm to close the doors. Little Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
took a great fancy to Mr Lansing sat
upon his lap almost the whole time and said he would go home with him, but
when he ascertained that he lived in Albany he concluded it was too far.
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
came down in the evening and she and Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went to meeting but did
not go into the Church on account of the heat, so they sat in the porch and
were edified by brother Peck’s preaching, then Clary went home with Lazette
and then Hugh
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
came home with her. By this time I had gone to bed with
the little boys
x Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
after having moved Maria’s bed into my room the garret being
too warm for any animal but a salamander to occupy. Wednesday morning
The warm weather still continues. Monday evening I called on Mrs Hotchkiss
is settled in her new home and a pretty home it is, the house is well furnished
the rooms well arranged, and well furnished. She told me that she met
you in New York about the time you sailed. I then called on Mrs
Birth: 1776-07-25 Death: 1859-12-02
who talked as loud and as incessantly as ever, wanted to know
how Mr Seward came to go, a question which I should have thought she
would have had settled to her satisfaction long before this time. I came home
and found that John L. Spencer
Birth: 1788-01-08 Death: 1855-05-17Certainty: Probable
had called during my absence I regretted it,
I should have been glad to have seen him, yesterday was too warn for any
thing consequently my journal slumbered, in the evening Clary and I went
up to Lazette’s, from thence to Mr Field
 Death: 1873
’s to enquire after Maria Hall
’s health
she being ill. Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
and Bronson
Birth: 1792 Death: 1857-06-20
overtook us and in all walked to the top
of the hill. Bronson came home with us, verily he is the most unsocial mortal
I ever knew, he has just returned from a town to the east, has been gone 6
weeks an unparalleled length of time for him, he feels his increase of importan-
ce accordingly, he has visited the Springs, Boston, Mount Holyoke and Mount
Auburn &c, he endeavoured to make himself agreeable by relating some of his
adventures but the stiffness of his manner divested his conversation of all interest,
Clary does not enjoy her usual health, she has had two attacks of cholera
morbus and is still diseased and debilitated. She fainted the other morning
while standing by the table washing dishes. I was considerably alarmed
and Sarah
Certainty: Probable
not have the least presence of mind I could get no assistence
from her, she had a slight spasm just as she fell and I received her
in my arms, I never saw a countenance so ghastly, her eyes were open and
glassy, the muscles of her face contracted, her face so warm and deathlike I could
Page 2

think of nothing but the collapsed state of Cholera. With the assistance of Maria
I finally
succeeded in getting some camphor and an cold water and restored Clary to a state
of consciousness, sent Maria for the Dr
Birth: 1786-11-18 Death: 1853-04-20
, he was not at home but Clary felt
so much better in an hour that she did not wish to see him. Thursday
Morning. Last evening Saturlee Worden
called and invited us to go the Theatre
it had been raining all the afternoon and the air being somewhat cooler we consen-
ted to go. There were about twenty of our acquaintances there, spent the evening upon
the whole pleasantly Gilbert
is a good comick actor. Trowbridge
has improved
astonishingly since he performed here before las. The play itself I could not have
admired any where with any acting or scenery. It was Scotts
Birth: 1771-08-15 Death: 1832-09-21
beautiful poem
of the Lady of the Lake converted into a drama. I do not like the idea of dra-
matizing these poems, the haf halt prose have poetry compositions formed by the
transposition is any thing but pleasing, with me it destroys the whole effect.
The farce was the Lottery Ticket I presume you have seen it performed. I never
did before and was very much entertained, it was 12 ocl ock when
we came home. Grandma
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
does not look very complacently at me this
morning, she considers it a crime of the first magnitude for me to
leave the children in pursuit of amusement, and then going with a
young man is a heinous sin in her estimation. Gus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
fell out of bed
too while I was gone “and if any of his bones had been broken” what a dreadful
affair it would have been. This is a delightful morning cool bright
and serene, but my headaches and I cannot enjoy it. I am afraid I shall
not get a letter from you as soon as I anticipated, the last ship which
arrived last Monday from Liverpool left on the 9th of June having
been nearly six weeks on her passage at that rate I cannot expect
a letter before the middle of August. I had hoped for earlier intelligence.
Three weeks more seem a long long time to wait, but I must be patient.
Friday Morning. I have just returned from a ride with George
Birth: 1805-10-07 Death: 1844-02
and Debby


and our little Fred, the morning is delightful, we went to the Owasco lake
and drove along the shore where you and I have been so often. I believe the re-
flection how much I might have been happier with some one that I loved prevented
my taking much pleasure in the ride. Debby is the most insipid
Tasteless; destitute of taste; wanting the qualities which affect the organs of taste • Wanting spirit, life, or animation; wanting pathos, or the power of exciting emotions • Wanting power to gratify desire •
of all company-
ions beside being so mischievous and George the least complaisant, but
they were kind to take me with them and I endeavoured to be agreeable. Fred
was pleased and employed himself in recounting the adventures he has in contem-
plation when his Pa comes home from ‘Engerland’ as he pronounces it. Yesterday
I was sick all day, of course we had abundance of company. Eliza Wallace
Birth: 1810-01-15 Death: 1888-10-19
Eliza ann Nicholson
Certainty: Probable
finally came to tea and I was obliged to get up and dress
myself. They all went to the Lyceum in the evening. Hugh came home with Clary.
Saturday morning. Last evening I called at Capt. Wardens
Birth: 1781-02-26 Death: 1854-10-31
expecting to find Lazette
there but she had gone to Leonards, the walk was so long that I almost regretted
Page 3

going but they would not permit me to return on foot and alone so I rode home in
Leonards carriage. The evening was one of the brightest and wishing to enjoy the moon-
light as long as possible I stopped at Compstons
Birth: 1790 Death: 1850-04-03
. Mary ann
Birth: 1800 Death: 1851-06-04
has another boy
Birth: 1790 Death: 1850-04-03
a fortnight old. Mrs Horner
Birth: 1780 Death: 1856-12-09
and Eliza
Birth: 1807 Death: 1876-10-31
were both there, a Quaker woman
preaching in the New Church and we might have been edified by her discourse had
we gone on the piazza. I staid until nine oclock and then came home, sat
in my window an hour watching the moon and thinking of one far away ‘over the
dark blue ocean’. But I have told you nothing after all of what is passing in
the world that is our portion of it. Well there has been thunder lightning and tempests
in various places though we have have not been severely visited, many lives
have been lost, many crops injured, and some dwellings destroyed. There has
been a great fire at Ithica upwards of $60,000 worth of property consumed,
about 30 buildings destroyed. Webster
Birth: 1782-01-18 Death: 1852-10-24
, Jackson
Birth: 1767-03-15 Death: 1845-06-08
and Black Hawk


have all arrived
at their respective homes. Webster has been nominated by the “Examiner”
for the next President, a report of Cholera at Princeton N.J., doubtful.
Birth: 1804-11-24 Death: 1833-07-26
the murderer of Mrs Hamilton
escaped from prison, is retaken and
soon to be executed. Monday Morning. Yesterday I went to Methodist
meeting in the morning, my eyes being too weak to read. I took the little boys
and went [ missing ]


Reason: wax-seal
after tea. Clary accompanied us, we went up G[ rover ]


Reason: wax-seal

steet crossed back and went to Lazette’s, staid until nearly dark [ missing ]


Reason: wax-seal

as we came out [ missing ]


Reason: wax-seal
me home met Mr McLallen at the gate. Lazette and Clary
came with us as far as Grover Street. Clary returned with them. I came home
and went to bed with the little boys. Clary says Hugh wishes to be married
immediately. I know nothing of course of her intentions on the subject.
We are talking every week of going to Romulus, but do not get started. It seems
almost impossible for me to go now you are not here. I have been endeavouring
ever since you went away to get the waggon washed and made ready but do
not succeed. I shall defer going another week with the hope of hearing from
you. As I predicted Maria
Birth: 1785-04-24 Death: 1870-04-17
and Abijah Miller
Birth: 1779-02-14 Death: 1834-07-11
are coming here in a few weeks
for a visit. Martha
and Isaack
have just returned from Ludlowville.
Mrs Foot
is blessed with another daughter
. I really consider Sally Maria
object of compassion, when she was here last summer she left an infant at home.
The Spectator of Thursday brings no account of late arrivals. I read over and
over again all the shipping intelligence thinking I may perchance see some
mention made of the ‘Europe’, not one word yet, it is now eight weeks since you
sailed. I felt confident of hearing by this time but there are so many reasons
why a letter may be delayed bu for two or three weeks longer, so I will not
despond. Teusday afternoon. Last evening while I was amusing myself
with the piano after putting the little boys to sleep, who should come in all
in the rain but Mr
Birth: 1772-05-09 Death: 1837-03-09
and Mrs Hopkins
Birth: 1778-02-01 Death: 1866-12-17
, they came to spend the night with us,
Page 4

were as social and friendly as they are wont to be. I gave them a much warmer recep-
tion than Maria Miller did us that dismal night we went there though the evening
was equally unpleasant. They came over in their own carriage in company with
Birth: 1793-06-25 Death: 1857-09-06
and Mrs Dwight
Birth: 1782-03-20 Death: 1860-08-30
, took tea and left their establishment consisting of a buggy and
two ponies at the American. Mr and Mrs Dwight went to Dr Richards
Birth: 1767-10-29 Death: 1843-08-02
to spend
the night. They continued with us until ten this morning have gone to Dr Richards
to dinner and intend returning here this evening should the weather prove too unpleasant
to return home. Hester
and her father
have been to Chambly where William
is situated.
Hester is now in Albany on her return home. Mr Verplank
Birth: 1802
has returned to
Ballston. Mrs Sill
is to take possession of her new house in a few months. Samuel

is coming here to study theology in the Seminary, the remainder of the family
are all at home. Mr and Mrs Hopkins both desired me to give their best love to
you when I wrote again, so here it is. Lazette was yesterday so ill that she sent
for the Dr. to come and bleed her. I have not heard from her to day. Thursday
morning. We saw no more of the Hopkins’ I presume they went home immediately
after dinner on Tuesday. Wednesday morning Clary was invited to a party at
Mrs Fredenburghs ^ Carpenters
Birth: 1807 Death: 1894-12-25Certainty: Probable
and I to Mrs Fredenburghs
, about 12 oclock the Miss Kelloggs
x Birth: 1811-09-06  Death: 1839-12-04  Birth: 1814-07-27  Death: 1862-10-03 

George Leitsh
Birth: 1811-06-11 Death: 1855-02-28
and Mr Patchin
Birth: 1805-05-17 Death: 1892-05-17
of Troy called they found me taking my siesta
in consideration of their not living in the village r I arose and dressed myself to see
them. They are a couple of ordinary common place girls very genteelly
Polite; having the manners of well bred people • Graceful in form; elegant in appearance, dress or manner •
dressed. They
told me that Mrs Converse
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
was over to Mrs Beach
’s of course I perceived it was expected
that I would call, this I had always intended to do should a fitting occasion
offer, nine years experience makes no small difference in our feelings, time has
long since effaced all angry recollections and as Mary ann’s frailties appear to be
forgotten by the world I feel no disposition to cast the first stone, besides I had
heard that she was changed, was penitent, I found her little altered, her cheek
was somewhat paler, her conversation a little less frivolous and her manners
a little more free from levity
Lightness; the want of weight in a body, compared with another that is heavier • Lightness of temper or conduct; unsteadiness • Want of due consideration; vanity • Gaiety of mind; want of seriousness •
than in by gone days. Time may destroy but he can-
not create hearts and I ought not to feel disappointed that she still remains
heartless and insipid. Pa had dwelt much upon the improvement in her manners.
I did not think it very perceptible, she is more sedate, her lightness of deportment
has given place to a degree of stiffness which to me is always unpleasant. But
perhaps I cannot judge fairly, she was evidently embarrassed while with me
and may appear more at her ease at another time. Her cheek was slightly tinged
when she enquired about you, this was proof that she is not altogether destitute
of delicacy, her pride has suffered I have no doubt, but that any great moral change
has taken place I am yet to be convinced. She does not look quite as well as
formerly and her voice is altered, she speaks now very affectedly but whether
the alteration is natural or artificial I am unable to say. Although I never loved
or respected Mary ann never could love or respect her, yet there were a thousand old
associations and reccollections which rendered this interview not uninteresting to me.
I know it will interest you and have been prolix in my communication in proportion.
Page 5

She engaged to visit us before she returned to the South and I promised to visit her at
her fathers
. She is to remain four weeks longer probably during that time Catherine
and perhaps Maria are to be married. Now I do so wish you were here to go over there
with me, if Mary ann is what she once was and I am very skeptical about any great
alteration she would endeavor to regain her former influence, it would be so delightful
to have a flirtation, and then Converse is not here to interfere in these little affairs,
it would be almost equal to having old Mr Davidson
for a husband which at one time
I remember was the height of Mary ann’s ambition. But in your love and constancy
dearest I have the most entire confidence and believe them to be sufficiently strong to
withstand all fascinations. So you see I should not be jealous and that would destroy
half of the romance. But seriously I should like much to have you see Mary ann,
it is interesting sometimes to speculate of upon characters we have once admired after
the ‘charm is gone.’ From thence I went to call on the Rays

and then to
see Lazette, found her sick with her cough, the bleeding had relieved the
pain in her side. I came home with the sick headache, sent an apology
to Mrs Fredenburgh whom I had engaged to visit, went immediately to bed and
did not get up again until this morning. Friday afternoon. Dear Henry my
heart is heavy to day. Yesterday afternoon Mrs Moses
Birth: 1799 Death: 1877-04-03
a cousin of mine from
Marcellus called. I have never seen her before, she is the daughter of my mothers
only sister Mrs Talmage
. She told me that Grandma Foot
Birth: 1750
was dead, has been
dead two whole years. Oh Henry how bitterly I feel now the effect of Pa’s policy
in keeping us in such utter ignorance of all my mothers relatives. She who next may ^our^
mother was our earliest friend who soothed our childish sow sorrow when that mother
was no more, has gone to her long home believing that the children of her daughter
whom she loved and nursed and watched over, were ungrateful and had forgotten
her in her old age. That I did not actually forget her is now no consolation to me
often when we were children have we spent hours devising ways and means to
visit and assist her and then I thought the first week of my marriage would
be devoted to her. You know how impossible that would have been, therefore I did
not propose it, but there has been times when I might have gone and I delayed
it until a more convenient season, and the destroyer came, now nothing
is left me but bitter and unavailing repentance, “more deep more bitter
because unheard and unavailing.’ Saturday morning. Eliza Horner visited
us yesterday afternoon, was uncommonly sociable and agreeable. She expects her
sister Mrs Barton
from Buffalo tomorrow. Little Fred went up to spend the
afternoon with his Aunty. Lazette does not get over her cough yet. Worden
has said nothing recently about going to Aurora. I imagine that is given up,
I have not heard any thing from Jennings in a month owing to my own remissness
I shall write with this. Caroline Miller
Birth: 1810
was here on Thursday. All are well
at home, Grandma unusually so. I hope my next letter will be an answer to
one from you. I am expecting to hear daily. Always remember me affectionately
to your Father
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
. I feel very anxious to know how the voyage affected his health.
Once more goodbye. May God bless and keep you. Your own Frances.
Page 6

Sunday morning. August 4th. Dearest Henry I was about sealing this letter when I was overjoyed by the
arrival of your first by the Hibernia. We had a joyful house here I can assure you, it took
more than an hour to read this letter, all the family were gathered about me in eager expectation
little Gus and Fred among the number. Gus said he wanted to hear every word. I dispatched him
to communicate the glad tidings to his Aunty. I looked at the papers superscription at least half a dozen
times to convince myself it was actually your own handwriting. You cannot imagine how much
I feel relieved by the certain assurance of your safe arrival. I did not know that I could
be so happy and you so far away, now I hope to hear from you often. I took your
letter up to Lazette in the afternoon, while I was there the letter which you sent by
the Roscoe came, this was a consummation of our pleasure and we read them all
together then until it was too dark to decipher any more. The Roscoe arrived in port
before the Hibernia but your letter was detained in New York on account of Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24

being absent until I had received the others which were forwarded immediately. Jennings
wrote me a few lines with your letter and is at a loss to account
for the letter you mention having sent by the Hibernia. I shall write to him to day and let
him know all is right, his being absent occasioned them to come in due order. The arrival
of the Roscoe had troubled me considerably. She was reported as having left Liverpool on the 25th
of June and no mention was made of the arrival of the “Europe” and so I thought no letters
from you. The Europe is reported as having arrived, in the Spectator of Thursday which
we received this morning. So it is all satisfactorily accounted for, if Stone
Birth: 1805
had known
how anxiously I read all the shipping intelligence he would not have delayed publishing this for
three days. I shall not now answer any part of your letters, will defer that
until my next letter. If you can conveniently will you write upon more common
paper I found it almost p impossible with my weak eyes to read the letter
you sent me from Liverpool, the paper being so thin the writing on one side is
obscured by that on the other, once more adieu, your own Frances.
William H. Seward
Care Baring Brothers & Co.