Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 5, 1833

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 5, 1833



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Distributor:Seward Family Papers Project

Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, August 5, 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, Auburn August 5th
My dear Henry, Yesterday after finishing my letter to you and writing to Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
and Tracy
Birth: 1793-06-17 Death: 1859-09-12

I was too much fatigued to write any more, did not attend Church, the day was
rainy and unpleasant. Clary
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
went after tea up to Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
’s, found her some better.
Dr. Pitney
Birth: 1786-11-18 Death: 1853-04-20
and Beardsley
Birth: 1807-05-30 Death: 1894-01-15
were here in the evening, your letters were called for and
Beardsley read the first aloud for the edification of Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
Birth: 1751 Death: 1835-10-03
and the Dr, Pa
was not quite satisfied that I had dispatched the last letter to Lazette but I am
sure they could not have read it that night as the first occupied the time until 10
oclock. I can hardly make you sensible how much excitement the arrival of your
letters produced. I am nearly as much congratulated as i I was at the time
of our marriage. Mr Watson
Birth: 1806 Death: 1845
came over Saturday evening to hear all about
it, he wishes me to write you concerning the difficulty among the prison inspectors
and promised to send me some papers from which I might collect information,
when you are not at home I have no facilities for getting new of this kind, the
papers have not come yet. I have not heard a word from Tracy since you went
away, but I thought I would inform him of your safe arrival as he had always
particularly desired it, beside I wished to renew my invitation to Aunty
Birth: 1800 Death: 1876
to come
here during the session of the Court of Errors. I did so, but very much doubt her coming. Your letters were very very interesting to us all and will be read over and
over again until the arrival of some others. I almost wished myself with you when you
described your landing at Liverpool so many romantic associations are connected
with the land of our forefathers that it seems to me a person must be destitute
of a particle of enthusiasm not to feel an unusual degree of excitement when
he first sets foot upon her shores, remember that you cannot describe any thing
too minutely too interest me, a thousand trifles which might be deemed unimportant
to others will have attractions in my eyes from the circumstances of your being the
narrator and their having transpired in a foreign land. I had not heard until
last evening, and then accidentally what was your intended route. I supposed you
^would^ go immediately to London. Mr Watson said you would go to Edinburgh and Peter
Birth: 1793-01-06 Death: 1862-11-11

said you would go to Cork. Pa decided in favour of Peters Country by
referring to your letter to him. So my next letter will be from the Emerald Isle.
Well I have not Grandma’s prejudices against the Irish and shall be glad to hear from
that country of warm hearts and generous impulses. Tuesday morning. Yesterday
was so warm that I did not go out. Mrs Richardson
Birth: 1778 Death: 1857-08-21
called. Augustus Kellogg
Birth: 1803-07-03 Death: 1871-10-30

who appears to be on a very 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 •
footing with Pa was here or riding all
the afternoon. In the evening Mr Watson came and brought the papers he had
promised me. The first in order is the Cayuga Patriot extra published the day
after the removal it commences with, “A majority of the board of inspectors yesterday
removed Col. Lewis
Birth: 1791 Death: 1860-09-05
from the station of Agent . This removal is the act of the majority compo-
sed of Horace Hills
Birth: 1787-10-31 Death: 1873-09-18
, John Porter
Birth: 1790-10-24 Death: 1874-02-03
, and Hervey Hinman
Birth: 1798-12-28 Death: 1836-05-06
. The publick will require at the hands of
these gentlemen good and substantial reasons for this measure. And the party from whom
they derived their power, will demand an account of their stewardship.”
Page 2

The question is then asked what are the chareges against Col. Lewis? and it is intimated
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 •
that the inspec-
tors were influenced entirely by personal considerations, that they cannot have any grounds grounds for
justification, and concludes with, “we leave them to the public judgement. Let them escape from
the charges of ingratitude and political turpitude if they can.” Then follow the protest
of Ezekial Williams
Birth: 1782-01-08 Death: 1856-12-23
and Bradley Tuttle
Birth: 1782-03-03 Death: 1857-11-29
, the conclusion of which is as follows, “His faithfulness
and integrity have in no way been impeached, his reputation as a man and a public Officer
is deservedly high, i in our opinion no other motive or reason exists with a majority of this Board for
such removal, except for personal considerations.” In the Patriot of the next week the reasons of
the inspector are published, which to speak the truth appear to me very flimsy, the charges are
as follows, “We accuse Col Lewis of incincerity and duplicity in his intercourse with and treat-
ment of the Inspectors. We accuse him of disregard to the interest of the Prison. We also accuse
him of that personal deportment towards the inspectors, which must destroy all respectful
feelings and put an end to the mutual harmony and confidence, which should always be
observed between them and the keepers. The following facts will we think support the charges.”
Then follows a specification of each charge which are altogether too long to write, the
principal of which is that he made verbal instead of written contracts and these without
submitting them to the consideration of the Inspectors. The other charges are proved by examples
in my estimation to puerile to interest you, perhaps I am wrong, but they assuredly by come under
the head of “personal considerations.” This is followed by an editorial article commenting upon
the charges of the Inspectors endeavouring to disprove the truth of many of the assertions.
This article is written with infinitely more spirit than that of the inspectors, of the facts which
it contains I am not competent to judge taking it for granted like a good Antimason that
the whole of the republican party are not particular about confining themselves to the truth.
I am now you are away, with regard to politicks like a ship which has lost her rudders,
having lost my guide I am perfectly unable to determine which is the true course. But I
can have faith, fortunately works are not required of me, or I will believe as the Anti
masons do provided I can find out which way that is and provided also that
their belief does not interfere with my settled principles of truth and honour.
But with this affair the Antimasons appear to have little to do, they look on and enjoy
the sport, which sport Grandma says reminds her of a crazy man she once saw who
kept himself constantly in a passion and when he could find no one to fight with
him made war upon himself. I will give you the conclusion of the editorial article
in the authors own words and with this will end the matter in question. “In con-
clusion, we have much reserved for these three gentlemen; we have pictures to hold up to
them by which they may see themselves. We have a score of secret reasons which led
to this perfidious [ an ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: and
unjustifiable act, which we shall write out at leisure for them; which
unless we have misjudged the “intelligent and honourable” of this community, will place
upon them a brand of infamy which time, not circumstance nor the gnawing of their own
anguish shall efface.” Mr Watson said I must certainly tell you all this that it would
interest you highly if it does I shall be more than compensated for the trouble of wri-
ting it. Thursday morning. On Tuesday Pa went to Geneva to attend the commencement.
We sent up for Lazette, her cough has confined her to the house for the last fortnight
It rained before she got here and I am afraid she increased her cold, she remained
with us until last evening, coughs almost incessantly and is not well enough to
be about the house, we had a good visit talked much about you and your letters.
Mrs Dill
Birth: 1809-01-19 Death: 1886-04-24
and Amanda Warden
 Death: 1847-11-10
called in the course of the afternoon. Dill
Birth: 1804 Death: 1866
moved about
two weeks ago into a new brick house upon North Street, this they do not like and
are soon going to remove to the house occupied by Capt. Warden
Birth: 1781-02-26 Death: 1854-10-31
, this is the present
arrangement but he is so fickle I should not like to be responsible for its adoption.
and Perry
Birth: 1782-09-25 Death: 1859-12-30
are keeping house in the old place very much pleased, to day the
Birth: 1791-07-15 Death: 1861-04-30
is to come and consecrate our Church. I shall attend the ceremony.
Page 3

Friday morning. Went yesterday morning to see the consecration of the new church.
Bishop Underdonk and four of five of the most common looking men (clergymen)
performed the ceremony. The Bishop then gave us an excellent sermon, the Church
was filled principally with women, the pews are very high and uncomfortable, the
dressings of the pulpit in very bad taste. Was it before you went away? I think not
that they surrounded the ^each^ point of the tower of the church with a gilded ball,
this seems to me to be very unsuitable and inappropriate to the order of archi-
tecture, we have no clergyman settled here yet. The Bishop is to be here again
in September and administer confirmation, next Thursday the pews are to
be sold. Mary ann Converse
Birth: 1805-05-02 Death: 1848-01-09
was at Church, I invited her to come home with
us but she declined as she was obliged to return immediately to Skaneateles
promised to visit us this week. Eliza Ann Nicholson
Certainty: Probable
came home and took din-
ner with us. After dinner we went to call on Mrs Barton
but before we
succeeded in finding her I was taken sick with a violent headache and
because after calling at Lazettes came home, was kept awake all night by the
tooth ache, slept a little this morning but my tooth still troubles me, shall
have it extracted if not better soon. Saturday morning. Yesterday Eliza Andrews

was sewing for me all day and I had the tooth ache. Eliza I believe has about
given up her Albany beau, John
she has not heard a word from him since we
came home. I told her it was the way of the world. Poor Eliza his little re[ missing ]


Reason: wax-seal

to have confidence in mans truth and honor having been twice disappointed [ missing ]


Reason: wax-seal

“affairs du coeur.” Beardsley came over ^in^ the afternoon and read your second letter
for Grandma’s edification, she does not think any one else can read but Beardsley, and
as I knew he wished to read the letter himself I sent for him to come over, the
reading took up most of the afternoon, in the evening Clary and I went up to see
Lazette, she thinks her cough better. Sunday morning. A fine bright morning
it is, our house is so very lightsome that my eyes are almost blinded, the flies are
revelling in the sunshine, the outside blinds have all been taken down to be repainted
I hope this state of things will not continue long though I presume it is very gratify-
ing to Pa who takes infinite pains at all time to keep the rooms uncomfortably
light, yesterday after tea I went again to call on Mrs Barton, being once more
free from toothache, found her at her mothers
, very pleasant, of course very unlike
Birth: 1807 Death: 1876-10-31
and Mrs Compston
Birth: 1800 Death: 1851-06-04
. Our Church is to be opened to day. Dr Rudd
Birth: 1779-05-24 Death: 1848-04-15
this morning and a Mr Stokes
Birth: 1810
this afternoon. I shall defer going until afternoon.
The organ has arrived. The bell at the 2d Presbyterian Church is cracked, is to be ex-
changed soon. Old Mrs Feilds
Birth: 1756-11-04 Death: 1840-03-28
visited us yesterday, was very glad we had heard
from you. I hope when you write again to hear something more particular about
your Fathers
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
health. I find it difficult to answer all the enquiries that are made
although I have taken it for granted that he was quite as well as could be antici-
pated after his voyage. Monday morning. I went yesterday to church and heard a
very indifferent sermon from a Mr Stokes. Dr Rudd preached in the
Page 4

morning. Mrs Smith
was there and when the Dr rose to preach she took her children
and withdrew walking down the whole length of the aisle, did you ever see anyone
to equal this woman. By the way I had forgotten to tell you that the other evening
when we were up to Lazette’s she came over and when she took her leave she in-
vited me very cordially to visit her. I am very sorry matters have arrived at
this state again. I owe Mrs Smith no malice I can easily forgive all the
evil she has said or done but I have not the least desire to subject myself
to the same experience again by being on more 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 •
terms. She will now
undoubtedly continue to annoy me with invitations with the expectation of at length
succeeding in accomplishing her wishes as she has done with regard to Clary.
Mrs Smith must think I have a treacherous memory indeed if she thinks
I can have forgotten the abusive language she has heaped upon one I love.
But she thinks she is a Christian now and feels a disposition to be on good
terms with every one. Her leaving the Church as she did this morning I should
consider but a poor evidence of the humility of a Christian’s spirit. After
Church I received a letter from Jennings. He says Ma
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
and Marcia
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
return from Cornelia
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
’s this week and then Ma is coming to see us as soon
as she can get ready, we are very much rejoiced to hear it. Grandma
with her usual gloomy prescience thinks something will yet recur to
deprive us of so great a pleasure. Frances Tuthill
Birth: 1801-01-16 Death: 1860-02-07
is married to George
Birth: 1802-09-27 Death: 1878-12-20
. This is no more than I have long anticipated though it appears to
astonish some of our friends very much. I always though George was
attached to Frances and have often told her that she would one day
become his wife notwithstanding her earnest protestations to the contrary.
But the greater part of Jennings letter is devoted to urging me to write often
to you, only think to you dearest who are never absent from my mind to
whom I devote the first hour in the morning to whom I would most gladly send a
letter every day. I follow your directions in sending them once a fortnight. Jennings
knows little of my heart if he thinks this advice necessary. But he is not always
kind and consistent as you are and I suppose thinks as Marcia does that
no one else loves their husbands but herself. Thursday morning, you
will perceive a hiatus of some days in my letter. I have not had a mo-
ment of time that I could write since Monday. On Monday,
Lazette sent me word that Worden
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
was going the next day to Onondaga
and she wished me to go along with her as far as Marcellus and make
our Cousin Mrs Moses
Birth: 1799 Death: 1877-04-03
a visit. I was glad to improve the opportunity
so at seven oclock on Teusday morning Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
and I took our seats in
the coach for our ride. Worden went on business and Grandma also went
with us, they were to be at the Hill at eleven this was the occasion of our
going so early. We had a pleasant ride tht though a heavy rain the night
previous had rendered it rather muddy. We got to Marcellus a little
Page 5

before eleven, did not know where our cousins lived, enquired at the hotel, here was
the usual difficulty. Was it ‘Mr Curtis Moses
Birth: 1792 Death: 1862
or Mr Peter Moses
or Mr John Moses

that we wished to see? All that we could tell was that it was the merchant,
we were directed to a very pretty new white house near a new brick store,
here we stopped and took out the children not being quite sure that we had
found the right place. A cler clery clerk
came out of the store and very
politely assisted in alighting and showed us into the house. Worden and
Birth: 1805 Death: 1885-10-29
went on immediately. A very pretty little girl
of about fourteen
soon made her appearance and said her Ma would be in in a few minutes
asked us to take off our hats. I told her we did not feel quite sure we had
found the right house. I asked her her mothers maiden name she said her
name was Elizabeth but could tell no more, so we concluded that Eliza-
beth was Betsy as we have always called her. Betsy soon made her appear-
ance and gave us one of the warmest of all warm receptions, how much it
contrasted with the frigid kindness we were wont to meet with at our more
fashionable cousins
x Birth: 1785-04-24  Death: 1870-04-17  Birth: 1779-02-14  Death: 1834-07-11 
at Ludlowville. “Lazette and Frances how glad I am
to see you, and the dear children, you have come now to stay two or three days
with us.” Our cousin Betsy is a busy bustling little woman with a round
good humoured face emblematical of her disposition. Untiring in evincing her
hospitality, she did not allow herself to sit down more than five min-
utes at a time, constantly doing something to make us more comfortable,
in this respect she reminded me more of your mother than any one else
I ever visited. Worden was to return there to tea and we were to come home
the same evening. Mr Moses is older than Betsy 15 years does not enjoy
good health, a sensible man a little stiff in his manners but like Betsy
very hospitable and unremitting in his attentions to us. Aft After dinner
we went out to ride, waited tea some time for Worden he did not
return until 9 at night, it was then raining of course we were obliged to
relinquish all idea of retuning home until the next morning. We started
at five the next morning amidst the remonstrances of our kind host and
hostess. I like my new found cousin extremely and am very happy to have
found a cousin of my own that I can love, her conversation could not but
interest us for it was principally about our lost mother the recollection of
whom we have always cherished with so much fondness. I had but one
objection to her husband, he appeared to filicitate himself so much and dwelt so much
in his conversation upon having obtained a competence by prudence and good
management. I think he must be a little avaricious
greedy of gain; immoderately desirious of accumulating property •
though not niggardly,
but I have not yet seen enough of him to form a very accurate opinion.
We got home about 8 oclock, found that Maria and Abijah had arrived
the evening before, were then at Isaacs
Birth: 1791-04-30 Death: 1853-04-03
, came here soon after dinner,
we walked up to see the new Church, came home found Martha
and two
of her sisters

with Grandma. Mrs Porter
Birth: 1803-03-30 Death: 1866-03-02
called in the evening and invited
us all there to tea to day, and it is now afternoon and time for me to prepare
to go, so good bye till tomorrow morning. Friday morning. Yesterday morning
I had the customary felicity
Great happiness; blessedness; appropriately, the joy of heavens • Prosperity; enjoyment of good •
of shopping with Maria, went to every store in
the village and made purchases of the usual small amount with the usual
difficulty and the usual number of complaints that the people here do not keep
as good an assortment as they do in the city of New York, which you will allow
is just cause of complaint. We all visited Mr Porter in the afternoon, don’t you
think Pa went too. This was all to please Abijah I knew but Mrs Porter was very
much gratified, had a pleasant visit, Judith Gardner
Birth: 1794-07-01 Death: 1837-08
and Miss Nicholson were
all of the guests beside the Millers. I wrote on Sunday to Cornelia and enclosed your
last letter after reading it again and again. I knew how much she would like to see
it. We shall expect your Mother soon, Noon. Abijah and Maria have gone home.
Page 6

Maria invited me to come and see her said she supposed Clary could take care of the chil-
dren, she would ask me to bring them along but Abijah did dislike children so much
that she was afraid he would not be glad to see me. I answered laughing that I should
certainly not bring them with me as I always wished to be well received when I went to
make a visit. She said Fred was so good a little boy to mind she did not think that
he would be very troublesome. I replied that children were always troublesome to those
who had none and were unaccustomed to them. Thus terminated the visit of our polite
warm hearted cousins. Maria never once went to her meals without complaining that
she was obliged to eat in the cellar. Saturday morning July ^August^ 18th. Last evening, while I was
with a room full of company your letters arrived from Glasgow, having been 6 weeks
on their passage, I found them very interesting and was exceedingly impatient
for the light of the sun for my eyes would not allow me to finish them
that night. I have now finished reading them only for the first time. Sunday 19th.
yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Jennings saying that Ma, Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
and Mary
would leave New York on Monday morning to come here, we
shall expect them on Thursday. I hope the journey will not injure our Mother
she is still feeble. What nice u times we will have reading over your letters.
I think from what you say that your fathers health must be better than when
he left home. I hope it will continue to improve, you had been in England ten
days when your last letter was written, you are very very good to devote so
much of your time to writing to me, you must necessarily be very much hurried
but I am so much more happy now I can hear from you if the time is long between
the writing and arrival of letters. George
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07Certainty: Probable
has gone to Cornelias.
Frances A. Seward
August 15, 1833
Yours of 14 July received
William H. Seward

[right Margin] All are well. Lazettes cough is better. Worden talks again about Aurora.
John Oliphant
Birth: 1831-08-15 Death: 1888-03
has returned, also Henry Webb
Birth: 1852-05-06 Death: 1900-06-18
and his wife
of Albany
once more dearest adieu
your own Frances