Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, May 5, 1837

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, May 5, 1837



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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to William Henry Seward, May 5, 1837

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: Albany, NY

transcription: sss 

revision: ekk 2015-06-04

Page 1

Friday morning May 5th
My dearest Henry, I could not help expecting a
letter this morning but none comes so I must e'en
write without. Lazette
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
and Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
came last
night. I do not think Lazette is much better than
she was last winter - she certainly looks very ill
I wrote Teusday morning immediately after you
left and asked Lazette to let me know whether I
should send for her. She came in the stage with
Birth: 1797-03-06 Death: 1856-02-16
who was coming the day she received
my letter. She is now very much fatigued.
I write perhaps sooner than I should do but for
some letters from Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
which came yesterday
one written the 28th and 2 the 29th of April the
two 1st are on the office business the other relates
to that part of your first letter requesting him
to remain at Westfield until July. They all occupy four
sheets I will try to conden[ se ]


the contents. The first dated
Deerfield April 28 - "Lewis
is now settling his family in town
- I think wishes to remain with us - speaks of his expenses as if he
wished more compensation - and of an undefined promise you made him
on this subject. - I should like to settle understandingly with him. Please
inform me. Lewis has taken the agency of an insurance company in
Utica - this will enable him to visit disaffected districts without discovering the
object - our business with the other he wishes should neat him $2 perday
he wishes also to travel with a horse. It seems important to me to have
the services of such a man - & the description of services is one that must
be libereally paid. Pray give me your views in relation to time and price"
Jennings then speaks of the difficulties and responsibilities of his own
situation but adds that he begins to see things more clearly. "I am not
quite satisfied with Mr Lewis minutes - they seem to be taken without a
clear perception of the things we stand most in need of" he then gives
Page 2

an example which is too long to copy - and concludes with - "Lewis needs clearer views
of what we want"- "I have purchased a pair - "Well I have concluded a
bargain and by way of keeping up the dignity of the land office, the selection
is a pair of iron grays - a little cheaper (not less in price) than yours - a little
better" — "Evening" — I have just received your letter of the 25th and have
only room to say that had I received it before it would have prevented
my purchasing the horses" — The 2d letter April 29 - The first part
is occupied with receipts which I will not copy. Nathan Smith

has not returned. "Your instructions in regard to collecting and husbanding
the money shall be observed. Can you call up the circumstances to memory
how the case of Martin Clark
and Jabez Burchard
stands" - but this is
too long for my poor eyes to copy. "The extent of the pressure you
mention alarms me. We have had a consultation and think the statement
may be done in little less than two weeks - possibly to have it reach you
in Auburn at that time - have not been able to obtain help" —
The 3d letter written the same day is entirely about family and home
occupies 2 sheets - after some preliminary observations - "I have
looked at your proposition in every attitude and came at length
to the conclusion, that take what course I would serious injury
was likely to be the consequence - but my dear brother you have
asked of me a vast deal more than you think. Your Sisters
Birth: 1794-07-23 Death: 1839-10-25
and even life is deeply concerned. Marcia's miserable health
has increasing debility, had brought me to determine at all hazards
to resign my office in May and spend the summer in traveling
for her benefit - before your generous proposal was made &
it came like the dearest "God sends" that I ever noticed. We
talked of my remaining and her coming on in March but when
I arrived home I found I had talked without knowledge.
The poor woman was reduced to a shadow with scarcely
strength enough to set a chair to the table. She is no more
fit to go on a journey with a bag as a stranger than a
little child would be without its nurse - you would not
ask it if you saw her. When we found she could not
accompany me it became a matter of consultation whether
she might return to follow at easy stages with Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

but it was promptly decided, that it would be entirely
unsafe. Since then she has been failing in strength and
must if there is no change for the better soon be confined
to her couch. Undoubtedly you see an air of importance
in my detention which I cannot & which could not perhaps
be put in a short letter – any point where our judgements
differ except in cases of extreme sickness & death is cheerfully
Page 3

conceded - but of this there is with me no question - you did not
know the sacrifice you asked. I have therefore to express the hope
that if I shall set matters in the most favourable position
I can and give and give any directions you may wish, to have
daily or semiweekly reports made to you, before I go - make
all possible speed in my trip, that you will be satisfied
I cannot will set my own consent to go without yours,
and I hope you will as cheerfully as you can give it
for my relief. I ought to have mentioned that my family
have been obliged to leave give up the house, except the
smoke house which answers to cook in and some garret
rooms - our goods are all lying in packing boxes under
a shed, so that I need not be detained - something may
& perhaps ought to depend upon my advices from home
Pray tell me what you think".
This is about the substance of the 3 letters if your
desire is I will send them to you. I think you will
not hesitate to release Jennings. he certainly ought
to go. We are all well. Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
Birth: 1791-09-07 Death: 1860-11-16
, and the boys
went to Skaneateles yesterday morning. Worden
says J.C Spencer
Birth: 1788-01-08 Death: 1855-05-17
has written twice to you there
an no letters here or at the office have you received them
No rain yet - the earth is parched and the plants in the
garden withered - it is melancholy
Depressed in spirits; dejected; gloomy; dismal • Producing great evil and grief; causing dejection; calamitous; afflictive • Grave looking; somber •
to look on and find
your own inability to afford any relief. Mrs Benedict

sewed for me yesterday - we have the house whitewashed
next week. I feel anxious to hear how you get along
with your business. I hear nothing new. Remember
me to the Weeds
x Birth: 1819-02-06  Death: 1893-11-01  Birth: 1797-11-15  Death: 1882-11-22 
. your own Frances -
Lazette sends love.
Page 4

William H. Seward
Care of Thurlow Weed
Auburn Albany
Goshen Orange Co Albany
Auburn NY
May 5


Type: postmark

May 10


Type: postmark

Goshen N.Y.
May 15


Type: postmark

May 19


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
F A Seward
May 5, 1837