Letter from William Henry Seward to Benjamin Jennings Seward, March 22, 1838

  • Posted on: 10 March 2016
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Benjamin Jennings Seward, March 22, 1838



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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 William Henry Seward to Benjamin Jennings Seward, March 22, 1838

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: Batavia, NY

receiver: Benjamin Seward
Birth: 1793-08-23  Death: 1841-02-24

location: Westfield, NY

transcription: sgl 

revision: crb 2015-11-12

Page 1

Batavia March 22nd 1838
My dear Jennings,
I was able to send you only a hurried note yesterday.
My journey here had something more than its usual share of troubles. Mr Rum-
Birth: 1785-06-01 Death: 1873-07-31
and myself fixed upon Silver Creek as the termination of our first days
journey. But with diligent exertion we were able to get no further then
a miserable tavern four miles short, when the night became so dark
that we could go no further. We slept as we might, and next day reached
Silver Creek at nine o'clock. Oliver Lee
Birth: 1791-12-23 Death: 1846-07-28
told me the name of the man
who passed to another man (his son and the son to me) the fifty dollar
counterfeit bill which I lent to Mr Kibbes
Birth: 1767-03-04 Death: 1841-08-04
last fall. As he made
the case a clear one I wrote to the offender that if he did not
pay $50. good money for it first within ten days I would prosecute
him in a way which would be neither pleasant or profitable.
Bear this in mind if you can that when I go next to Chautauqua
I may redeem my promise. I forget the individual now but
he lives in Hanover.
After plodding
To travel or work slowly or with steady laborious diligence • To study heavily with steady diligence • To toil; to drudge •
until two o'clock through the
mud we overtook the stage wagon at Evans centre 23 miles
from Buffalo. Entered therein and arrived at eight PM at Buffalo.
There were to be two coaches to leave at 10 that evening and none
until ten the next evening. But the two stages were to carry ten
convicts under the charge of two sheriffs to Auburn. I revolted
at this association conjuring up all imaginable associations of dis-
gust but at last submitted to the necessity, and having packed one
coach with the least offensive five, I set off at 10. The smell of the
dungeon hung round the convicts and I was obliged to ride with
my head out of the coach. Their conversation was still more offensive
than their dress. We rode six miles when a back wheel came off
Page 2

and the coach came down violently. We had the villains out and
raised the coach but lo the very tip end of the axletree had broken
off, so that we could in no way fasten the wheel. After walking a mile
watching the wheel we rigged a rail outside of & proping against
the wheel and this continued our journey two miles further when
the accident recurred causing the driver and an outside passenger
to fall off by which misfortune they suffered a severe bruising.
We never left our ship and the Sheriff drove his crew of chained
convicts before him. I could of course not refuse to aid him in
this disgusting business. In that way we arrived at Williamsville.
There they got into the tavern and drank and gloried in their
crimes until I was no longer able to endure my position. The
stage driver got a wagon, loaded it with his precious cargo
and I left them setting out at two in the morning. After sleep
& breakfast I hired a wagon & horses for $10, to bring me here –
as I supposed I was undoubtedly detaining Rathbone
Birth: 1791-08-02 Death: 1845-05-13
& Schermerhorn
Birth: 1791-12-11 Death: 1855-08-22

here. All day from 9 AM to 8 PM I rode in a very cold damp
day and then arrived here four hours after the coach I had
abandoned. Mrs Carys
Birth: 1788 Death: 1863-06-22
bright face, cordial heart and all
other needful appliances restored me.
Schermerhorn was waiting, Cary
Birth: 1787-08-11 Death: 1869-06-20
& Lay
Birth: 1798-07-26 Death: 1860-10-21
on the lookout & Rathbone
wrote me he could not come.
I submitted my papers yesterday to the Board and after a mor-
nings discussion and dinner handed them all to Mr P J. Van
Birth: 1799-12-23
. The whole aspect of the officials indicated that the objec-
tions I made were anticipated. We argued the matter until
we eventually understood each other. Mr Van Hall has just
given me his ultimatum. Which is to assume my account and add
interest at two per cent from 1 January lost $2500. To which
I have assented. Tomorrow morning I go on to Auburn. Your papers
if they come here will follow me to Auburn. All is settled
here between us & the Holland Company, without further papers.
Page 3

Friday Afternoon.
My dear J. I have your letter & thank you for your prompt
attention to my request about Mr. Lewis
Birth: 1801-08-07 Death: 1879-10-12
certificate. The docu-
ment I think will be satisfactory.
I am annoyed at your morbid feelings about the $800.
I do not see how you magnify it into a mole hill. The matter
is now reduced to a certainty that the estate will pay me a
handsome profit in any event, and that it will be made
forthcoming. The salary I proposed you should take is no
otherwise material except as not diminishing my means to pay
for a property abundent to compensate you for all your
time trouble outlay &c. I have not the most remote concep-
tion how you can suppose that because you have expended
$800 more than $1200 you are thereby impoverished. As to that
and the small note I have against you I am sure I am able
to without them. I would have proposed to you (to
relieve you of all solicitude on that subject) to reduce the
affair to a shape in which these debts would be extinguished
if it had not been that I could not do it without giving the matter
a shape in which it might embarrass the arrangement I propose for your
family. Besides this it is so near a close now that I see no reason to fear
we shall divide the property and my interest come to me substantially
paid for so that I can at once make with you an arrangement entirely
satisfactory to you. I pray that you do not give yourself an[ y ]


further trouble
or vexation about this matter. The schedules made by Humphreys
Birth: 1814-03-15 Death: 1885-06-09

will be as soon as received here examined. Write to me at Auburn
until the first day of April next.
Your own brother
Page 4

Benjamin J. Seward Esq.
Chautauqua Land Office


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

William Seward

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
March 22, 1838