Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 19, 1840

  • Posted on: 19 December 2017
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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 19, 1840



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 19, 1840

action: sent

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

location: Westfield, NY

receiver: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Albany, NY

transcription: axa 

revision: tap 2017-11-17

Page 1

Harmony Hall
19 May 1840
My dear Sister Frances
It seems a long time since we ex-
changed a letter and whose “turn” it is to write
I am almost ashamed to acknowledge I do not
know. What wayward creautures poor mortals
are! How we falter & flag in the discharge of duty:
and occasionally rouse up as from slumber: pur-
posing to be more attentive for the future!
Prospects are that I shall have an hour
of leisure – this hour it will give me pleasure
to consecrate to: my dear Sister Frances. I
often wonder whether an hour spent in ^personal^ conver-
sation with a dear friend; or an hour occupied
in a letter and in thinking upon such friends, and
affords me the greater happiness. At this moment
I feel as if it would be a great gratification to
see and converse with you, face to face: but it
is equally true that it affords me much pleas-
ure spend the hour with you in this way.
You will expect me, perhaps to give you some
account of our domestic affairs. Well – we are doing
as the yankee people say, “nicely.” Our Jane
is a
tidy housekeeper – and having her submissive little
here for company, they are both contented &
happy. They both seem disposed to do all they
can to promote my comfort & make them-
selves agreeable useful. And for this it is
a pleasure to me to reward them with every
little attention & privilege within my power.
Jane however is chief: her age & experience

[left Margin]
tenderest upon my heart, all the while I have been writing: still I have not that
I know of any thing special to remark. Time is soothing my feelings and
accommodating me
to my circumstances.
But my thoughts and
my affections are
as busy as ever: & am
happy to be able to say
that I enjoy
the same
sweet sense
of the goodness
the supporting grace
of my indulgent
Heavenly Father
that, I believe I
have mentioned to
you before. My
hope ^is^ & it is my
comfort also, that the
trial sent now is do-
ing its intended work
upon my heart and
life: my joys have
been greatly increased
& my confidence
strengthened. Oh how
much I would love to
converse with you & tell
you things my pen cannot
Page 2

fits her to take the lead in the family – and
her kindness makes it a pleasure to all, to
comply with her wishes & obey her commands.
Birth: 1828-10-07 Death: 1897-07-24
, so far as I know or mistrust, has
never trod over the line but once: for this he
became penitent in an hour – begged his cous-
ins forgiveness & besaught her to intercede
with me to save him from my displeasure.
Thus was the way prepared to reconcile all
parties & introduce greater circumspection.
& Mary
are willing & attentive as ever.
Wm Finn
& Abbott
– a young clerk in
the office, are quiet spirited & submissive
inmates and so it is we live in the enjoy-
ment of a harmony, which, as far as it is
uncommon, calls for corresponding gratitude
& thankfulness to our heavenly Father.
Yesterday Mr
Birth: 1787-07-23 Death: 1875-04-19
& Mrs Dixon
Birth: 1804 Death: 1858-03-10
spent a couple
of hours with us, at tea time – & it seemed a
delightful little visit to all. But I was ready
to exclaim forty times – what a mis-match
this is: Mrs Dixon is a lady. Our girls
are delighted with the condescending goodness
of this dear woman – and indeed they are
altogether pleased with the society of the place.
Our little Smith
Birth: 1807-05-13 Death: 1864-07-29
& family are boarding
with the family of Rumseys– doing little &
paying little – whereat the Col.
Birth: 1785-06-01 Death: 1873-07-31
is becoming
very uneasy. Smith is half his time
silly & the other half complaining & stupid.
Poor little fellow – his brightness & his
Worthy of love; deserving of affection; lovely; loveable • Pretending or showing love •
cannot save him. When I think
of his wife
Birth: 1815-06 Death: 1906-12-31
, I pity her from the bottom of my
heart – & I feel provoked with him – but
all has been kindness between us thus far.
How we are to come out, I see not as yet.
Mr. Huse
Birth: 1781 Death: 1863-03-04
keeps along just after the
old pattern, as far as I see—but it is said

[left Margin]
The lord bless you – Thou responsible mother of three darling boys
x Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29  Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
; embryo immor-
tals God help you to train them up to sustain their Fathers house – for usefulness
Page 3

I know not upon what authority that he is to
be married – but for myself I should sooner
think of his joining the shaking quakers: that
seems at least practicable – the other, hardly.
Still I do not forget Popes
Birth: 1688-05-10 Death: 1744-05-30
“There swims no goose so gray but soon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate.”
The ladies of your acquaintance are well in
the village – offer enquiries kindly after you and
wonder if you will not visit Westfield this
summer – but dear me! Caturaugus woods
still lie there yet, & cut off, I fear all hope
of such a pleasure. But they were, I believe
a greater terror to Mrs Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
than to you.
By the way – how does the dear lady do
– have you had her society all winter? is she
still with you – and Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
my niece
is she well and has she learned Gov.
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
quick step for me yet, upon
the [ pi ]


Reason: hole
ano? Dear me! how much I
would love to pop in and steal a
kiss apiece from you, all round!
Give my very kindest regards to Mrs W.
Uncle Cary
Birth: 1787-08-11 Death: 1869-06-20
says you were visiting
in Massachusetts, by the last accounts – of this
I am glad. Freddy will be the better for it
and you will be the better - & Henry if he
could be with you. You are preparing and
perhaps, gone to Orange County & the City &
the Island, ere this – and by & by may be ex-
pected, I would hope, to spend a few weeks
or months in that village, which by this
time, you are prepared to call the loveliest
of the plain – sweet Auburn: and I am
hoping that I may have the happiness of
seeing a little of you during the while.
But I do not know —
I seldom hear much from Florida
x Birth: 1769-11-27  Death: 1844-12-11  Birth: 1768-12-05  Death: 1849-08-24 
are you k[ n ]


ow , slow about writing.

[left Margin]
love and happiness hereafter! I long for the day – when the united in love
shall separate no more — May you and all yours be there. B J Seward.
Page 4

Will it be asking too much of you dear Sis
to give me a little account of things there:
and inform me, when it is contemplated
you will be in the city & when at Auburn.
Augustus & Aunt C
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05
will be glad I am sure.
Our Augustus
Birth: 1820-05-18 Death: 1889-05-08
expects to spend the next
vacation (August) at home—& he will be
gratified to be permitted to call on you in
the city, – he is at 47 Cliff St. – Woodruff.
I forget to mention that we are all upside
down – altering our house a little – with car-
penters & masons — Poor Jane has the worst
of it – with the dust of broken walls — Wm Finn
manages it for me – while I have hands
full and heart full to listen to complaints
of hard times in the land office.
But my paper is consumed – and I have
omitted the topick most in my mind and

Mrs Frances Seward
Care Wm H. Seward
MAY 20


Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Jennings May 1840