Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 3, 1850

  • Posted on: 17 July 2019
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 3, 1850



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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 Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, February 3, 1850

action: sent

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

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Lazette Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01  Death: 1875-10-03

location: Unknown

transcription: maf 

revision: crb 2019-01-28

Page 1

Sunday Feb 3d
My dear Sister,
I have just returned from Mr Pine
Birth: 1803-01-09 Death: 1875-12-07
Church – I wish you could hear him preach
I think sometimes it is worth a journey to Wash-
ington – he is so fearless so original and
withal so sincere – I wish we were so situated
that we could attend his church every Sunday
but I never go without feeling that I have
incommoded the friends who are so polite
as to offer us a seat – I prefer to go in the
afternoon when Mr Meredith
Birth: 1799-06-08 Death: 1873-08-17
usualy remains
at home and some of the children
x Birth: 1842-09-04  Death: 1891-02-28  Birth: 1841-03-17  Death:   Birth: 1839-02-02  Death: 1905-09-17  Birth: 1837-05-06  Death: 1883-03-30  Birth: 1835-05-14  Death: 1903-08-10 
are sent
to other pews – I like Mrs Meredith
Birth: 1801-02-20 Death: 1853-06-28
exceedingly –
I must repeat it again that the society in Wash-
ington quite meets my expectations – I can
count now among the acquaintances I have
made half a dozen women of decided talents
this you will admit is quite a great deal –
You have probably heard of Mrs John Bell
Birth: 1798-10-22 Death: 1877-10-12

John Bell
Birth: 1796-02-18 Death: 1869-09-10
was Secretary of War (I think)
during General Harrisons
Birth: 1773-02-09 Death: 1841-04-04

[top Margin] I am ashamed to tell you that Henry
lost the “dedication” before I had read it
we have searched the house in vain for it –
I do not think it will increase either my love and respect
for the authoress
Birth: 1814-01-27 Death: 1890-07-29
I do not think she is coming to Washington
at all events she is not coming here – Love to Clara
Birth: 1793-05-01 Death: 1862-09-05

your sister –

Page 2

has been a number of times in Congress and is
now in the Senate – I had heard much of Mrs
Bell – we had exchanged cards but had not met
until last week – She was a sick widow when
she married Mr Bell – her first children
x Birth: 1831-09-22  Death: 1910-08-01  Birth: 1827-07-25  Death: 1890-03-31  Birth: 1822-07-24  Death: 1902-01-16  Birth: 1818-08-27  Death: 1901-07-07 
grown up – some married – I do not recollect
the name of her first husband
Birth: 1787-12-25 Death: 1833-06-12
– She is no way
preposessing in personal appearance (indeed the 6 women
I have mentioned are all plain, some positively ugly,
and two of them slatterns) Mrs Bell is masculine
in mind and manner but to me very agreeable –
She never says unmeaning things – always speaks
with force and to the purpose – is converses
fluently and naturally – I sat an hour with
her and the next day invited her here to
tea with Mrs Willard
Birth: 1787-02-23 Death: 1870-04-15
– You dont know
how much I want you to see Mrs Bell – I feel
very inferior to her in ability – you are not –
^I heard^ She paid me the compliment after my call
to say that she had never seen a woman with
whom she was so much pleased – Dont read this
to any one – It is pleasant to be appreciated for the
Page 3

moderate share of ability one has – probably this
is one thing that renders Washington so much more
agreeable to me than Albany once was – People in
Washington are not estimated by their dress or the
furniture of their houses and in this respect it
differs from any other city I have ever seen –
There may be an under current of fashion and frivolty
I do not meet it – My “reception” Friday was
attended by the elite of the city – the same
women among others Lady Bulwer
Birth: 1817 Death: 1878
who is
pleasing from her natural and easy manner
without being in the least assuming because she
is the daughter of an English Lord
Birth: 1773-01-20 Death: 1847-04-27
– and it
is said the grandaughter of an Earl
Birth: 1735-07-19 Death: 1781-05-22
– of this I am
not positive – Sir Henry
Birth: 1801-02-13 Death: 1872-05-23
has at length succeeded
in getting a house, which is rather too small
to accommodate them but they seem determined
to be pleased with every thing – Lady Bulwer is a
little lame – hardly perceptible with the trains
which are becoming fashionable – I was at five
“morning receptions” last week among others Madame
Birth: 1804-12-23 Death: 1882-02-06
– She is younger than I supposed speaks
English well but with a little Spanish accent
pleasing in her manners – The morning
Page 4

receptions are no more, than appropriately one day
in the week for morning calls – all go with bonnets
in street dress – receptions in the evening require
full dress – As many persons go at the same
hour your room is frequently full in the morning –
I saw Mrs Webster
Birth: 1797-09-28 Death: 1882-02-26
for the first time Friday and
was agreeably disappo surprised to find her pleasing
in manner – She is a tall fair ^well^ looking woman
with an uncommonly fine black eye – Of course
I could say only a few words to her as my
room happened to be full at that time – Many
of the ladies think I ought to attend the
evening “receptions” – I do not myself – deep
mourning seems to me very inappropriate for a
full dress party even when there is supposed to
be no feeling in the case – Mrs Crawford
Birth: 1801-12-25 Death: 1878-04-21
at length learned that she must call on the wives
of Senate first – she has deferred it so long that
it will be rather an awkward business – Her niece
Miss Dent
called last week upon Frances
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
Birth: 1798-12-22 Death: 1872-07-27
I believe is the one in fault it is a pity
as it betrays ignorance of his own position –
I hope you will not expect me to write any thing but
about conventional usages – they occupy much
of my time – These general morning visits are
very tiresome and consume time which one feels
might be better employed – but there is no remedy
for it and one must make sacrifices of some kind
to attain any good – I will not complain while I
have tolerable health – Only think my boy
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

is coming home actually coming I hope next
Page 5

month – when the letter came containing his application
great joy pervaded the house – I suppose I shall not
actually die as poor Mrs Bliss
Birth: 1791-09 Death: 1848-06-02
did when her son
Birth: 1815-08-17 Death: 1853-08-05

came from Mexico – as I am not equally infirm –
but I cannot think long on the subject with any
composure – I will copy the letter and application
for Pa
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13

Editorial Note

Frances Miller Seward copied a letter Augustus Henry Seward sent to William Henry Seward in January 1850 here.

Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
went immediately to the War Department and has
since written to Gen Scott
Birth: 1786-06-13 Death: 1866-05-29
for leave of Asence for
6 months – At the War department they told him
Page 6

Augustus’ application to Division Head Quarters had
undoubtedly been granted – His application was
endorsed by the officers commanding at the Fort
The Head Quarters of the Western Division (Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
says) is
at New Orleans – I think he will set out as
soon as he gets an answer to his application
as no time is specified in the application –
Supposing it to have been sent the 8th of Jan – I
think he must have received the answer about this
time – so that we may calculate upon his reach-
ing here in about a month if we receive no
letter in the mean time – I dare hardly calculate
with any certainty – Willie
Birth: 1839-06-18 Death: 1920-04-29
is very homesick
he has no horse and no playmates – the confinement
to this house affects his nerves – though I try
to have him ride and walk as much as can
be done without any specific object – The
weather has been very inviting for the last
week – like our first April weather –
Birth: 1844-12-09 Death: 1866-10-29
is well – much pleased with your letter –
Fred and Frances continue their dissipation
I am glad Lent is coming for it is time
for a cessation – Mrs Willard wishes me to
promise to be one of the examining committee at
the next public examination in August – I told
her I was not competent – she replied she was the
best judge of that – I must tell her that my
principles will not allow me to encourage a public
examination which is another reason quite as cogent.
She was dressed very handsomely the night she took
tea here – her party went in the evening to the
Birth: 1784-11-24 Death: 1850-07-09
s – Mrs Bliss
Birth: 1824-04-20 Death: 1909-07-25
and Mrs Wood
Birth: 1811-04-09 Death: 1875-12-02
were here Friday