Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 8, 1859

  • Posted on: 15 April 2021
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Letter from Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 8, 1859



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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 Frederick William Seward to Frances Miller Seward, May 8, 1859

action: sent

sender: Frederick Seward
Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25

location: Albany, NY

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: csh 

revision: amc 2020-11-24


Page 1

Albany, Sunday morning
May 8 th 1859
My dear Mother,
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
, Anna
Birth: 1834-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02

and I breakfasted together
at the Astor yesterday morning
at 8 o’clock, and from that
time until he left, his room
and the halls adjacent
were crowded with friends, come
to take leave of him. At
nine, I went down to the
Ariel to put his baggage
aboard, consisting of his trunk
& coat, and sundry parcels
and gifts for the voyage
Page 2

which people kept bringing till
the last moment, as for instance
Mr Derby
Birth: 1818 Death: 1892
, books to read at sea,
Mr Blatchford
Birth: 1798-04-23 Death: 1875-09-04
, a ream of thin
paper to write home upon – Mr
Birth: 1802-03-14 Death: 1878-04-19
, charts of the Atlantic
Mr Stetson
Birth: 1810-04-01 Death: 1888-03-29
, a bottle of brandy
Judge Peabody
Birth: 1816-07-10 Death: 1901-07-03
, a box of cigars
&c &c. These I stowed in his
stateroom, which is on the upper
deck, and the best in the
Returning to the Astor, I
found the two Republican Com-
mittes had arrived to escort
him to the boat, and at
ten they started down Broad-
way in procession. At Castle
Garden, he took leave of Clarence
Birth: 1828-10-07 Death: 1897-07-24

Mr Schoolcraft


, Mrs Wharton
Birth: 1812-10-29 Death: 1889-10-09

Page 3

and the others who were not
going down the Bay. We then
went aboard the Josephine,
the steamboat which was to take
the party down. There were about
three hundred of us, the Com-
mittes & their guests, who were
admitted by engraved cards
of invitation (one of which I
tried to get to send to you,
but they were in such demand
by people wanting to go, that
I did not succeed) Among
those on board were Charles
Birth: 1789-03-16 Death: 1867-09-27
, Col Seaton
Birth: 1785-01-10 Death: 1866-06-16
of Washington
Gov. Clark
Birth: 1806-10-23 Death: 1892-08-23
Judge Peabody, Senator
Birth: 1809-02-10 Death: 1896-06-11
, Capt. Schultz
Birth: 1804-08-15 Death: 1867-05-02
Preston King
Birth: 1806-10-14 Death: 1865-11-12

George Harrington
Birth: 1816-10-26 Death: 1892-12-05
, Mr Murray
Birth: 1807-11-27 Death: 1885-11-08
William Beach
Birth: 1816 Death: 1860-03-14
& George Peck
Birth: 1797-08-08 Death: 1876-05-20
who came
down from Auburn on purpose
and a great many other old
acquaintances. Then we steamed
Page 4

down the Bay, which was still
and calm, with hardly a breeze,
and under a cloudless sky.
At Quarantine we stopped
to take the Health Officer Dr. Gunn
 Death: 1871-12-24

on board, and to put Mr Blatch-
ford and Capt. Schultz ashore
who had to be back in town
at 3 o’clock.
The rest of the voyage, past
the Islands, the Forts, and down
to the Sandy Hook, was delightful
Here the lunch came in. There
was a cannon and a band
of music aboard, which alter-
nately awoke the echoes from
the shore.
Off Sandy Hook, we lay to,
to wait the approach of the steamer
Meanwhile the people gathered
on the promenade deck and
Page 5

insisted upon a farewell speech
from Father. I need not tell
you it was a beautiful and
touching one. As he concluded
the Ariel hove in sight, prece-
ded by the Alida, another
steamboat full of friends from
Brooklyn. The latter soon
came alongside, boarded us,
and carried Father off to
their boat, to shake hands
with them and bid them
good-bye all round. By
the time he came back the
Ariel had reached us, We
ran up by her side & made
fast, while steps were let down
by which he went up on board
Our people gave three cheers, which
were answered by those on board
Page 6

the Ariel, and echoed from
those on board the Alida. Our
cannon replied to a salute from
the steamer’s guns, and the
boats slowly separated, as the
bands played “Sweet Home”
and “Auld Lang Syne”
Just then the steamship
City of Washington, also outward
bound, for Liverpool, came along
Her people became infected with
the enthusiasm of the occasion
and crowded her decks, cheering
hoisting all their flags, and
firing their guns. And so, the
two steamships side by side
flanked by the two steamboats
with guns firing, bells ringing,
handkerchiefs waving, flags flying.
and people cheering moved
majestically out to sea. I
do not think I ever saw so
Page 7

grand a procession.
After passing the Hook, the
City of Washington fell off to the
eastward, and the Alida
turned back towards Brooklyn.
But the people on our boat
would not be content to leave
him. Again and again, they
would run the Josephine up
alongside the steamer, for
another cheer and salute,
until we had followed her
several miles out into the
open ocean. Finally when
we could no longer see him
from the deck, the Captain
of the Ariel took Father up
on the top of one of the paddle-
boxes and there he stood
waving his handkerchief to
us, until we lost sight of
him. Our band played
Page 8

Hand Shiftx

Frances Seward

Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
Fred – May 8 th
Hand Shiftx

Frederick Seward

Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
“Yankee Doodle” until he was
out of hearing, so that he
might “hear it as long as
America was in sight.”
We turned back towards New
, and on the way the crowd
gathered on the lower deck
to hear speeches from Preston King
Senators Diven & Laflin
Birth: 1823-10-24 Death: 1878-09-24
& Judge
Peabody. We reached Castle
Garden at four o’clock, and
started for home. But at
the Astor we found Mrs
Wharton, who thought Anna
had better stay, on account
of her grandmother (Mrs Boyd)
Birth: 1781-11-22 Death: 1860-11-20

who has lately been slightly
unwell, but whose illness yest-
erday evinced some dangerous
symptoms. So I left her there, and
came up myself in the train, reaching
here just before midnight. F. W. S.
Page 9

newspaper clipping enclosed
Page 10

Frederick W. Seward
[hole] N.Y.
No 1