Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 17, 1859

  • Posted on: 27 April 2021
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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 17, 1859



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Letter from William Henry Seward to Frances Miller Seward, July 17, 1859

action: sent

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

location: Trentham, England, UK

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


transcription: cnk 

revision: amc 2020-12-14


Page 1

Trentham, Sunday morning June 17
I am all alone, and I must write for companionship,
I see only the curious and manifold beauties of this
place and I can write of nothing else.
Yesterday afternoon after visiting the barns stables
granaries, mills, mechanics shops and other things
of that sort, I sought the poultry yard – where I
saw every species of fowls & the ducks, geese, barn
yard fowls of every nation. doves pea fowl and
pheasant and pea fowl – each established in
quarters constructed with reference to their
particular habits, but with a stability and archi-
tectural grace worthy of a human residence – Thence
to the dog houses and yards where my visit
brought up to the gates hosts of scholars impatient
of restraint and howling barking and yelping in
a deafening chorus – The mastiff tried to tear
me to pieces and turned to fawn on his master
The shepherd dog timidly stole up for a caress
the hounds yelped for deliverance, the terrier fretted
and barked – the pointers moaned – I found that
dogs do not like to be confined at school more
than other children – In all this survey of
Page 2

animal domesticated, the poor hen seemed to be made
the butt of all manner of tricks. Always laying eggs
for the continuance of her family. she was made to
get on all other hens eggs but her own – nay
they shut her up in a cage to hatch the
pheasants which straightly they have learned
to walk desert the poor fool of a step mother
all at once – The Pea fowl, observe no laws
They fly the enclosures and feed on strawberries
in the front gardens, But what so graceful as
the family of swans continually sailing on the
smooth lake from shore to shore – Although you
hear the sound of distant bells and of the
rattling rail road trains, over the bells yet so
perfect is the quiet here that the wild duck
brings her young to train them on the waters which
surround the house and lend such surpassing grace
to the gardens –
I have said nothing of books. It has never
been my portion to fall in upon so fine a private
library. The Duke
Birth: 1786 Death: 1861-02-28
is a good scholar and cultivates
the classics, as well as foreign literature – all
Page 3

the Halls are filled with cases besides a
spacious library rooms properly appropriated. One
wonders when he stops to look at a picture, how
such a great collection could be made to
adorn the walls every hall and chamber
and yet every one be worthy of a place in a
gallery. I am going to church – Perhaps this
may be the end of this letter as I intend to leave
for London tomorrow morning.
Sunday evening
What I have seen is so important a part of the aristocratic
system that I am repaid by it for staying over to day.
The Church is certainly a very pretty one a medieval
church restored – The house keeper
showed me the
way through halls and corridors to the ^only^ gallery above
It stretches quite across the end of the church opposite
the desk – and is exclusively appropriated to the
family – There quite too conspicuously I was seated in
the Dukes seat, Below me the people – One half
of the Church appropriated to the servants and tenantry
The servants having precedence – and in truth looking
very unlike servants – There is no organ – the
music is vocal exclusively and is conducted by
Page 4

children "because the Dutchess
Birth: 1806-05-21 Death: 1868-10-27
likes to hear them
sing and have them trained to sing." At the end
of the church beneath the gallery were the
children of the Duchess schools – tidily arranged in
uniforms of very cheap and plain enough for quakers.
At the door great baskets of hugh loaves of
white bread – one for each poor person in the
parish – It was apparent enough that the Rector

is not a part clergyman but a truly sincere and
earnest one – The Duke has just caused water
works to be constructed which supply the villages
and the tenantry with pure and wholesome water.
The preacher on the suggestion of this fact chose
a text which in substance says that it is God
who supplieth us with water and keeps us
in peace without contention – He ardently compli-
mented the great landlord for his benevolence
and drew a pleasing picture of English rural
life, a people living under the protection of one who
is at once their landlord and their friend, and
following their pastor in the performances of the duties
of religion – This he said is peace, the peace on earth
which alone shadows forth the peace in Heaven.
Page 5

He admonished
his simple flock
that they should never
seek a change – for change
is war – and then in contrast
depicted the disastrous, the carnage
and the miseries of the war in Italy only
just now closed – They were satisfied with
his conclusion although it seemed to me by no
means a logical one, and they devoutly followed
him afterwards in prayer for the Queen
Birth: 1819-05-24 Death: 1901-01-22
and the Aristocracy
No wonder that the English peasantry who go to the United States
are always conservative. They are earnestly loyal here – What a vigorous race
the gypsies of whom I yet meet a few in the high roads, have been to resist
the influences which mould the mass of English people into relations of docility
and subserviency – "George Whitfield
vermin destroyer" was the inscription on
the gypsy cart. How do the Gypsies destroy vermin? said I. to the
Birth: 1809 Death: 1876-06-27
of this estate. They dont said he – They are the vermin themselves
and the police is fast destroying them –
And now for the last words upon Trentham.
I venture to write them thinking they will never be said seen by
unwelcomed eyes. When I came here ^to England^ I heard whispers
as I had in America derogatory for the
sincerity and benevolence of the Duchess
of Sutherland and her Kinsmen and
friends Lords Carlisle
Birth: 1802-04-18 Death: 1864-12-05

and Shaftsbury
Birth: 1801-04-28 Death: 1885-10-01
were said to be
Page 6

Our slave defending factions so accuse them. I have learned
that all such accusations are unfounded and
false – You cant be in this neighborhood certainly
not in this house or home without seeing
the most satisfactory evidence that it is the home
of virtue and benevolence as well as of taste.
I have satisfied myself of the character of the
Mistress of the Robes – It is as sincere and
honest as it is noble – I am sure never was
sovereign beloved and respected more than
the Queen of this realm – never did the
existing constitution seem so safe – and I think
it is mainly owing to the fact that her domestic
and social convictions are ^held many^ with such fervor
as those of whom I have spoken – Every man
and every woman in England is sure that there is
no vice or pollution protected by the throne,
but that the Court of England is moral and
pure – Certainly the favor in which the Mistress
of the Robes is held is one of the evidences which
rightly satisfy the public mind – Your own
Page 7

Trentham July 15 18

[right Margin] No 12
Duke of Sutherland