Letter from Samuel Swayze Seward to William Henry Seward, June 29, 1860

  • Posted on: 6 May 2021
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Letter from Samuel Swayze Seward to William Henry Seward, June 29, 1860
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transcriber

Transcriber:spp:nwh

student editor

Transcriber:spp:csh

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1860-06-29

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Letter from Samuel Swayze Seward to William Henry Seward, June 29, 1860

action: sent

sender: Samuel Seward
Birth: 1838-04-16  Death: 1916-02-22

location: San Francisco, CA

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

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: nwh 

revision: agw 2020-12-21

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Page 1

San Francisco June 29,1860
My dear Uncle,
Believing that the public calls upon
your time are now somewhat alleviated I venture
to present to your consideration some matters of
vital interest to my sister
Birth: 1833-06-08 Death: 1891-06-12
, my brothers
x Birth: 1844-11-20  Death: 1917-01-29  Birth: 1840-11-08  Death: 1910-11-28  Birth: 1835-01-09  Death: 1926 
and myself
I never realized until I left home and came to
this city the importance of an early and earnest
preparation for the Struggle of life — the advantage
of choosing a definite purpose and using all possible
means to carry it out. My own attention was
never, or seldom, called to the consideration of
these important matters and consequently some of
the best years of my life have been almost
wasted, unless, indeed, I can turn my experience
to a good account on the behalf of my younger
brothers. It is to bring about this result if
possible that I now write to you, and I
trust, whatever you may think of the wisdom
of my plans, you will at least acknowledge
the propriety of my motives.
Briefly to state my views it seems to me
first, that neither my brother Fred or John
can long be contented to remain at Florida
and I feel it wrong to expect it of either of
them. It is, I know, desirable to take proper
charge of the real estate we possess in common
Page 2

in that vicinity but we are doing so now at
too great an expense both of time and
money. Even if Fred could live as he now
does and realize all his expenses from the
profits of the property he has in charge, he must
ultimately give it all up and thus lose all
his time. Speaking for myself I would rather
sacrifice one half of the value of my share of
the property than be longer encumbered by it,
and I think when we consider the amount we
have already expended in holding it, and the sum
we might have realized by only an ordinary
effort elsewhere, it will be found almost to
reach if not exceed one half the value of the
property. Therefore I propose, subject to your
approval, that the house at Florida and
the farm near Mount Eve be sold, or otherwise
disposed of as soon as convenient and prac-
ticable, in order that my brother Fred may be
at liberty to seek a more certain, remunerative
and lasting livelihood elsewhere. As to my
younger brother John I have written to my
sister and to Fred to direct his mind as soon
as possible to the choice of a profession, and
in case he should choose one of the learned
professions to place him in immediate prep-
aration for College, but if he seemed inclined
to a mercantile life I have offered and am
willing and anxious to take him under my
care here. Whether it would be agreeable to them
Page 3

or not I cannot say but I have often expressed
the desire that my brothers should choose the
State of California as their future home, and
in order to offer them every possible advantage
in coming I have striven to place myself on an
independent footing so that I might help them
till they no longer needed it. It was for this
purpose as much as to gratify any wants of
my own that I wrote to you on the 5th of
February last to request you if possible to place
at my disposal part of my share of the estate
of my grandfather
Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
. To that letter I received no
reply and I addressed Mr Grier
Birth: 1802-09-27 Death: 1878-12-20
on the same
subject by the mail of the 20th of April. Now
I again proffer the same request hoping you
will now have time to answer it.
All these matters have occupied my mind
more or less for a long time but hitherto I have
run no hope of unraveling the difficulty I under-
stand that it is your intention to spend part of
the summer and autumn at Goshen and therefore
I now more particularly urge this matter upon
your attention. You have it in your power to do
us as a family of brothers and sister a great service.
We only ask freedom to act for ourselves with the
benefit of your advice and the encouragement of
your approval. Such a change will be hailed
with joy by us all except perhaps my sister, who
will thereby lose a home in which she takes much
pride but I am sure she will willingly give
Page 4

that up for the sake of her brothers. I know
not what legal objections stand in the way
of such a consummation as this but I am
willing to do anything in my power to remove
them if that be possible. I should dislike very
much to give up the situation I am now filling
here but if necessary I will do so, and come home.
In the meantime I shall wait most anxiously for
an answer to this letter, and I now beg a reply
even if it be unfavorable.
My health is not as good this summer as
it should be, but I am in hopes it will im-
prove as the fall advances.
I am acting as Clerk in the office of the
City & Co. Atty and am well satisfied with my
position. I do not, however, find much time to
read, the details of my duties being somewhat la-
borious.
Great disappointment is expressed here
at the choice of the Chicago Convention. The Rep's
of this state and Oregon are all strongly in
your favor but they will give their hearty, and
I hope in Oregon successful, support to the ticket
as nominated.
Please give my regards to Aunt Frances
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21

and my cousins
x Birth:   Death:   Birth: 1830-07-08  Death: 1915-04-25  Birth: 1826-10-01  Death: 1876-09-11 
. I am
Respectfully
Your Nephew
Samuel S. Seward
Hon. Wm H. Seward