Letter from George Washington Seward to William Henry Seward, May 10, 1864

  • Posted on: 15 November 2016
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Letter from George Washington Seward to William Henry Seward, May 10, 1864



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Letter from George Washington Seward to William Henry Seward, May 10, 1864

action: sent

sender: George Seward
Birth: 1808-08-26  Death: 1888-12-07

location: Florida, NY



Birth:   Death: 

location: Unknown

transcription: sss 

revision: obm 2016-09-07


Page 1

Florida May 10th 1864
My Dear Henry
I desire to make a statement of some
incidents which has taken place lately.
You may recolect that while ^I was^ at your house in
March last and in the course of a conversation
between us, you spoke of the integrity and honesty
of Geo. M. Grier
Birth: 1802-09-27 Death: 1878-12-20
as an Executor of the estate of
Samuel S. Seward
Birth: 1830-04 Death: 1835-11-22
, to me, you seemed anxious to
inspire me with full confidence in that regard
and that you saying so, should be held by me
as full, and conclusive, the fact that you did it
is sufficient evidence to the assumption that I
had at sometime or in some way, doubted or dis-
puted it, I did not then and there controvert
your conclusion, for the reason, first, that I felt that
you would not admit and secondly, that it would
very likely judging, from past experience be followed
by expressions of your displeasure and perhaps by
retalliation and punishment, I however did say
that I had not for sometime had any quarrel
with Mr Grier, that if I asked him for money and
he let me have it, I took it, if not, I tried to do
without it.
I reached home the 7th of April, and the day after
I went back to my Clerkship, on the Saturday
after I met Mr Grier on the side walk in Goshen
He told me, that he was making up Henry’s
accounts, previous to his coming and that he
wished to arrange some of our accounts together
I did not there understand, whether Mr Grier
made reference to you or my son Henry
Birth: 1835-01-09 Death: 1926
Page 2

I told him that I expected to be in Goshen late on
Monday evening and that I would call there
which I did. He then told me that he had
been casting up your accounts, that you had
charged him in money as a rent for your
property in the Village of Florida such an a-
mount, that he was likely to fall greatly in ar-
reages of the rents accruing to him, I do not
pretend to give the language but the substance
To make up this deficiency, he proposed to tax
me at the rate of One hundred (100) dollars a year
for the pasturage and hay for a cow and horse
that I had had from the land and the privelege
that I had had in the barn and yards
I told him, that he had charged me I believed
yearly for such pasturage and hay and that
he had charged an amount to suit or satisfy
himself. I know that I thought it was full
as much as it ought to be.
Mr Grier wanted me to say how many years I
had occupied my present residence, the time
or the years I had had a cow and horse, which
I did, in justification of his claim, he said
that your expenses were enormous and that
he supposed you felt that you had a right to
claim or seek for aid or help from us all to
help you out of it,
And for a further argument he stated that the
commissions in settling are estate had allowed
a charge of an hundred dollars a year for the
keeping of a cow and horse against his Aunt Sayer

I told him I thought that the charge was
pretty steep, he admitted that he thought it
I alluded to the fact that he had made a
Page 3

charges, from year to year for the pasture and hay
he admitted that he had done so, but plead that
at the rate you charged him and for what he
had received, he would be greatly in arreages,
The matter was not finished at that time
and he told me that he thought of going down
to the City the next day morning, which he did
and there met yourself, as I understood after-
wards from himself.
On reflection, I felt that it was a wrong proposed
to be done towards me and my family and felt
strongly inclined not to allow it but remembering
our conversation at your house, I concluded I would
yield and do as he wished me and then make
what use of it as I chose at some future time
We met on the next Wednesday or Thursday
evening and went into the settlement, I determin-
ed to yield to all of his demands and accordingly
at his request made out the paper marked
No 1, as the years, which I had had a cow and
horse pastured and hay from the meadows, this
was done from memory and I have no doubt is
correct so far as ^regards^ time, the amount of his claim
is set down at five hundred and fifty (550) dollars
The paper marked No 2 is made up from charges
against me for hay and pasturage as read from
his book by himself and set down by myself the
date page and ^the^ amount is three hundred fity
six (356) dollars, which leaves a balance of one
hundred ninety four (194) dollars.
I would observe in this place that at the time
I had no thought of ever exhibiting or in any-
wise using papers. I was not as particular in
making those out as I might have been, they are
now as then made and as Mr Grier saw them
Page 4

After figuring out the amount of one hundred and
ninety four (194) dollars as above, Mr Grier said that
he would be only fifty (50) dollars out of pocket and
that would not break him.
He then said he wanted me to write a vouch-
er my own way, that he could file and also
charge the amount on his book, I wrote the
voucher accordingly and he placed it on file
number above 1030 and under 1100. I believe but am
not certain. I also wrote the charge on his book
under date the 15th April 1864.
I have thus made my statement as intended
after an interval of a month without passion or
an unkind feeling toward Mr Grier or any one
but with the most painful emotions of morti-
fication and mistrust in his fairness and integrity
as an Executor mingled with doubts and unwel-
come foreboding in the future both as regards my-
self and towards heirs of the State, truly can I
say I wish it were otherwise, I submit it to you
(and refer you to evidence within your reach) not
because I wish to arragn Hi or in the least injuire
Mr. Grier or to shake your confidence in him or in
any hopes that any advantage will accrue to me
past experience forbids that, he claims to be your
bosom friend and your confidence and sympathy
more as brother than I dare to do, but I do it
because I believe you ought to know it as an
act of duty towards other heirs.
I would only observe farther that while I feel that
I may be open to censure for yielding to this demand
of Mr Griers, is he on the other hand clear from
censure, in thus charging upon me the burthen
Burden •
his mistakes and mismanagement of your property
of ^over^ which I have not the shadow of control or re-
Page 5

sponsibility either to you or him.
I congratulate you on the favorable results
of the Union Army thus far. I think that
they have been as fortunate as could well
be expected.
We are as well as usual, though anxious
and hopeful of the good cause and of
the coming peace.
With my best regards and warmest
wishes for yourself and for the members
of your family
I am Affectionately
Your Brother
Geo W. Seward

Editorial Note

Pages pasted into the letter.
No. 2
1859 May 30 787.27
60 Aug 8 849.66
62 May 10 927.125
62 Nov 24 945.30
63 May 1 975.40
63 Sep 19 993.37
63 Dec 21 – 1005. 30
No 1
1858 A Cow 25
59 Fl 8 Cows 100
60 ––––––– 100
61 ––––––– 100
62 ––––––– 100
63 Horse 75
64 do 75
244 419