Letter from Frances Adeline Seward to Sarah Dare Hance, December 18, 1864

  • Posted on: 26 May 2021
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Letter from Frances Adeline Seward to Sarah Dare Hance, December 18, 1864



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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 Adeline Seward to Sarah Dare Hance, December 18, 1864

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1844-12-09  Death: 1866-10-29

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Sarah Hance
Birth: 1820-01-25  Death: 1867-06-10

location: Macedon, NY

transcription: msf 

revision: jxw 2021-01-29


Page 1

Washington Dec 18th /64
My dear Miss Hance,
Thank you for
your kind letter of Nov. 17th —
which — as I am such an
uncertain body in my move-
ments was some little time in
reaching me, being forwarded from
Auburn, where I had been a
short time before.
I was so disappointed to have a
summer go by without our visit
from you — and hoped, until
the time came for me to leave
home, f that some interval
might occur when we could
make it pleasant for you there.
But we have had a broken
summer, never knowing if sure
of such a week. Now it is over
I look back to it with deep thank-
fulness, in remembrance of Will's
Birth: 1839-06-18 Death: 1920-04-29

[right Margin]
Poor Mrs How
Birth: 1808 Death: 1866-04-16
has met with another
affliction — a brother
Birth: 1813 Death: 1864-10-27
in California, the
only one who assisted her much — was
killed by a steam-boat explosion.
Nettie Titus's
Birth: 1825
Birth: 1788 Death: 1864-11
died of heart
disease in November. Poor Nettie's sister

was very unkind to her, and she
has been removed to the house of her
for the present.
I have written you a very long letter,
almost too long to read. When you
can will you not in return tell me
what you are doing & how you are — all
about yourself. Happy Christmas
& New Year. Very truly and affectionately yours

[top Margin]
Mother sends her love.

Page 2

deliverance from so many dangers,
and the pleasant visit he
made us — in which his strength
came back. After the
necessity for keeping up under
such a pressure of anxiety
(when Will was at the front)
was over, Mother's
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
health gave
out — she had daily attacks of
neuralgia which so weakened
her strength that I became
alarmed lest she should be
reduced to her former ill health —
so I wrote to Father
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
who came
home & took her to Long Branch
& to Orange County, accompanied
by Mrs Perry
Birth: 1819-10-04 Death: 1898-02-12
, the Mother of
my friend Ellen
Birth: 1844-09-14 Death: 1920-04-14
. The trip
was very beneficial to Mother —
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
& Anna
Birth: 1834-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
joined her at Long
Branch & came home with
her while Father returned to Orange
Washington. This was the first
Page 3

time Fred had been at home in
four years – so closely has he con-
fined himself to Washington –
He & Anna remained but two
days. Not long after –
(in ^late^ September) Will returned
to duty — & was stationed at
Martinsburg, of which post
he is now in command. Then
Father thought I had better come
to Washington, & I began to
hold myself in readiness to
return with the first one
of the family who should
come home. Aunty's
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03

health was very unsettled, giving
us much anxiety, all the time,
she did not come to our house
till November – preferring to
be at her own as long as her
garden had any life & green-
ness. I was away
twice in the season – In
Page 4

August Will was ordered
sea air — by his physician
& went to Watch Hill — Rhode
Island — accompanied by
the doctor (H. Robinson Jr
Birth: 1830-06-24 Death: 1891-04-27
–) Col
Mac Dougall
Birth: 1839-09-14 Death: 1914-05-24
, & joined by
—making a party of
eight. Will enjoyed the
place so much that he at
once sent for us — so the
doctor's wife
Birth: 1833 Death: 1916-03-21
, & Jenny
Birth: 1839-11-18 Death: 1913-11-09
& I
went there at once – we were
home again in a week — &
had a delightful time — You
know the sea side is a place
I am always eager to visit.
In October Ellen Perry &
I spent ten days in Roches-
— most of the time with
my cousin Mrs Huson
Birth: 1825 Death: 1898
whom I have been en-
gaged to visit for two years,
but have not been able
to do so before. No sooner
was I at home — indeed before
I reached there – Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

came — with such a short
Page 5

leave of absence that I must
be ready in less than a
week — & on the 20th of Oct.
we came here — he & I. It
was very uncertain when Mother
would come, owing to Aunty's
miserable health, & Jenny's approach-
ing confinement. Had it not
been for the latter Mother would
have written to ask you to
visit her – though I should
have lost your visit just the
Father, Fred, Anna & I, went
north at election time – the
two former voted at their
respective places, Auburn &
Albany — & Father & I left
Auburn the afternoon of
election day reaching here
the next evening. Fred &
Anna came Thursday night. Thurs-
day morning Fred slipped on
the smooth marble of the Astor
Page 6

House hall, fell on the stairs, &
broke his right arm at the elbow.
The bone has knit kn now, &
he is able to bend the arm —
He iscomes down stairs once
a day to attend to business
with his clerk
— but does not
come to t meals — & only goes
out when the weather is fair
& the roads smooth enough
for driving without too much
jolting. Such a break in the
arm is much like breaking the
knee pan — & the recovery a
very delicate & painful process.
Anna has been such a devoted
nurse that her health suffers
from it, & she has not her
usual strength for the taxes
of society — so I have some-
what more of visit & receiving
company by myself.
On the tenth of November
Page 7

the "first grandson"
Birth: 1864-11-10
came into the
family. Jenny is recovering
well & quite comfortable — the
boy is said to be a fine strong
little fellow. Will went home
to see his wife and son in November,
& Mother returned with him.
Since Will went back to
Martinsburg he has been
sick again with dysentery —
but is sufficiently recovered
to attend to his duties. Col.
Mac Dougall, about whose health
you speak, recovered and
returned to his command, &
is now, I presume, before
Petersburg, where his regiment
has been through Grant's
Birth: 1822-04-27 Death: 1885-07-23
The season when society has
most to occupy has not yet
come — New Year's day will begin
the formal business of visits etc.
Still we have a great many
Page 8

visitors, and I find many things
filling my time so that I do
not get a great deal of
time to read. But I
always feel here that I
am learning many things
that books can never teach
me; and the meeting with so
many persons of every sort
of interest grows more pleas-
ant every year of my life.
I have been a good deal
to the opera this month —
enjoying it much, of course.
I will write down the names
of the books I have finish-
ed since I saw wrote you –
a very short list — "Cousin
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell Publisher: Harper & Brothers Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1864
(by Miss Thackeray
Birth: 1837-06-09 Death: 1919-02-26
or Mrs Gaskell
Birth: 1810-09-29 Death: 1865-11-12
— I cannot learn
which, positively.) "The Schon-
berg Cotta Family."
Author: M. W. Dodd Publisher: Privately printed Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1864
Birth: 1804-07-04 Death: 1864-05-18
"Blithedale Romance,"
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne Publisher: Ticknor and Fields Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1862

"Jean Ingelow's
Birth: 1820-03-17 Death: 1897-07-20
Author: Jean Ingelow Publisher: Roberts Brothers Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1864
," "Tales
from the Operas,"
 Publisher: Carleton Place of Publication:New York Date: 1864
by George
Page 9

Frederick Pardon
Birth: 1824 Death: 1884-08-05
— and Tennyson's
Birth: 1809-08-06 Death: 1892-10-06

"Enoch Arden"
Author: Alfred Tennyson Publisher: Ticknor and Fields Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1865
Have you read
the last? A beautifully sad
& touching story, told with the
most skillful simplicity — I
mean, the words are so aptly
chosen, & so natural that they
seem just what one would ^must^ use,
Yet if one studies them one must
recognise the fact that only
a genius as great and as
cultivated as that of Tennyson
could tell the tale in such
a way. The moral conception
is very high. I have just
read the poem in a copy filled
with illustrations by Darley
Birth: 1821-06-21 Death: 1888-03-27
, La
Birth: 1835-03-31 Death: 1910-11-14
, Hennessy
Birth: 1839-07-11 Death: 1917-12-27
& Vedder
Birth: 1836-02-26 Death: 1923-02-10
, which
was given me the other day.
If you have not read
Jean Ingelow's Poems you
must read my copy when
you come to Auburn. They
are very beautiful in style
& very high in thought.
Have you yet seen the "Schon-
Page 10

berg Cotta family"? I think I wrote
you something of the book. I have
it — and if you have not
read it I hope you will when
you come to Auburn.
I'm afraid you will think I
have not done as much solid
reading as I might. But we
have had so much going on at
home that it was difficult
to find time for more than
snatches – and to concentrate
ones mind on anything historical
or scientific. Here I feel
that I can never do justice to
history — with my silly young
head full of what is going
on about me. I have
a number of books partly read,
some of which I hope to finish
before Jan'y — I am
nearly through with "Paul et
 Publisher: Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie  Place of Publication:Paris, France Date: 1860
which I began last
year — but left here & took
up again this winter. How
very, very beautiful it is in
the original — how different
Page 11

from the translation which I read
long ago. Gail Hamilton's
Birth: 1833-03-31 Death: 1896-08-17

"New Atmosphere"
Author: Gail Hamilton Publisher: Ticknor and Fields Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1865
I am reading
to Mother — liking it much.
I am about to finish a volume
of the dear old "Spectator"
Author: W. Wilson Publisher: Privately printed Place of Publication:Dublin Date: 1778
of which
I read the greater part two
years ago. "Rambles Among
Author: William Swinton Publisher: Dion Thomas Place of Publication:New York City Date: 1864
By Wm Swinton
Birth: 1833-04-23 Death: 1892-10-24
– correspond-
ent of the N. York Times – I
have read in part — only
a few chapters — I found
it full of new things to me —
it explains the primitive deri-
vations of words — some are so
pretty, & some add so much force
to terms in common use.
I still receive invaluable letters
from my kind dear friend
over the sea — Miss Charlotte
Birth: 1816-07-23 Death: 1876-02-18
— Her friendship is
an ever new delight — and
her letters are indescribably
beautiful & noble. She
has told me much about
Mrs Browning
Birth: 1806-03-06 Death: 1861-06-29
, & sent
me a complete set of her
Page 12

works — as well as Tennyson's poems.
I cannot express my admiration for
Mrs Brownings poetry — it is so
wonderful, so beautiful & high —
so universal in its range. Of
Tennyson I am a warm admirer too.
I have not read "Art Student"
 Publisher: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1854
— I
saw a copy once at the house of
a friend. We read the "Wayside
Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Publisher: Ticknor and Fields Place of Publication:Boston Date: 1863
last year when Will was
sick. I hope you liked "John
 Publisher: Ticknor et Fields Place of Publication:Boston, MA Date: 1862
," it is a great favorite of
mine — and I have learned
much that is very interesting
about its noble author
Birth: 1828-09-22 Death: 1861-06-10
— whose
character, from all descriptions
was very high, & knightly.
I keep the "Waverlies"
 Publisher: A.L. Burt Place of Publication:New York Date: 18?
strictly in
reserve — and trust another summer
we may read them in the old,
pleasant way.
Mother's stay here is of uncertain length –
length — her health is far from good —
She is anxious about Aunty, as
we all are. I regret to learn
of your hands still troubling you
so much — When you can
write I shall always receive
your letters with an affectionate
welcome — & be pleased to tell
you what I am about as
you kindly express an interest.
My own health has been
remarkably good, since April.
Page 13

Miss Sarah D. Hance
Macedon Center
Wayne County
N. York
DEC 20


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