Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, February 8, 1828

  • Posted on: 9 March 2016
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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, February 8, 1828



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Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from Benjamin Jennings Seward to William Henry Seward, February 8, 1828

action: sent

sender: Benjamin Seward


Name: Benjamin Seward Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24

location: New York NY


Name:  City:  New York County:   State:  NY Country:  US

receiver: William Seward


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

location: Auburn NY


Name:  City:  Auburn County:  Cayuga State:  NY Country:  US

transcription: atb 

revision: crb 2016-02-08

Page 1

N.Y. 8 Feb
My Dear Brother
It is hardly necessary for me to
say that I am delighted with your desire to
remove to the city - you know how often and
how long and how ardently I have desired ^wished^ to
that we might be located together in life and
be mutual helpers of each other - A thousand
times a year it comes across my heart & the thought
^that^ it was altogether improbable has left an aching
void - Every time I have seen the Congressman


Name: John Wurts Birth: 1792-08-13 Death: 1861-04-23
sent for to Philadelphia


Name:  City:  Philadelphia County:  Philadelphia State:  PA Country:  US
on purpose to
and his brother
here on some project to advance
his own interest. I have longed that such
might one day be the state of feeling between
us. - When I have seen the Bottoms, the Barc
lays the Phillips
the Whites
& brothers of other
families supporting a combined & mutual in-
terest, and that with evident relative strength
according to their numbers I have mourned
that we must be separated - Union is strength
in the moral world as well as in the physical.
Concert of action is powerful action - and
there is safety from error in consultation.
But I will not occupy all my paper before
comeing to the main question
I have felt some embarrassment in
making the inquiries you desire, in consequence
of your request that my conversations may appear
no other than my own views, and then not to be
given to John Steward


Name: John Steward Birth: 1777-04-04 Death: 1854-12-19
. Wakeman


Name: Nathan Wakeman Birth: 1792-03-24 Death: 1880-06-06
&c & particularly
not to go to Father


Name: Samuel Seward Birth: 1768-12-05 Death: 1849-08-24
- Under this restriction I
have not been able of course to make in-

[left Margin] this forms no portion of my object - I have suffered too much from frankness of late
from Cornelia


Name: Louisa Canfield Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
to rush into the same error so soon- and I have not been
so inattentive an observer of life as to suppose that the conclusions I
have drawn from these evidences are infallibly correct - I am proved
to acknowledge that I have heretofore wholly misunderstood many
very many acts of our honored father which at the time of
their occurrances were very vexatious - It may be that I
have been entirely in error in the supposition that you had
become ungrateful for former favours from me, granted to be
sure not to much expect extent but with feelings which I
believe ought to give them weight - and some times when it required
some sacrifice of personal comfort - When I read over the letters
recd from you while I was in Missouri


Name: Missouri City:   County:   State:  MO Country:  US
& contrast their language
of strong affection with what has transpired within a few years
past my heart sinks within me In vain have I hoped
that there were mitigations & apologies which had not there
proper weight upon my mind - In vain made allowances for
differances of education - of constitution - temperarament & usage
In vain tryed to stifle my wounded spirit with the reflection

Page 2

of some of our most influential friends - Indeed I
have scarcely dared to mention your name when
pushing my investigations lest it might get to the
ears of those whom you wished might not hear any-
thing of the matter Though I have by these
inquiries more fully satisfied myself of the advan-
tages of such a location to you - and the certainty
that success that would attend such an enterprize
it has been impossible for me to nail down
any thing upon which you may build an argument
to use with your friends - For instance I am
unable to restricted from saying to Varnum


Name:   Birth:  Death: 
or Downer

'will you give your business to my brother if he comes
to town to reside,' because in two hours it would
get to Steward - I cannot inquire of my attorney
if he would like a partner of your dimension unless
I be at liberty to refer him to Duer


Name: John Duer Birth: 1782-10-07 Death: 1858-08-08
or Hoffman


Name: Benjamin Hoffman Birth: 1791 Death: 1855

to learn what those dimensions are - So you see
how different it is to make any certain statem
ents as to positive business for you - This how-
ever I can say that there is but one opinion
so far as I am able to learn among industri-
ous lawyers that assiduity in business cannot
here fail to reward in word according to his
talents - you are able of your own knowledge to call
to mind several young men who have commenced
without known reputation haveing only moderate
talents and are doing well - It is in vain to
attempt to detail their numerous conversations
I have had with several many individuals upon
this subject nor is it perhaps necessary any for I
doubt not you are already sufficiently well sat-
isfied that business to any extent can be here
commanded. But how to share in a tangible
shape these advantages - this is the question - If
it be admissible to come out upon my own
responsibility to make up such a temptation

[left Margin] tion that is meet and proper for brethren who disperse to attach them-
selves to the interest and well being of their respective families rather
than to hold on to the joint interest which bound them together
while at home - And here let me remark that I have
found this one of the hardest lessons I ever undertook to learn
Still however as I before observed, it is possible that I have
not seen this matter in a proper medium- and I ask you for
your thinkings on the subject - Tell me truly freely without
evasion and without fear all your reasons for the withdrawel
of your affection - tell me all- tell me particulars - I am
prepared to hear them and weigh them soberly - You have
nothing to fear, certainly from the utmost freedom of expression
Under any other circumstances than of the smart I am
suffering I would not make the remark I am about to submit
to you about family jars - It is that we may keep them
among themsevles - it never shall be said of me while in Illinois


Name:  City:   County:   State:   Country:  

that I have been robbed of by a brother in New York which
has made him rich and me poor - should I be Mauled

Page 3

to you as you could not resist nor your friends ob-
ject to as Col Miller
said "I'll try" - But if I
were to suggest a plan of operation it would be
to hatch out as soon as possible a good & veritable
reason for a visit to our good city Gotham


Name:  City:   County:   State:   Country:  
, & while
you are here I can search out and secure
pledges of future business, such as will answer
the purpose - Still however I know not the
strength of your reasons for restricting inquiry
not the difficulty you might encounter in an
attempt to get down to the city
But before I close my letter there is one
subject which has been much on mind and
to which I cannot omit to advert - It is
due to candour - and may per-
haps be promotive of a more
uninterrupted harmony & happi-
ness between us should you come to the city
to reside - I have before in this letter spoken
of a desire once mutual between us still strong
with me that we might settle together with
a view to be aids to each other - It is now
necessary for me to speak of my ^the^ unhappiness
I have long felt in the belief that this
object had lost its charm with you It
cannot be a new subject to your mind - and it
is only necessary for me to state the fact of my
uneasiness to bring all the particulars of it
to your mind - I have often hinted it to you
and sometimes ^spoken^ of it with ^under^ much feeling - but
am now perfectly cool - and therefor deem it a suit-
able occasion to bring the subject before you - It
is not my proposed - to go into the evidences of this
disaffection - it would perhaps appear to you to
wear the face of reproachfulness - whereas

[left Margin] on all sides I am resolved so far as my own family is con-
cerned to keep it to myself - (I make no allusion to cir-
cumstances between myself & any other) - Let me not be mis-
understood - I have stated no matter of complaint with a
wish to irritate or reproach - or as a reason why I do not
wish your migration or am unwilling to lend any & every aid
in my power to accomplish so desirable an object to my heart -
but I am only desirous that in your coming the most har-
monious relations may exist between us that the nature
of the case will admit of --------- Feb. 12. 1828 - Yours of
the 2nd Just came to hand a day on two since - I have written a line now
and then as I had times between the dates of the first & last part of my letter
our first Teller is at the South for the recovery of his health and I
am at the 2nd and 3rd Tellers desks, very much & occupied- called off
every other moment - I wish I had time to answer your last letter
on the subject of the controversy between the high & low church parties.
It is a fearful quarrel and how it will eventuate is past the
reach of human ken - the difference I consider radical - and is
every day becoming more bitter - The little bubble which Mr
has blown up will soon burst and pass away

Page 4

Col. W.H. Seward
New York
New York FEBd


Type: postmark



Name: William Seward Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
B.J. Seward
Feb 8
Friday, February 8, 1828