Seward, WILLIAM HENRY (1801-72), American politician, was born at Florida, New York State, and was called to the bar in 1822. He was elected Governor of New York State in 1838, but in 1428 resumed practice as a lawyer at Auburn. During his two terms of office as senator (1849-59) he showed himself a zealous opponent of slavery, argued against the Compromise Bill, and helpted to found the Republican party. His candidature for the Presidency not being adopted by his party (1860), he became Secretary of State under Lincoln (1861), an office which he retained till 1869. In the department of foreign affairs he encountered the difficulties occasioned by the War of Secession with singular ability and success. A desperate attempt was made on his life in 1865 by an associate of the assassin of Lincoln. He was the author of an able Life of John Quincy Adams (1849) and other works.