Archive for the ‘Robinson, Sarah Franklin’ Category

“a general Illumination took place”

Another take on the inauguration of George Washington in New York City in 1789. Sarah Franklin Robinson described the festivities to her cousin, Catharine Wistar. For Quakers, the “4th Month” is April, and the “fourth day” is Wednesday, Sunday being the first.

New York 30th of the 4th Month [1789]Great rejoicing in New York on the arrival of general Washington, an elegant Barge decorated with an awning of Sattin 12 Oarsmen dressed in white frocks and blue ribbons—went Down to E[lizabeth]. Town last fourth day to bring him up—a Stage was erected at the Coffee house wharf covered with a carpet for him to step on—where a company of light-horse or of Artillery & most of the Inhabitants were waiting to recieve him they paraded through Queen Street in great form—while the music of the Drums and the ringing of bells—were enough to stun one with the noise.

Previous to his coming Uncle Walter’s house on cherry Street was taken for him and every room furnishd in the most elegant manner—Aunt [Mary] Osgood & Lady Kitty Duer had the whole management of it—I went the morning before the General’s arrival to take a look at it—the best of furniture in every room—and the greatest Quantity of plate and China that I ever saw before—the whole of the first and secondary Story is paperd and the floors Coverd with the richest Kind of Turkey and Wilton Carpets—the house realy did honour to my Aunt and Lady Kitty; they spared no pains nor expense on it—thou must Know that Uncle [Samuel] Osgood and [William] Duer were appointed to procure a house and furnish it—accordingly they pitchd [settled] on their wives as being likely to do it better—

After his excellencys arrival a general Illumination took place except among friends [Quakers] and those styled Anti Federalists—the latters windows sufferd some thou may Imagine—as soon as the General has sworn in—a grand exhibition of firworks is to be displayed—which it is expected will be to morrow—their is scarcly any thing talked of now but General Washington & the Palace—and of little else have I told thee yet tho have spun my miserable scrawl already to great length—but thou requested to Know all that was going forward.

This excerpt of Sarah’s letter can be found on pages 296-97 of In the Words of Women. The illustration is at the New York Public Library.

posted July 22nd, 2013 by Janet, Comments Off on “a general Illumination took place”, CATEGORIES: Capital of the United States,New York,Robinson, Sarah Franklin,Washington, George,Wistar, Catharine

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