Archive for the ‘Madison, Dolley’ Category

“a doll . . . dressed to show us the fashions”

ANNA PAYNE, Dolley Payne Todd Madison’s youngest sister, lived with Dolley until she married in 1804. Sarah “Sally” McKean, the daughter of a Pennsylvania politician, was one of a number of “belles” of Philadelphia and a friend of Dolley’s. She also befriended Anna. Sally’s letter to Anna which follows describes the fashions of the day in considerable detail. Note her mention of the “doll” sent from England dressed in the latest fashions. Wealthy women could have local dressmakers copy the styles in fabrics of their choice.

Philadelphia, June 10, 1796And now, my dear Anna . . . we will speak a little about Philadelphia and the fashions, the beaux. Congress, and the weather. Do I not make a fine jumble of them? . . . Philadelphia never was known to be so lively at this season as at present; for an accurate account of the amusements, I refer you to my letter to your sister Mary. I went yesterday to see a doll, which has come from England, dressed to show us the fashions, and I saw besides a great quantity of millinery. Very long trains are worn, and they are festooned up with loops of bobbin, and small covered buttons, the same as the dress: you are not confined to any number of festoons, but put them according to your fancy, and you cannot conceive what a beautiful effect it has. There is also a robe which is plaited very far back, open and ruffled down the sides, without a train, being even with the petticoat. The hats are quite a different shape from what they used to be: they have no slope in the crown, scarce any rim, and are turned up at each side, and worn very much on the side of the head. Several of them are made of chipped wood, commonly known as cane hats; they are all lined: one that has come for Mrs. [Anne Willing] Bingham is lined with white, and trimmed with broad purple ribbon, put round in large puffs, with a bow on the left side. The bonnets are all open on the top, through which the hair is passed, either up or down as you fancy, but latterly they wear it more up than down; it is quite out of fashion to frizz or curl the hair, as it is worn perfectly straight. Earrings, too, are very fashionable. The waists are worn two inches longer than they used to be, and there is no such thing as long sleeves. They are worn half way above the elbow, either drawn or plaited in various ways, according to fancy; they do not wear ruffles at all, and as for elbows, Anna, ours would be alabaster, compared to some of the ladies who follow the fashion; black or a colored ribbon is pinned round the bare arm, between the elbow and the sleeve. There have come some new-fashioned slippers for ladies, made of various colored kid or morocco, with small silver clasps sewed on; they are very handsome, and make the feet look remarkably small and neat. Everybody thinks the millinery last received the most tasty seen for a long time. . . .
Mind that you write me a long answer to this, and that very soon.
Your sincere and affectionate friend,
Sally McKean.

Sally McKean married the Spanish minister plenipotentiary to the United States, Carlos Martínez de Irujo, in 1798. After the birth of her third child she moved with her husband to Spain in 1808 from which she never returned. Anna Payne married Richard Cutts, a Massachusetts congressman in 1804. James Madison served as President Jefferson’s Secretary of State, was elected president in 1808 and served two terms. Dolley played a much more active role in public life than did her predecessors. She often served as Jefferson’s hostess and as the ‘first lady,” wearing her trademark turban, presided over grand dinners and entertainments in the redecorated public rooms in the presidential mansion.

See more information about Dolley Madison HERE. Sally McKean’s letter to Anna Cutts can be found HERE, pages 18-21.

posted September 29th, 2016 by Janet, Comments Off on “a doll . . . dressed to show us the fashions”, CATEGORIES: Cutts, Anna Payne,d'Yrujo McKean, Sarah (Sally),Don Carlos, Marques de Casa d'Yrujo,Fashion,Madison, Dolley,Philadelphia

“he will make thee a good husband”

After DOLLEY PAYNE TODD recovered from yellow fever and the death of her husband and her younger son in 1793 she began to be seen in Philadelphia society once again. Soon she received a note from a friend conveying a request from Aaron Burr that she meet James Madison who very much wanted make her acquaintance. The two met at her home and soon the attentions of the “great little Madison” (he was 5′ 4″) resulted in talk of an engagement. According to a memoir compiled by Dolley’s grand niece the rumor reached the President and Mrs. Washington. The niece recounted a conversation said to have taken place when Mrs. Todd and Martha Washington met.

“Dolly,” said Mrs. Washington, “is it true that you are engaged to James Madison? ” The fair widow, taken aback, answered stammeringly, *’No,” she “thought not.” ” If it is so,” Mrs. Washington continued, “do not be ashamed to confess it: rather be proud; he will make thee a good husband, and all the better for being so much older. We both approve of it; the esteem and friendship existing between Mr. Madison and my husband is very great, and we would wish thee to be happy.”

It seems there was substance to the rumor. Dolley and James Madison were married in September of 1794 in her sister’s home, Harewood, in Virginia. After the wedding celebration the couple resided in the Madison home, Montpelier, but by the end of the year they were back in Philadelphia. At Madison’s request Dolley shed her Somber Quaker attire and joined in the gaiety of the Philadelphia social scene.

Source: The Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison, wife of James Madison, President of the United States, edited by her Grand-Niece (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., The Riverside Press, Cambridge: 1886) 14-17. Dolley’s portrait, dated 1804, is by Gilbert Stuart and is in the Library of Congress.

posted September 22nd, 2016 by Janet, Comments Off on “he will make thee a good husband”, CATEGORIES: Courtship,Madison, Dolley,Madison, James,Marriage,Washington, George,Washington, Martha

“the Dear Wife of my Bosom”

DOLLEY PAYNE TODD MADISON, who is best known as the wife of President James Madison, was born Dorothy (or Dorothea) Payne in North Carolina to Quaker parents in 1768, the fourth of eight children. See an earlier post here. Her father was a planter who, when he emancipated his slaves, moved his family, first to Virginia, and then, in 1783, to Philadelphia where he established a laundry starch-making business. When the venture failed, and following her husband’s death in 1792, Mrs. Payne for a time took in boarders, among whom was Aaron Burr. When Dolley was 21 (1790) she married John Todd, a lawyer and a Quaker; they, along with Dolley’s youngest sister Anna, lived in this brick house in Philadelphia. In 1793 when the city was struck by a yellow fever epidemic, John sent Dolley and their two small children to the country while he remained in the city. Sadly, he died as did their three-month-old son William Temple. By the terms of her husband’s will Dolley inherited their house and the property enumerated below. Todd’s will read:

I give and devise all my estate, real and personal, to the Dear Wife of my Bosom, and first and only Woman upon whom my all and only affections were placed, Dolly Payne Todd, her heirs and assigns forever, trusting that as she proved an amiable and affectionate wife to her John she may prove an affectionate mother to my little Payne, and the sweet Babe with which she is now enceinte. My last prayer is may she educate him in the ways of Honesty, tho’ he may be obliged to beg his Bread, remembering that will be better to him than a name and riches.—I appoint my dear wife executrix of this my will.
John Todd, Jr.

An inventory of the “very small estate” iincluded:

    One large Side Board
    One Settee
    Eleven Mahogany & Pine tables
    Three Looking Glasses
    Thirty-six Mahogany and Windsor chairs
    One Case of knives & forks
    And-Irons, Shovel & Tongs
    Window curtains & Window blinds
    Carpets & Floor Cloaths
    Bed, Bedstead & Bed Cloath
    Sundry Setts of China &c.
    Articles of Glass Ware & Waiters etc.
    Glass lamp, pr Scones & six pictures
    Sundry Articles of Plate & Plated ware—also Sett of Castors
    Sundry Kitchen furniture
    Desk & Book case
    An open stove
    Two Watches
    One fowling piece
    One Horse & Chair

The total value was estimated as ƒ434 5 shillings. With the addition of the house, Dolley was fairly comfortably provided for.

Source credited HERE. The inventory is taken from The Project Gutenberg EBook of Dorothy Payne, Quakeress, by Ella Kent Barnard, which can be found online HERE, pages 73-75. The image of the Todd house is at Independence Historical Park, National Park Service. The painting of Dolley Madison by Vanderlyn is at Greensboro Historical Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read the TRANSCRIPT of the Public Television production The American Experience devoted to Dolley Madison.

posted September 19th, 2016 by Janet, Comments Off on “the Dear Wife of my Bosom”, CATEGORIES: Epidemics,Madison, Dolley,Philadelphia,Quakers,Todd, John

“fine riding-parties and musical frolics”

SARAH “SALLY” MCKEAN, a belle of Philadelphia particularly enjoyed the company of members of the Spanish delegation to the United States in the 1790s.Writing again to her friend Anna Payne, Dolley Madison’s younger sister, she described the activities they enjoyed. Anna married Richard Cutts, a congressman from the Maine section of Massachusetts; her portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1804. Her hair and clothing reflect the popularity of French fashions in the United States at that time.

Philadelphia, September 3, 1796MY DEAR Anna, I received yours by Mr. Taylor and duly delivered its inclosure. You can have no idea, my dear girl, what pleasant times I have; there is the charming Chevalier, the divine Santana, the jolly Viar, the witty and agreeable Fatio, the black-eyed Lord Henry, the soft, love-making Count, the giggling, foolish, and sometimes the modest, good Meclare, who are at our house every day. We have fine riding-parties and musical frolics. However, I will refer you to my letter to your sister Madison, as I am tired of writing, this being my third letter to-day.
Mr. and Mrs. Jandenes set sail about the middle of July, with the two dear little children in good health and remarkably fine spirits. I am to have a large packet of papers from them as soon as they arrive in Spain, telling me all the news, and also a very elegant Spanish guitar, on which I intend to learn to play. Signor Don Carlos has given me a few lessons on that instrument. I have one at present, lent me by Santana, and we have a famous Italian singer, who came with the Minister, who can play on any instrument, and is moreover the drollest creature you ever saw. He sings divinely, and is the leader of our fine concerts. I am serenaded every night with divine music. I must say divine, for it is so much above the common music.
I long with the greatest impatience for the month of October, that I may have the pleasure of embracing my dear Anna ; for Heaven’s sake make as much haste to town as you can, for we are to have one of the most charming winters imaginable. Santana and Fatio send their compliments to you, and Meclare told me to be sure to give his best and most sincere love to you; he looks quite handsome, and is smarter than ever. God bless you, my dearest, and believe me to be your sincere friend and admirer,

Two years later Sally McKean married the Don Carlos, (Marques Don Carlos Maria Martinez de Casa Yrujo y Tacon) mentioned in the letter who was the Spanish ambassador, and became Marquesa de Casa Yrujo. Samuel H. Wandell, in his biography of Aaron Burr described Don Carlos:

He was an obstinate, impetuous and rather vain little person with reddish hair; enormously wealthy, endlessly touchy, extremely intelligent and vastly attractive … he liked America, he understood it and enjoyed it; he was tremendously popular at Philadelphia, and at Washington when he condescended to appear there; he was on intimate terms at the President’s House. If he lost his temper from time to time, and thought nothing of haranguing the country through the newspapers, he served his King with energetic loyalty; he went about his business with dignity and shrewdness; he never forgot the respect due to his official person, however much he might indulge his democratic tendencies in private intercourse; he was the only Minister of the first rank in America, and consequently the leading figure in the diplomatic corps; he contributed to American society the brilliant qualities of his elegant and felicitous personality; he was a very great gentleman.

After the birth of their third child, Sally and Don Carlos left for Spain. Her husband lost favor with the American government by his disapproval of the Jay Treaty and the Louisiana Purchase and his opposition to the ceding of Florida to the United States. Sally returned to America with him on several occasions and continued to carry on a correspondence with her friends.

The text of the letter can be found here.The portrait of Don Carlos can be found here. For more information about Sally McKean see this site.

posted January 11th, 2016 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Amusements,Cutts, Anna Payne,d'Yrujo McKean, Sarah (Sally),Don Carlos, Marques de Casa d'Yrujo,Entertainments,Madison, Dolley,Philadelphia

“he caught the old goat …”

Diplomatic scandals involving sex were not unusual in the eighteenth century, nor are they now. Sally McKean had a bit of gossip to tell her friend Dolley Madison in Virginia, concerning an enraged husband and a member of the Spanish delegation to the United States.

[Philadelphia] 4th August -97I cannot seal this without giving you a little anecdote of [José Ignacio de] Viar, which I have just heard … he has been making love to the wife of a servant … a remarkable pretty woman, but no great things in point of character, the husband lives at service. He came home a few days ago to see her—it was twelve o’clock at noon—and behold—verily, he caught the old goat, with his wife, and in not the most decent situation—so the fellow very politely took him by the nose and saluted him with kiks till the corner of the next Street. He is going to make him pay a devilish large sum of money, or else he says he will prosecute him, it has made a confounded noise … in fact all the town knows it.

This excerpt is from In the Words of Women, Chapter 7, page 193.

posted May 14th, 2012 by Janet, Comments Off on “he caught the old goat …”, CATEGORIES: Madison, Dolley,Philadelphia,Scandal

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