From Gloucester to Philadelphia in 1790: Observations, Anecdotes, and Thoughts from the 18th-Century Letters of Judith Sargent Murray

    All Titles

  • From Gloucester to Philadelphia in 1790: Observations, Anecdotes, and Thoughts from the 18th-Century Letters of Judith Sargent Murray

Dublin Core

Title

From Gloucester to Philadelphia in 1790: Observations, Anecdotes, and Thoughts from the 18th-Century Letters of Judith Sargent Murray

Subject

Martha Washington as first lady

Creator

Judith Sargent Murray
Bonnie Hurd Smith, ed.

Publisher

Judith Sargent Murray Society and Curious Traveller Press

Date

1998-00-00

Format

book

Language

eng

Additional Item Metadata

Citation

Murray, Judith Sargent. Bonnie Hurd Smith, ed.From Gloucester to Philadelphia in 1790: Observations, Anecdotes, and Thoughts from the 18th-Century Letters of Judith Sargent Murray. Cambridge, Mass.: Judith Sargent Murray Society and Curious Traveller Press, 1998.

Secondary Source Item Type Metadata

Quotations and Notes

From Judith Sargent Murray to her parents, New Rochelle, New York, 8/14/1790: “…While Mr Murray [the author’s husband] visited at the President’s Mrs Washington dispatched a Messenger from her apartments, importing that she should be pleased with a visit from Mrs Murray, that if she—Mrs Murray—preferred enjoyment to ceremony, she need not wait for a Levee day—for Mrs Washington would certainly be at home, whenever it should suit Mrs Murray’s convenience, and the President too, deigned to enquire, if my journey had bestowed upon me the blessings of health—all this, you will believe, was highly flattering--…About Six O-clock we took a coach for the presence…Colonel Humphry’s, offering his hand, ushered us into the drawing room, a number of Ladies were with Mrs Washington, and her matronlike appearance, and Lady like condescension, soon dissipated every painful idea of distance—taking my hand she seated me by her side, and addressing herself particularly to me, as the only stranger present, she engaged me in the most familiar, and agreeable Chat—she interrogated me respecting my journey, asked if my acquaintance in New York was extensive, and in what part of the City I abode—She informed me she had the pleasure of being acquainted with my brother, and she spoke of his late marriage, and the death of his Companion, as events which had interested her feelings…Mrs Washington’s face is an index of a good heart, and those Virtues which I am told she eminently possesseth, are impressed upon every feature—need I add, that her countenance is irresistibly prepossessing…In the course of the two hours passed at the President’s various topics of conversation were introduced—Mrs Washington, as I said was condescendingly attentive to me, as a stranger I was constantly by her side, and addressing me in a low voice, she spoke of her family—she hath been a happy mother, one son, and one daughter, by a former marriage, they now, however, both sleep in the narrow house—One grand Son, and three granddaughters survive—I know, said Mrs Washington, that my daughter in law would soon enter into new engagements, and I urged her to yield her two youngest children to my care—this she obligingly did, and consequently a grandson, and granddaughter, reside constantly at the President’s—Mrs Washington hath educated a Niece [Fanny Bassett], now united in marriage, to a favourite Nephew [George Augustine Washington] of the General and the young couple reside upon, and have the care of that fine Estate, of which we have heard so much, at Mount Vernon—To which elegant seat, the President and his Lady, will during the recess of Congress, rapidly bend their steps—The family, thus circumstanced, it is hardly to be regretted, that the General hath no son, to whom to transmit his honours, and his Virtue, for he cannot but be immortal—his Lady is universally beloved, and the sons of Columbia are their children…Mrs Washington in her aside conversation, spoke of the General’s later alarming illness, and while she expressed her happiness in his present restoration, a tear of apprehension for futurity was in her eye—I embraced this opportunity, of expressing the emotions of my bosom and while I adverted to the common interest, which every American held in a life so precious, I allowed the superiority of her tender, and sacred claims…Thursday, very unexpectedly opened another scene—I was sitting in my little apartment, alone, and buried in thought—strange that I possessed not the smallest presentiment, of the distinction which awaited me—but so it was…Mrs Washington, and Mrs Lear were immediately ushered in[.] If any thing could exceed my surprise, it was the charming freedom with which Mrs Washington took her seat—The unmeaning fopperies of ceremony seem to make no part of this Lady’s Character, inborn benevolence, beams upon her countenance, points her address, and dictates the most pleasing expressions to her lips—one whole hour she condescendingly devoted to me, and so much friendship did her salutations connect, so interesting and animated was our conversation, that a bystander would not have entertained an idea of the distance between us, would hardly have supposed, that we met but for the second time, thus benignly good, and thus adorned with social virtues is our Lady Presidentess, and I confess that in a way perfectly correspondent with my feelings, I have been most highly gratified….” (246, 248-250, 254)

How to Cite this Item

Judith Sargent Murray, "From Gloucester to Philadelphia in 1790: Observations, Anecdotes, and Thoughts from the 18th-Century Letters of Judith Sargent Murray," in Martha Washington, Item #133, http://marthawashington.us/items/show/133 (accessed December 11, 2018).