"A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859)"

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  • "A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859)"

Dublin Core

Title

"A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859)"

Subject

Sociability at Mount Vernon

Creator

Joshua Brookes
R.W.G. Vail, ed.

Publisher

New York Historical Society Quarterly

Date

1947-00-00

Format

journal article

Language

eng

Additional Item Metadata

Citation

Vail, R.W.G., ed. "A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859)." New York Historical Society Quarterly April, 1947: 72-85.

Secondary Source Item Type Metadata

Quotations and Notes

From John Pintard's Journal (1759-1844). Excerpted in R.W.G. Vail, "Two early visitors to Mount Vernon" (Oct 1958 349-365).

“[Friday, 7/31/1801] Mr. Allyn & myself were received very friendly by Mrs. [Martha] Washington who bears her age remarkably well. She converses without reserve & [with] seeming pleasure on every subject that recalls the memory & virtues of her august consort….A miniature drawn last winter or spring by a Mr. Robert Field, now in Washington, of Mrs. W., is a striking likeness. She is drawn to please her grand children [sic] in the usual long laced cap & neckkershief [sic], that they may see her as she affected it in her every day [sic] face….Mrs W. was very attentive at table. I sat between her & Mrs. [Nelly Custis] Lewis who was very chatty. The conversation was quite free easy & familiar. At ½ past 4 took leave of Mrs. W. & returned the same evening to the city [of Washington].” (350, 352-353)

From R.W.G. Vail, ed. "A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859): “[2/4/1799]…About half past two the General returned….He sat about five minutes, said little. He mentioned he went to change his dress, prior to which he introduced Mrs. Washington [who was] dressed in a Mazareen blue satin gown with three belts over her handkerchief across the body, about five feet high, rather lusty than spare, of respectable appearance, cheerful, about 70 years of age, mildness and affability depicted in her countenance. [She] enquired for news, said she was no politician but liked to read the newspapers, wore a loose cap, hair combed straight, grey locks, sat about half an hour when she went out….Of the whole, Mrs. Washington and Miss Custis pleased me most, especially the former. Her affability, free manner and mild, placid countenance brought vividly to my mind my dear mother and I thought I saw in both resignation to God with the pure spirit of religion, humility, meekness, etc….In a small parlor in front [were]…[oil portraits of] George Washington and Mrs. Washington taken 30 or 35 years [the Virginia Colonel portrait of GW by Charles Willson Peale and the Wollaston of Mrs. Wsahington] before in his English uniform. He has a bluff, Prussian appearance. Mrs. Washington looks very handsome. There is one done lately of George Washington and Mrs. Washington, excellent likenesses [the Sharples portraits?], and an admirable portrait of Miss Custis….We were much pleased with Mrs. Washington who sat about half an hour with us….” (74-75, 78-80)

From Thomas Jefferson's conversation with Joshua Brooks, Monticello, 8/10/1799: “Mrs. Washington is a rather weak woman. It is singular that she was incapable of being injured by flattery, for she received more of it from the ladies of Philadelphia than ever any woman had before, but it did not affect her. I attribute this to the goodness of her heart, not to the strength of her mind. No woman could be more idolized or have more incense paid her than she had, yet she had not the least degree of pride or affectation….George Washington is a hard master, very severe, a hard husband, a hard father, a hard governor….A man from New England called one time on George Washington when President and, [while] going up stairs, he met Mrs. Washington. The man asked her: ‘Is His Majesty at home?’, [to which she replied:] ‘Sir, Is His Majesty at home! Mr. Washington is at home, Sir!’” (81-82)

How to Cite this Item

Joshua Brookes, ""A Dinner at Mount Vernon: From the Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes (1773-1859)"," in Martha Washington, Item #170, http://marthawashington.us/items/show/170 (accessed October 20, 2014).