"This Melancholy Scene"

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  • "This Melancholy Scene"

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"This Melancholy Scene"


Death of Martha Washington


Ellen McCallister


Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, Annual Report, 1981


Mount Vernon Ladies' Association





Additional Item Metadata


McCallister, Ellen. "This Melancholy Scene." Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, Annual Report, 1981, 13-15.

Secondary Source Item Type Metadata

Quotations and Notes

From Thomas Law to his son John Law, 5/23/1802

“I have been detained here near three weeks a painful witness of Mrs. Washingtons [sic] sufferings under a fever which terminated her well spent life yesterday at 12 oclock PM—from the beginning she prepared for death, gave advice to her grandchildren sent for the Clergyman & took the sacrament, & at last directed a white gown to be brought which she had previously laid by for the last dress—Fortitude & resignation were display’d throughout, she met death as a relief from the infirmities & melancholy of old age—all she valued in life had been take [sic] from her—I feel unfeigned grief at this loss for marked attention & numerous little kindnesses had created a sincere affection. This melancholy scene conveys a serious lesson to all of us; I fear there is too much truth in the observation of Johnson that Life protracted is protracted woe…On Tuesday I join a real mourner the solemn procession & then bid adieu to this mansion under whose hospitable roof I beheld examples of rectitude & beneficence….our little girl [Law’s daughter Eliza, then about 5 years old] has silently walked about shedding tears & has shewn [sic] real sensibility by never mentg. her Grandmama, who doated [sic] upon her….” (15)



How to Cite this Item

Ellen McCallister, ""This Melancholy Scene"," in Martha Washington, Item #213, https://marthawashington.us/items/show/213 (accessed April 6, 2021).