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gentleman with wig awry-Lafayette, the friend of America and of humanity, whom, in 1824, President Monroe honors with a reception to which all the dignitaries of the nation are invited. To one of the state dinners of this period, too, comes James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist, whose "Spy," " Pioneers," and “Pilot," recently published, have made him the popular literary idol.
The reign of John Quincy Adams succeeds,-not by the will of the people, whose idol is General Jackson, but by the decision of the House of Representatives, to which, in default of a majority in the Electoral College, the selection of a President has, under the Constitution, been referred. His is the most historic figure of these early days. Diplomat, senator, Harvard College professor, president, orator, poet, essayist, philosopher,—he is in all respects the best-graced actor that has appeared upon the
It is a charming and accomplished lady, too, who is now mistress of the mansion, the last of the ladies of the Revolution to reign here-Louisa Catherine Johnson, daughter of the United States Consul to London, born, brought up, and married in that city. Four years of the reign of the scholars, literati, and cultivated classes rather than of the people follow. The President, for once, is fond of letters and art, and loves to surround his hospitable board with scholars and travelled men, with whom he can discourse on poetry, music, painting, sculpture, and letters. Henry Clay, the Secretary of State, and William Wirt, the Attorney-General, are familiar figures in the White House during this period.
Here, too, in 1825, comes Lafayette to spend with his life-long friend the closing weeks of his stay in this country. We would like to know what was said and done by the two patriots in those last few weeks, but history is silent concerning it. At last the parting hour arrives. In the midst of a distinguished company Lafayette says farewell for the last time, and escorted by distinguished officers of government, and followed by the blessings of thousands who line the streets to see him pass, leaves the city.
At the next election, however, the people have their will, and General Jackson, the iron soldier, the popular hero, lonely and widowed, comes to the White House. His is an heroic figure, a strong soul that has left its impress here.
Martin Van Buren, the man of the world, who succeeds him, is also a widower, but the mansion soon finds a mistress in the charming South Carolina lady, Miss Singleton, who enters it in 1838 as the bride of Major Van Buren the President's son.
Van Buren's polished figure passes, and William Henry Harrison, another idol of the people, succeeds. Now death enters the mansion, and hallows it. On April 4, 1841, but one month after his triumphant entry, President Harrison dies here, and, pending the funeral, lies in state in the East Room. On the 7th impressive funeral ceremonies are held in the presence of President Tyler, Ex-President Adams, members of the Cabinet, of Congress, and other distinguished persons.
Then the coffin, amid the booming of minute-guns, is carried to the Congres
sional Cemetery and deposited in the receiving vault until preparations can be made for removing it to the family tomb at North Bend, Indiana. His successor, President Tyler, is the first to bring a bride to the mansion, having married at New York Miss Julia Gardiner of Gardiner's Island, in the summer of 1844. This honored lady is still living in Richmond, Virginia, and to a lady correspondent recently gave this pleasant and graceful account of the President's courtship and proposal.
“We met the President and became great friends, but I never thought of loving him then. I was not yet twenty and he was easily thirty-five years older than I, but I thought him very nice, and I was very gay and frivolous and of course was flattered by his friendship.”
“ How did he propose to you ?”
about it,” Mrs. Tyler said, her gray eyes beaming at the recollection. “I often think now how frivolous I was then. There was a grand reception held in the White House on Washington's Birthday. All the people of note were there, and it was very brilliant. I had been dancing with a young man who was not pleased with the attention the President had been paying me. We had just stopped and were walking about when the President came up, and drawing my arm through his, said to the young man :
'I must claim Miss Gardiner's company for a while. The young man drew off and looked as if he would like to say, 'Well, you are impudent,' but he did n't. I walked around with the President and he proposed then. I had never thought of love, so I said, “No, no, no,' and shook my head with each word, which flung the tassel of my Greek cap into his face at every move. It was undignified, but it amused me very much to see his expression as he tried to make love to me and the tassel brushed his face. I did not tell my father. I was his pet, yet I feared that he would blame me for allowing the President to reach the proposing point, so I did not speak of it to any
How were you dressed the night the President proposed ?"
“I wore a white tarlatan. It was very pretty and very becoming. On my head I wore a crimson Greek cap. I I was very gay and young or I never would have dared to toss the tassel in a President's face."
On the 28th of February, 1844, Commodore Stockton gave a grand party on board his flagship, the Princeton, then lying in the Potomac, to which the President and chief officers of state were invited. The frigate sailed down the river and on its return a gun fired in salute burst killing Secretary of State Upshur, Secretary of the Navy Gilmore, and several other prominent gentlemen, among them Miss Gardiner's father.
After I lost my father,” she continued, “I felt differently towards the President. He seemed to fill the place and to be more agreeable in every way than any younger man ever was or could be. He composed a very pretty song about me then-'Sweet Lady, Awake.' At last he proposed again and I wrote him I was willing this time, if my mother would consent. She told him that she would never consent to my marriage, but if I was determined she would not object.
"I was in deep mourning. So the President told only one member of his family, Gen. John Tyler, and I told
my immediate family. We were married very quietly on the 26th of June, 1844, in the Church of the Ascension, New York.”
President Polk succeeds—a colorless figure, but his successor makes amends—Zachary Taylor, the hero of Palo Alto and of Buena Vista. His death on July 9, 1850, adds to the sadder chapters in the history of the mansion. Vice-President Fillmore fills out his unexpired term. The nebulous shape of Pierce succeeds, and then Buchanan comes in—a bachelor, but who provides a charming mistress for the mansion in his lovely and accomplished niece, Miss Harriet Lane. In her day the Prince of Wales, whom she had met at his mother's court, is for five days a guest at the President's mansion.
Buchanan is the last of the old régime. A stronger individuality succeeds, one of the Immortals—Abraham Lincoln, who alone has made the White House historic. One seems to see again the tall, slightly-bent figure, with the strong, patient face, standing by the west windows yonder, as at intervals for four long weary years it stood, looking off to the Virginia hills, awaiting tidings from the armies engaged in fratricidal strife.
Johnson, Grant—another historic figure,-Hayes, Garfield, Arthur—all save one passed into the land of shadows,—these have made the people's palace an American Valhalla, tenanted by the shades of the great and good of past generations.
Without doubt the White House is, as has been said, antiquated in appearance, deficient in sanitary requirements and modern conveniences, and should