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This year, for the first time, Washington had a daily paper-the National Intelligencer appearing as a daily. “The President admires it," wrote our
” diaryist, “and, indeed, every one who has seen it, with this rernark—' but I am afraid it cannot be supported in such handsome style.'” Of the inauguration of Mr. Madison for his second term, March 4, 1813, she thus writes :
Escorted by the Alexandria, Georgetown, and city companies, the President proceeded to the Capitol. Judge Marshall and the Associate Judges preceded him and placed themselves in front of the Speaker's chair, from whence the Chief Magistrate delivered his inaugural address ; but his voice was so low and the audience so very great that scarcely a word could be distinguished. On concluding, the oath of office was administered by the Chief-Justice, and the little man was accompanied on his return to the palace by the multitude, for every creature that could afford twenty-five cents for hack-hire was present. You will regret to hear that your good friend Joel Barlow is dead. I send the notice of the event from foreign papers. Although of too tender an age to appreciate the generous and brilliant qualities of this eminent man when the recipient of his kindness in Germany, I still retain a vivid remembrance of his appearance and manners.”
In 1813 General Jackson, the hero of New Orleans, is in the city. His visit, she remarks, “has excited a great commotion. Dinners, plays, balls throughout the District.
Immediately on Mrs. Jackson's arrival a dilemma was presented, and a grand debate ensued as to whether the ladies would visit her.
Colonel Reid and Dr. Goodlet, the friend for years of General Jackson, having settled the question of propriety satisfactorily, all doubts were laid aside. I have seen a good deal of General Jackson and his wife, who both received me with great attention and civility. He is not striking in appearance. His features are hardfavored, his complexion sallow, and his person small. Mrs. Jackson is a totally uninformed woman in mind and manners, but extremely civil in her way."
The great event of the autumn, however, was the exhibition of some fifty paintings by the old masters at the mansion of a Mr. Calvert, of Bladensburg. This gentleman, years before, had gone to reside in Antwerp, “where he married a Miss Steers, whose father, a descendant of Rubens, and an enthusiastic devotee of art, became possessed of several masterpieces of the great Fleming, to which were added Titians, Vanderlyns, and other undoubted originals -in all about forty specimens of the old masters. During Bonaparte's absolute sway in France, and his lawless thirst for the acquisition of paintings with which to adorn the Louvre, he instituted a search for these same gems, well known in the art world, which, Mr. Steers apprehending, he secreted, and subsequently brought his treasures to his daughter in America for safe-keeping."
The Bourbons being now reinstated, Mr. Steers was about reclaiming his paintings, and Mr. Calvert, thinking that another such opportunity might never be presented to the citizens of Washington, invited all connoisseurs and amateurs to come for five days and gratify their taste and curiosity. Everybody at all known in society went.
'Peale from Philadelphia, King and Wood from Baltimore, were transported with admiration. The Grecian Daughter, as it is called, Euphrasia-by Rubens, excited the most lively emotions of admiration ; but The Unbelieving Priest, by Titian, was decided by them to be incomparably the most splendid effort of genius in that superb collection."
In 1818, the Calhouns came to reside in their neighborhood.
“You could not fail to love and appreciate, as I do, her charming qualities : a devoted mother, tender wife, industrious, cheerful, intelligent, with the most perfectly equable temper. Mr. Calhoun is a profound statesman and elegant scholar, you know by public report, but his manners in a private circle are endearing as well as captivating, and it is as much impossible not to love him at home as it would be to refuse your admiration of his oratorical powers in the Hall of Representatives."
The opening of Monroe's administration—1818— brings us to our own times, for there are several well preserved old ladies and gentlemen in the city who remember very well the inauguration of President Monroe on March 4, 1818.
At that time,” said one of these raconteurs, “ Pennsylvania Avenue was unpaved and unlighted, and set with double rows of Lombardy poplars. I well remember the inaugural procession plodding through the mud to the Capitol. Union Hotel in Georgetown was the prominent hotel, and much frequented by Congressmen. There
was a stage called the Royal George that carried them to and from the Capitol. Many of the wealthier members kept their own equipages. I have often seen Senator Rufus King of New York riding to and from the sessions in his coach and four, and John Randolph on horseback with a colored man behind him. Colonel Benton, the famous Missouri senator, rode in the same way.”
In Jackson's day official society became very democratic in tone. Everybody, including the servants, flocked to the levees, and even to the Cabinet receptions. There is a story of a cartman who left his vehicle in the street, and entered the White House in frock and overalls to shake hands with the President. This easy, provincial state of affairs seems to have obtained in official society quite to the period of the civil war. At least during the closing years of that period, we find a British Minister giving in a home journal--Once a Weekthis picture of society in his time. Making due allowance for insular prejudice, it may be regarded as a truthful description. He says:
“ The first social duty was a presentation at the White House, or Executive Mansion, as it had been re-named.
The President appointed the evening as the time when I was to have the honor of introduction to his presence, and it was a rude shock to British feelings, accustomed to pomp and grandeur as the natural accessories to power, to find the President of the Republic of the United States living in the palace of the nation much as a bankrupt merchant might, by kind permission of his creditors, occupy the scene of his past glories until his affairs were wound up. Certainly the highest in the land gave example of the strictest economy; one wavering lamp just enabled us to trace the outline of the handsome Greek portico, while awaiting the tardy answer to the bell. At last peered through the door a dirty Irishman, who, having satisfied himself as to our identity, reluctantly half-opened the door to let us through, and then preceded us along some dim passages to the presence-chamber. During this rather lengthy walk I had leisure to admire the Republican simplicity of his attire, which was not only dingy and greasy, but boasted of sundry rents and patches.
This functionary, who united in his ragged person the offices of chamberlain and usher of the white rod, having retired, we amused ourselves by criticising the tawdry furniture and decorations, and studying the by no means prepossessing features of the great Washington, founder of the Immortal Republic.
"At length in shambled a tall, uncouth figure, arrayed much in the fashion of Dominie Sampson, in ill-made morning clothes, and with huge feet encased in muddy boots; to my surprise, all around me were doing obeisance to the President. With head on one side he advanced, shook hands with ungainly courtesy, and begged us to be seated. His venerable gray locks, hanging in waving masses on his shoulders, and his high, bossy forehead, lent him an air of pseudo-benevolence which his sly mouth belied. The audience soon ended, his extreme caution and reserve freezing all efforts at conversation.
“The same awkwardness with which he had made his entrance, marked his exit as he shuffled off the scene.
“ The winter time is the season of gayety at Washington, and well the Americans economize every moment. They wisely prefer seeing their friends, to being merely