George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 June 1788]

Monday 9th. Thermometer at 62 in the morning—76 at Noon and 75 at Night. Thick foggy morning, with the Wind at So. Et. Clear towards noon with the Wind at So. Wt.

Captn. Barney, in the Miniature Ship Federalist—as a present from the Merchants of Baltimore to me arrived here to Breakfast with her and stayed all day & Night.

Remained at home all day.

The Federalist, a fifteen-foot-long boat rigged as a ship, was a showpiece designed to represent Baltimore’s maritime trades and to symbolize the proposed federal union. “Highly ornamented” and mounted on a horse-drawn carriage frame, the little ship had been pulled through the main streets of Baltimore on 1 May as part of a great procession of merchants, artisans, and professionals celebrating Maryland’s ratification of the new Constitution five days earlier. Miniature ships, named the Federalist or the Union, were features of many Federalist victory parades before and after Maryland’s ratification. However, in Baltimore a group of Federalist merchants took the further step of launching their vessel after the celebration and dispatching it to Mount Vernon under the command of Joshua Barney (1759–1818), a naval hero of the Revolution and a staunch Federalist, for presentation to GW “as an Offering . . . expressive of their Veneration of his Services and Federalism” (Md. Journal, 6 May 1788 and 3 June 1788; GW to William Smith et al., 8 June 1788, anonymous donor).

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