George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 November 1789]

Monday 30th. Went to the Play in the Evening and presented Tickets to the following persons—viz.—Doctr. Johnson and Lady—Mr. Dalton & Lady—The Chief Justice of the United States and Lady—Secretary of War & Lady—Baron de Steuben and Mrs. Green.

On 30 Nov. 1789 the Old American Company gave a benefit performance of Cymon and Sylvia, an “Opera or Dramatic Romance,” at the John Street Theatre (FORD [5] description begins Paul Leicester Ford. Washington and The Theatre. New York, 1899. description ends , 40–43). GW noted in his letter of invitation to the Jays that “this is the last night the President proposes visiting the theatre for the season” (NNC: Jay Papers). Sarah Livingston Jay, the lovely and vivacious daughter of Gov. William Livingston of New Jersey, had become one of New York’s leading hostesses while her husband was secretary for foreign affairs during the Confederation. Lucy Flucker Knox was the daughter of Thomas Flucker, who had been royal secretary of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Mrs. Knox’s social ambitions were occasionally noted derisively by her contemporaries (see Jefferson’s “Anas,” BERGH description begins Albert Ellery Bergh, ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Memorial Ed. 20 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–4. description ends , 1:357). Abigail Adams Smith wrote her mother, 15 June 1788, that Mrs. Knox is “neat in her dress, attentive to her family, and very fond of her children. But her size is enormous; I am frightened when I look at her” (GRISWOLD description begins Rufus Wilmot Griswold. The Republican Court or American Society in the Days of Washington. New York, 1855. description ends , 95).

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