George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 31 December 1789]

Thursday 31st. Bad weather and close House.

The Vice Presidt. & Lady, Colo. Smith & Lady Chanr. Livingston Lady & Sister—Baron Steuben Messrs. White, Gerry Patridge & Tucker of the Ho. of Representatives—dined here today.

Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813) of New York, one of the Clermont branch of the powerful Livingston family, had been among the most active and influential members of the Continental Congress during his service 1775–76, 1779–81, and 1784–85. In Aug. 1781 he was elected secretary for foreign affairs and served until May 1783. From 1777 to 1801 he held the vaguely defined post of chancellor of New York and by virtue of this position administered the oath of office to GW in 1789. At this time he was a Federalist although by 1791 he was openly supporting Republican candidates for office in New York. In 1770 he had married Mary Stevens (1752–1814), daughter of John and Elizabeth Alexander Stevens and sister of inventor and engineer John Stevens (1749–1838). Although it is uncertain which of the chancellor’s five living sisters accompanied the family, it was probably Janet Montgomery (1743–1828), widow of Gen. Richard Montgomery, since she wrote the chancellor in the summer of 1789 that “I have been often at the President . . . who each time is more pleased to see me. Mrs. Washington has asked me to visit with her this evening and is to introduce me to Mrs. Adams” (DANGERFIELD description begins George Dangerfield. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746–1813. New York, 1960. description ends , 243).

Alexander White (1738–1804) of Frederick County, Va., was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Virginia to the First Congress and served until 1793. In 1795 GW appointed him a commissioner for laying out the new federal capital. George Partridge (1740–1828) of Duxbury, Mass., held a number of state offices and served in the Continental Congress 1779–82 and 1783–85. He was elected to Congress in 1789 and served until his resignation 14 Aug. 1790. Thomas Tudor Tucker (1745–1828) of South Carolina, born in Bermuda and a brother of St. George Tucker, had studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and served during the Revolution as a surgeon in the Continental Army. He was elected as a Federalist to the First and Second Congresses.

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