George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 January 1790]

Thursday 14th. At the hours appointed, the Senate & House of representatives presented their respective Addresses—The Members of both coming in Carriages and the latter with the Mace preceeding the Speaker. The Address of the Senate was presented by the Vice-President and that of the House by the Speaker thereof.

The following Gentlemen dined here to day. viz.

Messrs. Henry & Maclay of the Senate and Messrs. Wadsworth, Trumbull, Floyd, Boudinot, Wynkoop, Seney, Page, Lee, & Mathews of the House of Representatives and Mr. John Trumbull.

John Henry (1750–1798), a Dorchester County, Md., lawyer, graduated from Princeton in 1769 and studied law at the Middle Temple in London. Returning to Maryland in 1775, he served in the General Assembly and from 1778 to 1781 was a Maryland delegate to the Continental Congress where he made a vigorous effort to secure supplies and recruits for the army. He again served in the Continental Congress 1784–87 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1789, serving until he resigned in 1797 to become governor of Maryland.

Sen. William Maclay described this dinner in his diary: “Dined this day with the President. It was a great dinner—all in the taste of high life. . . . The President is a cold, formal man; but I must declare that he treated me with great attention. I was the first person with whom he drank a glass of wine. I was often spoken to by him. Yet he knows how rigid a republican I am. I cannot think he considers it worth while to soften me” (MACLAY description begins Charles A. Beard, ed. The Journal of William Maclay: United States Senator from Pennsylvania, 1789–1791. 1927. Reprint. New York, 1965. description ends , 172–73). William Maclay (1737–1804), Antifederalist senator from Pennsylvania, served on the Forbes expedition during the French and Indian War and later studied law. Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1760, he held a number of local positions during and after the Revolution. He was elected to the Senate in 1789 and served until Mar. 1791. During this time he became something of a gadfly; his journal records his outraged disapproval of what he considered the aristocratic pomp surrounding GW’s administration.

GW’s former aide-de-camp Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., was elected as a Federalist representative from Connecticut to the First Congress.

William Floyd (1734–1821), a native of Brookhaven, Long Island, N.Y., was a major general in the New York militia and a member of the New York legislature 1777–78, 1784–88. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he served in the Continental Congress 1774–83.

Elias Boudinot (1740–1821), a member of a prominent colonial family, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1760. One of New Jersey’s leading lawyers, he was active in Patriot circles before and during the Revolution and was a member of the Continental Congress 1777, 1778, 1781–83, acting as president 1782–83. GW had frequent contacts with him while Boudinot was commissary of prisoners during the Revolution. He was an active supporter of the Constitution during the ratification process in New Jersey and after his election to Congress in 1789 became a stalwart supporter of most administration measures in the House of Representatives.

Henry Wynkoop (1737–1816) of Bucks County, Pa., a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly 1760–61, held a number of local judicial posts in Pennsylvania before and during the Revolution and served in the Continental Congress 1779–83. He was justice of the Pennsylvania High Court of Errors and Appeals from 1783 to 1789 and was elected to the First Congress from Pennsylvania in 1789.

Joshua Seney (1756–1798), a 1773 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, practiced law in Queen Annes County, Md., and was a member of the Continental Congress 1787–88. He was elected to the First Congress from Maryland in 1789.

John Page of Rosewell was elected in 1789 as congressman from Virginia. Page, a noted amateur astronomer (see entry for 15 June 1774) served in the Virginia legislature during and after the Revolution and as governor of Virginia 1802–5. In 1789 Page married Margaret Lowther, daughter of William Lowther of Scotland. Richard Bland Lee had been elected from Virginia to the First Congress.

George Mathews (1739–1812), a native of Augusta County, Va., was colonel successively of the 9th and 3d Virginia regiments during the Revolution. After the war he settled in Oglethorpe County, Ga., and was elected governor of that state in 1787. He represented Georgia in Congress 1789–91 and was again governor of the state 1793–96.

John Trumbull (1756–1843) was the youngest son of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut and a brother of GW’s former aide-de-camp Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. He showed a precocious ability in painting, but upon his father’s insistence he attended Harvard, from which he graduated in 1773. At the outbreak of the Revolution Trumbull served as one of GW’s aides but soon sought a more active command. He saw action as a major at Dorchester Heights and in June 1776 was appointed deputy adjutant to Horatio Gates. In 1778 he served as aide to John Sullivan in the Rhode Island campaign. In May 1780 he went to London where he studied painting briefly with Benjamin West. In Nov. 1780 he was arrested by British authorities under suspicion of treason but was soon released. He then went to France where he produced a painting of GW which was widely copied. Returning to the United States, he assisted his brother Joseph in supplying the army 1782–83. In 1783 he again went to Europe where he spent the next five years recording on canvas the events of the American Revolution. After returning to the United States in Dec. 1789, he began several portraits of GW and in Aug. 1790 wrote West: “I have several small portraits of the President . . . one in particular which I have done for Mrs. Washington a full length about 20 Inches hight . . . is thought very like—& I have Been tempted to disobey one of your injunctions & to attempt a large Portrait of him for this City which I am now finishing—the figure is near seven feet high compos’d with a Horse, & the back ground the evacuation of this Place by the British at the Peace:—the Harbour & Fleet with a Part of the fortifications & Ruins of the Town:—How I have succeeded I hardly dare judge:—the World have approved the resemblance” (TRUMBULL [2] description begins Theodore Sizer, ed. The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull: Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843. 1953. Reprint. New York, 1970. description ends , 326).

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