George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 13 May 1791]

Friday 13th. Dined with the Members of the Cincinnati at a public dinner given at the same place and in the evening went to a dancing Assembly at which there was about 100 well dressed & handsome Ladies.

At the Cincinnati dinner more toasts “were drank under federal salutes from the artillery company,” and it was probably there that Anthony Wayne, as president of the Georgia Cincinnati, presented its undated address of welcome to GW (Dunlap’s American Daily Adv. [Philadelphia], 31 May 1791). During his stay in Savannah, GW received more than the usual number of such addresses. Besides the address of the Georgia Cincinnati, there was an undated one from the citizens of Savannah and its vicinity; one of 12 May 1791 from the Congregational Church and Society of Midway, Ga., a town about 30 miles southwest of Savannah; one of 13 May 1791 from the mayor and aldermen of Savannah; one of 14 May 1791 from the freemasons of Georgia; and another of 14 May 1791 from John Earnst Bergman, minister of the German Congregation of Ebenezer, Ga., a town about 30 miles northwest of Savannah. GW replied to each address, except apparently the one from Bergman, which, unlike the others, was in Latin. All of these addresses and copies of the answers are in DLC:GW; a draft of the Savannah citizens’ address and GW’s signed reply to them are owned by Mr. Sol Feinstone, Washington Crossing. Pa.: GW’s signed reply to the Georgia freemasons is at DSC.

The evening ball was held in the Long Room of the Filature, a large building on Reynolds Square erected in the 1750s and used for silk manufacturing until about 1770 when it became a public assembly hall. GW arrived at the ball at 8:30 P.M., “and was personally introduced,” according to a newspaper account, “to 96 ladies, who were elegantly dressed, some of whom displayed infinite taste in the emblems and devices on their sashes and head dresses, out of respect to the happy occasion. The room, which had been lately handsomely fitted up, and was well lighted, afforded the President an excellent opportunity of viewing the fair sex of our city and vicinity, and the ladies the gratification of paying their respects to our Federal Chief. After a few minuets were moved, and one country dance led down, the President and his suite retired about 11 o’clock. At 12 o’clock the supper room was opened, and the ladies partook of a repast, after which dances continued until 3 o’clock” Dunlap’s American Daily Adv. [Philadelphia], 31 May 1791).

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