George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 24 October 1797]

24. Constant Rain from 8 in the Morning until 4 in the aftern. with the Wind at No. Et. then No. W. Mer. 42. Spanish Minister & Mr. Barry came to dinner.

spanish minister: Don Carlos Martinez de Yrujo y Tacon, later marqués de casa, (1763–1824) came to America as Spanish minister in 1796, succeeding Don José de Jáudenes. In a previous visit, before his official reception, Yrujo spent two days at Mount Vernon at GW’s invitation, and GW described him at that time as “a young man, very free and easy in his manners; professes to be well disposed towards the United States; and as far as a judgment can be formed on so short an acquaintance, appears to be well informed” (GW to Timothy Pickering, 4 July 1796, MHi: Pickering Papers). In 1798 Yrujo married Sally McKean, daughter of the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Mr. Barry was James Barry, an Irishman and a partner of Thomas Law in the East India trade. Barry had earlier acted as Spanish agent and Portuguese consul for the states of Maryland and Virginia. He was a heavy investor in lands in the new Federal City (O’BRIEN description begins Michael J. O’Brien. George Washington’s Associations with the Irish. New York, 1937. description ends , 141–43). Barry had attempted to aid Yrujo in obtaining from the commissioners of the District of Columbia a site in the Federal City to put up housing for the Spanish representative, and GW had written the commissioners urging them to accommodate Yrujo. He thought such a move might persuade other countries to follow suit and thus stimulate the growth of the city (GW to Commissioners, 18 Sept. 1796, DLC:GW).

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