George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 May 1798]

19. Morning—Clear, Wind Southerly and Mer. at 55. About 8 Oclock in the forenoon Mrs. Washington & Myself sat out on a visit to Hope Park & the Federal City. Got to the former to Dinner and remained there until Morning when we proceeded to the City. Dined at Mr. Thos. Peter’s & remained there until Wednesday, and then went to Mr. Laws & remained there until friday when we sat out on our return home & called at Mount Eagle to take our leave of the Revd. Mr. Fairfax who was on the point of Embarking for England.

The weather during this time was as follow—20th. a brisk Southerly wind & Cool. 21. Appearances of Rain & very warm. 22. Warm & still greater shew for Rain but none fell. 23. Wind still Southerly—Clouds gathering from all quarters and in the Afternoon a very fine Rain. 24. Warm—Southerly Wind & moderate Rain in the Afternoon.

Another guest of Thomas Law was Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1758–1841) who visited Mount Vernon on 2 June. Niemcewicz was a Polish literary and political figure who came to America in 1797 as the companion of Tadeusz Kościuszko, leader of the Polish insurrection against Russia. Upon their release from a Russian prison the two Poles had come to America where Kościuszko had earlier gained fame as a colonel of engineers in the Revolution. GW and Mrs. Washington came to the Law home on 23 May for a two-day stay while Niemcewicz was still there. “The whole time he [GW] was courteous, polite, even attentive; he talked very little, now and then on agriculture, on natural history, on all that one would wish, except politics, on which he maintains an absolute silence and reserve.” During this visit GW renewed his interest in billiards. “He plays with a mace and although it is 25 years since he has played, his attention and skill made up for the lack of practice” (niemcewicz, 86–87). A billiard mace is a cue with a knob on the end.

revd. mr. fairfax: GW wrote the earl of Buchan that “ill health and advice of Physicians have induced him [Bryan Fairfax] to try the effect of Sea Air, & his inclinations have led him to give a voyage to England the preference” (15 May 1798, DLC:GW).

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