WASHINGTON, George. Autograph letter signed (''G:o Washington''), to David Stuart, Mount Vernon, 5 June 1785. 1 page, 4to, autograph address panel, matted and framed.
WASHINGTON, George. Autograph letter signed ("G:o Washington"), to David Stuart, Mount Vernon, 5 June 1785. 1 page, 4to, autograph address panel, matted and framed.
AN INVITATION TO DINE WITH THE CELEBRATED HISTORIAN, MRS. MACAULAY
"The celebrated Mrs. Macauly Graham, & Mr. Graham her Husband, are here on a Visit," Washington tells his long-time friend and neighbor David Stuart. "As I wish to shew them all the respect I can, I should be glad if you, Mrs. Stuart & your Sister, would come tomorrow or next day, and dine with us." In a postscript Washington adds: "Come tomorrow if you can." Mrs. Macaulay was celebrated for her multi-volume History of England, which devoted considerable attention to the long tradition of republican and anti-monarchical thought in English politics. Critics belittled her work--and her gende. Yet her prominence as a target demonstrates her success in hitting several prominent political nerves among the Tories and traditionalists (an annoyed Samuel Johnson tweaked her one night at dinner when he challenged her to prove her republicanism and invite her footman to join them at table). In the 1760s and 1770s she was an ally of radical John Wilkes and a vocal supporter of the American cause. Her independence, both politically and sexually, outraged London society. She refused to retire with the other ladies when gentlemen wanted to talk politics after dinner; and in 1778 she married William Graham, 26 years her junior. Rumors swirled that she had already had an affair with Graham's brother. From then on she was persona non grata in London society, but nothing could dampen her popularity in America. In her travels through France during the Revolutionary War she consistently held up the Americans as a shining ideal of liberty and republicanism. She completed the eighth and final volume of her History in 1783, then set off on a lengthy American tour the following year. She met many of the leading revolutionaries, capped off by a 10-day stay with the Washingtons at Mount Vernon. The General was sorry to see her go, telling Henry Knox on 18 June: "A Visit from a Lady so celebrated in the Literary world could not but be very flattering to me." Published in Fitzpatrick 28:159.