Tuesday, March 31, 2020
1771-81 Lady Washington Attributed to Samuel Blyth (English, 1744-1795)
As some of the British referred to her, Lady Washington - Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was born at Chestnut Grove in New Kent County, Virginia, June 2, 1731. Her father, John Dandridge (1700/1701 — 1756), emigrated to Virginia from England with his older brother William when John was 13 or 14 years old. He settled in New Kent County and became county clerk in 1730, the year he married Martha's mother, Frances Jones (1710 — 1785) of York County.
Frances Jones Dandridge's widowed mother lived in Williamsburg with her second husband, watchmaker John Flournoy. Her grandfather Rowland Jones (Martha's great-grandfather) was the first rector of the newly formed Bruton Parish Church from 1674 until his death in 1688.
Martha was the eldest of three brothers and five sisters, the youngest of whom was born when Martha was 25 and already had four children of her own. She married Colonel Daniel Parke Custis in 1750 and lived in his Pumunkey River mansion, White House. Custis managed the large New Kent County plantation of his father, Councillor John Custis, who lived at the brick house known as Custis Square in Williamsburg.
Martha and Daniel Custis had four children: Daniel, born in 1751; Frances, born in 1753; John (Jacky) born in 1755; and Martha (Patsy), born in 1756 or 1757. Daniel died at the age of three, and Frances died at four years of age. July 26, 1757, when Martha Custis was only 26 years old, her husband died suddenly.
Martha married Colonel George Washington (1732 — 1799) January 6, 1759. Washington had been commander of the First Virginia Regiment in the French and Indian War and had been elected a burgess representing Frederick County in 1758. He had acquired Mount Vernon by lease from the widow of his half-brother Lawrence in 1754. (He inherited the plantation upon her death in 1761.) Before his marriage, Washington had increased the size of Mount Vernon from the original one-and-one-half-story dwelling to a two-and-one-half story home. George and Martha Washington and her children Jacky and Patsy moved to Mount Vernon in April 1759.
Mount Vernon remained George and Martha's home until their respective deaths, although they spent much time elsewhere during the war and presidential years. June 19, 1773, Martha's teenage daughter Patsy died at Mount Vernon. The following year, Martha's son John Parke Custis married Eleanor Calvert at her home, Mount Airy, in Prince George County, Maryland. George Washington attended the wedding, but Martha was so grief-stricken over Patsy's death, she was unable to make the trip. John and Eleanor had five children before his death from "camp fever" (probably typhoid fever) November 5, 1781.
Although Martha remained at Mount Vernon when George went to Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, she often accompanied him to his headquarters during the war years. She spent the winter of 1775 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in the spring of 1776, she followed him to New York. In the spring of 1777, she arrived at his headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, but she returned to Mount Vernon for the summer. The next winter she joined her husband at Valley Forge, and later she stayed with him during campaigns in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Martha and George Washington raised two of their grandchildren, Eleanor Parke Custis (Nelly) and George Washington Parke Custis (called "Wash" or "Tub") at Mount Vernon. When Martha's son's widow Eleanor remarried Dr. David Stuart in 1783, she and her two eldest daughters lived at the Stuart home in Abingdon, while the two youngest children continued to live at Mount Vernon. In 1784, Martha's 15-year-old niece, Frances Basset, came to live at Mount Vernon. She married George's nephew, Major George Augustine Washington, in 1785.
George Washington was inaugurated president on April 30, 1789. As the wife of the president, Martha lived with her husband and grandchildren Nelly and Wash in Philadelphia until they returned to Mount Vernon March 15, 1797. George Washington died at Mount Vernon December 14, 1799. Martha was widowed for two and one-half years until she, too, died at Mount Vernon May 22, 1802.
From the website of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Sunday, March 29, 2020
I abhor the lack of civility in our recent political activities. I remember that Thomas Jefferson was concerned about decorum and process in our Congress, most especially the Senate, over which he presided as Vice President. Sure enough, the Senate website had the story.
February 27, 1801
On a quiet December morning in 1800, a well-dressed gentleman knocked on the door at the Capitol Hill residence of publisher Samuel Smith. When the publisher’s wife, Margaret Bayard Smith, greeted him, she had no idea who he was. But, she liked him at once, “So kind and conciliating were his looks and manners.” Then her husband arrived and introduced her to the vice president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson had come to deliver a manuscript for publication. Mrs. Smith admiringly noted the vice president’s “neat, plain, but elegant handwriting.” Weeks later, on February 27, 1801, Jefferson returned to receive a copy of his newly printed book. It bore the title, A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States.
Three years earlier, in 1797, Jefferson had approached his single vice-presidential duty of presiding over the Senate with feelings of inadequacy. John Adams, who had held the job since the Senate’s founding in 1789, knew a great deal about Senate procedure and—of equal importance—about British parliamentary operations. Yet, despite Adams’ knowledge, senators routinely criticized him for his arbitrary and inconsistent parliamentary rulings.
In his first days as vice president, Jefferson decided to compile a manual of legislative procedure as a guide for himself and future presiding officers. He believed that such an authority, distilled largely from ancient books of parliamentary procedure used in the British House of Commons, would minimize senators’ criticism of presiding officers’ rulings, which in those days were not subject to reversal by the full Senate.
Jefferson arranged his manual in fifty-three topical sections, running alphabetically from “Absence” to "Treaties.” He began the section entitled “Order in Debate” with a warning to members based on his own observation of legislative behavior. Even today, his admonition might suitably appear on the wall of any elementary school classroom. “No one is to disturb another [person who is speaking] by hissing, coughing, spitting, speaking or whispering to another.”
Although Jefferson’s original manuscript has long since disappeared, a personal printed copy, with notes in his own handwriting, survives at the Library of Congress.
Jefferson’s Manual, with its emphasis on order and decorum, changed the way the Senate of his day operated. Years later, acknowledging Jefferson’s brilliance as a parliamentary scholar, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted his Senate Manual as a partial guide to its own proceedings.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
By the 18C in colonial America, artists sometimes portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain. In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."
Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nurish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain. Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls. He could not only interpret nature, he could control it. And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned to suggest that his young lady might be sexually available for the right marriage partner.
Friday, March 27, 2020
Frontispiece The Art of Cookery
The Art of Cookery, written by Hannah Glasse, was published in 1747. It was a best seller for over a hundred years, and made Glasse one of the best-known cookery writers of the eighteenth century.
As Glasse explains in the preface, the book was intended to be an instruction manual for servants - 'the lower sort' as she called them. During the 1700s there was a fashion for books of this kind, which were designed to save the lady of the house from the tedious duty of instructing her kitchen maids. As Hannah Glasse puts it, the book should 'improve the servants and save the ladies a great deal of trouble'. She is dismissive of the fanciful language used by other cookery book writers, which she feels simply confuses the servants: 'the poor girls are at a loss to know what they mean,' she writes. In contrast, her style is precise and direct.
Glasse was a housewife, rather than a professional cook, and according to her biographers her primary aim as a writer was to make money. She wrote the book quickly and methodically - in fact 342 of the 972 recipes are taken directly from other books. However, she does show a great deal of skill and originality. Firstly, her writing style is lively, intelligent and amusing. Also, the book contains one of the earliest references to Indian curry in an English cookbook. Asian food first became popular in Britain during the eighteenth century, reflecting the tastes developed by the employees of the East India Company.
Glasse is scornful of the elaborate and extravagant French recipes of the period 'If gentlemen will have French cooks', she writes, 'they must pay for French tricks'. However, many of her recipes will have been influenced by French cuisine which was becoming increasingly fashionable at the time. Her deliberate hostility towards the French was probably intended to please English readers of a lower social status, who would have disapproved of the excessiveness and conspicuous consumption of French culture.
For the decades following its publication, there were widespread rumours that The Art of Cookery had been written by a man. For a woman to have written such an eloquent and well-organized work seemed implausible to many. James Boswell's diary records a party at the house of the publisher Charles Dilly, at which the issue was discussed. He quotes Samuel Johnson as saying, 'Women can spin very well; but they cannot make a good book of cookery.'
1615, New Booke of Cookerie, John Murrell (London)
1798, American Cookery, Amelia Simmons (Hartford, CT)
1803, Frugal Housewife, Susannah Carter (New York, NY)
1807, A New System of Domestic Cookery, Maria Eliza Rundell (Boston, MA)
1808, New England Cookery, Lucy Emerson (Montpelier, VT)
Helpful Secondary Sources
America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking/Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Colonial Kitchens, Their Furnishings, and Their Gardens/Frances Phipps Hawthorn; 1972
Early American Beverages/John Hull Brown Rutland, Vt., C. E. Tuttle Co 1996
Early American Herb Recipes/Alice Cooke Brown ABC-CLIO Westport, United States
Food in Colonial and Federal America/Sandra L. Oliver
Home Life in Colonial Days/Alice Morse Earle (Chapter VII: Meat and Drink) New York : Macmillan Co., ©1926.
A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America/James E. McWilliams New York : Columbia University Press, 2005.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
1730s Charles Bridges (1670-1747). Alice Grymes (Mrs. Mann Page II) and child. College of William & Mary.
1730s Charles Bridges (1670-1747). Mrs. Ludwell & Children.
1732 John Smibert (1688-1751). Mary Fitch (Mrs. Andrew Oliver) & son Andrew.
1741 Pieter Vanderlyn (1687-1778). Mrs. Myndert Myndertse Jannetje Persen & Sara Terra.
1750 Charles Bridges (1670-1747). Mrs Augustine Moore.
1753-54 John Wollaston (fl 1736-1767). Mrs Daniel Carroll II (1731-1763) & Daniel Carroll 1752-1790.
1755 Unknown Artist Mother and Child.
1757 John Hesselius Mrs Matthew Tiglman Anna Lloyd & dau Anna Maria (Mrs. Matthew Tiglman.)
1757 John Singleton Copley (1737-1815) Mrs Daniel Rea and Child.
1760 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs Isaac Winslow and Hannah.
1763 William Johnston (1732-1772). Mrs Jacob Hurd & Child.
1770 John Durand (fl 1765-1782). Martha Tucker (Mrs. Thomas Newton II).
1772 Winthrop Chandler (1747-1785). Eunice Huntington Devotion.
1773 Matthew Pratt (1734-1805). Elizabeth Gay (Mrs. Thomas Bolling) with twins Sarah & Ann.
1786 Robert Edge Pine (1720-30-1788) Dorcas Spear (Mrs. William Patterson) and Child.
1787 Christian Gullager (1759-1826) Sarah Greenleaf Mrs Oflin Boardman & Child.
1791 Charles Peale Polk (1767-1822) Mary Hawkworth Riddell and daughter Agnes.
1795 Joseph Steward (1753-1822) Pamela Sedgwick (1753-1807) of Stockbridge MA.
1798 Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) Elizabeth Corbin (Mrs. Griffin Gatliff) & Daughter Elizabeth.
1799 Artist Bouche. (in Baltimore in 1795). Ann Ogle (Mrs. John Tayloe III) and daughters Rebecca and Henrietta.
1799 Charles Peale Polk (1767-1822) Eleanor Conway Hite and Son, James Madison Hite.
1799 John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) Lucy Knapp Mygatt and Her Son George.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Slave Trader Muslim Ayuba Suleiman Diallo 1701-1773 - Stolen from Africa sent to Maryland to England & back to his wives & children in Africa
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo [Job Ben Solomon] (c.1701–1773), Muslim cleric & slave, was born about 1701 in Bundu, west Africa, the son of a prominent Fulbe political & Islamic leader. He spoke several African languages, & Arabic, which he could also read & write, & by the late 1720s had married 2 wives & had several children. In 1730, with his interpreter Lamine Ndiaye (also known as Loumein Yoas), he traveled to the River Gambia & sold there some slaves to the Royal African Company factor. On their return journey they were captured by hostile Manlinke, their heads were shaven, & they were then sold to the very European slaver with whom Diallo recently had traded. Despite Diallo's desperate attempts to secure release, the 2 men were shipped as slaves across the Atlantic to Britain's North American colony of Maryland. They were two victims of a brutal traffic in humanity which by the mid-18C was dominated by British ships: in the period 1644–1816 nearly 260,000 Africans were sold down the River Gambia, although it was only a minor export region for slaves.
At Annapolis, Diallo was sold to a Maryland planter named Tolsey, from Kent Island, on Chesapeake Bay. Set to work in the tobacco fields & looking after cattle, he ran away. He was soon caught & while imprisoned came to the attention of an Anglican cleric &; lawyer, the Revd Thomas Bluett, who was impressed by Diallo's knowledge of Arabic & deemed him to be ‘no common slave.’ Bluett also saw potential advantage in redeeming the aristocratic African, who might become a useful commercial agent in west Africa. Diallo wrote a letter to his father in London this came into the hands of James Oglethorpe, deputy governor of the Royal African Company. Oglethorpe bought Diallo for £45 & in the company of Bluett he sailed for Britain in April 1733.
For some time Diallo lived in the Hertfordshire town of Cheshunt, but he still feared that he might be sold as a slave. With Bluett's help, various local gentlemen subscribed sufficient money to buy his ‘liberty’ in December 1733, Oglethorpe agreeing to the sale on condition that Diallo was returned to his home country. During his stay in Britain, mainly in London, in 1733-4, Diallo continued to learn English & orientalists were keen to make use of his knowledge of Arabic & Islamic culture. He was employed by Sir Hans Sloane, president of the Royal Society, to translate Arabic texts, & also by George Sale, the Arabic scholar, & Cromwell Mortimer, secretary of the Royal Society. Diallo was also fêted by aristocrats & gentlemen who were attracted by his dignified demeanor & pious behavior. He stayed at the home of the duke of Montagu & was also presented to members of the royal family. His portrait was painted by William Hoare. Diallo's fame spread & he was made an honorary member of the Spalding Gentlemen's Society.
Diallo was described by Bluett as being about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of lean appearance, & with ‘his hair long, black, & curled.’ His memory was described as ‘extraordinary’ & he was able to write out 3 copies of the Koran. while he was in Britain. From the same account Diallo appears to have been at ease with modern technology, & also a man of firm belief but of gentle disposition towards other religious ideas. In many ways his life & demeanor fitted well with the then current idea in Europe of the ‘noble savage.’
In the 1730s there were probably several thousand black people living permanently in London, working mainly as servants & artisans. Their legal status was ambiguous; it was not clear whether or not a slave from the colonies became ‘free’ when he or she stepped onto English soil. As a colonial slave Diallo was exceptionally fortunate & generally recognized as a man of superior status who possessed rare skills. There were few literate black people in Britain in the 1730s, & his easy intermingling within élite society reportedly helped forward the idea that Africans were fellow human beings worthy of respect, a moral point frequently labored by abolitionists later in the century.
In July 1734, with the assistance of the Royal African Company, Diallo returned to the River Gambia on board the Dolphin, taking with him gifts valued at £500. On arrival at the fort of St James, on Bance Island, he was greeted by Francis Moore, the company's factor. The company had purpose in returning Diallo to his home country. They hoped that by his agency they would gain access to the markets of the interior region of the River Senegal, contested with France, & secure the trade in slaves, gold, & gum. Late in 1735, & accompanied by Thomas Hull, also a company employee who kept a journal of his travels, Diallo traveled up-country to Bundu. There he found that his 2nd wife, thinking him dead, had remarried. In Bundu, Diallo's identification with the British earned the enmity of the French & he narrowly escaped enslavement by them & being shipped to Martinique. Thereafter he wrote a few letters to his contacts in England & made 1 or 2 unsuccessful attempts to revisit London.
There were a few other slaves who successfully returned from the Americas to Africa in the 18C, including Lamine Ndiaye, who gained his freedom in 1738 due to Diallo's persistence, aided by Bluett. However, none made the mark that Diallo did in London, considerably helped by memoirs of his experiences being recorded by both Bluett (in 1734) & Moore (in 1738). Although there is little evidence as to his later life in Bundu, news of his activities must have been brought to England as his death in 1773, was recorded in the minutes of the Spalding Gentlemen's Society.
David Killingray, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo [Job Ben Solomon] (c.1701–1773), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
In an effort to maintain class distinctions & the social hierarchy in his Spanish colony at the beginning of his term, Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró (1785 - 1791) decreed that women of color, slave or free, should cover their heads with a knotted headdress and refrain from "excessive attention to dress."In 1786, while Louisiana was a Spanish colony, the governor forbade: "females of color ... to wear plumes or jewelry"; this law specifically required "their hair bound in a kerchief." But the women, who were targets of this decree, were inventive & imaginative with years of practice. They decorated their mandated tignons, made of the finest textiles, with jewels, ribbons, & feathers to once again outshine their white counterparts.
In the above portrait of Marie Laveaux of New Orleans, Marie was depicted wearing a tignon. A tignon is a series of headscarves or a large piece of material tied or wrapped around the head to form a kind of turban resembling a West African gélé.
During the 19C, Marie Leveau (d. 1881), a devoted Catholic known as the Voodoo Queen, was generally a feared figure in New Orleans. Though apparently adept with Voodoo charms & potions of all kinds, Marie's real power came from her extensive network of spies & informants. The New Orleans elite had the careless habit of detailing their most confidential affairs to their slaves & servants, who then often reported to Marie out of respect & fear. As a result, Marie appeared to have an almost amazing knowledge of the workings of political & social power in New Orleans, which she used to build her power as a voodoo priestess.
A New Orleans journalist reported on a "voodoo rite" that he witnessed in 1828. "Some sixty people were assembled, each wearing a white bandana carefully knotted around the head..." At a given moment in the ceremony, one of the women "tore the white hand- kerchief from her forehead. This was a signal, for the whole assembly sprang forward and entered the dance"
Anthony Meucci (fl in America, 1818-1827) Juliet Noel (Mrs Pierre Toussaint)
Extramarital relationships between French & African settlers, occurring since slaves arrived in New Orleans about 1719, had evolved into an accepted social practice. The custom of freeing the children of such unions; the right of slaves to purchase their freedom; the policy of liberating enslaved workers for excellent service; and the arrival of free people of color from Haiti, Cuba & other Caribbean colonies led to the rise of a vocal free black population.
Through inheritance, military service, and a near monopoly of certain skilled trades, free blacks acquired wealth & social status. By the time Thomas Jefferson arranged for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, New Orleans free blacks constituted nearly 20% of the city, while enslaved Africans comprised about 38% of the residents. Women of color, slave & free, continued to wear their bright tignons well into the 19th century, and they continued to attract the attention of men regardless of class or color.
1786 Francois Beaucourt, Portrait of Servant Woman.
Throughout the 19C, tignon was a local, New Orleans word for the headwrap, a variation on the French word, chignon which refers to a smooth knot or twist or arrangement of hair that is worn at the nape of the neck.
1796 Thomas Rowlandson. Rachel Pringle of Barbados. Published by William Holland (London, 1796)
Elsewhere in America, headwraps were often referred to as kerchiefs by both African Americans & others.
Women of Santo Domingo in Tignons.
The anonymous Mississippi planter who wrote "Management of Negroes Upon Southern Estates" (1851) noted: "I give to my negroes four full suits of clothes with two pairs of shoes, every year, & to my women and girls a calico dress and two handkerchiefs extra"
Woman Wearing Red Tignon with Bag of Laundry.
In 1863, E. Botume described the people who greeted her boat as it docked at Beaufort, SC, "Some of the women had...bits of sailcloth for head handkerchiefs"
19C Tignon Wearing Women of Color.
Charlie Hudson, born in 1858, & enslaved in Georgia, remembered: "What yo' wore on yo' haid was a cap made out of scraps of cloth dey wove in de loom..."
Market Woman in Tignon Selling Fruits & Vegetables.
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, a northerner who traveled in the South before the American Civil War, tells of yet another way in which blacks acquired headwraps: "(The negroes) also purchase clothing for themselves, and, I note especially, are well supplied with handkerchiefs, which the men frequently, and the women nearly always, wear on their heads"
19th Century Mulatto Women and Tignons.
A Savannah editor bemoaned the "extravagant" dress of city blacks. Wade says that the journalist, " observing that a turban or handkerchief for the head was good enough for peasants,...noted that 'with our city colored population the old fashioned turban seems fast disappearing' " (Savannah Republican 6 June 1849)
19C Caribbean Island Women in Tignons.
Louis Hughes, born 1843, enslaved in Mississippi and Virginia, noted: "The cotton clothes worn by both men and women (house servants), and the turbans of the latter, were snowy white" After the family moved to the city, Hughes recalled, "Each of the women servants wore a new gay colored turban, which was tied differently from that of the ordinary servant, in some fancy knot"
19C New Orleans Tignon
In the Slave Narratives, Ebenezer Brown, enslaved in Mississippi, said: "(My mammy) wrap her hair, and tie it up in a cloth. My mammy cud tote a bucket of water on her head and never spill a drop. I seed her bring that milk in great big buckets from de pen on her head an' never lose one drop."
19C Portrait of Woman with Tignon. Historic New Orleans
John Dixon Long, a white observer, remarked on a prayer-meeting held by enslaved people in Maryland in 1857. "At a given signal...the women will tighten their turbans, and the company will then form a circle around the singer..."
1840 House Servant with Tignon. Louisiana
Louis Hughes, born 1832, enslaved in Mississippi and Virginia, remembered "once when Boss went to Memphis and brought back a bolt of gingham for turbans for the female slaves...red & yellow check...to be worn on Sundays"
1844 Adoph Rinck. Possibly a portrait of Marie Laveaux.
In 1863, Fanny Kemble's description of the slaves on her husband's Georgia plantation included: "head handkerchiefs, that put one's very eyes out from a mile off..."
1910 Woman in Tignon, Ellsworth Woodward Louisiana